f you’re reading this article you must be heading to Hervey Bay soon or planning a trip there in the near future. In either case, this article will provide you with the information you need before your visit. With interesting facts about Hervey Bay as well as the top things to do there, you’ll be equipped with the best knowledge for planning an amazing trip to this beautiful part of Australia. So, read on.
Interesting Facts About Hervey Bay Australia
- Hervey Bay is touted as the whale watching capital of Australia
- Hervey Bay is popular for whale watching tours and as a gateway to Fraser Island and Lady Elliot Island
- Before it became a popular holiday destination, Hervey Bay used to be a string of sleepy fishing villages
- There is officially no such town as Hervey Bay, but the collection of seaside villages such as Urangan, Pialba, Boat Harbour and Torquay, clustered around the shores of Hervey Bay, have now grown together to be given their combined name
- Hervey Bay is known for its warm, subtropical climate, long sandy beaches, calm, blue ocean and a relaxed and unpretentious local community
- Fraser Island shelters Hervey Bay from the ocean surf, and the sea here is shallow and completely flat – perfect for the kiddies
Where is Hervey Bay?
Hervey Bay is located in Fraser Coast along the eastern coast of Queensland, Australia. In terms of distance, it is situated 119km southeast of Bundaberg, 292km north of Brisbane, 206km north of Sunshine Coast and 376km north of Gold Coast.
Distance from Hervey Bay to Bundaberg
The distance between Hervey Bay and Bundaberg is 119 km.
Distance from Hervey Bay to Brisbane
The distance between Hervey Bay and Brisbane is 292 km.
Hervey Bay Map
Top Things to Do in Hervey Bay
- Take a whale watching tour to see humpback whales
- Hop on a tag-along 4WD tour to Fraser Island
- Snag a ‘big one’ on a fishing charter in Great Sandy Straits
- See shipwrecks, coral reefs and plenty of marine wildlife on a boat cruise
- Go skydiving from 10,000ft or 14,000ft and land on the beach
- Indulge in some water sports activities including the latest water-sports craze to hit the waves – SeaKarts (small sports catamarans reaching speeds of up to 15 knots)
- Visit the bushland on a horse riding tour
- Dine on fresh and tasty seafood at the top restaurants in Hervey Bay
Whale Watching Hervey Bay
Hervey Bay’s main claim to fame is as the humpback whale-watching capital of Australia. It is clearly the best place in Australia for whale-watching. Humpback whales migrate more than 11,000 km (7,000 miles) every year from the Antarctic to northern Australian waters to mate and calve. On their return, they cruise into Hervey Bay‘s sheltered warm waters for a few days to give the calves time to develop a protective layer of blubber before continuing their arduous journey south to Antarctica. Since whaling was stopped in the 1960s, numbers have quadrupled from 300 to approximately 5,000.
Groups of young males arrive early in the season, and play in the bay, while many mothers with calves can be seen in this large bay during September and October. Humpbacks are showy aqua-acrobats; you’ll see waving pectoral fins, tail slapping, breaching or simply ‘blowing’. Whales are curious creatures, and many will roll up beside the whale-watching boats with one eye clear of the water, making those on board wonder who’s actually watching whom.
The best time to watch whales is in the early morning; most tour operators leave from the Urangan pier and boat harbour between 0700 and 0800.
Whale Watching Season Hervey Bay
The whale watching season in Hervey Bay is from August to early November every year. Whale-watching tours operate out of Hervey Bay every day (weather permitting) during the annual migrations between late July and early November. Sightings are guaranteed from August to the end of October (you get a free return trip if the whales don’t show).
Hervey Bay Whale Watching Tours
Hervey Bay’s many cruises can bring you closer to these gentle giants than you’ll ever come elsewhere. Whale watching tours leave from Urangan Harbour out to Platypus Bay and then zip around from pod to pod to find the most active whales. Most vessels offer half-day (four-hours) tours for around $100 for adults and $60 for children, and most include breakfast or lunch.
Some recommended operators include:
Spirit of Hervey Bay – is the largest vessel with the greatest number of passengers; has an underwater hydrophone and underwater viewing window.
That’s Awesome – This rigid inflatable boat speeds out to the whales faster than any other vessel. The low deck level means you’re nearly eyeball-to-eyeball with the big mammals.
MV Tasman Venture – Maximum of 80 passengers, underwater microphones and viewing windows.
Blue Dolphin Marine Tours – Maximum 20 passengers on a 10m catamaran.
Hervey Bay Whale Festival
If you can plan your visit to Hervey Bay during the Hervey Bay Whale Festival, you won’t be disappointed. Held over a week at the start of August, the Hervey Bay Whale Festival celebrates the return of the whales. Highlights include a jazz festival, the blessing of the fleet and a street parade.
See Hervey Bay Whale Festival for more information.
Fraser Island Trips from Hervey Bay
Hervey Bay is great for arranging a 4WD adventure on Fraser Island. Some hostels put groups together in tag-along tours. A maximum of five vehicles follow a lead vehicle with an experienced guide and driver. Rates hover around $300 to $320 for a three-day/two-night camping trip, and exclude food, fuel and alcohol.
Hervey Bay Fishing Charters
Fishing in Hervey Bay is the second most popular activity after whale watching; after all, it used to be a string of fishing villages before it became a popular holiday destination for Australians. The fishing in and around Hervey Bay is excellent, and if you’re not one of the fanatics who converge by the trailerload with their own gear and boats, numerous vessels operate fishing charters from Hervey Bay. MV Fighting Whiting and MV Princess II offer calm water fishing trips that include lunch. Lapu Charters can provide tailored fishing or diving expeditions.
Great Sandy Straits Hervey Bay Cruises
Cruising the Great Sandy Straits is one of the top activities in Hervey Bay. There are several cruise companies in Hervey Bay that offer both day and sunset cruises.
On a boat cruise along the Great Sandy Straits with Blue Horizon Cruises you will see shipwrecks, coral reefs and plenty of marine wildlife. The informative guides give you the run down on the area’s ecology and history.
Blackbird Yacht Charters offers sunset sails through to multiday cruises in the calm, clear waters of the Great Sandy Straits.
Fraser Island Rent-a-Yacht plies the same waters and also rents a range of vessels for self-charter.
Hervey Bay Skydiving
Hervey Bay is one of the best places for skydiving as the scenery is stunning as you plummet from the sky to the ground.
Hervey Bay Skydivers offers tandem skydives from 10,000ft and 14,000ft. They also have skydives over the beach.
Horse Riding Hervey Bay
Horse riding is popular anywhere in Australia and in Hervey Bay it’s just as popular.
The Susan River Homestead, about halfway between Maryborough and Hervey Bay, has popular horse-riding packages, which include accommodation, all meals and use of the on-site swimming pool and tennis courts. Casual two-hour horse-riding through bushland costs $60.
Hervey Bay Restaurants
Being a seaside town along the eastern coast of Australia, seafood dominates the cuisine at most of the restaurants and cafes in Hervey Bay. While there are many cafes, there are also a few restaurants in town; most of them are clustered along the Esplanade.
Best Restaurants in Hervey Bay
Below are the two best restaurants in Hervey Bay.
Pier Restaurant Hervey Bay
Although Pier Restaurant sits near the waterside, its main claim to fame is actually its delicious and fresh dishes. Locals rave about its seafood menu which includes the likes of mud crab claws with chilli mango, and oysters with frozen margarita. Located in Urangan, Pier Restaurant is open for dinner only from Monday to Saturday.
Bayswater Restaurant Hervey Bay
Located in Peppers Pier Resort, Bayswater Restaurant is an upmarket restaurant featuring modern Australian cuisine with European influences. Signature dishes include crispy-skinned salmon and chilli blue-swimmer crab linguini. With its superb views and airy ambience, it’s easy to see why it’s a favourite.
How to get to Hervey Bay?
There are several ways to get to Hervey Bay – by air, train or bus.
Hervey Bay Airport
The closest airport to Hervey Bay is off Booral Road in Urangan, on the way to River Heads.
Train to Hervey Bay
The nearest train station to Hervey Bay is Maryborough West train station. Trainlink buses connect the train station with the Coach Terminal in Hervey Bay. The trip takes 45 minutes.
Hervey Bay to Brisbane
There are two ways to get from Hervey Bay to Brisbane and back – by air and bus.
Qantas has several daily flights from Hervey Bay to Brisbane and back. The flight takes 45 minutes to and from Brisbane.
Hervey Bay to Brisbane Bus
Greyhound Australia and Premier Motor Service have several services from Hervey Bay to Brisbane and back. Suntours has daily bus services to Brisbane airport. The bus trip takes 5 ½ hours each way.
Hervey Bay to Fraser Island
Boats to Fraser Island leave from River Heads, about 10km south of town, and Urangan Marina. Fraser Island Barges and Kingfisher Vehicular Ferry both operate boat services from Hervey Bay to Fraser Island and back.
In addition, several tours operators have multi-day 4WD tours from Hervey Bay to Fraser Island leaving from Urangan Harbour.
Hervey Bay to Bundaberg
The only way to get from Hervey Bay to Bundaberg and back is by bus. Greyhound Australia and Premier Motor Service have regular bus services to Bundaberg which takes about 1 ½ hours one way.
Maryborough to Hervey Bay
The only way to get from Maryborough to Hervey Bay and back is by bus. Wide Bay Transit has hourly services from Urangan Marina (stopping along The Esplanade) to Maryborough every weekday, with fewer services on weekends. The bus trip takes one hour each way.
Noosa to Hervey Bay
The only way to get from Noosa to Hervey Bay is to take a bus from Maroochydore. Greyhound Australia and Premier Motor Service have several bus services to/from Maroochydore which take about 3 ½ hours.
Hervey Bay to Sydney
Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar has daily flights to/from Sydney. The flight takes two hours.
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