AUSSIE EXPERIENCE: Australia Day Festival organiser Jacqui Nichols and Jim Bennett with a baby saltwater crocodile at last year's event.
AUSSIE EXPERIENCE: Australia Day Festival organiser Jacqui Nichols and Jim Bennett with a baby saltwater crocodile at last year's event. John McCutcheon

Australia Day fun at Noosa

THE fourth annual Noosa Australia Day Festival on January 26 promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Event organiser Jacqui Nichols said the free event had grown from humble beginnings and a crowd of just 1200.

"Last year there were 8500 people and this year we expect even more to come along.”

Ms Nichols said the event's popularity was mainly due to the fact that all ages were catered for.

"It's not just for kids,” she said.

"There are things to keep people of all ages entertained throughout the day, from the Rotary Big Breakfast at 7am until the headline act on the main stage at 4.15pm.

"This year the headline act is Cheap Fakes and they headline events and festivals Australia-wide. They're fantastic.”

Other bands taking to the stage include Harii Bandhu, Tribal Groove, Andrea Kirwin, David Flower Band, Living in the 70s and The Lyrical.

Ms Nichols said the day would be filled with music, rides, animals, entertainment and food.

"There's the big giant slide, a 9m rock wall climb, the big cup and saucer ride that fits adults, plus laughing clowns and balloon popping in sideshow alley,” she said.

"I rack my brains trying to make it a bit different each year and keep trying to grow it on our shoestring budget.”

There will be stilt walkers and Nickleby the Magician on stage, while Luke's Reptile Kingdom will have a selection of venomous snakes and other reptiles to pat for the adventurous at heart, and horse rescuer Sally Clayton will have her favourite ponies along for a ride.

Funds raised from the community event will be donated to local charity United Synergies for its Youth in Mental Health Crisis Program, as well as Katie Rose Cottage and St Vincent de Paul.

The festival is a joint initiative of the Tewantin Noosa Lions and the Rotary Club of Noosa Heads.