Hervey Bay is an aquatic paradise north of Brisbane and one of the best places in Australia to experience nature in the wild. The safe, sheltered waters of Hervey Bay make it ideal for year-round water sports, from swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving to sailing and fishing.
By Stephanie Williams
Hervey Bay is a pretty, coastal city, with a pleasant subtropical climate. Each year between July and November whales migrate here to use the safe waters as a calf nursery. Whale watchers migrate here, too. This was one of the first places in the world to offer whale watching cruises, and on some cruises you can even swim with the whales.
Stroll along the Hervey Bay Esplanade for alfresco cafes and shops, picnic areas, playgrounds and a vibrant marina. Take a day trip to Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world and a haven for nature lovers. Adventure seekers can skydive and land on a tropical island or hop on a sport fishing charter to land a trophy fish.
- Watch breaching whales and see their newborn calves as they play in Hervey Bay's safe waters
- Take a day trip to Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world
- Stroll the Hervey Bay esplanade and enjoy alfresco dining, markets and boutique accommodation
How to get there
Hervey Bay is a 3 1/2 hour drive from Brisbane. A regional airport 10 minutes from Hervey Bay has flights to Brisbane and Sydney daily. Bus connections link Hervey Bay with Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. Queensland Rail operates regular services from Brisbane, Rockhampton and Cairns into Maryborough West, about 20 minutes from Hervey Bay. The Trainlink bus service connects with every train and provides transfers to Hervey Bay.
Things to do and top attractions in Hervey Bay
Jump aboard a whale watching tour
In the winter months (July to November), humpback whales travel up the Queensland coast from Antarctica to the warm waters of the Whitsunday Islands, stopping in the calm of Hervey Bay to breed and nurse their young. Hervey Bay is one of the best places in the world to go whale watching. See their playful antics with one of the accredited cruise operators around Urangan Pier. You might also see dolphins, dugongs and turtles. The arrival of the humpback whales each year is celebrated in August at the Hervey Bay Ocean Festival, with concerts, street parades and educational displays.
Get out on the water
The waters of the whole Fraser Coast (where Hervey Bay is located) are ideal for either a family houseboat or luxury sailing yacht holiday. You can learn how to sail a yacht and lead your own boating adventure, or charter a crew to sail for you. There's also kayaking, jetskiing and windsurfing to enjoy. Scuba divers should head to Wolf Rock and the wreck dives at the Roy Rufus Artificial Reef, the largest artificial reef in the Southern Hemisphere. The waters of the Great Sandy Strait are also among the best places in Australia to fish, attracting professionals and amateurs from around the world. Fishing enthusiasts can enjoy estuary, beach, jetty, reef and game fishing. Join a charter tour or hire your own vessel.
Explore Hervey Bay City
Familiarise yourself with the city and take a walk along the Hervey Bay Esplanade. You can walk or cycle along the 14 kilometre (8.7 mile) pathway that lines the foreshore from Urangan Harbour at the eastern end to Gatakers Bay in the west. The beautiful Orchid House, in the Botanic Gardens, is home to a collection of 20,000 orchids. The major seasonal flowering occurs in spring (from September to October) and autumn (from February to March) but there are always flowers in bloom. The Hervey Bay Historical Village and Museum features historical buildings housing more than 8000 exhibits from the area. At the Fraser Coast Discovery Sphere you can learn about the world of the humpback whale. The Hervey Bay Golf and Country Club welcomes visitors to play in the natural bush environment of its 18-hole championship course.
Take a day trip to Fraser Island
From Hervey Bay it's easy to access World Heritage-listed Fraser Island. Fraser Explorer offers day trips starting in Hervey Bay. Head across on the ferry then enjoy driving the sand highway (there are even road rules to obey), and see the island's highlights. Swim in the clear, fresh water of Lake McKenzie, see the rusting Maheno Shipwreck on the beach and admire the incredible coloured sands of The Pinnacles.
Explore Hervey Bay's surrounding areas
There's lots more to discover on the doorstep of Hervey Bay. You can hire a car and travel at your own pace on one of Hervey Bay's Discovery Trails. The region abounds in quaint country cafés and pubs, stylish espresso bars and fine dining restaurants. Dotted throughout the Fraser Coast hinterland are boutique wineries and shops selling gourmet local produce. A short drive from Hervey Bay, the picturesque fishing villages of Burrum Heads and Toogoom offer vast stretches of unspoilt beachfront. Stroll along soft, sandy beaches, or explore the rivers and creeks by boat or canoe. Sit and watch the pelicans and other abundant birdlife.
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