Home to the world’s only egg-laying mammals – the platypus and the echidna – Australian wildlife breaks many records on land. But our marine life is just as superlative.
From the world’s largest fur seals, to the migration of humpbacks and the greatest known congregation of dwarf minke whales, it’s all happening in Australian waters. The best part? You can swim alongside some of these majestic creatures with a handful of ethical eco-sensitive diving and snorkelling operators. Here’s how.
SWIM WITH HUMPBACK WHALES
Did you know?
There are 45 species of whales and dolphins found in Australian waters.Play Video
Get up close and personal
Humpback whale © Blue Dolphin Tours
Where: Hervey Bay and Mooloolaba, Queensland.
When: July to October
Every year, more than 30,000 humpback whales make the journey north from Antarctica along the east coast of Australia to the warm waters of Queensland’s Fraser Coast and Sunshine Coast. Here, they mate, calve, and nurture their newborns – and you can join the action on guided snorkelling expeditions.
Australia is among a handful of countries where you can swim with humpbacks, allowing you to step off a boat, slide into the ocean and watch these gentle giants – some measuring 18 metres (60 feet) in length and weighing a staggering 30,000 kilograms (66,000 pounds). You might hear the males sing their courtship songs, and feel the pull of the ocean as they glide through the water; then, surface to watch them blowing their breath off your boat’s bow.