WHALES are feeling playful on their northbound journey through Great Barrier Reef waters but the most famous whale in the world looks to be taking a detour via New Zealand.

Passengers and crew on-board Poseidon Outer Reef Cruises spotted this humpback whale on their way out of the Cairns shipping channel on Monday.

It is believed there were two humpbacks in the area, but only one was seen playing and showing off for the tourist boat.

Whale season is currently in full swing in the Far North, with record numbers of the marine mammals making the annual journey from Antarctica to the Reef for mating and to give birth.

The most famous of these whales is usually Migaloo, the all-white humpback.

However it seems Migaloo might give FNQ a wide berth this year, after he was believed to have been spotted in New Zealand waters.

The New Zealand Herald reported on Monday that a albino humpback was sighted off the coast of NZ's North Island, with an expert claiming the animal was more than likely to be Migaloo.