More than 52,000 people experienced the gentle giants of Hervey Bay waters this year despite strong winds putting a dent in numbers.
The dream is to elevate its status with the World Cetacean Alliance to an official 'whale sanctuary'.
A GROUP of lucky swimmers had the time of their lives when a pod of two whales decided to join in the fun and literally swim underneath them.
Footage of humpback whales playing in the Bay has impressed those at an international conference.
THESE photos prove exactly why Hervey Bay is the whale-watching capital of Australia.