Minke Whales

So you've ticked off swimming with turtles, Wally the Maori wrasse, sharks & platypus. But have you ever come face to face with a dwarf minke whale? These gentle giants visit the northern Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Tropical North Queensland between June-July each year forming the only known predictable aggregation in the world! 

Minke Whale Facts

  • They can grow up to 8 metres in length 
  • They can live to 60 years old
  • Each dwarf minke has a unique colour pattern (much like human fingerprints) that allow individuals to be identified - look out for white and grey markings on their sides!
  • Minke whales are one of the fastest types of whales. They can travel at speeds greater than 20 knots (more than 30km per hour)
  • Minke whales typically come to the surface to breathe every 2 ½ minutes, but can stay under water for more than 12 minutes
  • When underwater you can hear the minke whales singing to each other, which is their main form of communication.
  • Queensland is the only place in the world where humans can interact with them. 

There are tours that offer snorkelling and diving trips out to the reef where minkes are found! Operators play an important role in the scientific research behind these creatures adding a unique element to their tours. You can even participate in the dwarf minke whale research by recording observations and sharing your photos that go toward compiling data on the new species. This truly remarkable experience is one of the most magical wildlife experiences on earth and one to add to the bucket list.

From the Blog

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I know just the place: Shona Whittaker, Minke Whales on the Great Barrier Reef