Lesa Stagg and Gina Woodman from the Girl's Academy.
Lesa Stagg and Gina Woodman from the Girl's Academy. Alistair Brightman

GALLERY: Esplanade lights up for 2018 Whale Parade

AS LIGHTS and music filled the night, Lesa Stagg danced the night away aboard the Girls Academy float, surrounded by friends, family and a cheering crowd of thousands.

But she was one of dozens on the colourful and zany collection of floats sailing down the Esplanade part of the Fraser Coast Chronicle Whale Parade.

Hervey Bay's tourist strip was alight with the sounds of the ocean as floats paraded down the town tourist strip.

Regarded as one of the city's leading tourism events, the parade represents the annual migration of the playful humpback whales that frequent the region's winter waters.

It's one of the major events in the Hervey Bay Ocean Festival, the ten-day festival celebrating the importance the region's ocean, whale season and seafood plays in the town economy.

For Quick Cat II skipper Sam Peaker, the parade reinforces how important the whale industry is to everyone in the community,

"It's unreal to be part of that experience, and to see the whole town get together and celebrate it together is great,” Mr Peaker said.

"We always like to see the schools getting involved, seeing the young ones grow up and experience what Hervey Bay is about. Mr Peaker said he'd seen higher numbers for this year's whale season, and sighted more mothers and calves in the local waters than previous years.