3 Jun 2020
While Hervey Bay is often simply thought of as the whale watching destination there’s a lot more to this coastal town than just whales. We caught up with our park manager Georgie at Discovery Parks – Fraser St, Hervey Bay to get her top tips for things to see do when you stay in Hervey Bay.
1. Visit Fraser Island
You cannot come for a holiday to Hervey Bay without experiencing the World’s largest sand Island – K’Gari or most commonly known as Fraser Island. There are so many different types of Tours you can do, all year round, where you get an expert insight into the World Heritage Listed Site. Singles, Couples and Families are all catered for. Only one of the Tour Operators will take children younger than 4 though, but that’s not a problem, just take the child’s car seat along. We recommend packing a small amount of snacks for the kids and the usual sunscreen, bathers and water. Or if a guided Tour is not for you, you can drive your own car, hire a 4WD and see the island for yourself or take a Tour where you drive in a 4WD convoy with other visitors (just be mindful of the tides). It is truly a special experience and one that should not be missed. All Tours will pick you up from here and drop you back and lunch is provided! It is a really big day where you can walk through Native Rainforest (actually the only place where the rainforest grows in sand) swim in the pristine Lake Mackenzie, explore the wreck of the Hospital Ship ‘The Maheno’ or take a flight off the beach from one of the world’s two only recognized airstrips to experience Fraser from the sky. There is so much to see (even a dingo or two) that we recommend a simple dinner of toasted sandwiches when you return.
2. Go Whale Watching
There is actually no better place in the World to experience the magnificent sea creatures than off the shores of Hervey Bay with the recent announcement of Hervey Bay as the World’s First Whale Heritage Site. The World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) awarded the accreditation in recognition of our region's responsible and sustainable whale watching practices. It is one of the only few places in the world where the whales actually come to rest. They settle in the waters of the Great Sandy Straits which is the waters between Hervey Bay and Fraser Island. There are a multitude of half day or full day Tours which will pick you up from here and return you after experiencing a truly breathtaking day on the water, where there have been many tears shed at the sight of these spectacular wonders of the Sea, free and in their natural environment. Every Tour provides lunch & refreshments and you are actually guaranteed to see whales from July to October! You can even swim with the whales with many of the Operators offering this option. The boats take about 45 minutes to reach Platypus Bay which is generally where the whales will be. All of the Operators work together so whales are never just for one boat. It is very common for the whales to come alongside the boats as they are very curious and in this instance, all motors must be turned off and we are left to just stand on the deck of the boat to revel in their majesty (with some very impressive photo opportunities) until such time as the whales move on. The majority of the boats take children but some are better than others at accommodating them. There are also boats that are disable friendly with ramps, large doorways and disabled toilets. Just being out on the water on one of the many whale tour boats is a beautiful experience in itself - sightings of dolphins, dugongs, sea turtles and sting rays are very common. Please just ask any of our staff for more information.
3. Riding or Walking the Hervey Bay Esplanade
Regardless of your fitness abilities this is a must for all visitors as there is an expanse of water views, the entire length of the 17km Esplanade. There are multiple spots to sit and take in the views, wander through the landscaped gardens, jump in for a swim, let kids play on the many playgrounds or raise your heart rate at the outdoor fitness stations. Grab a coffee or tasty treat from the many eateries along the Esplanade or ride to dinner at one of the many restaurants and hotels. Once you have finished exploring the Esplanade, Hervey Bay has other Cycle tracks that can even take you all the way to Maryborough! Didn’t bring your bike? No worries, we have some to hire!
4. Visit the Hervey Bay Historical Museum
Whether you are a history buff or not, this is a visit to learn not just about Hervey Bay and the Fraser Coast Region but for all of Australia. With over 12,000 exhibits, the Museum showcases times gone by in a really intimate way, without roped off no access areas and where children are invited to explore. Simple 100+ year old huts and work sheds have been authentically rebuilt to replicate our ancestors. Kids are encouraged to pump water from the well and to sit on old school desks and write on the individual chalk boards. Historic vehicles are on display from fire engines to cars and sulkies. It is a fantastic experience for all ages and is open most of the year.
5. Brunch at Arkarra Gardens Café then onto BambooLand
A short drive from the centre of Hervey Bay and past many residential homes will result in the surprising delight of Arkarra Café and Gardens. This is a beautiful spot to stop and enjoy the 2 acres of landscaped gardens, in your own Bali inspired Hut. You may even get there on a day where there is live entertainment or a special menu for the day. Once you have finished at Arkarra, take the short drive out to Bamboo Land where kids and adults can wander the massive, imposing lengths of bamboo, buy a plant to take home or wander the edges of the river adjacent. From here it is only a short drive to the sleepy town of Burrum Heads where fishing is a must.
6. Go out on Fraser Island Beach & BBQ Cruise
When the whales are not frolicking, this is an ideal tour for all ages. Spend 40 minutes going out on the beautiful Sandy Straits aboard Whalesong where refreshments, lunch and some drinks are provided. Once you arrive on the Western side of Fraser Island – swim, kayak or boat into the beach. There you will stay and the team from Whalesong will set up a game of beach cricket, pull out the kayaks, snorkel gear and gazebo’s to help with shade. There is even an inflatable chair that gets towed behind a smaller boat for some exhilarating fast, fun action. You can participate as much or as little as you like. Simply relaxing on the sand or having your kids laugh at your antics on the inflatable chair, it is such a wonderful day out and ensures beautiful memories are made.
7. Day/Night Trip to Bundaberg
Only 1.5 hours from Hervey Bay is Bundaberg which offers a wonderful day trip and/or just a night trip for many reasons. It is home to the famous Bundaberg Rum Distillery which offers Distillery Tours and a Retail Shop. Even children are catered to with the ability to participate in the Bundaberg Soft Drink production. Also in Bundaberg is the Hinkler Hall of Aviation which honours the extraordinary life of Bert Hinkler and his contribution to the world of aviation. This is an education centre where children will be inspired and in awe of the advances and accomplishments of our Aviation Industry. The journey from Hervey Bay to Bundaberg also goes past Mammino Gourmet Icecream factory and if you have time pop into Snakes Downunder Reptile Park and Zoo. But a trip to Bundaberg is not complete without factoring a night trip to Mon Repos Turtle Centre at Bargara (seasonal).
8. Eat at EAT with Dan, Steph & Emmy
Our park is only a short walk to the My Kitchen Rules Champions Cafe, overlooking the beautiful waters of the Great Sandy Straits, Dan and Steph’s EAT cafe. With a diverse menu catering to all diets, this is a great little cafe for breakfast or lunch and even some special nights where a themed dinner option is available. Their signature sausages feature on their menu as do delicious cold brewed coffee.
9. Go Fishing off the Urangan Pier
This iconic pier is one of the longest in Australia and stretches for almost a kilometer! The magnificent views of Hervey Bay are sure to be make for a great holiday snap and hopefully you might get a bite or two of whiting on your line if you drop one in!
10. Visit Maryborough
So many surprising little treasures here in Maryborough that it is worth spending the day here to explore. From Mary Poppins Story Bank Museum then into Queens Park followed by a stroll through the Military and Colonial Museum.
Ready to book your stay with us? Of course you are!