Front row whale watching experiences and bumpy 4WD rides along Fraser Island are undoubtedly the top things to do in Hervey Bay.
But once you’ve ticked off these bucket list items, turn your attention towards the mainland to round out your long weekend in Hervey Bay and the wider Fraser Coast. Beyond the splash of the waters of the Great Sandy Strait, discover several eateries whipping up scrumptious favorites with unique twists and local produce. Stretch your legs along the Esplanade and nudge shoulders with two-legged, four-legged and feathered friends on Urangan Pier to watch the sunset over Platypus Bay.
Hervey Bay residents are fiercely proud of their home and are eager to share its beauty with you. It’s time for you to come experience this endearing corner of south-east Queensland.
WHAT TO DO IN HERVEY BAY
Depending on your itinerary, you may be travelling on the first morning of your long weekend in Hervey Bay. If you are arriving on a weekday, we’d recommend picking up a morning coffee from The Depot Espresso Bar.
A charming spot off the main road and way out from the middle of town, it’s the perfect place to recharge after a long commute.
There are plenty of establishments along the waterfront at Torquay. Take a window seat at The Front Room where you can enjoy a colourful plate of deliciousness on the first floor. The menu is small but the food is tasty.
Another option for brunch is Eat at Dan & Steph’s. The winners of My Kitchen Rules Season 4 opened their warm urban style eatery only a skip and a jump to the beautiful Hervey Bay waters. Reservations on weekends particularly recommended.
After lunch, take a long leisurely stroll along the Esplanade. The sand stretches the length of Torquay and up to Pialba. You can even walk right up to the shore to dip your toes in the water. Alternatively, there is a well-constructed pathway that weaves among the foliage and the waterside cafes.
For shopping, head to Luxe Hervey Bay, a delightful curation stocking Italian linen clothing, everyday cotton tees and luxury accessories. To take home a piece of the ocean, World Treasure Designs sells handcrafted, recycled silver and gold jewellery designed by a Hervey Bay local. 1% of every sale is donated to ocean conversation.
Head towards Urangan Pier and walk right to the end of the pier trying to catch sight of humpback whales (from mid-July to mid-October) frolicking in the calm waters of Platypus Bay. You’ll pass many fishermen casting a line over the railing and you’re likely to also come eye to eye with some pelicans too.
For something a little different, book an Italian cooking class and dinner at Villa Cavour Point Vernon. Hosted by Rocco and Mara Turina, the Italian duo have been in Hervey Bay since 2005, opening their home as a B&B and cooking school.
The cooking classes are intimate, limited to 6 – 8 people and welcomes cooks of all levels to learn to cook pasta, gnocchi and sometimes Italian dessert. After the lesson, you’ll get to eat your hard work plus sample a variety of Piemonte wines. Otherwise, if you’d prefer to leave the cooking to the professionals, book a table at fine dining restaurant, The Vinyard. The menu has been designed to pair perfectly with the eatery’s long and varied wine list.
Set your alarm clock and don’t skip breakfast. Your tour operator is going to pick you up to spend a glorious day on Fraser Island.
For those short on time, a day trip is the quickest and most cost effective way to see and experience the beauty of the largest sand island in the world. Pack your towel, bathing suit, sunscreen, bug spray and of course your camera – you’re certainly in for a treat.
Most, if not all, tour operators provide morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, bottled water and beverages. There are also designated points for toilet breaks.
Let the symphony of birdsong wash over you as you walk under the rainforest canopy at Central Station. Crane your neck up at the rusting wreck of the SS Maheno shipwreck and splash about in the dazzling fresh blue water of Lake McKenzie. These are some of the spots you are likely to visit but the island is so large that it is impossible to see everything in a day.
The full-day tours will usually return you to your accommodation around 5:30 – 6:30pm.
If you’re not sure how you’d like to spend a day (or several days) on Fraser Island, we’ve written up several suggestions to help you plan to see Fraser Island.
You might be after some comfort food after a full day hopping in and out of a 4WD. Head to Paolo’s Pizza Bar and order a Napoli-style pizza with a glass of chianti. Round out a spectacular day with a scoop of gelato from the front-of-house cart.
Whale watching experiences in Hervey Bay are touted as being some of the best in the world. The calm waters of Platypus Bay is a favoured spot by humpback whales during their southern migration. Here, mothers rear their calves and pods frolic from mid-July to mid-October.
Half day tours are available so you have the choice of going out on the tour boat in the morning or the afternoon. Don’t be afraid to stand on the front deck and to give them a wave!
Find a booking link HERE
Whale watching is hard work! So reward yourself with a spot of lunch at Dayman General Store. The old-school corner store has an extensive menu offering burgers, healthy salads, piping hot pancakes or a plate of churros with dipping sauce! Coffee is supplied by local coffee roaster, Hervey Bay Coffee. A small stock of homewares and jewellery created lovingly by local entrepreneurs are also for sale.
We’re always on the hunt for the best coffee, so a visit to Bean Beat during your long weekend in Hervey Bay certainly wouldn’t go astray either.
Should time permit, head down towards Rainbow Beach and/or Tin Can Bay. Rainbow Beach is known for its colourful, mineral rich sand, which has more than 40 shades of colour! Save some time to climb up Carlo Sand Blow, the sand park known for its moonscape appearance.
A visit to Rainbow Beach or Tin Can Bay is of course possible on either side of your long weekend in Hervey Bay.
THINGS TO DO IN HERVEY BAY OTHER THAN WHALE WATCHING & FRASER ISLAND
Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens
Established in 1974, the Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens spans 26 hectares and sits on 6,000 year old foreshore dunes. Visitors can enjoy the Bush Chapel, a Chinese inspired garden and the Australian bush tucker garden. Open daily, admission is free.
Bundaberg Rum Distillery Tour
Bundaberg is the epicentre of sugar cane growing and is best known for its export of Bundaberg Rum (the polar bear mascot, Bundy R Bear, is a renowned Australian business icon). Bundaberg Rum Distillery tours are run daily on the hour and includes two tastings from the Bundaberg rum range.
HERVEY BAY ACCOMMODATION
Airbnb Hervey Bay
Hervey Bay is a compact town with a grid design so access to supermarkets, the marina and restaurants is not difficult.
Several private room options are available on Airbnb. We can highly recommend Pier House hosted by Di and Ron.
There are many Hervey Bay caravan parks suitable for caravans, campervans and tents. Some places even have small cabins for rent. A key destination along Queensland’s coast, spots usually fill up quickly as grey nomads, families and backpackers pass through.
To avoid disappointment, book in advance. Here are some popular sites:
- Shelly Beach Caravan Park
- Pier Caravan Park Hervey Bay
- Fraser Coast Beachfront Tourist Park – Pialba, Torquay & Scarness
HOW TO GET THERE
Brisbane to Hervey Bay
Brisbane is 290 kilometres south of Hervey Bay. Driving time is around 3.5 hours. The fastest route is via the M1 and A1, passing through Gympie and Maryborough.
Sunshine Coast to Hervey Bay
The Sunshine Coast is approximately 200 kilometres south of Hervey Bay. Driving time is around 2.5 hours.
Bundaberg to Hervey Bay
Bundaberg is 110 kilometres north of Hervey Bay. Driving time is around 1.5 hours.
Cairns to Hervey Bay
Cairns is 1,450 kilometres north of Hervey Bay. If driving, our recommendation would be to cover this distance over a couple of days and if possible, split the driving between at least two drivers.