For wildlife spotters, south Queensland is just a little piece of heaven
It was solely my third day in Australia however I may already tick kangaroos, turtles,
“Nemos” (clownfish) and a kaleidoscope of different tropical fish off my wildlife-spotting guidelines. However I used to be right here on the search to seek out larger creatures. Between April and November, the waters off Australia’s north-eastern shoreline type a part of the route that humpback whales take to get from Antarctic feeding grounds to hotter waters appropriate for giving beginning.
Cairns attracts in crowds of backpackers and Barrier Reef vacationers, however the state has some comparatively unknown gems additional south. The Capricorn Coast area is an hour’s flight from Brisbane and has sapphire mines, caves and gorges, wetlands and secluded islands.
Yeppoon on the coast is a small, relaxed vacation city with miles of quiet seashores searching on the Keppel Islands rising within the distance. Take advantage of your jet lag by becoming a member of the locals for a daybreak stroll alongside the surf (Aussies are early risers) and benefit from the stunning dawn.
Benefit from the sundown at Yeppoon
One in every of these islands, simply out of sight from the mainland, is actually particular. Pumpkin Island is a tiny, privately owned hideaway, epitomising chilled-out, barefoot residing. It sleeps 34 individuals in simple-but-spacious, solar-powered, self-catered huts. Deliver lunch and fireplace up the barbecue.
Life as a “Pumpkineer” strikes at a leisurely tempo – take a paddleboard, pedalo or snorkel out across the calm sea, then watch the solar set with a cocktail on the bar earlier than falling asleep to the sounds of waves lapping and birds calling.
Again on the mainland, half a day’s drive south is Bundaberg, an outdated fishing and sugar city that’s well-known for freshly caught seafood, protected turtle-nesting websites and rum. Take a tour of the Bundaberg Distillery, the place youcan even combine your personal mix, and attempt to get a desk at Indulge, a well-liked brunch spot.
Go to the waters of Hervey Bay for unrivalled whale watching
From the marina, we took a day journey out to Girl Musgrave Island. If you happen to’re unfortunate sufficient to be setting sail the day after a tropical storm, as we have been, you’ll be in for a very stomach-churning, two-hour journey, however this may shortly be forgotten when you drop anchor within the coral island’s gorgeous lagoon.
Australia’s abundance of marine life isn’t any secret, however wanting down although a snorkel masks or a glass-bottomed boat on the Nice Barrier Reef’s vibrant underwater world won’t ever fail to amaze. Right here, whereas I used to be snorkelling, three big inexperienced turtles floated gracefully by simply metres away from me – a second that I’ll always remember.
Nevertheless it’s Hervey Bay, one other two hours’ drive south, the place the true whale motion occurs. From right here, you may board a ferry to Fraser Island; it’s stuffed with jungle, sandy seashores and has the glowing blue Lake McKenzie within the center.
Everybody right here is obsessed with whales, and there are many boats lining the harbour able to take vacationers out. The sheltered waters of the bay present a playground for humpbacks and their calves, and it wasn’t lengthy earlier than we have been in luck.
Rising as much as 15 metres in size, they’re big however placid creatures, usually inquisitive sufficient to swim proper as much as the boats in between playful routines of rolls, tail slaps and large leaps out of the water. Preserve a watch open for Migaloo, the elusive albino whale whose look at all times makes the headlines.
Hopefully, they’re about to change into much more protected. Hervey Bay is making use of to change into one of many world’s first Whale Heritage Websites, which might elevate whale conservation and training to the subsequent stage. For a novel journey to the nation’s sunshine state, there’s by no means been a greater time to go to.
Laura visited the Fraser Coast (visitfrasercoast.com), Capricorn area (capricornholidays.com.au) and Bundaberg (bundabergregion.org) Queensland with Tourism and Occasions in Queensland (queensland.com). For Whale Heritage Websites, see whaleheritagesites.org.
InsureandGo (insureandgo.com) presents Single Journey journey insurance coverage from £15. Travellers will likely be insured for a lot of sporting actions from jet snowboarding and whale watching to river tubing and dune bashing.