Whale of a Time: Hervey Bay Whale Festival


Whale of a Time: Hervey Bay Whale Festival 1

The Fraser Coast’s answer to Christmas in July, wintertime celebrates all things whales here in Hervey Bay. As the humpback whales start to arrive at the world’s first Whale Heritage Site, they receive a warm welcome at the Hervey Bay Whale Festival. Held across various locations over two action-packed weekends in July and August, the festival celebrates our unique connection to these gentle giants, through family-friendly art displays, workshops, music, food and everything else in between. Celebrate this special time of the year with us, and join the pec-tacular lineup of new and revamped events at this year’s Hervey Bay Whale Festival:

Celebrate another whale watching season:
The first weekend of the festival (July 29-31) is jam-packed full of new and signature events, and celebrates Hervey Bay’s culture and heritage as the world’s first Whale Heritage Site. This year, we welcome the inaugural Song to the Ocean, a FREE night under the stars (held July 29-30) with the critically-acclaimed Australian string ensemble, DeepBlue. An extraordinary collaboration of over 30 local musicians on Butchulla Country, dialogue with Elders, plus breathtaking visual light installations, and the sights and sounds of the local marine life that call our marine park home.

On Saturday afternoon, join us for the much-loved Blessing of the Fleet. An annual tradition here in Hervey Bay (and believed to have originated in Mediterranean communities), join our whale watching fleet for an intimate celebration of culture and heritage. The night features a moving multi-faith blessing, including a traditional Welcome to Country and Aloha Mai E Chant, to wish our fleet a safe and prosperous season with the whales – plus plenty of kids activities and delicious food stalls on offer!

And finally, on Sunday, August 1, the revamped Whale Parade and Family Day is back. Held at Hervey Bay’s picturesque Seafront Oval, the event will commence from the new family-friendly timeslot of 1-6pm. With this year’s theme “Splash” in mind, experience the enchanting Whale Parade from 2:30pm, with a sea of underwater-themed eco-friendly floats migrating along the Charlton Esplanade. Following the parade, join Rhubarb Tarts and Matt Barker at the Seafront Oval for a traditional Welcome to Country, followed by the homecoming of the Dunga Derby and a family-fun afternoon with plenty of rides, activities, and delicious local cuisine to choose from!

To learn more about the Hervey Bay Whale Festival, click here

Paddle Out for Whales:
The following weekend, from 9am on August 7, the highly-acclaimed Paddle Out for Whales returns to Torquay Pier, Hervey Bay. Now entering its 12th year, Paddle Out for Whales was founded by a group of passionate locals to protest against whaling practises worldwide. Today, the day maintains a strong focus on conservation, as well as celebrating Hervey Bay as an ecological site of importance for the species worldwide through song and dance.

Event proceedings for 2021 include a traditional Welcome to Country, plus live music from Frank Benn and the Torquay Markets, as well as the main event of the morning; a paddle out (via kayak and paddleboards) from Torquay Beach, observing a minute silence to recognise the importance of Hervey Bay as a Whale Heritage Site. Registration for the paddle out is FREE. To get involved, click here

Later that evening, we introduce a new event, Creating Waves, held from 6-8pm at the University of Sunshine Coast (USC). Creating Waves is a FREE educational session, with special guest speakers including UCS’s Dr. Kathy Townsend, ex-Sea Shepard crew member, Cassie Smith, PWF’s Dr. Stephanie Stack, and Oceania Project’s Dr. Wally Franklin. The night offers keen water babies insightful stories about humpback whale conservation efforts, the latest scientific research and studies from Hervey Bay and abroad, impacts facing the Australian east coast population, and ways we can all help conserve the species in the future. To register your tickets, click here

To view the complete itinerary for this year’s Hervey Bay Whale Festival, click here

Hervey Bay Seafood Festival:
On August 8, we wrap the Whale Festival with the highly-anticipated Hervey Bay Seafood Festival, debuting from its new location at the Seafront Oval. One of the yummiest events of the year, the Seafood Festival is set to return bigger and better than ever, and is sure to reel in your tastebuds with our Signature Seafood Stalls from local favourites; Tres Salsa, Odyssey Bistro, Waters Edge Restaurant & Bar and EAT at Dan + Steph’s. Hervey Bay Seafood Festival’s OG Pepe’s Prawn Shack and Fisherman’s Daughter will also be making an appearance on the day. Make sure you save room for dessert, with the likes of Sweet Floz Churros and Delightful Dutch Pancakes joining us.

Wash it all down with the extensive mouthwatering range of craft beer and wine available. A long list of wineries will be there, including Ohana Winery, Hill of Promise, Moffatdale Ridge, and Kingsley Grove Estate. Wander over to the Main Bar where you’ll find our friends from Your Mates Beer, Cheeky Tiki Ciders and Kalki Moon Spirits. There will also be a Can Bar, exclusively selling a range of Your Mates Beer, and a Cocktail Bar thanks to Crafty Cargo, decked out with Coffee Martinis, Melchellas and Margaritas!

We have a huge lineup of live music on the day, including The Long Johns, The Pacific Belles, Slips & The F.W’s, Transit and Sons of Leon, to keep both your toes and your tastebuds dancing well into the afternoon. To snag your tickets to this year’s Hervey Bay Seafood Festival, click here


Stay and play:
There is more than meets the eye at the world’s first Heritage Site. There are obvious must-dos, like booking your whale watching adventure while you’re in town, or paying a visit to the world’s largest sand island, K’gari (Fraser Island). Hervey Bay also boasts many other yummy eateries and experiences to check off your bucket list, as well as the heritage-listed streetscapes of Maryborough, 30-minutes down the road for a perfect day out on the town. See you soon!

Hervey Bay Whale Festival 2021 is proudly sponsored by Fraser Coast Tourism & Events, Fraser Coast Regional Council, and University of the Sunshine Coast