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Whalesong Whale Watchiing, Hervey Bay - QLD

sunny 25 °C

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Each year between April and November, Australia's eastern coastline is a scene f spectacular acrobatic displays of humpback whales.
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After a summer of feeding on krill in Southern Antarctic waters, these charismatic animals migrate north to sub-tropical waters where they mate and give birth.
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the majority of humpback in Australian waters migrate north between June and August and back towards the Southern Ocean from September to November during their annual migration of up to 10,000km.
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At a maximum length of 16m, the humpback is not the largest whale found in the Australian waters. This species was once only valued dead - mainly for it's oil and baleen or 'whalebone'.
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During the 1790's and early 1800's whaling ships, mainly from Britain, visited ports in New South Wales and Tasmania to unload whale products, but commercial whaling in Australia really developed during the late 1820's.
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Whalers obtained oil from the whales for use as lamp fuel, lubricants, candles and as a base for perfumes and soaps.
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By 1845 twenty six thousand whales has been killed.
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Beginning in Australia shortly after European colonisation, whaling and the export of whale products became Australia's first primary industry.
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Early Australian whalers once hunted from small boats, towing their catch back for processing at shore stations.
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The development of harpoon guns, explosive harpoons and steam-driven boats made commercial whaling so efficient many whale species came very close to extinction. When southern right whales and blue whales became scarce, Australian whalers to target humpback whales, killing approximately 8,300 off the east coast between 1949 and 1962, until the International Whaling Commission banned humpback whaling in the Southern Hemisphere in 1963.
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Aerial and surface surveys indicate that from an estimated 200-500 humpback whale left in 1962, 1,900 now migrate up the east coast of Australia.
Humpback whale numbers are recovering and now there are thought to be up to 5,000 breeding in Australian waters.
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  • The Humpback whale has no teeth, instead they have baleen plates that act like giant sieves.

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  • The Humpback Whale has two blowholes, one for each lung. Each of it's lungs is the size of a small car.

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  • A baby whale is called a calf. They are nearly one tonne when they are born and can suckle up to 600 litres of milk a day from their mums.

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  • A Humpbacks' lifespan can range from 48-100 years

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  • The song of a male humpback can travel for hundreds of kilometres and product sounds of 170 decibels

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Having met Cecile at the hostel, it was nice to have some company, and we made a good team - she did the waving, I took the photos!
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Wales are as interested in boats and people as we are in them. It's like watching TV, if nothings' happening, they'll switch off - so the best thing is to wave like a mad man!
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The boat cruise took us out towards Fraser Island, with the chance to see the rarely visited north west side
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and as we set off late, we had the bonus of heading back to shore as the sun was setting
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and to see the lights of Hervey Bay as we entered the marina
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Posted by charlystyles 13:02 Archived in Australia Tagged whale_watching hervey_bay whalesong Comments (0)

Hervey Bay - QLD

sunny

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Rust in Peace by Lyn Montogomery

As recently as the 1970's Hervey Bay was just a string of five fishing villages.
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However, the safe beaches and mild climate have quickly turned it into a metropolis of over 4,000 people and one of the fastest growing holiday centres in Australia.

I stayed in a lovely secluded place called Woolshed Backpackers, where cabins sit amongst the trees surrounded by hammocks.
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However, I was surprised to find very little there. So, as I've discovered a great way to explore a town is by bike, and I set off with map in basket.

First stop along the foreshore was Urangan Pier
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The Urangan Pier was opened in 1917 to export coal, timber and sugar from the Wide Bay hinterland.
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A hive of activity would buzz as the steam train rattled down the Urangan Pier. Bundaberg sugar, Burru, coal and Fraser Island timber would be loaded onto cargo ships for export around the world.
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It operated until 1985 when it was decommissioned as other ports opened up and methods of transport changed and orders were given by the state government for the 1,100m long structure to be demolished.
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As the worked moved in to demolish the pier there was public uproar and the 'Save the Pier' campaign was started which resulted in the last 880m of the structure being saved. On June 30th 1994 responsibility for the pier was transferred from the State Government Department of Harbour and Marine to the Hervey Bay City Council along with a contribution of $250,000 towards maintenance.
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Now it is a hive of activity for fishermen, and therefore pelicans
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and other sea birds such as this egrit
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Continuing on, I cycled past a little place just for me
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and on to Dayman Point
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Offering great views across the Great Sand Strait to Fraser Island, Dayman Point is one of Hervey Bay's most significant historical sites.
A sacred site for the Butchulla People, it was used for coroborees and as a lookout to watch for smoke signals from clan members on K'gari (Fraser Island)

Heading back toward 'town' I detoured to investigate the Botanic Gardens
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Surprisingly large I took about an hour walking around the gardens
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and paths
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and found the Chinese Gardens
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home to thie prehistoric Lace monitor
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Just down the road from the Botanic Gardens is Vic Hislops Whale and Shark museum
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I was quite disturbed by the place, so the less I think about it the better. Therefore I'm going to half inch a very good write up I found by Cheska Bennett for Nomads Adventures.
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Vic Hislop is a passionate man to say the very least. There are many other words that people may use to describe him but we shall stick with passionate. His shark show is a focal point in Hervey Bay, virtually impossible to miss thanks to the giant plastic shark that is stuck to the building and the shark mouth that greets you at the entrance. Simply put, if ever you wanted to learn all about sharks, warts and all, here is the place to do it.
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Vic Hislop's Shark show is a dedication to the fact that some sharks kill a lot of other animals and so in his opinion should be, let's say gotten rid of, in order to help protect other creatures and the many humans that encounter shark attacks every year. The reception alone is enough to gauge an idea as to how strongly this man feels about the subject and his theories about government and conservation corruption are most definitely a conversation starter.
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Adorning the walls are letters of complaints to various government groups as well as a full list of shark attacks and missing people thought to have encountered sharks. The pictures of various dead marine life found in various sharks stomachs is actually quite surprising, however this is nothing in comparison to what you will encounter inside the show.
Below is an image of a shark catching a bull seal.
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For $15 you get Vic Hislop's heart and soul, a video show and the option to view many a preserved shark organ or in fact the star of the show the giant 18ft frozen Great White Shark (rumour has it his original Great White fell apart so he purchased one from ebay) which is still in the trailer is used to tour around Australia in.
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Whatever you feel at the end of the experience, an experience it is. It's not the most beautiful scenery or the most cultural but Vic Hislop's Shark Show is arguably the most unique.

After being in a freaky museum where countless air fresheners go off automatically every few minutes and making me jump, I needed some fresh air! I continued back along the foreshore and to the far side of the bay at The Pines
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Hervey Bay is also the best places for Whale watching.
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Humpback whales migrate more than 11,000km (7,000miles) every year from the Antarctic to northern Australian waters to mate and calve. On their return between August and October, they rest at Hervey Bay to give the calves time to develop a protective layer of blubber before they begin their final run to Antarctica. I will post a separate blog on my great Whale watching experience.
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Posted by charlystyles 13:50 Archived in Australia Tagged hervey_bay Comments (0)

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