THE famous white humpback whale Migaloo could pass Bundaberg this afternoon or this evening as it joins the annual migration north.
Migaloo has been spotted moving up the coast, and whale watching operations are gearing up to try to find the animal.
Julie Kachel, a member of the Whale One crew that operates out of Mooloolaba, said they went out yesterday to try to find Migaloo, but without success.
She said the whale could pass Bundaberg today.
However, she doubted people would be able to see it from the shore.
"They always go out further as they go north," she said.
"But people could get lucky."
Bobbi Hayter, manager of Spirit of Hervey Bay whale watching cruises, said Migaloo tended to pass to the eastern side of Fraser Island.
She said they usually started looking for Migaloo when the migration headed south.
"We don't start whale watching until July 19," she said.
"Migaloo hasn't come into the bay for quite a few years.
"We're hoping to get him on the return."
Mrs Hayter said in August, September and October hundreds of whales came into the bay because it was sheltered, especially if they had calves with them.
She said a smaller white whale was spotted in the area last year.
Environment Minister Andrew Powell said Migaloo was the white wonder all Queensland whale watchers hoped to catch sight of, but it was important to remember "special interest" rules now applied to him and all other white whales.
"Most importantly, no-one can bring a boat or jetski closer than 500m or fly an aircraft closer than 2000 feet to a special interest whale like Migaloo without authorisation," he said.