Hervey Bay, in sunny Queensland (Australia), is mostly known as a whale-watching paradise. But this cute and quaint little town has lots more to offer! Not only it is a short trip to World Heritage Listed Fraser Island, but it is also home to lovely esplanades, tranquil beaches and much more.
If you are heading to this popular town and want to take a list with of ‘things to do in Hervey Bay’ to keep you busy, here are just some of my all-time favourite Hervey Bay activities.
HERVEY BAY | BASIC INFORMATION
Underneath you can find some handy basic information on Hervey Bay. Where it is, when is the best time to go and more.
Where is Hervey Bay?
Hervey Bay is located about a 3½ hours’ drive north of Brisbane in Queensland. In total it is 290 kilometres, so easily done within a day. If you are heading to Hervey Bay for the first time, then consider stopping at the incredible Glasshouse Mountains on the Sunshine coast!
When is the best time to visit Hervey Bay?
The best time to visit Hervey Bay is during the months of July, August and September, when temperatures are in the low 20s and rainfall is at its yearly low. This is also the time of year when humpback whales make their migration through Hervey Bay and the whale-watching season is at its peak.
Cheapest time to go: August
Most popular in: December
Does Hervey Bay get Cyclones?
While Hervey Bay does not face the same threat of tropical cyclones as other parts of the Queensland coast, they do see a relatively large number of electrical storms between November and March. Most of these storms seem to occur late in the afternoon and during the night.
Is it safe to swim at Hervey Bay? + Are there Stingers in Hervey Bay?
Hervey Bay sits in the lee of Fraser Island, and hence has a calm and protected 12km long north-facing beach. The stinger-free waters are safe for swimming all year round, with an average water temperature between 21 and 26 degrees.
10 Top Things to do in Hervey Bay
Underneath you can find some of the best attractions and sights to see in Hervey Bay, divided into 2 sections. Firstly, the top 2 best things to do in Hervey Bay, as most people will head to Hervey Bay for these two top destinations. And then some additional great sights to check out if you have time to check out some more sights.
Most Popular Hervey Bay Attractions
Below you can find the top 2 best things to do in Hervey Bay. Most people typically head to Hervey Bay to either see the whales or to explore the stunning sand island, Fraser Island. Underneath you can find lots of handy information if those two attractions are on your wish list.
1 | Hervey Bay Whale Watching
The number one attraction in Hervey Bay is to go Whale watching. Because of the location and Fraser island, the waters at Hervey Bay are a Whale watching heaven. Underneath you can find what it was like going on a half a day tour with The Spirit of Hervey Bay.
BEST TIME TO GO WHALE WATCHING IN HERVEY BAY?
To increase your chances of experiencing the best whale watching in Hervey, you should plan your trip from late July to November. Around this time the ocean around Hervey Bay And Frasier Island is nice and calm. Additionally, many of which will be nursing their calves, so there is a big chance you will see a couple of Whales during your cruise.
Hervey Bay is one of the best and most exclusive destinations for whale watching that won’t disappoint.
WHAT TO BRING ON THE WHALE WATCHING TOUR
Most of the cruises are fully equipped, but I suggest you still need to bring some basics. Underneath just a couple of handy things to bring with you:
- Motion sickness pills
- Water bottles
- Non-slip shoes
HERVEY BAY WHALE WATCHING WITH SPIRIT OF HERVEY BAY
The spirit of Hervey Bay offered a free pick up from the campground we were residing for the night and since it was low season, we and another family were the only pick-ups. About 20 minutes later we arrived at the ferry terminal and about 30 minutes later we could board the boat.
We were informed on forehand that they were only half-full so that there were plenty of places for everyone. That they had seen quite a few whales over their last few cruises so they were expecting a good day for us.
We set sail (Even though the boat doesn’t have a sail, but you know what I mean) and within 10-15 minutes we reached Fraser Island. Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and reached 120 kilometres. We cruised along the stunning island for a while and enjoyed the stunning scenery.
The first whale that we encountered was splashing around another tour boat. So we watched for a hot minute but get on going further out. In total, we sailed about 1 and a half hours before we reached a Mom and her 6-week old calf nawwwwww.
The calf was on super turbo and was having the time of his life. The guide told us that it was burning off some energy and therefore was making jumps every couple of minutes. We stayed with this pair for quite some time, as they were pretty entertaining. Eventually, we did venture out as they went quiet for a bit. There was a male whale making a bit of scene by slapping his fins on the water.
We then encountered a Mom and calf who got separated and were in a bit of a destress. Before you jump to any conclusions: They were about 50 meters apart and the cruise boat had nothing to do with it. I don’t know if they have bad sighting, but it was a bit silly seeing them freak out even though they were so close to each other. That did result in some spectacular breaches by mom…. Unfortunately, all missed by me. It is not as easy as it looks, photographing a breaching whale. They dive under to make some speed, so you have to guess whereabouts they will jump.
After a couple of hours, just around the time most people had enough, it was time to head back. On the way back they took it a bit slower, and we docked just before 1 pm. The courtesy bus arrived a couple of minutes after and dropped us off at our campsite.
The cruise came with Coffee, Tea and a delicious sweat snack and was $100,- per person.
I loved doing this cruise with Spirit of Hervey Bay. They gave you heaps of information on the whales, what behaviour they were showing and left the animals plenty of space to do their own thing. They did not interfere, did not come up too close and did not cause the animals any destress.
I would definitely recommend doing this cruise if you are ever in Hervey Bay!
2 | Hervey Bay to Fraser Island
The world’s largest sand island, stretching over 120km just of the coast of Hervey Bay is simply a must-see! Some of the must-see sights on the island are Lake McKenzie, Eli Creek, Maheno Shipwreck, Lake Wabby and the cathedrals. Of course, the island is also home to some incredible wildlife, including the Dingo.
Getting to Fraser Island from Hervey Bay
Ferry services run daily from River Heads (20 minutes from Hervey Bay).
The Fraser Venture barge runs 3 return services daily from River Heads to Wanggoolba Creek; whilst the Kingfisher Bay Ferry runs three return services from River Heads to Kingfisher Bay Resort.
Check out information and current pricing on Fraser Island Ferry.
Fraser Island National Park Fees
|Vehicle Ferries||Vehicles $110 – $175
Walk on $50
|Vehicle access permit||$48.25 (less than 1 month) $242.10 (up to one year)|
|Camping Fees||$6.15 per person per night. Children under 5 free
$24.60 per family per night. Up to two adults and accompanying children under 18, up to a total of eight people.
For more information and to purchase vehicle and camping permits please visit the Queensland Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing website here or call 137 468.
What to do on Fraser Island?
There is so much natural beauty to explore on Fraser Island that you truly do need more than one day to explore this island in all its glory!
One of the must things to do on Fraser Island is to drive on the 75 Mile beach. Home to one of the most unique 4WD safaris in the world! Along the beach, you will find the rusted hull of the Maheno as well as the multicoloured cliffs of the Pinnacles and the bubbly rock pools, called Champagne Pools.
While you’re driving, keep an eye out some amazing Aussie wildlife. Dingoes often pad along the shore or in the dunes, and humpback whales swim these waters during their annual migration (August through October).
Eli Creek is a popular picnic and swimming spot along Seventy-Five Mile Beach. Float down the creek’s fast-flowing waters on inflatables, one of the favourite free things to do on Fraser Island.
Additionally, there are more than 200 freshwater lakes and creeks on Fraser Island. Many offer ideal conditions for a refreshing and tranquil swim. One of Fraser’s most-visited attractions, Lake McKenzie, offers some stunning white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters.
Fraser Island tours from Hervey Bay
If you would like to go on an organised tour, check out Fraser Tours. They offer many amazing tours from Hervey Bay.
Top 6 Things to do in Hervey Bay for FREE!
After some free thing to do at Hervey Bay? Underneath is a small selection of beaches, markets, walks on piers & more for you!
Sunrise at the beach
Queensland has some of the most incredible sunrises and sunsets I have ever seen! Make sure to drag yourself out of bed early to witness a stunning sunrise at the beach! I hate mornings, but even I would say that it is worth getting up for.
My all-time favourite sunrise was at Cape Hillsborough National Park, check out here why!
Enjoy a walk down Urangan Pier
The historic Hervey Bay jetty is probably one of the top Hervey Bay points of interest. The pier is approximately 900 metres long and constructed of mostly timber and concrete. Fishermen of all ages gather along the pier, to hopefully catch a feed of fresh seafood, many joggers running its length for exercise.
A walk to the end is simply a must, and for those not keen on walking, some benches along the way will provide you with a peaceful spot to take it all in. You might even spot a pelican along your walk!
Make sure you visit this Hervey Bay Landmark!
Hervey Bay Botanical Gardens
Lovely and well-maintained gardens that make for a lovely relaxing, peaceful way to spend an afternoon. There are some lovely green lawns to enjoy a picnic! Wander over to the Chinese themed gardens! One of my favourites to explore!
Browse the stalls at one of the Hervey Bay Markets
There is a choice of various types of markets in Hervey Bay, depending on the day of your stay and what you would like to see. Underneath are just a couple of options that you can check out:
- Pier Park Family Market | Every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month, from 7 am – 2 pm, in Pier Park
- Torquay Beachside Market | Every 2nd and 4th Saturday, from 8 am – 1 pm, Torquay Esplanade
- Nikenbah Market | Every 1st and 3rd Sunday, from 6am – 12pm, Nikenbah-Dundowran Road
- Koala Market | Every 2nd, 4th and 5th Sunday of the month, from 6 am – 12 pm at Kruger Court
- Maryborough Heritage City Markets | Every Thursday from 8 am – 1:30 pm at Adelaide and Ellena Streets
Visit The Kangaroos At Point Vernon
At the opposite end of Hervey Bay, at Point Vernon, you can spot some more Aussie wildlife. Kangaroos have made this area their home! They can be found in large open areas where the houses stop.
The best spot to see the kangaroos, I would say, is either North Street or Dougan Street. Wander over during dusk and you should be able to spot them.
Wetside Water Park
Entry into WetSide is free however there is a cost for the Water Slides and FlipSide Board Rider. Highly recommended for children of all ages but especially under 10s.
The park includes:
- Some water slides
- Water play area
- TotSide for under 5s play
- FlipSide Board Rider
- Fountain Light Show Saturday nights 7 pm
- Coffee shop, fish and chip shop and restaurant on site
Top 2 PAID Things to do in Hervey Bay!
Besides the whale watching tours and the trips to Fraser Island, here are my additional top 2 of attractions you should check out!
Reefworld Aquarium and Shark Swim
Great place to visit. Enjoying seeing many varieties of fish and sea life. It’s family-owned so they are passionate about the residents and visitors. Whilst the place is a bit dated and small, it’s still worth the money and a great morning.
Hervey Bay Historical Village & Museum
Entrance to the museum is only $10 per head, and it is well orth it. Lots to see. Great history about the Pier and exhibition. A must-see when you visit Hervey Bay.
WHERE TO GO AFTER YOUR TRIP TO HERVEY BAY?
Australia is an incredibly beautiful country and has so of the best destinations. Underneath are just a couple of options for you to explore after you have checked out Hervey Bay.
- Cape Hillsborough National Park | One of the most amazing sights in Australia – Kangaroos on the beach during sunrise. You can experience this at cape Hillsborough National Park, Queensland.
- Exploring the Red Centre | A 3-day and 2 night organised trip to the Red Centre. Exploring Uluru, Kings Canyon and more.
- Snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef | The reef is something that you have to see at least once in your life. I have snorkelled at a couple of amazing locations, including a full-day trip from Airlie Beach and a half a day trip from Daintree Rainforest.
- Exploring the rainforest | A must-see! Daintree Rainforest just above Cairns. You can take a crocodile cruise over the river, look for cassowaries, enjoy time on stunning beaches and snorkel at the GBR.
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