Hervey Bay has an abundance of riches. It’s the stepping off point to World Heritage-listed K’gari-Fraser Island, home to some of the world’s best whale watching encounters in a region recently accredited as a Whale Heritage Site and it has arguably the safest, family-friendly beaches on the Queensland coast.
Hervey Bay - Revel in this Aquatic Playground
Take a breather
Kick off your shoes and relax. If you want to unwind, Hervey Bay has a laid-back lifestyle that welcomes barefoot walks along the beach, bicycle rides beside the ocean and eating takeaway fish and chips with your fingers. In the Bay, life is built around its stunning esplanade dotted with parks, playgrounds, jetties, picnic areas, barbecues, alfresco cafés, restaurants and shops. This water lover’s paradise is made for swimming, fishing, water sports and fun beach activities, no matter what the season. Temperatures range from 9 to 22 degrees Celsius in winter and 20 to 30 in summer.
Encounters with humpback whales (season July-October), turtles, dolphins and dugongs are possible through organised tours and by chance while out sailing or cruising on the water and also from the beach. Pods of dolphins are often spotted playing off the shoreline or at the end of the Bay’s iconic Urangan Pier, where you can also see schools of fish and rays in the clear waters below.
The pier, which stretches almost a kilometre seaward, is one of Australia’s oldest and longest, celebrating its centenary in March 2017. In years gone by, the pier was a major point of departure for the region’s coal, sugar and timber, and incoming fuel and manufactured goods. Initially stretching 1107m out to sea, the pier was partly dismantled in the 1980s when more than 200m of the structure was removed. A public outcry helped retain the 868m still remaining today and it is now a much-loved spot for tourists and locals for fishing, strolling and sightseeing. Just off the Esplanade in Zephyr Street, Scarness, walk through a doorway into the past at the award-winning Hervey Bay Historical Village and Museum to see how tough and resourceful early settlers needed to be to survive. Explore 21 buildings from those days, examine 12,000 items and take part in interactive demonstrations on a 1.2ha site. Look for the big fish.
Lifes Better at the Beach
Hervey Bay is blessed with beautiful beaches and usually calm waters sheltered by Fraser Island – perfect for family holidays and those hankering for a relaxing dip in the ocean. The beaches welcome long walks and if you’re lucky, you might spot one of the resident dugongs poking its snout out of the water periodically as it swims close to the shore, or a school of dolphins gliding through the sea.
Beyond building sandcastles, the beaches provide sandy bases for fun activities such as cricket, kite flying and throwing frisbees, and there are nearby parks, playgrounds and barbecues to enjoy. A 16km walking and bike path traverses almost the full length of the Esplanade – also known as Charlton Esplanade – from Urangan to Point Vernon and attracts scores of walkers, runners, cyclists, skateboarders and scooter riders. Even those with no intention of getting sand in their shoes or dipping their toes in the sea can enjoy the stunning bay vistas from this mostly flat walking path.
We’re a family-friendly haven
For the young and young-at-heart, making a splash at WetSide Water Park on Hervey Bay’s foreshore at Pialba is another fun adventure. The park, judged number 3 in the top 25 water parks in the world by Tripadvisor reviews in 2019, has recently opened two new waterslides and also has a wave rider. You can also test your mettle by climbing up the nets or ladder to the 7.3m-high sky towers and slipping down the slides at the new Pialba Adventure Playground.
Hervey Bay boasts a range of accommodation options – from five-star luxury to beachfront caravan and camping sites – one of the last places in Australia where you can park a van right on the shoreline. The Bay’s splendid natural setting, wide range of accommodation choices and attractions combine to ensure it offers something for just about everyone. It’s the ideal family-friendly getaway, a wonderful romantic escape and an eco-adventure mecca … after coming here, you won’t want to say goodbye.