Great Barrier Reef Feature


Migaloo the Albino Whale

Migaloo, the world's only documented white humpback whale, was first spotted in 1991 as he made his way up the Queensland coastline. A witty indigenous elder suggested the name Migaloo, an Aboriginal word for "white fella."

Every year thousands eagerly watch for a glimpse of Migaloo's distinctive pure-white dorsal fin, as the 14-meter (46-foot) whale makes his annual migration from the Antarctic to tropical waters in June and July. He's been spotted as far up Australia's east coast as Port Douglas, north of Cairns—usually from the decks of dive and cruise boats (which are forbidden by law from going within 500 meters of the rare cetacean). Sometimes Migaloo travels solo; on other journeys, he's accompanied by dolphins or fellow humpbacks.

Migaloo's not the only albino marine creature you might spot on your visit to Queensland: in early 2006, a tiny white sea turtle was found on Blacks Beach, Mackay, and shipped off to Reef HQ in nearby Townsville for rehab. Today he's doing well—and is a great deal larger.

Keen to know where Migaloo's heading? Go to the White Whale Research Centre’s dedicated website,, where whale-spotters document the migratory movements of this unique cetacean. To help to protect Migaloo and his mates, sign the online petition.

Updated: 2014-04-21

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