The Great Eight are the Great Barrier Reef’s living icons. The creatures that top everyone’s Great Barrier Reef (the ‘Reef’) wish lists!

First on the list is the Whale:  During Australia’s winter and spring, from June to November, up to 10,000 whales migrate north from Antarctica’s colder waters to the warm shallows of the Great Barrier Reef (the ‘Reef’) to breed and give birth. Though many species make this migration, humpback whales and dwarf minke whales are the ones you’re most likely to see on the Reef.

Fun fact:

A new-born humpback whale calf weighs about 1 tonne and drinks 500 litres of its mother’s milk every day –  adding 4kg of weight every hour! It needs to grow as quickly as possible before it starts the long journey back to Antarctica.

Best places to see: 
  • Hervey Bay, Fraser Coast. Between July-November, around 7,000 humpback whales and their new calves stopover to rest and play in the calm, safe waters of Hervey Bay – known as the ‘whale watching capital of Australia’. Take a tour to whale watch, swim with whales or visit for the whale festival in August.
  • Tropical North Queensland. During June-July, dwarf minke whales hang out at the Ribbon Reefs in TNQ. This is the only place in the world where you can snorkel and swim with these gentle giants. 
  • Lady Elliot Island, Bundaberg Region. Take a scenic flight over to spot these marvelous mammals at play. Or hear them underwater when snorkelling and diving.
  • Whitsunday coast and islands. Keep an eye out for whales as regular sightings happen.