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Hervey Bay

Hervey Bay Map


It's funny, we weren't really expecting much from Hervey Bay. It didn't initially stand out as anything other than a way of getting over to Fraser Island. Actually though, it's quite a nice little place and you can see why the population is 52,000 and growing.

Having arrived, had a look around and grown to like it though, we were still left wondering how it should fit into the itinerary - and part of this is down to the car hire.

We'd had the freedom of a car all holiday, so dropping it off at the airport and having to rely on a taxi to get back to town ($20) was a bit of a pain. And then lugging the cases from the hotel to the boat the next morning was a pain too. Why aren't the car hire offices in Urangan by the harbour?

It makes you feel that it might have been easier to get a taxi straight from the airport to the catamaran over to Fraser and ditch Hervey Bay altogether.

Getting there

Hervey Bay is around a three hour drive from Noosa, or an extra half an hour if you go via Tin Can Bay. We went the direct route, via Gympie, but that seemed a bit of ugly place really.

Hervey Bay Airport is small, but the onward connections to Sydney and Brisbane make it easier to build the region into your itinerary. It is also the best way to get to Lady Elliot Island.

Where to stay

We stayed at the Boat Harbour Resort, but found it a bit too far out of the way. A better choice would be the Mantra, which is right in the centre of the harbour by the Fraser Island ferry and whale watch departure points.

One place we'd recommend not to eat is the Boardwalk Seafood Takeaway, which we found a bit plastic and rubbish - considering where it is!

What to do

You come to Hervey Bay for two reasons - to go Humpack Whale watching in the bay itself and to transfer across to Fraser Island, the world's largest sand island. But that isn't all you can do here.

The 720 metre Urangan Pier opened in 1917 and is steeped in history. It used to be over a kilometre long and carry a railway line for the export of sugar and coal that the area is famous for. Nowadays it is famous as one of Australia's best fishing platforms, stretching so far into the sea that you don't really need a boat!

The pier is also in excellent condition, partly because it was built with turpintine trees that grow on Fraser Island, the wood of which is not affected by salt water.

Urangan Boat Harbour is a peaceful place to stop for lunch.

See Loggerhead Turtles hatch at Mon Repos

It wasn't the right time of year for us, but it Mon Repos is definitely on the list for next time. Imagine watching these massive turtles drag themselves ashore, dig a nest and lay a clutch of eggs. Or later in the season, seeing tiny hatchlings emerge from the sand and scurry back to the sea. Awesome - and it happens on this beach every year from November to late March.

Mon Repos, near Bundaberg, actually holds the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland. And while in Bundaberg, you can always try the famous rum!

Lady Elliot Island

Lady Elliot Island is the southern most coral cay of the Great Barrier Reef. Like Mon Repos, the island is an important breeding ground for Green and Loggerhead Turtles, which return to the same beach on which they were born - some up to 50 years ago.

The turtles nesting on Lady Elliot Island lay between 80 and 120 eggs per clutch, up to nine times in a season, with young hatchlings appearing around 8 weeks later.

The island is also a popular destination for snorkellers and is famous for a resident population of around 40 Manta Rays - the largest of the species. The biggest ever recorded was some 25 feet across!

What else can you do?

Visit Neptune's Reefworld looked small, but is quite popular. You could also give yourself a bit of a fright at the Fruit Bat (Flying Fox) colony at Tooan Tooan Creek. Watching a few hundred of those take off at dusk must be pretty impressive! Only look though, don't touch - the bats carry the deadly Lyssavirus.

Where to next?

Fraser Island

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