Hervey Bay on a budget: best things to do
Plan a low-cost holiday to Hervey Bay and the Fraser Coast, filled with sunshine, natural wonders and outdoor adventure.
- September 2022
The best thing about sunny, outdoor destinations is that no matter how far, or how little, your budget stretches, you’ll never be short-changed on experiences. On the Fraser Coast you'll be too busy with wildlife watching, epic cross-island hikes, fishing, visiting quaint country towns and lazing on the beach to feel like you’re missing out on anything pricier. And with an abundance of backpacker accommodation, campsites and caravan parks, this is a destination that won’t break the bank.
Stroll out to sea along Hervey Bay’s Urangan Pier
That's not a pier, this is a pier. And at just under 1km, the historic Urangan Pier (c1917) is one of Australia's longest. Jutting out to the Great Sandy Strait, there's little surprise you can spot dolphins and other marine animals close by. Built back in the day to transport local industry, these days it's famous for its fishing. So come by to drop a line and reel in a whiting or two. If they’re not biting, you can simply grab some fish and chips to accompany the famous evening sunsets.
Limber up for the K’gari (Fraser Island) Great Walk
If you’re keen on getting out to K’gari (Fraser Island), but less so about the pricey 4WD hire or tours, strap on your boots to tackle it by foot. The K'gari Great Walk takes you 90 kilometres over seven sections. You'll traverse its epic dunes, rainforests, spectacular freshwater lakes and dramatic coastline, and set up camp along the way. If that sounds too hot and sweaty, you can skip the walking altogether and just set your watch to island time to kick back and spend your days fishing, swimming and relaxing.
Journey inland to marvellous Maryborough
Don’t let all the beachside attractions distract you from the Fraser Coast’s inland delights. Here the scenic Mary River courses its way through historic townships that make for lovely stops as you drive through the picturesque hinterland. Most famous is Maryborough, a charming town of heritage buildings best explored on a free guided-walk. And of the town’s museums and galleries, most notable is the Story Bank – the birthplace of P.L. Travers, the creator of Mary Poppins. Putting the Mary in Maryborough, she’s become an unlikely face about town, with everything from festivals to walking tours dedicated in her honour.
Witness the wonder of turtle nesting and hatching
While humpback whales are the toast of the town during the cooler months, come summer it’s the turtles' time to shine. For the price of a pub meal you can see the evening spectacle of loggerhead turtles at the Mos Repos hatchery. Depending on what month you visit, you’ll either see the female turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs (November–December), or the hatchlings making a quick dash to start their new lives out at sea (February–March). Book well in advance as tickets go quick! Otherwise, the turtle centre is open year-round so you can learn about these wondrous creatures.
Find all the colours of the rainbow at this laidback beach town
Long-time backpacker central, Rainbow Beach is a hit with travellers not just because it’s affordable, but simply because it’s beautiful. It’s a coastline of colourful sand cliffs, golden beaches and subtropical rainforest. And while the hostels and campgrounds lend themselves to fun nights meeting other backpackers, it’s a destination perfect for anyone seeking some much-needed beach time. From diving and paragliding to surfing and four-wheel driving – here you’ll find every water- and adventure-sport activity imaginable. And while most visitors arrive to take the ferry to Fraser Island, they always leave realising Rainbow Beach is much, much more than just a jumping-off point.