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Great Barrier Reef Festival back for 2024

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THE GREAT Barrier Reef Festival is one of the biggest events on the Whitsundays calendar every year.

Thousands of people pour into Airlie Beach for a host of different activities and entertainment, over the four days.

This year, the festival is taking place from August 1 to August 4, 2024.

“Join us in the Whitsundays over four days to celebrate the Great Barrier Reef with free family fun, nightly entertainment, the brilliant Immerse art installations, many reef experiences and so much more!” a spokesperson said.

So, save the date and get planning. Here’s a summary of what’s on and what you need to diarise.

More information at www.greatbarrierreeffestival.com.au

Coral Sea Marina Resort Lantern Parade

Date: 02/08/2024
Time: 5.30pm – 7pm
Location: Coral Sea Marina, Airlie Beach

Lanterns lighting the way – from the marina to the foreshore

This popular event is a highlight with the kids as they light up the foreshore with their hand-made lanterns.

The parade will depart from the Coral Sea Marina Garden Bar, bringing colour and light along the Bicentennial Boardwalk, past Sorrento’s Restaurant and Bar, and along the foreshore to the movie screen, where the ‘Welcome to Country’ and Traditional dance will commence.

Lantern-making workshops will, as usual, be held prior to the event, hosted by the festival and marina teams. Dates and locations to be confirmed.

The workshops are made possible by the Australian Government’s Festivals Australia Grant. 

If you don’t have the time to create your own, there will be ready-made lanterns available for purchase on the night.

Airlie Beach Foreshore comes alive!

The Great Barrier Reef Festival has welcomed Siebel Whitsundays as its new 2024 sponsor for the evening ‘Fireworks on the Foreshore’.

To open the evening, Yooribaya Cultural Experiences will return to delight with their ‘Welcome to Country’ and Smoking Ceremony, followed by traditional dance and whale story performance.

As dusk arrives, the festival’s ever expanding and enchanting art installation ‘Immerse’ will light up, showcasing the beauty of the underwater world.

Make sure to find a spot before 8.30pm to enjoy the spectacular fireworks display over the Coral Sea. Bring a rug and sit on the beach.

Back on the Main Stage, get ready for captivating performances by a variety of artists soon to be announced.

Music and entertainment are free for everyone, with a small cover charge to enter the bar, to enjoy stage side seats and front row views to the fireworks – tickets can be booked online to avoid the queues.

The entertainment will be spread along the foreshore with night markets and the Whitsunday Foodservice ‘Eat Street’ providing a delightful culinary experience.

There will be carnival rides in the lagoon carpark and ‘Finding Dory’ will be showing on the movie screen, while pop-up performers rove the foreshore ready to surprise and delight.

Main stage events kick off at 6pm and a great line-up is being organised.

Check the Great Barrier Reef Festival website and social channels for details.

Twilight & Fireworks Cruise on Camira

Date: 02/08/2024
Time: 5.30pm – 8.30pm
Location: Cruise Whitsundays Maritime Terminal, Port of Airlie

View the fireworks on Cruise Whitsundays Twilight Cruise

Sit back and relax and join the Great Barrier Reef Festival and Cruise Whitsunday for a stunning ‘all inclusive’ twilight cruise.

Enjoy the beauty of Airlie Beach from the ocean, while sailing on Camira, and watch the amazing firework show over the water.

A great start to the evening’s festivities, and the perfect way to wind down after a day in paradise, cruising around the bay, drink in hand, while the sun sets and Airlie comes alive.

On arrival back into the Port of Airlie after your cruise, it’s just a short stroll to the foreshore to enjoy the rest of the evening’s reef festival activities.

Immerse Art Installations

Date: 01/08/2024 – 04/08/2024 – All Day
Location: Airlie Beach Foreshore

Creating an underwater marine wonderland

Dive into the mesmerising beauty of the Great Barrier Reef at the festival’s renowned ‘Immerse’ reef-inspired art installation, scattered across the Airlie Beach foreshore, centred beneath the iconic fig tree.

Experience the Immerse Whitsundays Art Installation, from Friday to Sunday night, where local artists have skilfully crafted a breathtaking display of sculptured reef creatures and corals, using recycled plastic and marine debris.

Thanks to art facilitators Donna Maree Robinson and Margaret Burgess Art. And a shout out to artist Anita Pender, Brigitte Peel and Liz Knight from Positive Creations Glass Art, and art director Margie Murphy.

Sculpture workshops will be held prior to the event, hosted by the festival team, where both adults and children can unleash their creativity and craft their own unique sculptures. Dates for 2024 to be advised.

Reef Experience with Master Reef Guides

Date: 02/08/2024
Time: 8am – 4pm
Location: Cruise Whitsundays Maritime Terminal, Port of Airlie

A Reef Journey with the Master Reef Guides 

Back for one day only, in 2024, the Master Reef Guides are once again hosting this amazing reef experience in conjunction with Cruise Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Exclusive to the Great Barrier Reef Festival, this tour provides a boutique, intimate reef encounter for all those aboard Cruise Whitsunday’s ‘Heart Pontoon’.

This is an amazing experience where guests will benefit from the knowledge and passion of a host of the reef’s most ardent ambassadors.

Activities led by the Master Reef Guides will include the usual snorkel safaris, semi-submersible adventures, ‘Eye on The Reef’ monitoring experiences and in-water photography and videography sessions, together with a host of additional activities listed below.

This hands-on learning experience ensures a personal experience where you will truly be ‘learning from the masters’.

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