A Whale of a Time in my own Backyard!

Like a lot of travel addicts out there, I’m guilty of setting my sights on that green grass overseas and ignoring what my own backyard has to offer.  There are countless foreign backpackers who could tick more Aussie icons off their bucket lists than I could, and there are definitely even more who could pip me on my own backyard – Queensland.

On the weekend I was lucky enough to be taken away for a reward weekend by the company I work for.  In the past this has been a mix of domestic and overseas destinations and has always been a great opportunity for me to crack out my camera and see something new, not to mention having an absolute blast.  So I have to admit to being a tad disappointed when it was announced that this years trip was going to be no further than an hours boat trip away from Brisbane – Tangalooma Island Resort on Moreton Island.

A weekend on Moreton Bay?? nose wrinkle I was underwhelmed. Well this travel snob stands corrected.  After a slow cruise past ugly industrial sights on the Brisbane River, we burst out into Moreton Bay and the transformation in water colour and scenery was akin to Lord Voldemort becoming Ralph Fiennes.

My image of Moreton Bay was of muddy water and, well, mud, but our arrival into Tangalooma showed me the error of my ways. We were greeted by gorgeous soft sandy beaches and aqua water.  It’s just a shame it’s the middle of winter.  Or is it???

Winter in my neck of the woods is not only a time of spankingly blue skies day after day,  temperatures English tourists think is summer and horrific dry skin, it’s also a time when the Humpback Whales start arriving from Antarctica to calve.  After putting up with freezing water temperatures and nowt but penguins for company, the whales love nothing more than to frolic in the warm tropical waters of Queensland with the entire population looking on.

Hervey Bay (a few hours further up the coast) is the real whale hotspot but the waters around Moreton Island are no slouch and a whale watching expedition here will guarantee you some tail action – this is no fluke :).

A short cruise up to the tip of Moreton Island and out into the open water and we were in the midst of several whales cruising both north and south – slow pokes going north to join everyone else and speed demons already heading back down to their winter feeding grounds.  Boat operators must be careful to remain a careful distance from the whales but that doesn’t mean they can’t approach you and some came close enough for us to see the barnacles growing on their chins.

They weren’t the only ones curious about us and a turtle stopped by for a look in addition to the birds always on the look out for a dropped chip.

Luckily the whales were feeling frisky and put on quite a show for us with breaches, head slapping and lunges all a part of their performance.

Back on dry land, Tangalooma continued to deliver and an amazing view greeted us from the balcony of the house that was to be ours for the weekend.

There was nothing for it than to crack the champagne and settle in for a glorious winter’s sunset.  Perhaps I should venture out into my backyard more often.


  1. Great pics, would have been especially cool seeing the whales. I’m a big fan of taking quick trip opportunities locally, since the overseas travels don’t come around nearly as often as I’d like!


  2. I lived in Brissy for a couple of years and Moreton Island was one place I went…and I loved it. The beaches are fantastic and the colour of the ocean also! We did a whale watching tour which was fantastic! I’ve travelled all over, but I’m a big fan of seeing your(our) own backyard…it’s pretty awesome!


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