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.

People fishing at sunset, the Esplanade, Hervey Bay. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
  • Jetstar
  • 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.

Aerial view of Urangan Pier surrounded by turquoise water on a sunny day. Image credit: stock.adobe.com
Take a long walk along Urangan pier. Image credit: stock.adobe.com

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.

Solo traveller hiking through rainforest on K’gari (Fraser Island). Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
Explore K’gari (Fraser Island) on foot. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

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.

Woman dressed in Mary Poppins costume standing in front of the Maryborough Heritage Centre, Maryborough, Queensland. Image credit: Andrew Tallon
Pop into the Maryborough Heritage Centre. Image credit: Andrew Tallon

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.

Hatchlings on the sand at Mon Repos Turtle Centre. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
The unforgettable experience of turtles hatching at Mon Repos. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

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.

Great Beach Drive, Guided 4WD tour along the beach. Rainbow Beach. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
Enjoy the rugged beauty of Rainbow Beach. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland