The Whitsundays will come alive with festivities, food and fun in January 2018 when the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race arrives in Airlie Beach. 


The Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival will be a two-week celebration of exciting regional events and activities showcasing the beautiful Whitsundays and welcoming the Clipper fleet.

From January 13 to 29, the Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival will feature a Rodeo by the Reef, a White on Whitehaven Long Lunch, a Progressive Cruise Lunch and a free Clipper Race Welcome Party.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is a unique event, which sees seasoned skippers partnered with novice crews on an epic 40,000 nautical mile adventure. The Whitsundays will host the yachts, their crews and supporters as the final stop of the Australian leg of the race.

Kicking off the Carnival on January 19, is the free Clipper Race Welcome Party, on the Airlie Beach Foreshore. There will be live music and fresh local food and drinks, as well as markets, rides and activities for the kids, and a fireworks display finale.

Saturday January 20 will feature the White on Whitehaven Long Lunch, a feast of local seafood and slow-cooked barbecued meats on Whitehaven Beach, one of the most spectacular destinations in the world, preceded by a relaxing cruise to Whitsunday Island enjoying
champagne and canapes.

On Sunday, the Progressive Cruise Lunch will take place and diners can experience fine dining on the Coral Sea with a relaxing yacht cruise through the Whitsunday Islands, sipping sparkling wine and eating fresh local food, surrounded by glittering azure waters and infinite white beaches.


The following weekend – Australia Day Weekend – it will be all eyes on Bowen for the Rodeo by the Reef, which takes place on Saturday, January 27, and also includes the Whitsundays’ inaugural BBQ by the Reef event.

The Rodeo by the Reef will bring together the seaside and countryside in an exciting event for the whole family. Enjoy world class bull riding, bronco riding and barrel races, surrounded by the picturesque environment of the Whitsundays region.

You can test your riding skills on the mechanical bull and there will be live music, food stalls and much, much more, promising a memorable day out for the whole family.

The BBQ by the Reef, meanwhile, will see teams battle it out in a “cook off” for more than $8,000 in cash and prizes. The barbecue competition is being held in conjunction with the Australasian Barbecue Alliance and will be a round of the Barbeques Galore Australian Barbecue Championships.

And as if all this wasn’t enough, on both weekends, the community will have the opportunity to look inside the Clipper fleet’s vessels during ‘open boat’ tours at Abell Point Marina.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO Craig Turner said the two-week long Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival was going to be a feast for the senses, with plenty of action, food, fun and festivities taking place throughout the region.

“The whole region is going to come alive and there will be something for everyone at the Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival,” Mr Turner said, adding it was a joint initiative between Tourism Whitsundays, Tourism & Events Queensland, Whitsunday Regional Council, Abell Point Marina and the Australian Government.

Early Bird prices are available now for the ticketed events and accommodation packages are available to book at

The Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival At A Glance

Friday, January 19 :: The Clipper Race Welcome Party
Airlie Beach Foreshore. Free for everyone.

Saturday, January 20 :: White on Whitehaven Long Lunch
Whitehaven Beach. Early Bird Tickets from $300.

Sunday, January 21 :: Progressive Cruise Lunch
Various locations. Early Bird Tickets from $169.

Saturday, January 27 :: Rodeo by the Reef
Bowen. Early Bird Tickets from $20.

January 19-21 and 25-27 :: Public Open Clipper Race Yacht Days Abell Point Marina, Airlie Beach.


Set in the idyllic location of the Whitsunday Islands within the heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival will feature signature events such as a long lunch on the iconic Whitehaven Beach, a rodeo on the coastal beaches of Bowen and a large scale community welcome event. This will be Queensland’s pre-eminent National and Global sailing festival highlighting the stunning natural landscapes of the Whitsundays. Tickets available via the website.

The Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival  |  January 19 – 29  |  Airlie Beach  |