The whales are here!

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The humpback whales have arrived in Hervey Bay as they migrate from the Southern Ocean to breed in warmer waters. The Hervey Bay Whale Festival celebrates this annual migration as the whales frolic in the sheltered waters of the Fraser Coast with an exciting line-up of events.


Hervey Bay is the whale-watching capital of Australia. Image Fraser Coast Tourism

Hervey Bay is the whale-watching capital of Australia. Image Fraser Coast Tourism

Hervey Bay’s reputation on Queensland’s Fraser Coast as Australia’s whale watching capital was made official in 2019, when the region was dubbed the world’s first Whale Heritage Site by the World Cetacean Alliance.

This 6, 000sqkm area, covers about 20 percent of the Great Sandy Marine Park, spanning from Rooneys Point, across to Burrum Heads, and as far south as Big Woody Island. The area is part of the wider Great Sandy Biosphere, awarded reserve status by UNESCO back in 2009.

The Hervey Bay Whale Festival celebrates these magnificent creatures each year and kicks off with an all-new event, Song to the Ocean. Showcasing acclaimed Australian ensemble, DeepBlue, visitors to Hervey Bay can enjoy a euphoric musical experience under the night sky to get in the mood for all things maritime and ocean-oriented. Song to the Ocean is a free event held at Seafront Oval from 6pm over two nights, 29-30 July.

Then there is the crowd favourite, the Blessing of the Fleet, which returns to the Hervey Bay Marina on Saturday 31 July at 4pm. The vibrant blessing, where boats are adorned with flags and crew dress up in colourful costumes, was traditionally held to wish mariners good fortune at the start of the season. The Blessing celebration runs all afternoon and into the evening, culminating with the soulful Aloha Mai E Chant.


Blessing of the Fleet. Image Fraser Coast Tourism

Blessing of the Fleet. Image Fraser Coast Tourism

Next up is the revamped Whale Parade & Family Day held on Sunday 1 August from 1pm. The family-friendly day will include the much-loved parade, the homecoming of the Dungry Derby, live music, children’s entertainment and rides and plenty of food vendors to go around.


Whale Parade and Family Day. Image Fraser Coast Tourism

Whale Parade and Family Day. Image Fraser Coast Tourism

The cherished Paddle Out will take place on Saturday 7 August from 9am, allowing visitors to check out the Torquay Markets as the event finishes. The Paddle Out encourages visitors to paddle out into the ocean (using a paddleboard or kayak) for a minute of silence to recognise the importance of the ocean and whales to the world. Visitors interested in participating are asked to register at Hervey Bay Whale Festival.


Paddle Out in solidarity with whales and ocean conservation. Image Fraser Coast Tourism

Paddle Out in solidarity with whales and ocean conservation. Image Fraser Coast Tourism

Creating Waves is a new event to be held at University of the Sunshine Coast, Hervey Bay campus on Saturday 7 August from 6-8pm. This free event provides audiences with detailed stories on conservation and research regarding the impact of conservation of Australia’s Humpback Whales.

The last celebration is the drool-worthy Seafood Festival held on Sunday 8 August at Seafront Oval, Pialba. A lively days is anticipated on the waterfront with an outstanding selection of speciality food vendors from local providers, jazz-inspired live entertainment, cooking demonstrations, and an exclusive craft beer bar and. Purchase your tickets to the Hervey Bay Seafood Festival.

More information: Hervey Bay Whale Festival and Visit Fraser Coast.


View whales in the wild from a whale watching boat tour. Image Fraser Coast Tourism

View whales in the wild from a whale watching boat tour. Image Fraser Coast Tourism

About the author: Fiona Harper is a Queensland-based travel writer – follow Fiona at Travel Boating Lifestyle

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