The top 10 things to see & do in Hervey Bay, Queensland
If you're looking for your next Queensland holiday destination, add Hervey Bay to your list now! We've travelled a lot of Queensland and have to say for the sunsets, pristine beaches, food and day tour opportunities, Hervey Bay is a must-see world-class destination. Here's our list of top 10 things you can't miss while you visit this quiet yet stunning coastal paradise.
How to get to Hervey Bay:
Hervey Hay is the perfect road trip destination from the Gold Coast, Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast. Located approximately 2 hours drive from Noosa, 3 hours from Brisbane and 4 hours from the Gold Coast. If you're driving and looking for a quick pitt stop along the way at one of Australia's 'BIG' things, we recommend a quick stop via the Big Pineapple on the Sunshine Coast or Big Matilda Kangaroo at Traverston Rest stop.
Alternatively, both Qantas and Virgin offer flights directly into Hervey Bay airport.
Where to Stay in Hervey Bay: Best hotel options
We recommend staying anywhere along the Hervey Bay esplanade or at the Boat Harbour Marina. We stayed in both of these 2 locations during our visit.
Our first stay was at Eden By the Bay located centrally along Esplanade at Scarness Beach. The apartment had a spacious bedroom, bathroom, laundry, kitchen, living area and balcony and was across the road from one of our favourite beachfront destinations, Enzo's sunset cocktail bar and the Scarness beach pier. The apartments also came with a car park space.
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Our second stay was at Mantra serviced apartments, located right on the Hervey Bay Boat Harbour Marina. This is the perfect location for if you have day trips booked for whale watching and Fraser Island. We loved the waterfront views, poolside and outdoor barbecue area. There are also plenty of cafes and restaurant to enjoy along the Marina without needing to drive anywhere. They have a large carpark too with free parking included.
Top 10 things to see and to in Hervey Bay, Queensland:
1. Walk the Urangan Pier and Sunset:
One of Australia's longest piers is the Urangan pier, stretching out almost one kilometre into the ocean! This location offers some of the best view of Hervey Bay and is the perfect spot to watch the sunset. Be on the lookout below for fish, stingrays and dolphins just out to sea, also don't forget to look up for the wide variety of seabirds and pelicans. If you love fishing, this is the perfect spot for it.
2. Have beachside cocktails with a view and Enzo's on the Beach:
Enzo's on the Beach, located in Scarness is the perfect afternoon stop to relax and unwind with a drink in hand. Sit beachfront on a beanbag chair sipping your favourite cocktail while you enjoy the sunset. The kitchen is open daily serving breakfast and lunch. From Thursday to Sunday the offer dinner, however Monday - Wednesday they only offer afternoon drinks and snacks until 5pm.
3. Dine at Dan & Steph's - the winners of My Kitchen Rules:
Winners of the 2013 season 4 of Australia's My Kitchen Rules, Dan & Steph showcase a variety of their cooking experiences on their menu at this amazing Hervey Bay Brunch spot. Dan & Steps is located right on the esplanade, with beautiful outdoor dining space. Don't miss trying their signature sausages as and add on to your brunch order.
4. Don't miss the Humpback whales with a Whale Watching tour:
If you’re looking for one of Australia’s best Whale Watching destinations, it is Hervey Bay. The Humpback Whales visit every winter from July to November. For these whales, the bay is like their ‘kids pool’, calm and shallow water where they can come to relax with their calfs as along their Antarctic journey.
We did two whale watching tours during our visit. For a full day tour we highly recommend the Tasman Venture Remote Fraser Experience tour. It is $190 for a full day trip per adult, which includes a visit to the stunning Wathumba Creek on Fraser Island, plus plenty of time seeing the whales, and if the opportunity is right you can even swim with them. There are seperate 'Swimming with Whale' tours you can book, however the cost is similar around $190 and there's no gaurentee on the day this will be possible to do, which is why we recommend this tour instead as even if you don't you'll still get an amazing day full of activities.
If you’re looking for a short whale watching trip, we recommend booking with Pacific Whale Foundation who offer a cheaper $90 per person 3 hour option on a speed boat. You can also rest assured that a lot of the funding from this tour goes toward research and preservation of the bay for the whales. Be sure to wear warm clothes as the wind gets very cold even on a sunny day.
5. 4WD Across Fraser Island K'Gari with Fraser Explorer Tours
To see the highlights of Fraser Island in a single day, take the Fraser Explorer Tours 1 Day Fraser Island tour. While you can rent a car or take your own 4WD and drive across Fraser island we would not recommend this unless you're well experienced with off-road driving! The roads are all sand and exceptionally bumpy and with fast changing tides, the island is well known for cars getting both stuck and washed away. There are also parts of the island where rental cars are not allowed.
Taking the Fraser Explorer tour will cover all of the highlights in a single day, including:
Lake McKenzie: This has to be the most famous swimming spot on all of Fraser Island. The fresh water late offer crystal clear blue toned waters to enjoy a swim and pristine white silica sand.
Central Station: The tour will stop for a lunch break including sandwiches and fruit at Central station. This stunning spot is located in the heart of Fraser Island's rainforest, where you can enjoy a scenic and relaxing forest boardwalk (no more than 1km).
Eli Creek: Enjoy the clear and shallow waters of Eli Creek, arguably another of Fraser Island's most famous swimming spots. Take an inflatable floaty tube to ride the fast moving river with a drink in hand if you have time while you're here. You'll need to either bring your own or ask you hotel if you can borrow one as they don't have them for rental at the creek itself.
The Maheno Shipwreck: A once luxury cruise liner now sits rusting along the shores of Fraser Island's 75 mile beach. It is the perfect stop to explore this history and watch as the waves crash through what remains of this ship.
The Pinnacle Coloured sands: Rich in K'Gari dreamtime history is the coloured sands of the Pinnacles. This is the last stop on the tour before heading to take the ferry back to Hervey bay at around 5pm.
6. Visit the Remote and untouched size of Fraser Island K'Gari with Tasman Venture
This is one unique Fraser Island day trip run by Tasman Venture, full of hidden gems on untouched the Western Coast of Fraser Island.
Our highlight was the crystal clear waters and white sands of Wathumba creek, where we enjoyed snorkelling, kayaking and a giant tube ride being pulled along from the back of their speed boat (all included within the tour cost). We also loved the whale watching and chance to swim with the whales as we were particularly lucky on this day (it is not always possible depending on their behaviour).
This tour is $190 for the full day including morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. We thought it was totally worth it given some whale watching and whale swimming tours are the same price or more, and this already includes these experiences and then some! We've also had friends who have booked whale swimming tours and given it's not a guarantee you can do it, miss out altogether.
6. Spend a day on Lady Elliot Island
Rather than paying for an expensive and short scenic flight over Hervey Bay and Fraser Island, instead consider a day trip to Lady Elliot Island, which forms part of the stunning southern Great Barrier Reef.
It is a 35 minute scenic flight each way with SeAir Pacific, including views of Hervey Bay, Fraser Island and the Great Sandy Straits en route, then on arrival the Lady Elliot island. We saw many whales from above, and the pilots were kind enough to loop around the island on departure and landing for both sides of the plan to enjoy full island views. Be sure to ask the pilot if you can sit in the cockpit, as we got lucky with this.
The island is run by the Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, who will be there to greet you on landing, show you around the island and tell you more about what to expect from your day.
On this island you can enjoy crystal clear water for snorkelling. The waters of Lady Elliot are home to many turtles and manta rays. A buffet lunch and glass bottom boat tour is also included in the price of this trip.
Wetsuit rental is an additional $16 per person. We visited during the month of September (the best month for seeing the manta rays), and definitely recommend a wetsuit for this season, the waters were freezing.
7. Have a sunset picnic at Point Vernon:
One of the best sunset locations in Hervey Bay is Point Vernon, where you can enjoy views of the sun setting over the ocean. Picking up take away fish and chips from Maddigan’s for a picnic before arriving.
8. Enjoy dinner at Banksia Seafood Grill:
One of our favourite dinners in Hervey Bay was at newly opened the Banksia Seafood Grill. Don't miss the Seafood Chowder or Lobster dishes, these were our personal favourite menu items. If you're looking for a cocktail they also do a great mojito.
9. Brunch at the Hervey Bay Dayman General Store:
Enjoy brunch in a beautiful heritage listed classic Queensland shopfront building that is the Dayman General Store. They have plenty of options for seating both indoors and outdoors and are located in the quieter end of Urangan. We loved the coffees (though be warned the large sizes are HUGE) and breakfast menu.
10. Stop for Gelato at Santini Italian Pastry Coffee Shop:
Nothing beats gelato after a day at the beach. Stop in to try some of Santini's unique homemade flavours, our personal favourite was the Lemon Cheesecake. For a casual dinner location in Hervey Bay you can also try the next door Santini Italian restaurant.
We hope you enjoyed our travel guide to Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia. To see more of our other Australian destination guides click here.
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