Where else can you experience sunrises that will stop you in your tracks? Unspoiled island beaches, stretching as far as the eye can see. Once in a lifetime natural encounters. And it’s all just 3-and a half hours’ drive from Brisbane.
It is, of course, the Fraser Coast and there’s a long list of reasons to visit!
1. The World’s First Whale Heritage Site:
In 2019, Hervey Bay was named the World’s First Whale Heritage Site. It’s a big point of pride for locals like Martin Simons from Fraser Coast Tourism.
“People come to us and say they’ve been whale watching and we say, have you really been whale watching?” Martin explained.
“It’s a very spiritual experience to eyeball a 40-tonne mammal that’s a metre away and they’re that close here.”
The Great Sandy Straits Marina is the ultimate springboard to a whale encounter. It’s home to Hervey Bay’s fleet of whale-watching vessels, like Spirit of Hervey Bay Cruises. There are six viewing decks onboard – including one that’s underwater!
2. Indigenous History:
While the whales are a major attraction, the area also has a rich indigenous history. Eco Marine Tours combine cruising, with stories from the Traditional Custodians of the land, the Butchulla people. Guests onboard can enjoy marine adventures, along with Dreamtime stories delivered directly by a local Butchulla guide.
3. World-Class Diving:
Ex-HMAS Tobruk is a world-class diving site in the Great Sandy Marine Park. The ship was scuttled in 2018 and came to rest on her starboard side. It’s Australia’s largest dive wreck and does not disappoint! If you’re keen to explore, visit The Hervey Bay Dive Centre.
4. History and Art:
Maryborough is the Fraser Coast’s heritage city. Its historic buildings hold stories of the past and what better way to share that history, than through art? The Maryborough Mural Trail is a collection of 37 murals that depict the town’s history. The trail is an easy walk across 10 city blocks.
5. Delicious Dining:
While in Maryborough, you’ll want to make a point of dining at Portside Café and Restaurant. The restaurant is situated inside the original Customs House Residence, built in 1899. The restaurant overlooks the beautiful Mary River and uses fresh, local produce to prepare each meal. Great views and delicious food – now we’re talking!
If you have a hankering for ocean-fresh seafood – we suggest following your nose to Hervey Bay. Bayswater Bar and Grill know how to do a seafood platter! They also serve up mouthwatering steaks, along with pizzas, salads and much more. Come weekends, diners can also enjoy live music.
6. World Heritage Listed Fraser Island:
Ancient rainforest emerging from the sand, kilometres of rugged coastline and a long list of outdoor adventures. Yep, these are tell-tale signs you’ve arrived on Fraser Island.
Join a tag-a-long tour:
Jumping in a four-wheel drive is a great way to explore the world’s largest sand island. Fraser Dingo Tours run tag-a-long adventures that tick off some of the island’s must-see attractions. Joining a tour means you don’t have to worry about navigating, just follow the car in front and take in the scenery.
Adventure with Kingfisher Bay Resort:
When you book a stay at Kingfisher Bay Resort, it’s not just incredible island accommodation you’re treated to. You can also choose from a range of immersive island experiences, available exclusively for guests.
Sea Explorer is a purpose-built fast boat, that cruises along the island’s west coast. The ‘West Coast Explorer’ tour reveals the remarkable sites of the remote, western coastline and surrounding islands within the Great Sandy Straits Marine Park. Cruises are run by expert local skippers and a Resort Ranger. Book a tour here.
7. Glamping at its finest:
Discovery Parks Hervey Bay is set in lush green gardens and has accommodation to suit any type of traveller. There are comfortable cabins to curl up in, or you might like to try camping, with a touch of luxury.
The park’s Safari tents have it all – from a comfortable bed and hot showers, to a kitchenette and deck that overlooks the park’s pond. Come Sunday’s guests can also enjoy free live music. And another great thing? There’s plenty around to keep the kids entertained!
8. A remote island escape – that’s closer than you think!
Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort is one of those places you have to see to believe. Lonely Planet voted Lady Elliot Island #2 of the ‘7 Best Beaches for snorkelling around the world’ in 2020.
The island lies on the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef and lies within a protected Green Zone. In other words, it’s the ultimate playground for marine life!
The only way to get to the island from Hervey Bay is by air! It’s a short 30-minute flight north and here’s a tip – make sure you have a camera at the ready because the scenic flight is incredible. Depending on what time you’re visiting, you might be lucky enough to spot whales enjoying the warm waters of the Great Sandy Strait.
Once you’re island side, it’s a matter of dropping your bags and choosing your adventure (and no doubt, it will most likely involve togs and goggles!).