Planet Ark recently commissioned an independent study titled ‘Planting Trees – Just What the Doctor Ordered’ which details “an overwhelming 9 out of 10 Australians feel that contact with nature has benefits for wellbeing and development and 86% agree that kids are not spending enough time in nature.”
On the east coast of Queensland, ‘green time’ is in absolute abundance on the 1840 km₂ hectare World Heritage-listed Fraser Island – one of Lonely Planet’s recently named ‘Top 5 Treasured Australian Islands’. The island boasts the world’s largest and highest dune lakes; has the longest and most complete age sequence of coastal dune systems in the world; and is the only place in the world where rainforest grows in sand at elevations of 200 metres.
And, with 14,000 Humpback Whales expected to detour from the east coast Australian Humpback Highway into the calm waters off World Heritage-listed Fraser Island, there’s plenty of ‘green time’ to be had on a family holiday at Kingfisher Bay Resort on the island’s sheltered western side.
Family friendly Kingfisher Bay Resort (incorporating the Mercure Kingfisher Bay Resort Fraser Island) boasts the one of the largest private ranger guiding teams in the country and runs daily walks, talks, day tours, canoe paddles, presentations and ecotourism experiences to teach guests about the World Heritage surrounds in which it operates.
The resort’s popular Junior Eco Ranger program - which includes exploration of the intertidal zone; leaf identification; bush and beach walks; low ropes course; sand sculpture; arts and craft; and star gazing - gives kids an extra dose of ‘green time’ by challenging balance and coordination, stimulating and helping them learn about nature in a fun environment.
All this and Humpbacks too! Add the star attractions on the Hervey Bay event calendar – the Humpback Whales which visit each August till the end of October – into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for a fun, healthy family holiday on Fraser Island.
Australian Geographic magazine recently listed Hervey Bay in the top ten places to whale watch in Australian as more than 14,000 whales take time out of their epic Antarctic migration to socialise, wallow and indulge in a spot of people waters in the calm waters on the island’s lee side. Fraser is one of one two places in the world where this happens – the other is Hawaii.
Families can again spend some quality ‘green time’ watching spy hops, pectoral and fin slaps, breaching and head lunges – and all just a short cruise from Kingfisher Bay Resort.
This whale watch season, the resort has again teamed with Skipper Brian and his lovely wife Jill – who pioneered whale watching in Hervey Bay - to run their popular half-day whale watch tour, which depart from the resort at 0745 every morning.
“Humpbacks are the most surface active of all the whales and they’re extremely inquisitive,” Skipper Brian said. “Under marine park law, there is a 100m exclusion zone on tourist boats approaching the whales, so we encourage our guests to wave their arms and make some noise and, believe it or not, the whales come to us.”
“It’s a win-win for the guests who get up close to some of these 40-tonne adult Humpback and their 1.5m long newborns – and the Humpbacks get to indulge in a spot of people watching,” he said.
Whale Watch day trips from the resort cost $110 for adults and $75 for children. Each ticket sold includes a levy which assists local marine park management.
Longer stay packages on Fraser Island start from just $379* per person and include two nights’ hotel accommodation at Kingfisher Bay Resort with breakfast, return ferry transfers and a half-day whale watching cruise included and receive a third night free – giving you more time to explore Fraser Island. *Conditions apply.
To book call 1800 072 555 or visit www.kingfisherbay.com or ask about seasonal accommodation deals.
Watch Out Whales
Typical Humpback surface behaviours include:
Spy hop – occurs when the whale rises vertically in the water with their eyes just out of the water. The whale maintains this position for a while, before slipping beneath the surface.
Blow – A distinctive vapour cloud visible above the surface, caused by the Humpback exhaling through its two blow holes.
Head Lunge – The whale’s knobbly head breaks the surface and the mammal falls forward into the water.
Pectoral slap – The humpback has a distinctive body shape, with unusually long pectoral fins. During the pectoral slap, the whale rolls onto its side and slaps its fin against the side of the water.
Breach – This happens when a whale propels two-thirds of its stocky body out of the water – then falls back with an almighty splash. Often times the whale can clear two-thirds of its considerable body out of the water.
Fraser Island is just offshore from Hervey Bay on Australia’s east coast and Kingfisher Bay Resort passenger and vehicle ferry services depart daily from River Heads (secure parking is available). Virgin Australia and QantasLink provide direct flights to Hervey Bay and the resort operates airport connections.
More About The Resort
Kingfisher Bay Resort - on World Heritage Listed Fraser Island – includes 109 self-contained two and three-bedroomed villas; Kingfisher holiday houses for bigger groups; the 152-room Mercure Kingfisher Bay Resort – Fraser Island hotel; as well as touring and marine businesses.
Planet Ark Environmental Foundation aims works with people and businesses to teach them the simple ways in which they can reduce their impact on the planet, at home, at work and in the community.
*Planet Ark: Planting Trees: Just What The Doctor Ordered – a research report 2012. http://treeday.planetark.org/documents/doc-812-planting-trees-report-2012-06-25-final.pdf