WHALE OF A TIME: A whale gets up close and personal with guests on board a Blue Dolphin Marine Tours vessel.
WHALE OF A TIME: A whale gets up close and personal with guests on board a Blue Dolphin Marine Tours vessel.

Region prepares for fleet of more than 30,000

MORE than 33,000 whales are expected to pass through Fraser Coast waters this year giving tour operators confidence it will be a bumper whale season.

Hervey Bay's whale watching companies are gearing up with bookings already being made ahead of the season from this Saturday to November.

"A lot of people want to go now because of school holidays,” Spirit of Hervey Bay manager Bobbie Hayter said.

"It was a busy (season) last year but there was a bit of bad weather so we're hoping for it to be better this time around.”

There's been record whale watching seasons in the past three years as the humpback population recovers, with anywhere up to 30,000 whales crossing the coast.

For those wanting to get up close and personal with the whales, there's even the opportunity to swim with the massive mammals.

Blue Dolphin Marine Tours owner Jodie Lynch said swimming with whales was a tourist favourite that offered a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"We have an immersive platform which people can lie on with a snorkel and a mask,” she said. "It's all weather dependent and dependent on the animals but it's always incredibly memorable,” he said.

"We often have a lot of repeat customers which makes it almost like a people migration rather than a whale migration.”

Ms Lynch said the best time to book your whale watching tour was throughout August.

"That's when they are most active and come up to the vessels and are particularly curious,” she said.