Hervey Bay has long had a deep connection with the ocean. A natural bay between the Queensland mainland and nearby Fraser Island, where the ocean is the town’s livelihood.
Hervey Bay is one of Queensland’s most scenic natural holiday destinations. It offers the world’s closest whale watching encounters, nearby to the world’s largest sand island, and first coral cay on World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. Hervey Bay also provides sheltered waters that make it an aquatic paradise perfect for swimming, diving, sailing, watersports and fishing. The local economy relies heavily on tourism from the ocean that offers so much.
Join in at the Hervey Bay Ocean Festival
To say thank you to the ocean, Hervey Bay each year hosts the Hervey Bay Ocean Festival, a 10-day program from 11th to 20th of August. The organised events highlight the town’s deep connection with the ocean. Think mouth-watering seafood, a blessing of the Fraser Coast’s famous fleet of whale watch vessels, music, cultural and conservation activities, market stalls, delicious wine and cheese tasting, and seaside vibes.
The Hervey Bay Ocean Festival coincides with the world-famous whale watching season between July and November. During this time, thousands of humpback whales travel the “humpback highway” to arrive in the calm, protected waters to rest, socialise and play before continuing their trip back to the Antarctic for the summer months.
Visitors are invited to take part in:
Blessing of the Fleet
Saturday 12 Aug | 4pm - 7:30pm
The blessing of Fraser Coast’s famous fleet of whale watch boats is a centuries old tradition which is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean. Designed to ensure a safe and prosperous season, the blessing is celebrated with a night of music, market stalls and a parade of ships, ending with a spectacular fireworks display. Based at Great Sandy Straits Marina, the whale watch boats will be open for inspection and there will be live entertainment throughout the evening, free face painting, free henna tattoos, free children’s activities, and a historic firing of a cannon.
Sunday 13 August | 10am - 4pm
Hosted by the local commercial fishing industry, the Hervey Bay Seafood Festival at Urangan Boat Harbour is an extravaganza of delicious wild caught seafood, entertainment, cooking demos and prizes galore. Having paid your $5 entry fee (under 18s are free), you can enjoy over 35 stalls brimming with their fresh catch, prepared in every way you can imagine. For wine lovers and those with a sweet tooth, there’s plenty to enjoy too!
Whale Parade and Concert
Saturday 19 August | 2pm - 8:30pm
An enchanting spectacle of lights and floats representing the humpbacks annual migration, the Whale Parade and Concert is an event not to be missed. Delighting all ages with an array of colour, the Esplanade is transformed into a sea of activity. The concert kicks off from 2pm at Seafront Oval, with fireworks ending the celebration at 8:30pm.
Paddle Out for Whales
Sunday 20 August | 8am - 2pm
This conservation and awareness event encourages locals and visitors participation. Jump onto a paddleboard, kayak or boat and paddle out onto the water in celebration of the wonderful whales that call Hervey Bay their temporary home each year. There’s a free sand sculpting workshop with World Champion sculptor Dennis Massoud, live music and entertainment, a Hawaiian dancing workshop and more.
Other festival events near Hervey Bay
Other festival events include ocean-themed storytime at Maryborough Library, ocean-themed movies at Hervey Bay Boat Club Cinema, and a boating and fishing swap-sell fundraising event.
Each event is unique and celebrates a particular aspect of Hervey Bay life and its connection to the ocean.
Heading to the festival? Why not take the opportunity to go whale watching with one of the experienced operators part of the festival? Explore the pristine waterways and diverse wildlife between Fraser Island and the Fraser Coast, and immerse yourself with the whales in the water. With so many packages available, you can choose the once-in-a-lifetime experience best for you.
Need to do some shopping? With its eclectic mix of retailers, Pialba Place is your one-stop shop for fashion, food, health, hair, beauty and everyday needs. Looking for the perfect oceanic keepsake to remember the Ocean Festival forever? The Gift Bag Collective has a unique collection of handmade wares you won’t find anywhere else, from hand-crafted jewellery, hand-woven shawls and scarves, pottery, crockery and bags, to hats and clothing. If you’ve got the kids in tow, join “The Place” Kid’s Club and shop in peace before heading back to the festival.
See you in August!
At any time of the year, Hervey Bay is a special place, but in August… the coastal colourful energy can’t be missed. Check out what else there is to do here.
17 / 05 / 2018