Australia’s Quirky Tuna Tossing Festival

In the city of Port Lincoln, Australia things get a little bit fishy every January – as this is when Port Lincoln residents celebrate the annual Tunarama Festival. The biggest industry in Port Lincoln is the fishing industry, so this festival celebrates this with fireworks, live music, boat building competitions, stalls and bands, street parades and much more. However, the main event of the festival is the World Championship Tuna Toss Competition.

Spectators come from all around to watch tourists and locals compete and the winner of the competition is the person who can throw a tuna the furthest. The current record is 37.23 metres, which is pretty impressive!

Tunarama Festival: A Morning of tuna fishing
A Morning of fishing: Photo Julien Menichini / CC 2.0

The Tunarama Festival in Australia

The Tunarama festival has been running since 1962 it takes place on the Australia Day long weekend. In this year’s festival an 8 kilogram tuna from the Southern Ocean of Australia was used for the competition. A total of 10 men and 10 women competed in the final, including competitors from Prague, Paris, Canada, Japan and the Solomon Islands. Most of the competitors use a hammer throw style to hurl the fish as far as possible.

In the past few years a plastic replica of a tuna has been used, after concerns were raised about wasting a valuable seafood.

The winners this year were a married couple from Port Lincoln, Matt and Shanell Staunton. They returned the title of champion to Australia, after a Japanese visitor was the winner of the toss last year. To win the title Mr. Staunton hurled his tuna 24 metres, while Ms. Staunton won the women’s title by throwing the tuna 11 metres. Mr. Staunton has competed in the event before and has won on a number of other occasions.

Children who are not strong enough to take part in the tuna toss can participate in the pint-sized version – the Prawn Toss.

One of the highlights of the Tunarama festival that is not to be missed is the Telstra street procession. There will be colourful floats, vehicles and costumed characters along the streets. The entrants in the procession will be competing for the title of Pageant Personality, while the local clubs and businesses will be vying for a number of prizes as well. The parade is a bright and vibrant display of colour and energy, so why not join in the fun?

Tunarama Festival
Yellow Fin Tuna: Photo Bill Abbott / CC 2.0

The fireworks display is another very important part of the festival. The best place to watch the sky light up with these fiery blasts of colour is on the beach, so make sure that you get there early so that you can find a great spot.

The event also features a lot of great entertainment, including Latino dancers, magicians, interactive children’s performers, bands and much more. There is also a collection of midway rides, as well as a merchandise alley showcasing a range of food and information.

Why not plan a trip to Australia on the Eyre Peninsula Drive to Port Lincoln to take part in this fun and fishy Tunarama festival?

About Kelly Dunning


A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word. She and her English boyfriend Lee run, packed full with travel guides, stories and inspiration for those who dream of travel. They have been location independent and travelling the world digital-nomad style for the last three years, with no address, no car and no fixed schedule.

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