Hervey Bay is best known for its access to Fraser Island, Lady Elliot Island (Great Barrier Reef), and for its renowned status as the “Whale Watching Capital of the World”. There is also a lot to recommend Hervey Bay as a destination in itself, with so much to see and do in Hervey Bay and it’s surrounding villages. Whether you are an international visitor on an east coast adventure, or an “Aussie local” looking for a great beachside holiday, you can’t go wrong planning an extra couple of days in Hervey Bay to unwind, relax, and enjoy the serenity of this beautiful coastal town.
Top 10 Hervey Bay Things to Do
Hervey Bay’s iconic pier was built in 1913 to take sugar, coal and timber from Maryborough and surrounds. It was originally 1107m in length prior to being decommissioned as a commercial pier in 1985 and shortened to a still impressive 870m. The pier is a lovely walk at any time of day, with a myriad of fisherman and “colourful characters” to entertain you on the way. Enjoy the great views of the western side of Fraser Island, some great photo opportunities at sunset, or hire some fishing gear and throw in a line!
The 14km bike and walking track that extends the length of the Esplanade and runs along the beach / foreshore is great for a walk, jog or even better – hire some bikes (shop diagonally opposite the pier or from Aquavue Cafe half-way along the Esplanade). There are community BBQs in the parks to enjoy a day on the beach or a picnic in the park!
Swimming / Beaches
Hervey Bay sits in the lee of Fraser Island, and hence has a calm and protected 12km long north-facing beach. The stinger-free waters are safe for swimming all year round, with an average water temperature between 21 and 26 degrees – often warmer in than out!! To enjoy miles of almost deserted beach, head 10 minutes out of town up the Burrum Heads Road to Dundowran Beach – take the camera for some awesome sunset pics!
Wetside Water Park
The Water Park is fantastic for families with kids of all ages. Best of all – its free!!! For the slightly older kids there is the Flipside BoardRider Wave Machine right next door which has a small charge per ride ($5). Don’t miss the laser light show at sunset on Friday and Saturday nights (summer months).
With over 1000km2 of protected waters in Platypus Bay, the Fraser Coast offers some of the best and varied fishing experiences of any destination in Australia! Estuary, beach, reef, jetty, pier, fly (fresh and saltwater) and game fishing is on offer all year round. When the whales are here in August – October, the tailor are running off Fraser Island, offering some exciting beach fishing, and then shortly after in the early summer, black marlin are plentiful around the top of the island. For the weekend fisherman, try the end of the pier, the rock wall at the marina, or the end of the jetty at Toogum. Check out the Fraser Coast Fishing Trails for all the info you need or ask us about organised fishing trips / tours. We have some of the best and well known fishing guides in Australia at your disposal!
On the Water
Outside of whale watching season there are lots of opportunities to get out on the water. Try a morning dolphin watching cruise (you might also see dugongs!), a Sunday Lunch cruise, a Remote Fraser Island trip up the rarely visited west coast of Fraser, or a relaxing sunset cruise.
The calm waters along the foreshore are also perfect for kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, sailing (catamarans) and kitesurfing. Hire equipment is available from Enzos and Aquavue on the beach side of the Esplanade.
Eating / Drinking
Hervey Bay has some amazing and varied dining experiences, including one of the top 10 restaurants in all of Queensland – Coast (a must do experience!). I also recommend the Bayswater (upmarket pub opposite the pier), Santinis (Italian), Black Dog Cafe (great small local restaurant), and Enzos On The Beach for breakfast. On Saturday nights the seafood buffet at Kingfisher Resort is great value – $79 per person includes a return jet-cat transfer from Urangan Marina. Don’t forget to try the famous Hervey Bay Scallops!
Discovery Sphere ($7.50)
This amazing interactive discovery centre opened in late 2012 and is an excellent opportunity for visitors of all ages to learn about the great natural wonders of our region. Whales, turtles, Fraser Island, indigenous legends and history and so much more. There is a stunning theatre experience and hands-on animal experiences and nature talks during school holidays. – definitely worth an hour or 2.
Historical Museum ($7)
Step back in time and see what growing up in regional Australia in the “good old days” was really like! This hidden gem features volunteers dressed in period costumes, over 21 buildings with displays and lots of live demonstrations including rope making, blacksmithing, corn shelling, wood turning etc. Open Friday, Sat, Sun and public and school holidays. You should allow at least 2 hours.
Birdwatching / Gardens / Photography
There are over 290 species of birds in the Fraser Coast region and over 350 on Fraser Island – a birdwatchers paradise! Check out the Botanic Gardens, Arkarra Lagoons and Dundowran Beach. Whilst at the Botanic Gardens it is worth a visit to the Orchid House which has over 20,000 orchids! You should also check out the traditional Chinese Garden, built with co-operation from our Chinese sister city Leshan. For the photographer, in addition to these locations, it is worth a drive out to Toogum which sits at the mouth of the Beelbi Creek. A little pub / restaurant (Goodeys) is a great place on a Sunday afternoon with live music and a stunning outlook.
Of course, when planning your Hervey Bay getaway, don’t forget to stay at the best and most awarded Hervey Bay Accommodation – the Emeraldene Inn & Eco-Lodge. We would love to have you stay with us, and we are always happy to assist in your holiday planning.
by Rob Lennon Emeraldene Inn & Eco-Lodge, Hervey Bay