From May to November each year, the majestic humpback whales pass Queensland's eastern most tip - the North Gorge Headland at Point Lookout, on North Stradbroke Island.
The majestic creatures of the deep are on their annual migration from Antarctica to their calving grounds near the Great Barrier Reef. While their calves are still quite young, they begin their southern return journey, again passing close to the coast.
The rocky outcrops at Point Lookout make ideal vantage points for land-based whale watching - and best of all, it's free! The whales pass close to the island, making it possible to see them without a boat from the shore, usually without the aid of binoculars.
This makes whale watching at Straddie accessible to everyone. Families with small children, elderly people or those with disabilities, are able to spend a day whale watching from a convenient and safe spot.
Take your car and a picnic lunch and make a day of it, or book accommodation with Stradbroke Getaways to increase your chances of experiencing this awesome natural phenomenon over a few days.
Those wishing for a different viewpoint can take the Headlands walk. Starting at the Captain Cook memorial, there is a signed track all the way to North Gorge.
The first sign of whales is usually the 'blow'. Air leaves the blowhole at more than 400 kilometres an hour. When the whales surface, the exhalation of warm air produces a distinctive cloud, formed by condensation of vapour expelled from the lungs under great pressure. Adult humpbacks have two lungs, each the size of a small car, which they can empty and refill in less than two seconds!
Humpback Whales grow up to 16m long and can weigh 40 tonnes. They have a stocky body with a broad, rounded head and extremely long flippers, which can be up to one-third of the animalâ€™s total length.
Groups of these magnificent monsters can be seen breaching (twisting on their back after thundering halfway out of the water) and falling, splashing and tailing, rolling, scooping, finning or bursting out together in great backward somersaults.
Humpback whales produce the longest and most varied songs in the animal world. These intricate vocalizations range from high squeaks to low guttural growls. These songs are produced by moving air back and forth through body passages. Singing is more common and maybe confined to the breeding season. Only male humpbacks sing. The song may function as a sexual display, advertising the presence of a breeding male, and keeping a family group together, but the complexity of the song suggests there may be more to it than that.
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