Gold Coast Humpback Whale Migration 

Gold Coast Humpback Whale Migration past the Gold Coast, Queensland.

Gold Coast Humpback Whale migration is an annual event as over 37,000 Humpback Whales complete the extraordinary journey from Antarctica to the Great Barrier Reef and back again every winter and spring. The migration is an epic achievement with the journey taking each whale between four to six months to complete and is a round trip of up to thirteen thousand kilometres.

The northern migration is concentrated during the winter months while the southern migration peaks during spring as mothers return south with newborn calves. The waters that hug the Surfers Paradise coastline welcome the arrival of the Gold Coast Humpback Whale migration and to be part of this annual event be sure to checkout the best times of the year below to immerse yourself in all of the action!

May to August - Northbound

The chill of autumn indicates that the Humpback Whales are on their way as the drop in water temperature motivates the whales to begin migrating north. The first arrivals are juveniles and mother whales still travelling with last seasons calf as they prepare to seperate from the now yearlings who are mature enough to begin their own adventure. Following in behind the first arrivals are mature, breeding age males and females who bring an energy and intensity with their arrival off the Gold Coast.

Winter is the peak of the breeding season and during the migration north male Humpback Whales will compete with other males to gain access to female Humpbacks looking to mate. Every breeding season is highly competitive and a great time to observe the boisterous and high intensity that these adults bring to the Gold Coast. The final whales to make the journey not are heavily pregnant females who were successful during last years breeding season. The pregnant females travel with urgency to reach their preferred calving grounds found along the Great Barrier Reef just in time for the arrival of their calf.

September to November - Southbound

The change of season and increase in temperature means it is time for the Humpback Whales to begin heading south. The juveniles, yearlings and newly pregnant females are the first to head southbound as they hug the east Australian coastline closely to seek the shelter and calm waters that it provides. The breeding age males are still on the lookout for available female Humpbacks but as the water temperature continues to increase the the exhausted males feel the affects of many weeks of high intensity competitions it is also now time for them to start heading south.

The final members to setoff towards Antarctica are the mothers and their darling new-born calves who have been enjoying the perfect nursery sounds in the tropical northern waters of Queensland. The little ones have put on size and strength preparing themselves for what will be an enormous journey and thankfully they have the support and nurturing care of their mothers to ensure they have a wonderful journey south. 

The rest of the year observes the population feeding in the waters off Antarctica on krill as they prepare for the following years annual Gold Coast Humpback Whale migration. The migration itself is extraordinary feat but what is truely remarkable is that the majority of the whales in this migration do not feed from the moment they leave Antarctica until their return months and many thousands of kilometres later.

The lengthy migration does not provide the whales with the time and energy required to forage and it works out to be much more beneficial to survive off of their fat reserves during their journey than forage for food, especially for the females having calves. 

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