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Find out all you need to know about the whales as they come into Coffs Harbour at the Solitary Islands Aquarium.
Find out all you need to know about the whales as they come into Coffs Harbour at the Solitary Islands Aquarium. Rachel Vercoe

The whales are coming! Find out all you need to know these school holidays

AS THE weather cools down, the whale watching heats up and while you're out strolling the beaches and boardwalks, you're going to want to know about the big fellas frolicking off the mainland. 

That's where Solitary Island Aquarium comes in. 

With a new whale education experience, you can learn everything there is to know about these magnificent creatures, and with school holidays approaching, it should be on the top of your activities list. 

The world-class research aquarium was this month named one of Coffs Harbour's best attractions on Trip Advisor, based on consistently great reviews, feedback and recognition.

Southern Cross University's National Marine Science Centre (NMSC) Engagement Activities Manager Stephan Soule said the aquarium, which is open to the public every day of the NSW school holidays, was the perfect place to fill your brain with facts and information about our marine life. 

"So far this has been a stellar whale migration season, which will continue right through until November," Mr Soule said.

"The Solitary Islands Aquarium is 125 metres from the beach on Bay Drive, so we are encouraging families to come to the Marine Science Centre to learn about these great creatures before heading to Charlesworth Bay and the local headlands to spot the whales.

"There's a designated, 60km-long Coffs Harbour Coastal Walk maintained by NSW National Parks, which is also a great way to see the whales and enjoy the beautiful coastal environment."

Mr Soule said humpback and southern right whales made the 10,000 km journey up to the Coral Sea around Hervey Bay to mate and have their babies during winter, leaving the rich feeding grounds of the Antarctic waters where they spend the warmer months of the year.

"This is the biggest migration of any mammal, and they do it because it would be too cold for the calves to be born during the Antarctic winter as there wouldn't be enough protection from the cold," Mr Soule said.

"The whales eat up big during the warmer months then they hardly feed at all during their trip, which uses a lot of energy, especially as their babies drink hundreds of litres of milk a day to fatten up for the journey back to Antarctic waters.

"They are truly a magnificent animal."

Mr Soule said the new infographic display on whale migration at the Aquarium encouraged families to bring their kids to hear from experienced marine scientists and interact with marine creatures.

"Our program is very interactive with hourly fish feeding and talks from trained marine scientists, with a family-orientated experience where people actually learn something in a hands-on environment, which sets us apart from some of the bigger aquariums," he said.

"We want to give people an appreciation of how rich our marine environment is and also give them a greater awareness of how to take care of the ocean. Visitors can also see and learn about our ongoing world class research, including Southern Cross University's innovative mangrove jack breeding program."

The Solitary Islands Aquarium is open every day of the NSW school holidays from 10am - 4pm.

For more information visit solitaryislandsaquarium.com