The first humpback whales of the season have been sighted off Mooloolaba. This heralds the arrival of some 40,000 majestic animals that are expected to pass the region as they travel the ‘Humpback Highway’.
The season runs until the end of October, capturing the progress of the whales on their 10,000-kilometre return journey from the Antarctic.
The whales begin their journey swimming north to breeding grounds in warmer waters, and then return later in the year to the Antarctic, often accompanied by their calves.
The Wharf Mooloolaba is set to become ‘whale central’ over the next five months with regular whale-watching trips, plus the release of a new Whale Ale craft beer.
The Ocean’s Journey Whale Ale has been created by local craft brewer Blackflag and is available from restaurants and bars throughout The Wharf. The ale pays homage to the whale migration with vibrant citrus notes, tropical fruit flavours and balanced bitterness.
During the season, Sunreef conducts a range of whale-watching cruises out of The Wharf Mooloolaba, including its pioneering Swim with Whales tours.
Sunreef Mooloolaba’s Philip Hart says this year’s whale-watching season is expected to see a plethora of whales migrate and the business will once again be offering whale-watching and Swim with Whales tours.
“Whale numbers appear to be increasing at an average of about 10 per cent a year, and given the interest, we are extending opportunities for people to view these remarkable mammals in what is one of Australia’s most pristine environments,” Mr Hart says.
He says the swimming experience is run on the whales’ terms, but they generally love the chance to say hello.
“The rest is completely up to the whale,” Mr Hart says.
“If they want to come to you, they come to you – and more often than not, they do. They’re just as interested in us as we are in them.
“They’re very curious creatures.”
Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Matt Stoeckel says whale-watching and swimming tours support the Sunshine Coast’s reputation as a leading nature-based tourism destination.
“We know our whale experiences are top on our visitors’ to-do list across our winter months,” Mr Stoeckel says.
“This year, it’s been great to see the Sunshine Coast community get onboard with the launch of the whale season with a series of events in the planning and even the creation of a Whale Ale in honour of our migrating mammals.”
Sunreef’s whale-watching tours, aboard the Whale One vessel, operate daily. The Swim with Whales experiences will begin on July 1.
For more information, visit sunreef.com.au