If you are visiting Cairns in Winter, you should add whale watching to your list of ‘not to be missed’ activities. May to September are the best months in Cairns to see Humpback whales, as they make their annual migration North from Antarctica to the warmer tropical waters. Your whale watching opportunities increase in the later months as the migration takes some time and some of the whales take time to stop off for a few days at time at different locations along the Queensland coast.

Whilst Humpback whales are the most commonly seen on the Great Barrier Reef, earlier in the season in May and June, you may be lucky enough to spot Dwarf Minke whales. Around 200 Dwarf Minkes are recorded in the waters around Cairns each year. Arranging a live-aboard trip to the Ribbon Reefs from Cairns will give you the best chance of seeing the Dwarf Minke whales who, despite being sometimes difficult to find, are usually playful and inquisitive. Some specialist operators have a license for diving and snorkelling with these amazing creatures offering you a truly unforgettable close up!

A great option for whale watching is to combine your boat trip with a tour of Fitzroy Island. It’s very common to see the Humpback Whales playing and socialising in this stretch of water. You’ll also have the chance to snorkel in the crystal clear waters of the island or explore some of the trails of the National Park before heading back out onto the ocean for more whale watching.

One of the most famous and unusual visitors to Cairns each year is Migaloo, a completely white male whale who was originally spotted in 1991 and was the first reported all white Humpback whale in history, with his name meaning ‘White Fella’ in Aboriginal.

Recently Bahloo, a white whale with a few black spots on his tail has also made some visits, perhaps wanting to cash in on Migaloo’s fame!

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