Hervey Bay is a three-and-a-half-hour drive north of Brisbane, past the Sunshine Coast. It is a popular holiday destination for families and couples alike. It might not be a large town, but it’s packed with great attractions and activities to keep you busy for a while.
Hervey Bay is heaven for wildlife lovers, beach goers and for anyone just looking for a nice beachside town to spend some time away in. You could spend a week there and not get bored but if you only have a few days, here is our list of the 10 best things to do in Hervey Bay.
Hervey Bay is the whale watching capital of Australia so, of course, the number one thing to do in Hervey Bay is whale watching. From July to October, hundreds of Humpback whales migrate from the cold waters of Antarctica to the much warmer waters of Queensland. The protected bay of Hervey Bay is the perfect place for them to raise their calves and they love to hang around this area while they fatten up and show their calves the ropes.
There are many boat trips to choose from; you can book morning or afternoon only ones, as well as full day outings. On our recent trip to Hervey Bay, we spent the afternoon with Spirit of Hervey Bay, and had a great time. We visited just at the end of the season in early October and still saw plenty of whales. We were very lucky to see so many calves practising their breaching.
2-Take a trip to K’Gari (Fraser Island)
Hervey Bay is the gateway to K’Gari (Fraser Island) and since you are so close you should make the trip to this incredible island. K’Gari is home to freshwater lakes, long, gorgeous, white sandy beaches, old shipwrecks, and plenty of dingos. After whale watching, K’Gari Island is the most popular thing to do in Hervey Bay. There are no roads on K’Gari and you need a 4WD to explore. So, unless you have a 4WD, book a tour to explore the island. There are plenty of tours leaving daily from Hervey Bay. You can choose to stay for just the day or make it an overnight trip.
Read more about Fraser Island here.
3-Walk down the Pier in Urangan
The Pier of Urangan is 900 metres long and stretches out into the waters of Hervey Bay. Built in 1913, this over a hundred-year-old pier is a fabulous place for a stroll to take in the amazing views of the bay. It’s also a popular spot for fishermen to set a line. The locals will tell you that it is the best fishing spot in town for catching whiting.
When you get to the end of the pier, look out for stingrays, dolphins and of course whales during the whale season!
4-Take a walk or cycle along the Esplanade
You could walk for miles and still be on the Hervey Bay Esplanade. In fact, the pathway that runs along the Esplanade stretches for 14 kilometres! It’s very popular with tourists and locals alike and it’s a great spot for a walk, jog, or for a bike ride.
5-Have lunch at Enzo’s on the Beach
Looking for a place to have lunch while enjoying the views? There is no better place than Enzo’s on the Beach. Located on the beachfront on Scarness Beach, Enzo’s has good food with a relaxing atmosphere and spectacular views. Their seafood platter is huge and delicious. To avoid disappointment, it’s a good idea to book ahead, especially during busy periods like long weekends and school holidays.
6-Relax on the beach
There are many beaches to choose from in Hervey Bay and they are perfect for families and nature lovers. Because they are protected by K’Gari (Fraser Island), the waters are typically calm, safe, and great for families. Swim, splash, kayak, sunbathe, whatever takes your fancy.
Whether you visit Scarness, Pialba, Torquay, Urangan, Point Vernon or Dundowran beach (a bit outside of town) you just can’t go wrong.
7-Visit the Botanical Gardens
For a bit of serenity, head to the Botanical Gardens and bring a picnic. The gardens are free to enter and house an orchid house, a Chinese and Japanese garden, and a small pond where you’ll find lots of turtles. Look out for the amazing birdlife too!
8-Sail into the sunset
There is no better way to end the day than by taking a cruise and watch the Pink Queensland skies and the crystal-clear azure waters of Hervey Bay with a cold glass of bubbles in hands.
Blue Dolphin Marine tours offer a 90-minute Champagne sunset sail aboard their luxury yacht for $70 per person. It includes all drinks and canapes.
9-Take the kids to the Wetside Water Park
If the whole family needs to cool down, there is no better place to do it than at the Wetside Water Park in Pialba.
Located right on the Esplanade, just a few steps from the beach, the Wetside Water Park is the perfect place to take the kids for some “wet” fun. With a dedicated area for kids under five where they can splash around and with slides for the older kids, everyone is going to be happy. Even the parents who can relax and enjoy the views while the kids are having a great time.
10-Visit our favourite snorkelling spot ever, Lady Elliot Island
Hervey Bay is also the gateway to another amazing island and one that we absolutely love, Lady Elliot Island. Lady Elliot is one of the most unspoiled islands on the Great Barrier Reef. We like to spend a few nights on the island when we visit but if you are short on time, Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort runs day trips to the island from Hervey Bay.
If you like snorkelling, turtles and rays and want to see beautiful and colourful coral, Lady Elliot is the place for you.
Read more about Lady Elliot Island here.
Where to stay in Hervey Bay?
Sanctuary Lakes Fauna Retreat
The Sanctuary Lakes Fauna Retreat offers self-contained, Melanesian-style villas overlooking a lake and surrounded by 10 acres of tropical nature reserve. It is 300 metres from the beach and is home to a vast array of birdlife and many turtles. Book your stay here.
Oaks Hervey Bay Resort and Spa
The Oaks Hervey Bay Resort and Spa offers self-contained 1, 2 and 3-bedroom suites opposite the Urangan Beach Pier. Located on the waterfront, it features 2 lagoon pools and a restaurant. Book your stay here.
545 Esplanade is set on the beachfront and offers renovated, two-bedroom apartments with water views and two-bedroom cottages. Book your stay here.
If none of those are suitable, try using HotelsCombined to search across all the major accommodation websites.