Whale Season In Cape Tribulation

As the hot humid days of summer make way for cool sunny winter weather, Cape Tribulation becomes a paradise for those wanting to escape the cold climate of southern Australia. Even the whales choose to cruise up the coast and enjoy the tropics at this beautiful time of year!

After a long summer of binging on krill in the Antarctic waters, the whales have had enough of the cold temperatures down south and begin their migration to the tropical waters in the north.

NSW whale migration


This is where the whales will breed and give birth to their calves. The majority of them will arrive between June and August and begin to make their way back down south from September to November.

Fortunately for us, we can just hop on a plane and fly up north to the crystal clear water, white sandy beaches and lush green of the Daintree Rainforest. The whales, on the other hand, have to swim 10,000km – one of the longest migrations made by mammals, with factors to consider such as ocean temperature, sea ice and the abundance of prey.

The warm waters parallel to the Daintree coast are crucial for the new calves as they don’t yet have the protective layer of blubber that insulates whales against the freezing Antarctic waters. The long journey is often led by groups of young males and followed by the pregnant, or soon to be pregnant, females.

In Cape Tribulation we are lucky to have many different species of whale joining us in winter, including minke, pygmy sperm, southern right and of course the majestic humpback whales. At up to 16m long and 36,000kg, humpbacks are thrilling to see – and fortunately are also one of the most commonly spotted.

The best way to spot these graceful giants is with one of the two first class tour operators here in Cape Tribulation: Ocean Safari and Sailaway. They will take you out to the reef to get as close as possible for the most exhilarating experience. You can even swim just meters away from theses beautiful creatures – simply breathtaking and unforgettable!

If you prefer to stay on dry land, Cape Tribulation Beach is also a fantastic viewing spot. On calm days, all you have to do is stroll along the beach, grab a chair and wait for the moment when a whale breaches the surface. There’s a reasonable chance you will see a mother teaching and playing with her calves.

So if you’re chasing the warm weather, join us for winter in the Daintree Rainforest along with some of our regular guests – the whales!

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