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 are plenty things to do all year around.
We are often asked what is the easiest / cheapest way to get to Hervey Bay – so here is the inside info and best tips ... access is easy and cheap (if you plan ahead!) ...
Hervey Bay is located approx a 2 hour drive north of Noosa and the Sunshine Coast, and approx 3 ¼ hours drive from Brisbane Airport. Access is available by train (Queensland Rail Tilt Train), air (Qantas and Virgin Australia), or by road.
Qantas flies to Hervey Bay from Brisbane with 4 convenient flights a day during the week and 3 on weekends. If you are coming from other destinations, be sure to search for flights from your originating port to Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast), as the through pricing will be cheaper than booking separate legs.
Sydney to Hervey Bay flights (via Brisbane) start at around $150 and offer the best arrival times (first flight from Sydney departs 6am arriving at 9am).
Brisbane to Hervey Bay flights start at $106. (4 flights a day)
Melbourne to Hervey Bay (via Brisbane) start at $220, with the first flights departing 6am and arriving 9am (good connection for Lady Elliot).
Virgin Australia flies direct from Sydney to Hervey Bay. There is only 1 flight a day which arrives and departs in the middle of the day (11:55 arrival in winter, 10:55 in summer). Flights start at $110.
Melbourne to Hervey Bay starts at $224 (via Sydney).
It is also worth considering flights to the Sunshine Coast, particularly if you are planning on a visit to Noosa as well as Hervey Bay. Virgin has flights from Sydney to Sunshine Coast from $89 and from Melbourne to Sunshine Coast for $125. Then hire a car for the trip to Hervey Bay.
I usually recommend looking at hiring a car if you are originating in, or coming via, Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast. It is an easy 3 1/4 hr drive from Brisbane or 2 hrs from Sunshine Coast. Australia Zoo is about half way and is a must-see stop if you are driving from Brisbane.
Hervey Bay itself is a big, spread out town, being 18km from one end to the other. There is no real CBD or centre of town, so it is difficult to explore and navigate without a vehicle. Car hire these days is very reasonable. You can hire a car for between $40 and $50 per day with unlimited kilometres. I use www.vroomvroomvroom.com.au to compare prices and book (and escape the one way delivery charge rental companies will try to hit you with if you are not returning to the same place). Make sure to let me know if you are coming by car so I can give you some cool sites to see on the way!
The Tilt Train is a great option for heading north. If you are arriving by plane to Brisbane you can get the airport link train to Roma Street Station where the Tilt Train departs.
There are 2 trips a day from Roma Street Station in Brisbane (except on Saturdays). The departure at 11:00am arrives in Hervey Bay at 3:30pm, and the 4:55pm arrives at 9:30pm. On Saturdays there is only 1 service which departs at 1:10pm and arrives at 6:45pm. One-way price for an adult is $86.50 (which includes the train-link bus from Maryborough to Hervey Bay). You can often save 20% on this with an advance purchase discount. The tilt train has very comfortable (allocated) seating with a shop where you can buy food, drinks, newspapers etc ... very civilized!
The Emeraldene Inn are agents for Queensland Rail so can help you with ticketing travel on the train. Airlines and rental cars you are best to book direct.