A whale of a festival kicks off this Friday in Queensland’s self-professed “home of the humpback”.

The month-long Hervey Bay Whale Festival, starting on Friday (August 2), comprises a range of on- and off-water events, officially kicked off  by the ceremonial ‘Blessing of the Fleet’ (August 3), a maritime ritual aimed at giving safe passage to the boats, passengers and, of course, the whales that pass through the bay.

The festival coincides with the peak of Hervey Bay’s whale season, the waters in and around the area hosting as many as 7, 000 humpback whales, in the course of their annual breeding migration.

The program features an ‘illumination parade’, carnival rides, fireworks and musical events such as the Whale Aid Concert and the festival’s finale, the Migaloo Starlight Swing on August 31.

For more information visit herveybaywhalefestival.com.au and for holiday deal ideas see queensland.com/whales