Hervey Bay (pronounced Harvey Bay) is a string of beachside towns located in south east Queensland, around 5 hours drive north of Brisbane. Hervey Bay is home to many retired people. Its main attraction is an 868 meter long pier that extends into the ocean.
The town (population approximately 50,000 and growing fast) is a centre for whale watching. People flock to Hervey Bay every Whale season, which starts late July and goes through to early November. It is also a gateway to Fraser Island and the southern Great Barrier Reef.
It has fantastic weather and consequently draws 'sea-changers', backpackers and those who don't like living in houses. Its offshore protection provides beaches almost free from waves.
The large bay is formed by Fraser Island and the coast. Hervey Bay is not so much a single town, as a few seaside towns merged along the bay, Urangan, Torquay, Scarness, Pialba, and Point Vernon each have their own shopping precinct, parks and playgrounds.
The area has a mild, sub-tropical climate with an average 30 °C (86 °F) in summer and 23 °C (73 °F) in winter. The coast is predominantly affected by the south east trade winds which keep a cool breeze throughout the summer.
Hervey Bay was discovered by Captain James Cook in 1770 while he was travelling the east coast of Australia. He wrongly assumed that Fraser Island was joined to the Australian mainland and the sheltered waters behind it were a bay. The waters of the Great Sandy Strait are very shallow and he did not proceed far enough south to find the passage between Fraser Island and the coast. He named the bay "Hervey's Bay" after Lord Augustus Hervey an admiral of the Blue, the Earl of Bristol and Captain Cook's boss.
Hervey Bay Airport (HVB) airport is around 4km from Urangan, or a few minutes drive. It is only about an hours walk, so it would be possible if you were enthusiastic. It is certainly an easy cycle if you box your bike on the plane.
The airport is called the Fraser Coast airport, by some airlines.
- Qantaslink fly to Brisbane.
- Virgin Australia and Jetstar operate services to Sydney. Often flights to Hervey Bay from Sydney are cheaper than flights to Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast.
- There are also flights to Lady Elliot Island (you could fly there from the Gold Coast or Bundaberg spend a day or two, and then fly back to Hervey Bay if you wished to.
Shuttles are available from the Airport into town, or as far as Bundaberg.
Taxis from the airport into town cost $15-$20 depending on destination.
The airport has an ATM, and a cafe restaurant. The terminal buildings are air-conditioned. There is no aerobridge access to planes, and you must use the stairs.
About 3-4 hours drive north from the Sunshine Coast, and 4-5 hours drive north from Brisbane.
Take the Bruce Highway (driving north from Brisbane) until you reach the town of Gympie, where you take the road to Maryborough.
A coach service connects with the Brisbane to Rockhampton tilt train, that runs to Pialba and Urangan.
Coach services running north from Brisbane stop in Hervey Bay.
Can rental facilities are easily available. Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Budget all have car rental depots.
Hervey Bay Rent A Car. 5 Cunningham Street, Hervey Bay. (07) 4194 6626. Rent small, medium and large vehicles, motor scooters and bicycles. All vehicles are automatic, power steering, and have air conditioning. Short and long term rentals are available.
Taxis are available. Call the national 131 008 taxi number for service.
There is 18km of waterfront cycleway, starting from Urangan and going to Point Vernon, and there is never a need to cycle on the Esplanade roadway. If you want to make better time the back streets tend to be wide, flat and quiet. A bicycle is quite an ideal way to see Hervey Bay, because with the towns spread over about 10km, it is a little far to walk, and a car seems unnecessary. The two bike hire places make prices competitive.
The layout of the cycleway should inspire even the most lycra-averse to get on a bike, with possibilities of stopping for coffee, ice-cream, a swim or a beer, every couple of kilometres along the path. Public amenities on the foreshore cycleway include free BBQ's, drinking fountains, toilets, shaded seating, and information boards at regular intervals. Take a detour at Margaret St/Esplanade or Elizabeth St/Esplanade and ride up to the Botanical Gardens Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens and Orchid House on Elizabeth St for a shady sojourn. The mobility corridor runs along the southern border of the Botanical Gardens and provides another easy access option.
Take a walk, rollerblade or rent a bike and ride along 14km of shared pathway along the Hervey Bay Esplanade from Urangan to Point Vernon and return via the 6km Link Mobility Corridor, a purpose built pedestrian and bike path through the centre of the city. See the map for details: Hervey Bay Recreational Trails
- Explore Urangan Jetty (980m long), if only for its "pier rats" and their local dialect. A variety of fish can be seen from the Jetty, as well as many people with a line trying to catch them.
- Hervey Bay Regional Gallery, 161 Old Maryborough Rd, Pialba, ☏ +61 -7-4197-4210. The exhibits are updated every six to eight weeks.
- Coral Viewing Boat Tours. View coral from a glass bottom boat. Both day and night viewing coral tours are available. Enjoy the natural beauty and also see a variety of fish.
- Burrum District Museum, ☏ +61 7 4197 4201. A collection of natural and cultural artifacts. The emphasis is on the history of mining in the Hervey Bay region.
- Hervey Bay Historical Village and Museum, 13 Zephyr Street, Scarness, ☏ +61 7 4128 4804. This museum has 19 buildings that take you on a tour of Hervey Bay's past. Also has blacksmith and woodcraft demonstrations.
- Blue Dolphin Marine Tours, ☏ +61 7 4124 9600. Go on a dolphin boat tour to see the bottlenose dolphins and the indopacific humpback dolphins. Boat departs at 8AM from the marina.
- Swim. Hervey Bay's has calm waters, and a range of sandy beaches.
- Cycle. The 18km bay foreshore cycleway.
- Whale Watching. Hervey Bay is the end of the line for many of the Antarctic humpback whales that migrate north annually. Although many places along the New South Wales and Queensland coast offer opportunities for whale sightings as the whales pass, this is where they stay for a while. Whales are around from August to October.
- Susan River Homestead Horse Riding. Go on a horse ride for up to 2 and a half hours. Get picked up and dropped off from Hervey Bay for $15 per person. horse ride is $85 for each adult.
- Fish. Different types of fishing are offered including beach fishing, rock fishing, continental shelf fishing, and deep sea fishing. There is a great variety of fish ranging in size from garfish to marlin.
- Hervey Bay Golf Country Club, ☏ +61 7 4124-4544. Golf at the country club for a relaxing afternoon.
- WetSide Water Education Park, ☏ 1300 808 888 (local rate). WetSide is supplied with recycled rainwater harvested from the city's stormwater network. The water park features hundreds of spouts and jets, fountains interactive play equipment, water slides, surfing, special play area for children under-5 called TotSide, tipping buckets, music and a giant water screen. The site also includes a coffee shop, viewing decks and boardwalks, educational displays, amenities blocks and the pay-per-use Board Rider wave machine.
- Krystal Klear Charters. Go on a boat tour to see dolphins and to snorkel. After the water activities, enjoy a barbecue lunch at Round Island. Departs in the morning and returns approximately 5 hours later. $90 for adults, $50 for children.
- Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre, ☏ +61 7 4125 9722. Swim in 2 large outdoor swimming pools.
- Hervey Bay Bowling Club, Denham Camp Rd, Torquay, ☏ +61 7 4128-1093. Have fun while lawn bowling.
There are a number of restaurants and take-away places situated in town and along the esplanade. You will have no difficulty finding Thai, Italian, Chinese and Mexican restaurants.
There are kiosks, fish and chips, bakeries and cafes located near the beach.
- The Deck Restaurant & Bar. A premier seafood restaurant open seven days a week. It also has a seafood buffet dinner on Fridays and Saturdays.
- Drovers Dog Bar & Grill. Open for dinner seven nights a week. It is a fine dining restaurant that serves both steak and seafood.
- Morocco’s Party Bar. Eat at one of the trendiest places in Hervey Bay. International sports shown on big screens to create a fun atmosphere.
- Salt Café, ☏ +61 7 4124 9722. Has delicious food and also provides a stunning ocean view.
- Sails Brasserie & Cafe, 433 Esplanade, Torquay, ☏ +61 7 41255170.
- Marina's by the Bay, 385 Esplanade, Torquay, ☏ +61 7 4125 4522. Open 7 days and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Gataker's Restaurant, The Esplanade, Point Vernon, ☏ +61 7 4124 2470. 10AM- 2PM. Serves steak and seafood.
- Toto’s Restaurant, 2 Fraser Street, Torquay, ☏ +61 7 4125 1711. Serves a variety of pizza, Italian, Turkish, Asian and seafood.
- Goody's On the Beach, 54 Moreton Street, Toogoom, ☏ +61 7 4128 0227. opens at 10AM. Offers lunch and dinner from Wednesday through Sunday.
- Gringos Mexican Cantina, 449 Esplanade, Torquay. Opens at 5:30PM. Open 7 days a week, is a Mexican restaurant.
- Hoolihans Irish Restaurant & Bar, 382 Charlton Esplanade, ☏ +61 7 4194 0099. Provides live music every Friday and Saturday night.
- The Water Front Restaurant, ☏ +61 7 4194 6733. Exclusive waterfront dining with views of Fraser Island, Hervey Bay's calming waters and the famous Urangan pier.
Some of Hervey Bay's pubs are on the Esplanade. The Torquay Hotel, Hoolihan's, and the Beach House, all of which are across the road from the beach and perfect people-watching locations.
There are other pubs on Boat Harbour Drive.
Morocco's is as good as Hervey Bay's night-clubbing gets. Seven also exists.
Hervey Bay Boat Club is a large club near the marina and Fraser Island ferry wharf. It serves meals, and has live music country style.
- Bay Central Tavern, ☏ +61 7 4124 4111. Enjoy food and drinks at the tavern.
- Bayswater Bar. Carries a broad list of Australian and International beers, a vast list of wines and a cocktail menu featuring 20 traditional and innovative cocktails. It is located inside the Bayswater Hotel and also provides live entertainment.
There are many apartments for rent along the esplanade. The esplanade is a road that runs along the waterfront, but there are no buildings on the ocean side of the road. All the apartments, motels, etc. look over the road, and then a park, and then the water. You have to cross the road to the beach.
- Grange Resort, Urangan. Offers 2 to 3 bedroom villas located within a tropical landscape. It has privacy and is ideal for families on vacation.
There are numerous backpacker's hostels in the Bay.
- Palace Adventures (Palace Backpackers Hostel), 184 Torquay Road, Scarness, toll-free: 1800 063 168. Located near food shops, the beach, and recreational centres. Hostel has a swimming pool and entertainment room.
- Colonial Village YHA. The hostel is surrounded by tropical gardens and has a large pool and spa, bistro, bar, internet lounge, tennis & basketball courts and tour booking service. Complimentary breakfast for backpackers.
The resort tag on the end of the names of hotels and motels in Hervey Bay can be misleading. It seems a small backyard swimming pool is all that is required for a fairly standard motor inn to call itself a resort. Check the facilities carefully, so you know what you are in for.
- Beachside Motor Inn Hervey Bay (on the Esplanade in Pialba opposite the beach), ☏ +61 7 4124 1999.
- Shelly Bay Resort (on the Esplanade). Thai restaurant on the premises.
- Playa Concha Motor Inn (on the Esplanade). Spanish restaurant on the premises.
- Breakfree Apartments, ☏ 1300 987 602 (local rate). 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments
- Mantra Harvey Bay. One of the Pepper's chain of resorts is on the Esplanade. Fancy! Has three bedroom apartments consisting of a hotel room + 2 bedroom adjoining.
The town may have a relaxed feel to it and is considered safe. There has been a growing (albeit minor) drugs problem, but shouldn't impact your visit.
- Lady Elliot Island is a 30 minute flight.
- Go and see Fraser Island (considered the world's largest sand island). Ferry services make the short trip regularly from the boat harbour. You can do a day-trip, or stay longer. Some combine the trip with whale watching.