Whale Watching Fraser Coast Photography By Owen Wilson

I have traveled to Hervey Bay on several occasions, sometimes just for the whale watching experience. If you have discovered this wonderful experience yet, don’t wait any longer go.

The whale season is happening soon, these majestic creatures migrate along our east coast every year from May till November, The first 2 weeks are considered whale searching time. This is an epic journey they embark on every year. Starting from Antarctica, it is a 10,000-kilometre round trip, with a pit stop in Harvey bay.


D700 Nikon, 1/1000 sec exposure, f2.8 aperture, 200 ISO, 70-200mm lens

Mothers and their calves love the calm protected waters of Hervey Bay and Platypus Bay on the Fraser Coast. Humpback whales give birth and enjoy the warmer waters of the Queensland Coast.

These whales prepare for this journey by eating up to 2 tonnes of krill a day before migration takes place and then they don’t eat for the entire trip, they live off their body fat. Humpback whales have a life span of 48-100 years, so that’s at least 48 trips of this magnitude for each whale.

Hervey bay is known as the whale watching capital of Australia.

There are a number of boats you can share this experience on, my personal favourite is The Spirit of Hervey Bay, I have also toured on The Whalesong and The Tasman Venture all equally good.

D200 Nikon, 1/1000 sec exposure, f2.8 aperture, 100 ISO, 70-20000mm lens

The Spirit of Hervey Bay has Three viewing platforms and an underwater area to view the whales from below the water. While out on tours you will come across other tour boats and be able to capture them in your shots of the whales.

Whale watching tours on Fraser Coast are from the end of August until the end of October when the whales migrate back to Antarctica.

Fraser Coast Whale

D800 Nikon, 1/640 sec exposure, f4.0 aperture, 400 ISO, 300mm lens

This image is of the Tasman Venture with some great whale breeches.

Windy weather seems to bring out the playfulness in the whales and it seems you have more chances of capturing a breech or some tail or pectoral fin slapping. The calm clear days give you better visibility as the whales come closer to the boats. Close encounters are the best experience you will ever have, to see them up close and just the sheer size of them blows your mind.

The tail of the whale is called a fluke, there is also the spy hop, when they surface to take a peek all incredible to see.

Hervey Bay Whale
D100 Nikon, 1/1000 sec exposure, f5.6 aperture, 200 ISO, 70-200mm lens

Here we have the Whalesong with a huge whale breeching, I captured this while on the Spirit of Hervey Bay, it gives perspective as to the size of these whales.

Lake MacKenzie Whale - Owen Wilson

D700 Nikon, 1/1000 sec exposure, f4.5 aperture, 200 ISO, 70-200mm lens

Why not combine a trip with a tour of Fraser Island, with pristine wilderness and sandy beaches, Lake MacKenzie and lots more.

I was lucky to see Orca whales on one of my trips to Hervey Bay, it was awesome as always and I captured some great shots. Not sure how often this happens but what an amazing sight.

Fraser Island Whales Owen Wilson

D800 Nikon, 1/640 sec exposure, f4.0 aperture, 400 ISO, 300mm lens

You may also be lucky when you visit Hervey Bay to spot some Orca whales, if not there’s always next year.

My kit for this trip, 14-24mm zoom lens, 24-70mm lens and 70-=200 telephoto lens, and also my prime 2.8 300mm lens, I do find this lens a little bit awkward such a heavy lens, I use a mono pod with this lens. The more powerful the lens the harder it is to capture a breeching whale. Sometimes I use a polarising filter but not always, depends on the day.

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