Whales of all sorts, but particularly the humpbacks have been coming in to Hervey Bay on their annual southward migration from the Barrier Reef breeding grounds to Antarctica each winter for centuries.
Captain Cook, when he sailed by Fraser Island in 1770 remarked on the grampuses he saw, and there have been many incidents over the years since of whales rising to the ocean surface to scare unwary fishermen.
There have been some mass whale strandings - ten sperm whales on a Hervey Bay beach in the late 1960's, and a couple of years ago a school of pilot whales came ashore near the Maheno ship wreck on Fraser Island's surf beach - as well as individual strandings of humpback, minke and melon head whales.
It was only during September 1987 however that the initiative was taken in Hervey Bay to begin whale watching - by a charter fishing boat owner, who saw his passengers were far more interested in the whales they saw than in the fishing.
Now visitors have the choice of half-day or full day whale watch trips from Fraser Island and Hervey Bay on the mainland. Now, some twenty commercial vessels taking around 80,000 people whale watching each season.
Probably the most amazing development since the commencement of commercial whale watching in Hervey Bay is the desire of the Humpbacks to "socialise" with the vessels, swimming around and around, often "spy-hopping" for a closer look at the whale watchers on board.
As many as 40 whales can often be seen at any one time. Fraser Island acts as perfect natural barrier against the ocean swells of the Pacific Ocean and generally provides lake-like conditions, much appreciated by the passengers.
The people of Hervey Bay have taken the privilege nature has bestowed upon them very seriously indeed.
The whale fleet crews have learnt everything they can about whales from world wide research, and citizens have rapidly developed their once sleepy little city into one to satisfy the most discerning visitor with a wide range of accommodation, restaurants, clubs, shopping and attractions.