Get Involved with Whale Spotting

Great Barrier Reef Legacy wants YOU to get involved as part of their vital Reef Citizen Science projects.

As we near the arrival of whales into our northern Great Barrier Reef waters, Great Barrier Reef Legacy (GBRL) wants you to help make each and every whale sighting count.

Despite Humpback whales being one of the iconic visitors to the Reef, we still know relatively little about their movements.

This year, GBRL would like to change that and invite you to join them, in their efforts to better understand these magnificent creatures.

GBRL are tapping into existing citizen science projects, @happywhale_official and @eyeonthereef, in order to track these whales along the coast, with Happy Whale assisting to identify individuals.

Over time, they will be able to create a database of whales visiting our region.

The Eye on the Reef monitoring and assessment program enables anyone who visits the Great Barrier Reef to contribute to its long-term protection by collecting valuable information about reef health, marine animals and incidents that is used to understand the bigger picture and inform how we manage the Reef.

There’s a number of ways to get involved and everyone’s contribution is welcomed — whether you’re a regular day tripper, tourist on their first visit, fisher, Marine Park ranger, marine tourism staff or marine scientist.

Getting involved is as easy as:

  • download the Eye on The Reef App
  • when you sight a whale, record it in the App and screenshot the coordinates
  • try to get a photo of the tail fluke, to help identify and track individuals-but all photos are useful!
  • when back on land, either upload your sightings directly to Happywhale, or send them to GBRL at, and they will upload for you.
  • name your files so they can match the photos with the coordinates.
  • follow all whale watching guidelines and regulations.

Amplifying Citizen Science is a collaboration with the Queensland University of Technology and supported by local reef operator Calypso Reef Cruises. Funding for this project is provided by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust in partnership with Great Barrier Reef Foundation.