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Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse: A Beacon of History

Cape Leeuwin - Lighthouse

As the warm sun bathed the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse in a golden glow, I couldn’t help but feel a profound sense of history and gratitude.

This iconic lighthouse, perched on Australia’s most southwestern point, has witnessed the comings and goings of generations.

It has a unique story to tell, one that resonates deeply with the heart-wrenching experiences of soldiers returning from World War I.

Join me as we explore the rich history, breathtaking views, and heartfelt homecoming at Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.

Unveiling History

Tears welled in my eyes as I imagined the emotions that coursed through the hearts of young soldiers returning from Gallipoli during World War I.

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, with its commanding presence, served as their guiding light, the last sight of Australia they saw before venturing into the unknown and the first sight upon their triumphant return.

Our tour guide, Rob, stood with us at the top of this 50-meter-tall lighthouse, narrating tales that echoed through time.

The lighthouse’s range of about 40 kilometers made it the last beacon of hope these soldiers saw as they sailed away from their loved ones.

“The light was also the first thing the survivors saw, and the scent of eucalyptus was the first thing they breathed as they returned home,” Bob shared.

“You can imagine how welcoming that must have been.”

Albany, Western Australia’s oldest settlement, was the departure point for the brave Australian troops bound for Gallipoli. The lighthouse stands as a symbol of their courage and sacrifice.

Exploring Cape Leeuwin

Visiting the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse was a highlight of our trip to Western Australia.

My husband, Don, and I arrived early, at 9 am, eager to embark on this historical journey. For just $12 each, we were fortunate to have Bob’s undivided attention during the day’s first tour while others slept in or waited for subsequent tours.

Bob, an encyclopedia of knowledge on the history of Cape Leeuwin, regaled us with stories of shipwrecks and the explorers who had set foot on Western Australian soil long before Captain James Cook left his mark on the east coast.

In 1801, Matthew Flinders christened Cape Leeuwin, naming it after the adjoining area known as Leeuwin’s Land, a moniker given by Dutch navigators when “Leeuwin” (The Lioness) rounded the cape in 1622.

The cape’s name is etched in history, bearing witness to the passage of time and the tales of adventurers.

Cape Leeuwin holds another unique distinction—it’s where the Great Southern and Indian Oceans merge.

From the top of the lighthouse, we gazed in awe at the two swells, waves crashing in opposite directions over an outcrop of rocks just offshore.

The meeting of these mighty oceans is a spectacle that reminds us of nature’s incredible forces.

A Place to Discover

Easily accessible via Augusta, the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse precinct is a treasure trove of history and natural beauty.

Besides the lighthouse itself, visitors can explore the well-appointed visitor center, a charming shop, and a cozy café.

Our day at Cape Leeuwin ended with a leisurely cappuccino at the café, overlooking Flinders Bay. It was the perfect way to reflect on the significance of this place, where history and nature converge.

Lighthouse a beacon for ships and soldiers

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse stands as a beacon not only for ships navigating treacherous waters but also for the memories of soldiers who found solace in its light during their perilous journeys.

At Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, the very rocks bear witness to stories of exploration and sacrifice and the merging of two great oceans. It’s a place where history and nature harmoniously coexist.

How to get there

The iconic Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse stands proudly at Australia’s southwestern tip, where the Southern and Indian oceans converge. As the tallest lighthouse on the mainland, it’s an unmissable attraction.  For more information and bookings, visit



Jocelyn Magazine is an affiliate of Purchases made by clicking on their links on this website may reward us with a small finder’s fee. It’s an easy way to show support for us and our mission to provide you with more awesome content to enjoy.

First published 2013; updated 19 September 2023

PHOTOS: Jocelyn Watts


If you enjoyed this article, you might also like Mead: Our New Favourite Drink


Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse tour in pictures

Feature photo (top): Indian Ocean, left, Great Southern Ocean, right.
Cape Leeuwin - lady at sign postCape Leeuwin - Lighthouse scene

Cape Leeuwin - Water Wheel

Cape Leeuwin Water Wheel.



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Discover the mystical Mammoth Cave & beyond

Hidden beneath the picturesque landscapes of Margaret River lies an ancient, subterranean world waiting to be explored.

In this journey through time and nature, we will delve into the depths of Mammoth Cave and its neighbouring wonders, Lake Cave and Jewel Cave.

These underground chambers are not merely geological formations but portals to a realm teeming with history, beauty, and the remnants of long-extinct creatures.

Join us as we embark on a mesmerizing adventure, guided by the whispers of the earth itself.

Mammoth Cave

Mammoth Cave: A Self-Guided Odyssey

Mammoth Cave, nestled just a short drive south of Margaret River in Western Australia, stands as a testament to the Earth’s profound history.

It beckons with its unique allure, thanks in part to its audio self-guiding system. This innovative approach allows visitors to immerse themselves in the cavern’s captivating mysteries at their own pace.

But what lies beneath the surface of Mammoth Cave is a treasure trove of prehistoric secrets.

Lake Cave: A Pristine Subterranean Paradise

Mammoth Cave

Directly below Cave Works, Lake Cave awaits, a pristine chamber hidden deep within the Earth’s embrace.

Upon descending the staircase, a tranquil lake that mirrors delicate formations of breathtaking beauty greets visitors.

Towering karri trees loom overhead, evoking the primeval splendour of a lost world.

Lake Cave emerges as one of Western Australia’s most enchanting natural wonders, a serene sanctuary beneath the earth’s surface.

Jewel Cave: Nature’s Grand Masterpiece

Jewel Cave stands as a testament to nature’s grandeur, challenging the very laws of scale.

As visitors venture into its lofty chambers, a spectacle of intricate decorations and sheer magnitude unfolds before their eyes.

Within its depths, one can marvel at one of the world’s longest straw stalactites found in any tourist cave.

Nature’s artistic prowess is on full display in Jewel Cave, a majestic underground realm that dwarfs all who enter.

Giant Trees: Guardians of the Subterranean Realm

The journey beneath Margaret River’s surface is not complete without acknowledging the guardians of this subterranean realm—karri and marri trees.

These towering giants dominate the surrounding forest, creating an enchanting backdrop for the caves.

Karri trees, reaching up to 90 meters in height, stretch across the landscape in a breathtaking display.

Their smooth, multi-coloured bark shifts with maturity, while white blossoms in spring add a touch of ethereal beauty to the forest.

Marri trees, belonging to the “bloodwood” group, contribute their unique essence to the ecosystem.

Their resin, oozing from rough, fibrous bark, plays a vital role, especially during late summer.

Local vignerons depend on marri flowering to divert birds away from their ripening grapes, making these trees an unexpected saviour for winemakers.

Mammoth Cave - towering karri trees

Mammoth Stream: Nature’s Sculptor

Mammoth Stream, a seemingly unassuming waterway, played a pivotal role in creating Mammoth Cave’s stunning underground expanse.

Collecting drainage from the adjacent Nindup Plain, it embarks on a westward journey towards the sea.

However, its path is not without challenges. The limestone barrier known as the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge stands in its way.

Yet, the stream’s tannin-stained, acidic waters have a unique power—they dissolve the limestone, carving channels that allow the stream to flow through the ridge.

Mammoth Cave is a testament to the stream’s sculpting prowess, shaped over millennia.

Mesmerizing journey through time

Mammoth Cave and its neighbouring underground wonders, Lake Cave and Jewel Cave, offer a mesmerizing journey through time, nature, and geology.

In the heart of Margaret River, these caves unveil the Earth’s secrets, from ancient fossils to towering karri trees.

As we explore these subterranean realms, they remind us of the wonders that lie beneath the surface, waiting to be discovered and cherished.

How to get there

Mammoth Cave, Lake Cave, and Jewel Cave are in the Margaret River Region in Australia’s southwest. For more information and bookings, visit Margaret River Attractions


Jocelyn Magazine is an affiliate of Purchases made by clicking on their links on this website may reward us with a small finder’s fee. It’s an easy way to show support for us and our mission to provide you with more awesome content to enjoy.

First published 2013; updated 19 September 2023.

PHOTOS: Jocelyn Watts


If you enjoyed this article, you might also like Mead: Our New Favourite Drink


Ready for another holiday?

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So, what are you waiting for? Click the links here to visit BOOKING.COM today and start planning your next trip.



The Majestic Tingle Trees: Explore the Forest Canopy

The majestic giant tingle trees in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park hold a rich history that spans centuries. If these trees could talk, they would undoubtedly have fascinating tales to tell.

Standing tall for over four hundred years, these ancient giants have witnessed the arrival of European settlers and the growth of the southwest corner of Western Australia.

Today, visitors can walk among the towering tingle trees and experience the awe-inspiring Tree Top Walk, offering a unique perspective from the forest canopy.

Giant Tingle Trees

Jocelyn and her husband Don Watts on a Giant Tree Top Walk in the Valley of the Giants in 2007.

A Journey through Time in Walpole-Nornalup National Park

King Charles I of England, ruling from 1625 to 1649, was but a pup when the mighty tingle trees in the Valley of the Giants began their journey towards the sky.

These enormous trees have weathered the passage of time and silently bear witness to the footsteps of pioneers who walked among them during the settlement of Western Australia’s southwest region.

The red tingle tree, found within this magnificent forest, is renowned as one of the largest trees in the whole of Western Australia. With a girth of up to 16 meters at the base, these giants establish sturdy buttresses to support themselves due to relatively small root systems.

As visitors venture along the suspended steel walkways of the Tree Top Walk, linked with circular platforms, they are offered an extraordinary opportunity to immerse themselves in the forest canopy. This 600-meter one-way loop lifts individuals about 40 meters above the forest floor, providing breathtaking bird’s eye views of the surrounding landscape.

Descending from the heights of the Tree Top Walk, a path leads to the Ancient Empire Walk, where explorers can meander through the understorey of the forest.

This captivating trail allows visitors to get up close and personal with the unique flora and fauna that thrive amidst the tingle trees. Feel the presence of countless generations as you stroll through this awe-inspiring forest, breathing in the fresh scent of nature and marveling at the depths of history contained within each tree’s embrace.

The Ancient Empire Walk serves as a reminder of the resilience and grandeur of these ancient giants. As you wander through the forest understorey, you’ll encounter gnarled trunks and twisted root systems that tell stories of resilience and adaptation.

It’s an immersive experience that allows you to connect with the natural world in a profound way, fostering a sense of reverence for the power and beauty of nature.



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Embrace the Power of Nature: A Reverent Walk among the Tingle Trees

Walking among the tingle trees in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park is a journey through time. These colossal ancient giants have stood tall for centuries, silently witnessing the passage of history and welcoming generations of visitors to experience their awe-inspiring presence.

The Tree Top Walk and Ancient Empire Walk offer an opportunity to connect with nature in a unique and profound way, allowing individuals to immerse themselves in the majesty of the forest canopy and explore the understorey that teems with life.

So, lace up your shoes and embark on a journey that intertwines past and present—a walk among the tingle trees that will leave you with a deep appreciation for the remarkable beauty and endurance of nature.

Immerse Yourself in the Beauty of Walpole-Nornalup National Park

To experience the wonder of the tingle trees and immerse yourself in the captivating beauty of the Walpole-Nornalup National Park, plan your visit today.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore the Tree Top Walk and Ancient Empire Walk, where history and nature intertwine to create an unforgettable experience. Join us on this extraordinary journey through time and nature!

How to get there

The Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk is at Tingledale, Western Australia, in the Walpole Wilderness.

For more information and bookings, visit


First published 2013; updated 18 September 2023

PHOTOS: Jocelyn Watts


Giant Tingle Trees - Bridge

Giant Tingle Trees - giant tree trunk

Giant Tingle Tree Trunk.
















If you enjoyed this story, you might also like Mammoth Cave: A Subterranean Marvel


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So, what are you waiting for? Click the links here to visit BOOKING.COM today and start planning your next trip.

Jocelyn Magazine is a proud affiliate of Purchases made by clicking on their links on this website may reward us with a small finder’s fee. It’s an easy way to show support for us and our mission to provide you with more awesome content to enjoy.


Ultimate Adventure: Explore Australia & New Zealand!

Are you planning an adventure in Australia and New Zealand? Get ready to explore the best places these stunning countries offer!

From iconic city landmarks to breathtaking landscapes and adrenaline-pumping activities, there is something for every type of traveller.

Here we have curated 10 must-visit destinations that will make your holiday unforgettable.

Read on to discover the highlights of each location and start planning your dream getaway now.

1. Sydney, Australia

A cityscape of the Sydney Opera House, harbour and bridge at sunrise. Photo: Shutterstock.

Experience the Iconic Opera House and Breathtaking Harbour Views

Spend your holiday in the vibrant city of Sydney, Australia, and immerse yourself in its iconic sights. The Sydney Opera House, a world-famous architectural masterpiece, awaits your exploration. Take a guided tour or catch a performance to truly appreciate its grandeur. Don’t forget to stroll along Circular Quay and indulge in stunning views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.


***Jocelyn Magazine is a proud affiliate of Purchases made by clicking on their links on this website may reward us with a small finder’s fee. It’s an easy way to show support for our team and our mission to provide you with more awesome content to enjoy! ***

2. Melbourne, Australia

Australia and New Zealand -Melboure

A dusk view of Melbourne’s famous skyline and cricket ground stadium. Photo: Shutterstock.

Explore the City’s Vibrant Street Art and Cultural Attractions

Discover the artistic heart of Australia in Melbourne. You can explore the thriving street art scene in areas like Hosier Lane in this cosmopolitan city. Dive into Melbourne’s cultural side by visiting its many galleries and museums, such as the National Gallery of Victoria and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. Enjoy the city’s vibrant neighbourhoods, world-class restaurants, and buzzing nightlife.


3. Perth, Australia

Australia and New Zealand - Quokka on Rottnest Island, Perth.

A quokka is enjoying a swing on Rottnest Island, Perth, Australia. Photo: Hideaki Edo Photography, Shutterstock.

Visit Rottnest Island for its Stunning Beaches and Wildlife

Escape to Perth and embark on a day trip to Rottnest Island. This idyllic island paradise, located just off the coast, is a haven of pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and unique wildlife. Be sure to keep an eye out for the friendly quokkas, small marsupials that have become a symbol of the island. Explore the island by bike or hop on a guided bus tour to make the most of your visit.


4. Auckland, New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand - Auckland cityscape.

A cityscape of Auckland’s skyline, New Zealand, at sunrise. Photo: Rudy Balasko, Shutterstock.

Take in the Picturesque Landscapes of the North Island

Head to beautiful Auckland on New Zealand’s North Island and let its stunning landscapes captivate you. Take a trip up the iconic Sky Tower for panoramic views of the city and its surrounding volcanic cones. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the nearby Waiheke Island, known for its vineyards and breathtaking beaches. Immerse yourself in Maori culture and explore the vibrant art scene in this remarkable city.


5. Queenstown, New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand - Queenstown.

A majestic mountain and lake landscape of Queenstown, New Zealand. Photo: Naruedom Yaempongsa, Shutterstock.

Enjoy Adventure Activities Such as Bungy Jumping and Skydiving

For adrenaline junkies seeking excitement, Queenstown is the place to be. Nestled amidst New Zealand’s breathtaking Southern Alps, this adventure capital offers a plethora of thrilling activities. Take a leap of faith with bungy jumping off the Kawarau Bridge or experience the exhilaration of skydiving above awe-inspiring landscapes. Queenstown’s stunning scenery and heart-pumping adventures will make for an unforgettable adventure.



6. Christchurch, New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand - Christchurch

The restored Peacock Fountain in Christchurch Botanic Gardens at twilight with the Arts Centre in the background. Photo: Travellight, Shutterstock.

Explore the Historic City Centre and Gardens

Discover the charm of Christchurch, a city that perfectly blends history with natural beauty. Wander through the tranquil Christchurch Botanic Gardens and admire the vibrant flora. Don’t miss the incredible street art and innovative architecture that has emerged in the city following the devastating earthquakes. Experience the resilience and spirit of this remarkable place as it continues to rebuild itself.


7. Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand - Bay of Islands

An aerial shot of Urapukapuka Island, Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Photo: Ruth Lawton, Shutterstock.

Soak up Some of the Country’s Most Beautiful Scenery

Escape to the Bay of Islands, a breathtakingly beautiful region in New Zealand. With over 140 subtropical islands, this paradise is perfect for beach lovers and water enthusiasts. Explore secluded bays, snorkel or dive in crystal-clear waters, and cruise around islands teeming with wildlife. Immerse yourself in nature and unwind amidst stunning landscapes that showcase New Zealand’s natural splendour.


8. Gold Coast, Australia

Australia and New Zealand -Gold Coast.

A view from the water of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, Australia. Photo: Shutterstock.

Hit Up Some of the World’s Best Beaches for Surfers and Sunbathers Alike

Head to the Gold Coast, renowned for its pristine sandy beaches and sunny weather. Surfers Paradise is a must-visit for wave enthusiasts, offering excellent surfing conditions. If relaxation is what you seek, lounge on the golden shores, soak up the sun, and enjoy the lively beach atmosphere. Explore the coastal hinterland for lush rainforests, stunning waterfalls, and vibrant wildlife.


9. K’gari, Australia

Australia and New Zealand - K'gari

Tourists flock to Lake Mackenzie on K’gari year-round to enjoy the cool fresh water. Photo: Cam Laird, Shutterstock.

Visit this Untouched Paradise off the Coast of Queensland

Discover the untouched beauty of K’gari (formerly Fraser Island), an exquisite gem off the coast of Queensland. This World Heritage-listed site boasts pristine beaches, crystal-clear lakes, and ancient rainforests. Explore the island’s unique attractions, such as the stunning Lake McKenzie and the vibrant Maheno Shipwreck. Embark on adventurous 4×4 tours or simply relax and soak in the tranquillity of this paradise.

Follow this link to read more about K’gari!


10. Cairns, Australia

Australia and New Zealand - Cairns

A professional underwater photographer captures nature and wildlife in the Great Barrier Reef near Cairns. Photo: ChameleonsEye, Shutterstock.

Immerse Yourself in the Lush Rainforest Surrounding this Popular Tourist Spot

Indulge in the lush rainforest and tropical beauty surrounding Cairns, a bustling gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Immerse yourself in nature as you visit the stunning Mossman Gorge or take an exhilarating cable car ride above the rainforest canopy in Kuranda. Dive into the breathtaking underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef or simply unwind on the palm-fringed beaches while enjoying the warm sunshine.


Start planning your adventure today!

Australia and New Zealand hold an abundance of natural beauty, cultural wonders, and thrilling experiences that make them ideal destinations for a getaway. Whether you prefer city adventures, beach relaxation, or immersing yourself in nature, these 10 best places offer something for everyone.

Begin your journey by exploring the iconic Opera House in Sydney or taking in the picturesque landscapes of Auckland. Dive into the adventure-filled activities in Queenstown or unwind on the stunning beaches of the Gold Coast. The choice is yours!

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the beauty and diversity of these incredible destinations. Start planning your trip today and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Follow the links to and book your adventure now!


Feature photo: A spectacular sunrise over the city of Perth, Australia, by Cloudsrest Images; Shutterstock.
Published: 16 September 2023.


Ready for another holiday?

Wherever you want to go in the world, don’t forget to check out With so many amazing deals on accommodation and more, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.

So, what are you waiting for? Click the links here to visit BOOKING.COM today and start planning your next trip.

***Jocelyn Magazine is a proud affiliate of Purchases made by clicking on their links on this website may reward us with a small finder’s fee. It’s an easy way to show support for our team and our mission to provide you with more awesome content to enjoy! ***


Discover North Queensland on a railway adventure

Ah, the peace and tranquility that comes with travelling by train.

Kicking back in my high-back leather-look seat, letting time pass me by as the scenery rushes past outside – it was an experience I hadn’t had for several years until I embarked on a long-haul journey from Maryborough to North Queensland in July 2023.

Instead of dealing with the usual stress of airports and traffic, this year my annual trip north took me on a slow yet mesmerizing voyage of discovery from Maryborough to Townsville and Tully on the Spirit of Queensland.

What unfolded over the next 10 days was not just stunning vistas and family fun, but also interesting conversations with fellow passengers, making this an unforgettable adventure.

Let me tell you about my recent rail journey to North Queensland.


Rail Journey - Spirit of Queensland at Tully

The Spirit of Queensland pulls into Tully Railway Station.

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A slow yet mesmerizing rail journey

Picture this – a long-haul rail journey from Maryborough to Townsville and Tully, surrounded by breathtaking scenery and wildlife. It was a peaceful escape from the daily grind, allowing me to truly relax and take in the beauty around me.

At Townsville, I had something truly exciting waiting for me. My youngest son and his partner had just welcomed the newest addition to our family, little Bryson. The joy of meeting my grandchild was indescribable.

After enjoying lots of baby cuddles and exploring the stunning sights of Townsville, such as the breathtaking vistas from Castle Hill to Magnetic Island, and strolling along the vibrant Strand, it was time for my next adventure.

My other son whisked me off for a 2.5-hour drive north to the charming town of Tully, known for being one of Queensland’s major sugar hotspots and arguably the rainiest spot in Australia.

Life with his wife and kiddies, Riley and Rhys, in the coastal village that’s a half-hour drive from Mission Beach is nothing short of idyllic. Palm-fringed beaches, tropical rainforests, and the magnificent Great Barrier Reef are just a stone’s throw away. It’s paradise.

But, before I take you further, let us go back to the beginning of this epic journey.

Rail Journey - Overlooking Townsville from the top of Castle Hill

Overlooking Townsville from the top of Castle Hill.


Don’t miss out next winter – book your railbed early!

I caught the Queensland Rail bus from Stocklands Shopping Centre in Hervey Bay for a smooth half-hour ride to the Maryborough Transit Centre, where fellow travellers joined us for the next leg of the adventure.

Maryborough, with all its heritage buildings, cultural significance, and industrial history, was my home for 27 years before moving to Hervey Bay in 2019. The city holds a special place in my heart.

Fun fact: Maryborough is the birthplace of P.L. Travers, the author of the classic children’s book and movie Mary Poppins. There’s a touch of magic in the air!

Rail journey - train interior

Economy class is comfortable with high-back leather-look seats and plenty of legroom.

As I waited for the train at Maryborough West Railway Station, the chilly winds were relentless, but the friendly Queensland Rail staff made me feel welcome and guided me to my designated, and sheltered, spot. At 7.30 pm, the train departed, and I settled into my economy-class seat.

Now, I had grand plans of booking one of those luxurious Railbeds, but alas, they were all booked out. Winter months in Queensland are prime travel time, so you have to plan well ahead.

Instead, I treated myself to a Trtl Travel Pillow. Compact, lightweight, and endorsed by Lonely Planet Magazine, it made the journey feel like first class.

And so, my adventure began. A 14-hour journey lay ahead of me, with the promise of arriving in Townsville at 9.38 am the next day. Well, if you count the Rail Bus leg from Hervey Bay to Maryborough, it’s more like 15.5 hours. But who’s counting when you’re having the time of your life?

Be comfortable in economy with a Trtl Travel Pillow

You’ve probably heard horror stories of being stuck beside an annoying traveller on long-haul journeys. But lucky for me, I have yet to experience such an ordeal, and this trip was no exception.

I was lucky enough to be seated next to an absolute gem of a guy, John Corbett, whom I’ll affectionately call Mr Cyclist. He’s a retired essential service officer who now spends much of his time exploring the world on his bike.

Mr Cyclist was on his way to Townsville with his trusty road bike in the luggage carriage, and planned to pedal all the way back down south along the National Trail, a grand adventure akin to Bill Bryson’s famous A Walk in the Woods.

The National Trail is Australia’s ultimate quest for independent explorers, spanning 5330 kilometers from Cooktown to Healesville. This incredible trail takes adventurers through stock routes, bush tracks, fire trails, and scenic roads along the Great Dividing Range.

For over three decades, the iconic R.M. Williams has lent his name to this extraordinary expedition. Teaming up with the Australian Trail Horse Riders Association, they have brought to life a trail that immerses hikers, horse riders, cyclists, and packers in the rich history of Australia’s stock routes.

Overnight, however, Mr Cyclist attempted to catch some much-needed shut-eye, but his quest for comfort came up short. Like me, a fellow survivor of missed opportunities, he had missed out on a coveted luxurious Railbed booking and settled for economy class.

Little did he know, a Trtl Travel Pillow could have been his saving grace. Instead, he resorted to stretching out on a dining car seat, only to be chipped by a rail staff member for his audacity. Turns out that sleeping in the dining car is against QR’s rules. Oops!

rail travel - man collecting his bike from a train.

John Corbett, aka Mr Cyclist, collects his bike from the baggage area on the Townsville Railway Station platform.


Rise and shine!

As we opened our eyes the next morning, the sun greeted us with a breathtaking show over mountains near Mackay. We couldn’t help but soak in the beauty while savouring a breakfast of raisin toast and tea in the dining car.

Here’s the plot twist: our train had a bit of a hiccup with the signals during the night, causing it to run behind schedule. But hey, that only added to the adventure! Finally, we arrived in Townsville around 11 am, ready to continue our epic journeys.

All aboard! Family fun on the Innisfail Mini Rail

In Tully, I had a blast with my family. Our adventure started with a quick jaunt to Innisfail, 53 kilometres to the north, where we all took rides on the Innisfail Mini Rail.

This delightful miniature train chugs along every second Sunday of the month at the beautiful 50-ha Warrina Lakes Park. We soaked up the scenery as we zipped past the serene lily-covered lake and ventured through lush pockets of rainforest.

The Innisfail Mini Rail Club, a squad of awesome volunteers, is the brains behind this fantastic train ride that has been entertaining folks since 2017.

Oh, and there was a terrific kids’ playground nearby too!

rail journey - Innisfail Mini Rail

Families enjoy a ride on the Innisfail Mini Rail.


Roll on down to Murdering Point Winery

Despite the ominous name, Murdering Point Winery was anything but scary.

As we adults sipped on top-notch wines, the little ones, Riley and Thomas-the-Tank-Engine-fanatic Rhys, were in awe as a cane train hauling sugar cane rolled right by the entrance.

Founded in 2001 by the Berryman family, Murdering Point Winery has gained a reputation for its exceptional wines and innovative use of exotic tropical fruits.

The winery offers an array of uniquely Australian red and white fruit wines, ports, liqueurs, and creams that transports your taste buds to a tropical paradise.

rail journey - Jodie pours a sample of delicious tropical fruit wine at Murdering Point Winery.

Jody pours a sample of delicious tropical fruit wine at Murdering Point Winery.

Fish & Chips on the Beach with Tully Coast Guard

What’s better than white sand and kids’ playgrounds at Mission Beach? How about enjoying Fish & Chips on the Beach at the Tully Coast Guard’s annual fundraising event with the stunning sunset as the backdrop? It was the perfect finale for my time in Tully for 2023.

rail journey - sunset at Tully

The brilliant finale to my North Queensland visit was the Tully Coast Guard’s Fish & Chips on the Beach with this stunning sunset at the backdrop.


Discover a lush oasis at Tully Railway Station

rail journey - Tully railway station platform

Potted ferns dot the Tully Railway Station.

Too soon, it was time to bid farewell to the family escapade and make my way back to Hervey Bay. At about 11.30 am, I hopped aboard the Spirit of Queensland once more at the charming Tully Railway Station, nestled near the heart of town.

This station had quite the eventful past – it endured some serious water damage thanks to the notorious Cyclone Yasi back in February 2011, but it’s since undergone a refurbishment. You can still spot the remnants of the old station building on the south side, with visible battle scars.

With potted palms and lush hanging ferns dotting the platform, it exudes an enchanting tropical atmosphere. It’s the perfect spot to kick back and wait for the next leg of my adventure. Time flies when you’re surrounded by this blissful oasis.


Find a travel buddy on the Spirit of Queensland

On my return journey from Tully to Maryborough, first I had the pleasure of sitting next to Mr Garden Guru, a fascinating chap with long hair, a beard, and a love for faded jeans.

Not only was he a successful garden business owner in Cairns, but he was also a marketing guru who spilled the beans on using artificial intelligence for blogging.

But wait, there’s more! He was also a vegan on the hunt for some fruit in the train’s galley, only to be disappointed. Luckily, he had a stash of lychees in his backpack, which he happily devoured.

When Mr Garden Guru hopped off in Townsville to pick up his new ute and return to Cairns, I was accompanied by my new travel buddy – Mr Entrepreneur.

This former tobacco farmer turned restaurant owner turned garden maintenance enthusiast knew how to make some serious money by mowing grass and trimming shrubs in North Queensland.

He was headed to Brisbane to reunite with his wife, who had arrived a few days earlier.

Together, they were going on a shopping adventure looking for a motorhome, eager to join the ranks of the “grey nomads.”

As for me, my time on the Spirit of Queensland came to an end at Maryborough West at about 7.30 am and I boarded the Queensland Rail Bus bound for Hervey Bay.

After a total of about 37 hours of rail time (including delays), I left with cherished memories and a renewed appreciation for the magic of rail travel.



North or south? The choice is yours!

Looking for a relaxing way to tour Queensland’s breathtaking coast? Meet the Spirit of Queensland, your ticket to adventure!

rail journey - train at a platform

With regular weekly services, this fabulous train will take you to see friends and family, or let you explore some of Queensland’s most stunning destinations.

Think Whitsundays, Townsville, Cairns, Bundaberg, Fraser Coast, Sunshine Coast, and Brisbane – the list goes on. And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can even connect to the glamorous Gold Coast.

Whether you crave the natural wonders of the north or the dazzling lights of Brisbane, the Spirit of Queensland has got you covered.

It’s a convenient way to travel between Brisbane and Cairns. So why wait? Hop aboard and let the journey begin!


Jocelyn travelled on the Spirit of Queensland at her own cost.
Published 20 July 2023


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Learn how to optimise your whale-watching voyage

Are you looking to go whale-watching? You’re not alone! Every year, more and more tourists flock to Australia’s east coast in search of majestic humpback whales.

But, before you make the trip down to your desired destination, it’s important to understand the migration system of these creatures first.

Knowing when they are most likely to be around will help ensure that your experience is memorable; after all, who wouldn’t want to witness something so awe-inspiring?

In this blog post, we’ll take a deep dive into humpback migrations – what they mean, where they go, and why choosing the right time is so important for getting the most out of your next whale-watching voyage.

Humpbacks - whale watching

Humpback whale in Hervey Bay, Qld.

Explore the world of humpbacks with Drs Wally & Trish Franklin

Humpback whales are fascinating creatures, and Dr Wally Franklin, renowned marine scientist and Oceania Project co-founder, can attest to that.

Dr Wally and his late wife, Dr Trish Franklin, dedicated over three decades to studying these majestic creatures. Dr Trish focused on understanding their behaviour, while Dr Wally delved into statistics and scientific data.

The principal behaviors of humpback whales were based on breeding and feeding, Dr Wally said.

humpbacks - Dr Wally Franklin

Dr Wally Franklin. Photo: Contributed.

The evolution of modern whales began about 50 million years ago, when a significant increase in global temperatures forced a particular land mammal back into the ocean to keep cool.

All modern whales evolved from that creature. Humpback whales, for instance, evolved to their present form between 12 and 23 million years ago. They belong to the Baleen species of whales and dolphins, one of two. The other is Toothed whales, which we’re not covering in this article.

Dr Wally said that unlike most animals, humpback whales, which can live up to 100 years, don’t usually feel the weight of their bodies. They have neutral buoyancy in the ocean, experiencing weight only when they breach out of the water and return with a splash.

When it comes to reproduction, female humpbacks give birth every two years and don’t experience menopause. Some females, like Nala, a beloved whale in Hervey Bay, have been producing calves for over 35 to 40 years. On average, humpbacks have a calf every other year.

Humpbacks breed in tropical waters within the Great Barrier Reef and then migrate south to their feeding areas along the coast of Antarctica where the warm waters bring nutrients to the surface, creating a feast for humpbacks in the form of phytoplankton and the small creature that feeds on those grasses–Antarctic Krill.

Humpbacks’ lives are governed by their annual migration between breeding and feeding grounds.

In particular, the humpback whales in Eastern Australia travel together throughout this migration. Normally, humpbacks travel in small groups or pods, with two whales or a single whale being the most common.

However, in Hervey Bay, larger groups tend to form because of the aggregation of whales in that area. These larger groups are largely focused on caring for and socialising the calves and young whales.

Understanding their migration patterns is key to understanding their behavior.

Humpbacks - whale watching

Humpback whale in Hervey Bay, Qld.

How does the humpback’s social organisation differ from ours?

There is a significant difference between the social organistion of humpback whales and humans, Dr Wally said.

Dr Trish completed a piece of work based on 361 whales, in which she documented sighting histories ranging from two to 25 years, that showed the migration was dominated by two groups of mature females.

First, there’s a group of mature females who lead the migration early. These females are either pregnant or taking a break from caring for their calves. They leave the breeding area first, usually in August and September, and they are accompanied by a young cohort of whales. These young whales are between one and six years old.

So, during the early part of the migration, these mature females travel and socialise with the immature whales. They all leave Hervey Bay by the end of August.

The next group to arrive in Hervey Bay was the mature females with new calves. They don’t start coming into the Bay until early September because it’s the peak breeding month up in the Barrier Reef and the mothers keep the calves up there until they are strong enough and developed enough to begin the migration south. By the time the females bring their calves into Hervey Bay, they are already a few months old. So, these mature females are at the back end of the migration.

There are also three groups of mature males mixed in with the females. There are mature males without lactating females, mature males with lactating females, and males of unknown maturity without lactating females.

The calves are sighted in Hervey Bay in September and October.

Dr Trish discovered these calves return as yearlings in August of the following year. As they grow older, they begin to join the migration later each year until they reach the age of six, when they become socially and sexually mature. By the age of seven, they start mirroring what the adult whales do.

Isn’t that incredible? Humpback whales have such an interesting social structure, and it’s so different from what we experience as humans.

Humpbacks - whale watching

Humpback whale in Hervey Bay, Qld.

Witness the matriarchal society of humpback whales

The social structure of humpback whales was like a single organism dominated by mature females, Dr Wally said.

In areas like Hervey Bay, there are actually three females for every male, making it a matriarchal society.

But here’s a really interesting part. Mature males and young males tend to stick together during the migration, both during the northern migration to the breeding area and during the southern migration back.

Dr Wally said this was discovered back in the 1960s by a scientist named Dr Bill Dawbin. It turns out the structure of the migration reported by Dr Trish, was a mirror image of what Dr Dawbin reported more than 60 years earlier. So over time, the social structure of humpback whales and migration has remained consistent.

Now, let’s talk about the mature females.

Unlike the males who stay in the central part of the migration, the females actually change their position depending on their reproductive status. The first group of mature females to leave are either pregnant or resting. They head from the breeding area in the Great Barrier Reef down to Antarctica, where they stay for a long six months. They are the last to return to the reef to give birth. Once they have their calves, they’re the last to leave.

When they embark on their journey with their little ones, they are the first to turn around upon reaching Antarctica. So, these mature females with calves only spend three months in Antarctica, while those preparing their bodies for new calves spend a full six months.

It’s interesting how their migration depends on their maturation status.

Humpbacks - whale watching

Humpback whale in Hervey Bay, Qld.

Female humpbacks usually remain unmarked: learn why!

Another discovery made by Dr Trish is the behavior of humpback whales in groups.

There is a particular group known as the competitive group, believed to be a group of males vying for a single female. Dr Trish noticed something fascinating: the males in these groups exhibited strong agonistic behavior towards each other, which resulted in horizontal and lateral marks on the males’ bodies, but the female participating in the group remained unmarked.

This led Trish to identify non-agonistic social groups consisting mostly of young whales. These groups interacted with each other as they developed socially and also interacted with mature females. In Hervey Bay, these non-agonistic groups are present before the arrival of mature females with calves, who primarily interact with mature males who are seeking mating opportunities.

Dr Wally said the social organisation of humpback whales was comparable to nomadic indigenous groups in Australia. It lacks the traditional family structure found in our modern societies.

In fact, there is no evidence to suggest that humpback whales form family groupings, as do dolphins, orca whales, and humans. However, the bond between mother and calf humpbacks is well-documented.

Calves stay with their mothers for a full year, learning important skills such as how to feed on the Krill in Antarctica, and bringing them back to the point of origin so they complete a cycle of migration in their early life.

By the time the mothers get back with the calves towards Hervey Bay again, the calves are separated from their mothers and join the young cohort. Then it appears all the females are involved in looking after the whole of that young cohort.

It’s truly remarkable how humpback whales navigate their annual migration cycle, ensuring their calves thrive in their early life.

Have an unforgettable encounter with humpback whales

Whale-watching is an incredible experience that allows you to become enveloped in the fascinating world of these majestic creatures.

Specific steps can be taken to make your voyage even more memorable, from picking the perfect tour and time of day, to properly preparing yourself beforehand so that you can make the most out of your experience.

Through strategic planning and some luck, you will be rewarded with a thrilling and unique encounter with humpback whales. Who knows? Maybe you’ll have one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments when a whale swims by only a few metres away from you.

Now if that doesn’t sound like an unforgettable experience worth having, we just don’t know what does.

Be sure to check out The Oceania Project website at for more fascinating information on humpback whales before embarking on your journey.


Humpbacks - whale watching

Whale watching in Hervey Bay, Qld.

Photos by Jocelyn Watts, Hervey Bay, 2014.

Q & A

Q: Where’s the best spot for whale watching in Queensland?
A: Hervey Bay is the ultimate place to witness whales in Queensland. It’s even considered the world’s first official Whale Heritage site, setting the standard for whale watching everywhere. However, humpback whales can be seen right along the Australian east coast from Antarctica to the Great Barrier Reef.

Q: When is the perfect time for whale watching?
A: Humpback whales migrate to Queensland between June and November. In the early part of the season, they travel north to the shallow waters of the Great Barrier Reef to give birth to their calves. Towards the end of the season, they bring their calves back to Antarctica. So, their return journey is when you’re most likely to see the calves.

Q: Do whales breach in the shallow waters of Hervey Bay?
A: Absolutely! Mothers use the shallow waters of Hervey Bay to teach their calves essential skills they’ll need in the deep and cold waters of Antarctica, so, in the latter part of the season, you’re likely to see mothers teaching their calves to breach.

Q: When is the best time of day to see humpback whales?
A: Humpback whales are most active in the morning and late afternoon, so those are the ideal times to catch them in action.

Q: What can I expect to see on a whale watch tour?
A: Whether from the coast or a whale-watching boat, you’ll be amazed by their impressive displays, like blowing, breaching, and tail-slapping. Sometimes, the whales may even come close to the boats and swim around them. While the boats maintain a safe distance, the whales might just come by to say hello!

See Vimeo film for examples of tail-slapping at  and breaching in Hervey Bay at

Hear whale tales at Creating Waves

To hear Dr Wally Franklin talk about how citizen scientists have contributed to the Happy Whale recognition system and what you can do to help, register to attend the Creating Waves event at UniSC Fraser Coast Campus, Main Lecture Hall (Building B), Thursday, August 3, 6pm to 8pm. For more details, follow this link to the Hervey Bay Whale Festival post.




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‘Tis the season to see humpback whales in the wild

What could be more idyllic than a perfect day in paradise, watching majestic humpback whales breaching and blowing?

The moment we stepped onboard Whale One with Sunreef Mooloolaba at The Wharf, it was obvious we were in for an exceptional whale-watching tour.

The blue sky stretched endlessly above us, and the glittering ocean below was (almost) smooth as glass.

The excited chatter of fellow travellers filled the air; some had seen whales before, but for many, it was their whale-watching debut.

Dolphins frolicking and humpbacks breaching gave us an amazing tour filled with new experiences.

Whether you’re an experienced ocean explorer or just looking to try something new, this is certainly a day trip not to be missed.

Our tour went like this…

Sunreef Mooloolaba - Whale One

Sunreef Mooloolaba’s Whale One is set for another day of whale-watching adventure.

Experience the thrill of whale watching in paradise

Welcome aboard, mates! Captain Paul here, with our trusty crew – Heidi, Savannah and Rebecca, and our assistant Dan (aka Salty)… although none of us really knows what he does!

Now, Heidi gave us a great rundown on the boat’s safety features and what to do if you’re feeling seasick.

If you are, head downstairs where the boat is more stable and where you can get some fresh air. The top deck can get a bit rocky!

And hey, let’s not forget the open bar with delicious cocktails, chips, and snacks on offer.

Sunreef Mooloolaba - humpback whale breaching

A humpback whale breaching.

But all that doesn’t compare to the sight we’re hoping to see – the majestic humpback whales! These creatures have been around for millions of years, and they’ve got some awesome skills to show off.

Keep your eyes peeled for breaches, where they jump out of the water and land with a tremendous splash, or the blow that comes from a hole on top of their head; you’ll see a huge puff of air for about five seconds, shooting up to four to five metres in height.

We’ve got everyone on whale patrol, so if you spot anything, call it out, loud and proud, like we’re a clock – 12 o’clock for anything on the bow, 6 o’clock on the stern, 3 o’clock on the starboard side, and 9 o’clock on the port side – and estimate the distance, if you can.

It could be whales, dolphins, or any other sea creatures surfacing.

Today’s a calm day, which should make it easier to spot whales… unless they decide to hold their breath for up to 45 minutes! But they usually only hold it for 5 to 15 minutes on their migration, as they are now, on their way from the Antarctic, through Sunshine Coast waters to Hervey Bay & K’gari.

As we leave Mooloolaba for our four-hour tour, be sure to take in the beautiful scenery.

Sunreef Mooloolaba

One of the many stunning houses seen along the shore of Mooloolaba bay as we headed out to see on Whale One.

Get your binoculars ready for a whale adventure

As soon as the music started playing, a group of young adults started dancing on the top deck. The playlist included hits such as Notion by Kings of Leon, Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show, and No Ceiling by Eddie Vedder.

Australia has a whopping 45 species of whales, but on this trip, we were on the lookout for the humpbacks. They’re usually easy to spot thanks to their unique features–a sleek dark grey or black body with white patches along the belly, and pectoral fins.

Sunreef Mooloolaba

Kaye Browne from Food Wine Pets Travel.

Sunreef Mooloolaba - Jocelyn & Brian

The writer of this article, Jocelyn Watts, and Brian Pickering from Food Wine Pets Travel.

Heidi, one of the knowledgeable crew members, said to watch for blows in the distance. If you spot a whale’s tail popping up and diving, it’s a good sign they’re preparing to breach. After about 15 minutes, the colossal creature emerges from the water.

At around 9 o’clock (port side), we had our first sighting of a humpback’s body near the surface.

Later, about two and a half hours into the trip, we experienced what we had all been waiting for–a stunning double breach at around 3 o’clock (stern side), some 100 to 200 meters away from us.

The crowd erupted into a chorus of “oohs” and “ahs.”

Some of us were lucky enough to witness these majestic creatures for the first time, while others were back for another round.

“A sublime day in paradise!” – Marie Walton-Mahon.

Marie Walton-Mahon OAM, from PBT (Progressing Ballet Technique) Dance, had booked her third cruise with Sunreef Mooloolaba.

The company offers a 100% guarantee that you’ll see a whale or the next trip is on them. Marie noted that on her two previous trips, the most exciting animals she saw were pelicans.

On this trip, a very excited Marie exclaimed, “Those two that were jumping up and down, synchronised, were absolutely spectacular! Happy days! It was a sublime day in paradise!”

“A sublime day in paradise!” – Whale watcher Marie Walton-Mahon OAM.

Sail away to encounter whales with Sunreef Mooloolaba

All things considered, this day of whale watching was an incredible one. We could not have asked for a better experience; the crew was incredibly friendly and helpful, and they kept the amenities immaculate.

We’d highly suggest to anyone looking for a similar activity, that they join a Sunreef whale-watching tour. The scenery and wildlife around us were breathtaking; it truly felt like paradise.

I’d like to end this writeup by saying a big thank you to everyone at Sunreef Mooloolaba –they made our cruise as perfect as possible – and Visit Sunshine Coast for their assistance.

For an unforgettable experience filled with fun and excitement, head over to the Sunreef website (https://Sunreef and book your tickets.

Humpback whales generally come to the Queensland coast from late Autumn to late Spring. During this time, they migrate through Sunshine Coast waters to Hervey Bay & K’gari where you can catch mothers with their newborn calves, and on to the Great Barrier Reef before returning south again.

Spectacular views, chance encounters with some lovely ocean life, and a friendly, knowledgeable crew are all worth it. Happy sailing!

Sunreef Mooloolaba

A humpback whale blow! Photo: Shutterstock

Check out this amazing video from FoodWinePetsTravel!

Jocelyn Magazine and FoodWinePetsTravel were guests of Sunreef Mooloolaba and Visit Sunshine Coast.



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***Jocelyn Magazine is a proud affiliate of Clicking one of its links on this website will reward us with a small finder’s fee. It’s an easy way to show support for our team and our mission. Plus, every bit counts towards creating more awesome content for you to enjoy! ***


Celebrate the visiting Humpback whales in style

It’s just weeks from the 2023 Whale Watching season and the Fraser Coast is ready to celebrate!

Each year from July to October thousands of Humpback whales journey into the sheltered waters between Hervey Bay and K’gari where they stop and play for up to two weeks at a time, taking a well-earned break on their annual journey from the south.

To honour these amazing mammals and welcome them back to our shores, Fraser Coast Tourism and Events present the 2023 Hervey Bay Whale Festival.

“This year, we reached out to the community on social media to gather valuable feedback to help create a fun-filled program for the 2023 event,” events manager Chelsea Larner Simpson said.

“As a result, we have changed some site locations and broken the festival into individual events and precincts, offering different opportunities to event attendees, with the main collaboration of the Whale Festival from Friday, August 4 to Sunday, August 6.”


Humpback whales - underwater view

Be blessed this year: enjoy a unique festival experience

Showcasing many loved and traditional elements of the yearly festival, this year’s event celebrates the exciting return of The Blessing of the Fleet.

On hiatus last year, the Blessing returns to Hervey Bay’s Marina on Saturday, July 15 to coincide with the official launch of the Hervey Bay Whale season.

A family fun Marina Party, The Blessing event showcases Hervey Bay’s whale-watching fleet in the hub of Fraser Coast’s Marine Mecca.

Festival goers can enjoy a range of fun-filled activities suitable for all ages, from food stalls to live music, a live jet-pack performance, and concluding with the traditional procession of the Whale Fleet to celebrate the Humpback whales’ return.

“Fraser Coast Tourism and Events is pleased to bring the Blessing of the Fleet back to the Fraser Coast,” Ms Larner Simpson said.

“The centuries-old tradition is believed to have originated in Mediterranean fishing communities to ensure a safe and prosperous season for all vessels, and we certainly wish our local tourism operators a safe and prosperous year.”

Hear whale tales at Creating Waves

On Thursday, August 3, festival-goers can join us for a night of personal tales hosted by UniSC with the academic favourite Creating Waves event.

Meet local and international researchers and learn about recent Humpback whale discoveries as they migrate past our shores.

Traditional Butchulla owners explain the importance of the whales and how Whale Song lines connect First Nations along the entire east coast of Australia.

Learn how citizen scientists have contributed to the Happy Whale recognition system, which is now extending throughout oceans of the world, sending feedback about whales who have visited our shores.


Swing under the stars with The Rock n’ Roll Boys

On Friday, August 4 at Urangan’s Pier Park from 4pm to 8pm, FCTE introduces The Twilight Swing, a new addition to the festival this year.

An evening of dance and song with local headlining act The Rock n’ Roll Boys, guests are encouraged to come on down and enjoy the live music under the stars and perhaps try their feet at a quick swing dance.

Discover marine wonders at the City Park Discovery Pod

The Whale Festival’s main event, The Community Parade and Family Carnival, will be on Saturday, August 5 at two separate locations.

The City Park Discovery Pod will be held at City Park from 2pm to 5.30pm on the Saturday with live music, sports competitions, art activations, and educational activities.

Visitors can discover the wonders of the marine world by getting up close to ocean life through touch tanks, taking part in community competitions, and making their own lanterns in preparation for the Parade of Lights.

“The parade is a wonderful opportunity to showcase your creativity and contribute to a display of lanterns that will light up Main Street,” Ms Larner Simpson said.

The adjustment of the parade route from City Park to Seafront Oval, has increased the accessibility to participation in the parade for individuals and families.

The Parade of Lights will be led by local Butchulla people, who have been busy creating an illuminated display of marine life including Milbi (Turtle), Yulu (Dolphin), and Yuwangkan (Dugon).

This project has been supported by the Regional Arts Development Fund, a partnership between the Queensland Government and Fraser Coast Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

Explore where sights and sounds come alive

From 5pm to 8.30pm, also on the Saturday, the Funtime Amusement Seafront Spectacular will be at Seafront Oval in Pialba. The community event showcases live music, family entertainment, and amusement rides, and ends with sponsored fireworks.

Make a splash at Paddle Out for the Whales

On Sunday, August 6, FCTE is concluding the weekend by embracing the magic of Hervey Bay’s calm waters with the iconic Paddle Out for the Whales – an ocean gathering of paddleboards, kayaks, and surfboards followed by music and entertainment.

Participants observe a minute of silence to recognize the importance of the ocean and its marine life including our majestic Humpback whales to the world. It’s hoped, together, we can all make a positive impact to ensure whales continue to thrive for generations to come.

Get more information

For more information on the 2023 Hervey Bay Whale Festival follow @frasercoastevents on Facebook and Instagram and visit the website:

The Hervey Bay Whale Festival is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.



  • SATURDAY JULY 15 – Blessing of the Fleet, Hervey Bay Marina, Saturday, July 15, 4pm to 8pm.
  • THURSDAY AUGUST 3 – Creating Waves, UniSC Fraser Coast Campus, Main Lecture Hall (Building B), Thursday, August 3, 6pm to 8pm.
  • FRIDAY AUGUST 4 – The Twilight Swing, Pier Park in Urangan, Friday, August 4, 4pm to 8pm.
  • SATURDAY AUGUST 5 – City Park Discovery Pod, City Park, Saturday, August 5, 2pm to 5.30pm; Funtime Amusement Seafront Spectacular, Saturday, August 5, 5pm to 8.30pm.
  • SUNDAY AUGUST 6 – Paddle Out for Whales, Torquay Pier, Sunday, August 6, 10am to 1pm


The Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Fraser Coast Regional Council.


Published 17/6/2023
Story contributed by Fraser Coast Regional Council/Fraser Coast Tourism & Events; Photos – Shutterstock
Feature photo @ top: Aerial view of a Humpback Whale with her calf above her.


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So, what are you waiting for? Click the links here to visit BOOKING.COM today and start planning your next trip.

***Jocelyn Magazine is a proud affiliate of Clicking one of its links on this website will reward us with a small finder’s fee. It’s an easy way to show support for our team and our mission. Plus, every bit counts towards creating more awesome content for you to enjoy! ***

Have a whale of a time on the Sunshine Coast

The first humpback whales for the 2023 season have been sited off Mooloolaba, heralding the arrival of some 40,000 whales expected to traverse the Sunshine and Fraser coasts over the next five months.

Sunshine Coast’s leading marine tours operator, Sunreef, has announced a wide range of whale-watching cruises for the season, including their pioneering Swim with Whales tours.

The season will run through till the end of October, capturing the progress of the whales on their 10,000km return journey from the Antarctic, firstly as they swim north to Hervey Bay, K’gari (formerly Fraser Island), and the Great Barrier Reef, and then return later in the year, often accompanied by their calves.

whales - whale breaching off Cooloom

Five months of ‘Whale Central’ coming soon

Sunreef operates from its base at The Wharf Mooloolaba, which is set to become “Whale Central” over the next five months. 

New activations will include special kids “find the whale” competitions during school holidays, and in an Australian – possibly world – first, a special Ocean’s Journey Whale Ale has been created by Mooloolaba craft brewer Blackflag inspired by the awesome spectacle of whale migration.

The craft beer will be available from restaurants and bars throughout The Wharf.

According to Blackflag: “Ocean’s Journey Whale Ale is a masterfully crafted Coastal Pale that pays homage to the grandeur of whale migration.

With its vibrant citrus notes, tropical fruit flavours, and balanced bitterness, this beer captures the essence of the ocean and the awe-inspiring journey of these majestic creatures. Raise a glass, savour the flavours, and join in the celebration of the wonder and beauty that is whale migration.”

Blackflag has also committed to donating a portion of the profit from Whale Ale sales to the Australian Marine Conservation Society. 

Shore thing: nature-based experiences for you

This year’s whale-watching season was already attracting considerable interest from both interstate and overseas, Sunreef Mooloolaba’s Philip Hart said.

“The message is that people want premium nature-based experiences.  

“Whale numbers appear to be increasing at an average of about 10% a year, and given the interest, we are extending opportunities for people to view these remarkable mammals in what is one of Australia’s most pristine environments. 

“With international capacity beginning to return to 2019 levels, we are receiving strong overseas interest for our Swim with Whales tours. People are prepared to travel considerable distances for such a unique opportunity. 

“One of the major attractions is that we only offer these tours on the whales’ terms.  We have the strictest code of conduct, only operate with small groups, and invariably provide a profound and memorable experience.” 

Whale watching: take the plunge!

Swim with Whales cruises are restricted to a maximum of 15 participants, who are outfitted with wetsuits, fins, masks, and snorkels.whales - swimming with whales

The expert crew first spots the whales, then the vessel is positioned ahead of the humpbacks’ predicted route and snorkelers enter the water and wait for the magic to happen.  

“The rest is completely up to the whale,” said Mr Hart “If they want to come to you, they come to you – and more often than not, they do. They’re just as interested in us as we are in them. They’re very curious creatures.

Swim with Whales cruises start from 1 July, with daily cruises (subject to conditions) through to October. Adult tickets are available for $249 and include all equipment, expert commentary and guiding, and refreshments.

Sunreef’s whale watching season has already begun, with the purpose-designed Whale One vessel providing daily cruises. Adult tickets are $85, children $65.

Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Matt Stoeckel, said that the whale watching and swimming tours support Sunshine Coast’s reputation as a leading nature-based tourism destination. 

“We know our whale experiences are top of our visitors’ to-do list across the winter months.

Need a pint? Try the first-ever ‘Whale Ale’

“This year it has been great to see the Sunshine Coast community get on board with the launch of the whale season with a series of events in the planning, even including the creation of a Whale Ale in honour of our migrating mammals,” said Mr Stoeckel.

“As Australia’s ‘Craft Beer Capital’ it was brilliant that Blackflag could capture the vibrancy of the whale migration in this new beverage. It is the perfect addition to our craft brew collection.

“The whale season also arrives at the same time as direct flights from Auckland recommence, enabling our Kiwi friends the opportunity to enjoy ‘sunshine by lunchtime’ and view whales in the afternoon.”

For further information and bookings:

Whales - Blackflag Brewery

Enjoying the first-ever ‘Whale Ale’ at Blackflag Brewery on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland’s South East.

Story and photos contributed by Visit Sunshine Coast


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K’gari now recognised on maps and travel guides

If you have your sights set on a beautiful Australian getaway, we’ve got great news for you. Fraser Island – the world’s largest sand island located along Australia’s east coast – has had its traditional name of K’gari reinstated.

It’s a comprehensive acknowledgment of the culture’s history, dating back 60,000 years. From now on, K’gari will officially be recognised on maps and travel guides, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome you to this incredible part of the world.

Traditional name restored to world’s largest sand island

Today, 7 June 2023, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk joined the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation for an emotional ceremony to formally reinstate the name used by traditional owners for the world’s largest sand island – K’gari (formerly Fraser Island).

K’gari—the white spirit who was sent down from the sky to help make the land and the seas that are home to the Butchulla people—was officially welcomed home today by generations of Butchulla people and guests.

Guests were welcomed on Country with a smoking ceremony, traditional dance, and song, as well as a formal plaque unveiling.

The Queensland Government has worked closely with the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation, tourism bodies, government agencies, and the Fraser Coast Regional Council over many years to embed the island’s original name progressively.

In 2017, the Fraser Island section of the Great Sandy National Park was renamed K’gari (Fraser Island), and in 2022, the island’s World Heritage Area was renamed K’gari (Fraser Island) World Heritage Area.

To coincide with the restoration of the island more than 19 hectares of land were transferred to the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC.

This land can’t be bought, sold, or mortgaged, and must be used for the benefit of its traditional owners, the Butchulla people.

Premier Palaszczuk said the name K’gari came from the Butchulla people’s creation story of the island, which has been passed down orally for generations.

“I’m proud that today we can officially welcome K’gari home, and reinstate the name used by traditional owners for all these years.

“We will continue to recognise Indigenous languages through place names, in the spirit of truth-telling and reconciliation as we walk the Path to Treaty.

“While steps like this can’t change the wrongs of the past, it goes a long way to building a future where all Queenslanders value, trust, and respect each other.

“This always was and always will be Butchulla Country.”

K'gari - Butchulla people celebrate the reinstatement of the island's traditional name.

On 7 December 2022, the Butchulla people celebrated 30 years since the island received its UNESCO World Heritage listing. Photo: Jocelyn Watts.

Respect restored

It was through disrespect to the Butchulla people that the name, K’gari – the home of the Butchulla people – was taken away, Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation Chair Gayle Minniecon said.

“Our oral history, our creation story will now be told and learned as it should be.

“Our ancestors understood and committed to the importance of caring for the island since time immemorial and today we continue this cultural obligation.”

One of the world’s most loved islands

To work closely with the Badtjala (Butchulla) people and the local community on re-establishing the name, K’gari, was an honour, State Member for Hervey Bay Adrian Tantari said.

“K’gari is one of the most loved islands across Australia and the world.

“This is a momentous day for everyone connected to this sacred island.”

True name in all respects

The name change completes the picture for the Butchulla people and K’gari, by recognising and honouring their traditions, culture, and continued connection to their land, Resources Minister Scott Stewart said.

“She has always been K’gari to the Butchulla people.

“Now this beautiful area will carry its true name in all aspects: the national park, world heritage area, and the official place name.”

Butchulla people share language, culture, traditions

The Butchulla people had long shared K’gari and their own culture and traditions with people from across the world, and this change recognised their generosity, Minister for Treaty and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Leeanne Enoch said.

“So many people have been enriched by the island’s unique history and their shared experiences with the Butchulla people.

“I want to acknowledge the many generations of Butchulla people who have maintained their language, culture, and traditions, which are shared by all who visit the island.

“As Queensland continues on its Path to Treaty, the lands, place names, and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will form a much greater part of our shared experience.”

Another step toward reconciliation

K’gari had always been K’gari to the Butchulla people, Minister of Environment and Science Leanne Linard said.

“It is through the tireless efforts of many people, and those before, that we stand in unity and respect for Country and people, to celebrate another step towards reconciliation.

“The Environment Department recognised the name of the island section of the Great Sandy National Park as K’gari in 2017, and UNESCO formally adopted the name for the World Heritage Area in 2021.

“The department has built a strong relationship with the Butchulla People and remains committed to working with them to cooperatively manage the unique values of the island now and into the future.”

Feature photo @ top by Brian Pickering.


Flashback to 2014: Native Title Declared


Flashback to 2022: Celebrating 30 Years on the World Heritage List

Further information:

Small businesses that are impacted by the change can access resources through the Small Business Hotline.

In 2022, almost 6000 public submissions were received with the majority in favour of the name change proposal.

The name change also changes the suburb of Fraser Island to K’gari.

Information on K’gari can be found at K’gari.



Ready for a holiday?

Wherever you want to go in the world, don’t forget to check out With so many amazing deals on accommodation and more, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.

So, what are you waiting for? Click the links here to visit BOOKING.COM today and start planning your next trip.


***Jocelyn Magazine is a proud affiliate of Clicking one of its links on this website will reward us with a small finder’s fee. It’s an easy way to show support for our team and our mission. Plus, every bit counts towards creating more awesome content for you to enjoy! ***