Located on the Fraser Coast in Queensland, the Fraser Island Gateway Drive offers the best of the Fraser Coast experience from the heritage and streetscapes of Maryborough, to up close encounters with the Humpback Whales and adventuring around World Heritage Listed Fraser Island.
The journey begins in history filled Maryborough before continuing to the aquatic playground of Hervey Bay and the Great Sandy Strait and experiencing the endless adventure of the world’s largest sand island, Fraser Island.
This region is home to an abundance of wildlife including kangaroos, whales, turtles, dingoes, dugongs, platypus and the world’s largest variety of bird species which can be encountered along this four day drive route.
Day 1 - Maryborough
Start your four day Fraser Coast adventure in the historical town of Maryborough on Queensland’s Fraser Coast. The streetscapes of Maryborough’s original wharf district, Portside, remain relatively unchanged from its days as a thriving river port, when it was one of Australia’s largest and busiest destinations for immigrants in the mid to late 1800s. Start your Portside experience with a Portside Heritage Gateway Pass, which includes entry into Customs House Interpretive Centre.
Continue soaking up the stories of Maryborough’s rich past by stopping in at many iconic attractions including the Duncan Chapman statue in Queens Park, an ode to the Maryborough local who was the first ANZAC soldier to set foot on Anzac Cove in Gallipoli in 1915. If you are wanting to delve further into the strong military ties within this community, head to the Maryborough Military Museum in Wharf St.
You can also further explore the Portside precinct by stepping up back in time at the Bondstore Museum and Brennan and Geraughty’s store or for those arts lovers, a visit to Gatakers Artspace is a must.
Check into your accommodation for the night in Maryborough, where there a number of options to suit any of your needs.
Day 2 - Maryborough to Hervey Bay
Continue north from Maryborough today towards the seaside hub of Hervey Bay. In Hervey Bay, make sure you visit the Fraser Coast Discovery Sphere and become immersed in the incredible world of the humpback whale with an ‘underwater whale’ encounter.
The Fraser Coast Discovery Sphere provides an immersive and educational experience on all things natural within the Fraser Coast. In Hervey Bay you can also enjoy the many waterfront parks, playgrounds and cafes that make up 16 kilometres of beachfront parkland pathways that are perfect for cycling. Alternatively, you can hire a kayak or jet ski and explore an aquatic playground.
Those travelling with children will love Hervey Bay’s free water education park, ‘Wetside’, where they can get soaked by the giant water bucket or learn to surf on the Board Rider.
To finish the day, take a relaxing sunset cruise exploring the Great Sandy Strait. Not only will you witness a magical sunset, you are also likely to see dolphins, birdlife and possible dugongs. Check in to your accommodation for the night in Hervey Bay, where there are a variety of accommodation styles to suit your needs.
Day 3 - Fraser Island
Today’s the day for exploring the largest sand island in the world, Fraser Island! You can opt to jump on one of the many day tours departing from Hervey Bay or for those wanting to experience their own adventure, take the four wheel drive and head to River Heads just outside of Hervey Bay and catch the barge to Fraser Island, where you will arrive at Kingfisher Bay.
Once you have arrived on the island (be sure to check your tyre pressure before proceeding), enjoy a day of off road driving around the Island taking in key sites such as Central Station and Lake McKenzie and continuing on 75 Mile Beach to reach the famous Maheno Wreck.
Whilst on the beach and if time permits, take the opportunity to see some of Fraser Island’s more remote inland lakes and sand blows from the air with a scenic flight. Avid fish persons can throw in a line off the beach in one of Australia’s most renowned fishing destinations. However, keep in mind not to swim in the ocean off Fraser Island’s eastern beach.
Make your way back to Kingfisher Bay to return to Hervey Bay on the evening barge.
Day 4 - Hervey Bay
Spend your last day back in Hervey Bay which is widely regarded as the whale watching capital of Australia, if not the world, and offers some of Queensland’s best fishing experiences as well as a range of beach café, dining and accommodation options.
The whale watching season in Hervey Bay takes place between July to November, and it is the only location along Australia’s east coast where humpback whales deviate from their migratory path to rest and play in the calm sheltered waters between Hervey Bay and Fraser Island (K’Gari). There are a range of whale watching options located in Hervey Bay, including a range of ‘swim with’ and immersive experiences which allow you to get closer to humpback whales than ever before!! Whilst in Hervey Bay, a whale watching tour is an absolute must do.
Alternatively, there are a number of other aquatic activities available along with the opportunity to unwind in a perfect spot on the beachfront before your journey comes to an end.
Not ready to leave just yet? Feel free to extend your driving holiday and opt to spend more time soaking up everything that Hervey Bay and the Great Sandy Strait has to offer.