Nature lovers will join the migration to the Home of the Humpbacks, Hervey Bay, this month for the annual Whale Festival celebrating the gentle giants of the sea.
The Fraser Coast splashes out with a gigantic showcase of events and entertainment from July 18 marking the opening of the world’s best whale-watching season.
Highlights include the Blessing of the Fleet on July 18, the Paddle Out for Whales on July 25 and exciting family spectacle the Illumination Parade and Whale Concert on October 18.
In the opening event, the Fraser Coast’s famous fleet of whale watch boats are blessed in a centuries old tradition at Hervey Bay Marina to ensure a safe and prosperous season.
Councillor for Events, Sport, Recreation and Open Spaces, Darren Everard, said visitors could tour the many whale watch vessels, wander through market stalls and enjoy delicious wine and cheese tasting.
“The whale watch fleet will do a sail past, followed by a spectacular evening fireworks display and live entertainment,’’ he said.
Next on the agenda is the Paddle Out for Whales where visitors are encouraged to jump aboard a paddleboard, kayak or boat to celebrate a love of whales in the whale-watching capital of the world.
“We are hoping to create our biggest paddle out yet this year to continue the important anti-whaling message to the world.”
“This year we are taking the paddle out back to its roots, with a major focus on conservation of the environment to protect our beautiful marine creatures,”Cr Everard said.
The Paddle Out starts at 3pm with participants on all manner of floating devises linking in a giant circle and observing a minute’s silence to commemorate the whales’ significance to the area and environment.
Whale Festival fun on the Fraser Coast
Highlights for the day also include environmentally focussed fun workshops for the kids, environmental speakers, amateur sand sculpting, prize giveaways and more.
Culminating the festival and the annual whale season is the vibrant Illumination Parade lighting up the streets of Hervey Bay followed by a fantastic night of live entertainment.
“The Illumination Parade represents the annual migration of the humpback whales that return to Hervey Bay’s pristine waters each year to rest and play.
“Hundreds of people line the streets while community groups, families and individuals carry lanterns that light up the night,” Cr Everard said.
The Fraser Coast is Australia’s Home of the Humpbacks where the natural shape and calm protected waters of Hervey Bay offer a natural playground for thousands of the majestic creatures and the best up-close and personal whale watching encounters in the world.
Every year an estimated 22,000 humpback whales migrate from Antarctica to the warm waters of the Whitsunday Islands to breed.
On their return journey between late July and early November, the proud new parents and the cutest calves on earth make a temporary home in the tranquil marine environment of Hervey Bay creating a wonderland of intimate and interactive whale activity.