Gold Coast, Australia (PressExposure) July 04, 2011 -- While the Fraser Coast is about to launch their whale watching season this Thursday, tour operators on the Gold Coast have been reporting record numbers of sightings since the end of May.
Approximately 15,000 whales pass through the Gold Coast's waters every year during their migratory season, which starts at the end of May and carries through until the beginning of November.
Anthony Ardern is the managing director of Gold Coast-based operator Whales in Paradise. He says that the number of sightings has been outstanding this year, despite the fact that the season's only been underway for a little over a month.
"We've already seen over 630 humpback whales since the end of May, which is an extraordinary number at an average of more than 20 per day," Mr Ardern says.
"Our tours have also seen an unusually high amount of minke whales, as well as the incredibly rare southern right whale.
"Pods of up to 30 dolphins have been spotted, and we've had incredible success with other marine wildlife like turtles and dugongs.
"This is by far the best start to a season I've seen since Whales in Paradise started operation, and I predict that these excellent numbers will continue right through to the beginning of November."
Mr Ardern says that these figures highlight the Gold Coast's competitiveness when it comes to this sector of the tourism industry.
"There's always a little bit of friendly jostling between operators north and south of Queensland's capital city," he says.
"The Fraser Coast is an incredible location, and the state government has placed a great deal of emphasis on this fact by promoting it as Queensland's premier whale watching destination.
"There's a great industry up there, but the Gold Coast has also got plenty to offer when it comes to whale watching."
To find out more about Whales in Paradise, visit http://www.whalesinparadise.com.au/