Best things to do in Hervey Bay and the Fraser Coast

Finding bliss on Fraser Island is only the beginning.

Two people stand-up paddle boarding on the clear blue water of Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island.
  • Jetstar
  • February 2021

Whether it’s exploring Fraser Island, encountering humpback whales, walking coastal trails, seeking adventure in the hinterland, or meeting Mary Poppins in a heritage town, Hervey Bay and the Fraser Coast have something for every getaway.

Meet the whales

Even whales head to Hervey Bay when they need a well-earned break. Every year between July and late October, up to 8000 humpback whales choose the tranquil waters between Hervey Bay and Fraser Island to take a breather and nurse their young before continuing their epic journey to the Southern Ocean. This makes Hervey Bay one of the best places on the planet to get up close to these giants of the deep. It's also the world's first Whale Heritage Site opens in new window, with several operators running sustainable whale-watching tours opens in new window.

A humpback whale raises a fin alongside a whale-watching tour boat in Hervey Bay. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.
Hervey Bay is a sanctuary for whales from July to October. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Ferry to Fraser Island paradise

With its stunning natural beauty, it's no wonder Fraser Island is called K'gari – 'paradise' – by the indigenous Butchulla people. Cruise in a 4WD down miles of beach highway. Hike sand dunes and subtropical rainforest. Launch yourself into the impossibly clear Lake McKenzie (Boorangoora), one of dozens of freshwater lakes on the island. Look out for wildlife, from the island's famous beach-going dingoes, to rays and turtles in the surrounding sea. With so much to explore, it’s best to stay overnight. Choose a resort, camp, or take a day trip if you're short on time.

Two 4WDs travel on a sandy road surrounded by tall trees on Fraser Island. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.
Explore beaches, lakes and towering rainforests on Fraser Island. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Day trip to historic Maryborough

Embraced by the Mary River, Maryborough was once a major port town, now home to heritage buildings and parks. Start your journey through history at the museums of the Portside Heritage Precinct, discover Maryborough's military past at the Gallipoli to Armistice Memorial, or follow the Mural Trail – more than 35 public artworks depicting the local characters and events that shaped the city. Maryborough is also the birthplace of Mary Poppins creator P.L. Travers. A statue of the much-loved nanny poses for selfies, and devoted fans can delve deeper into Poppins magic at the Story Bank.

A large wall mural in Maryborough depicts a WWII aircraft and RAAF Squadron Leader Frank Lawrence. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.
Learn about historic Maryborough on the Maryborough Mural Trail. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Take a long walk on Urangan Pier

Not your average promenade, Urangan Pier in Hervey Bay reaches some 868 metres over the blue water. Built in 1917, the pier is actually 200 metres shorter than its original length, yet is still one of Australia’s longest. An amble on the boards is a must for sunset or sunrise views of the coast, spotting stingrays, dolphins and other sealife, or just catching a salty breeze. Anglers can also cast a line alongside the locals – Urangan Pier is one of many popular fishing spots in the Hervey Bay area.

Silhouetted view of Urangan Pier and the beach at sunrise in Hervey Bay.
Urangan Pier in Hervey Bay is one of Australia’s longest piers.

Journey along Hervey Bay Esplanade

Hugging the coast from Urangan to the rocky promontory of Point Vernon, the 17km Esplanade walking trail lets visitors experience the unhurried local life of Hervey Bay. With villages, cafes, shops and leafy parks dotted along one side and a string of beaches on the other, there are plenty of places for a pit stop. Go for a swim or snorkel in the calm waters of Scarness or Pialba beaches and enjoy the views from Point Vernon. Need a little more action? Why not try stand-up paddle boarding or jet-skiing at Torquay.

The Hervey Bay Esplanade walkway passes along a green leafy park in Torquay.
Walk, bike or skate your way along the Esplanade in Hervey Bay.

Hike to rock pools in the hinterland

Turn your back on the beach (if you can!), because the Fraser Coast hinterland awaits with gentle green hills, charming country towns, and wildlife-filled parks. At Mount Walsh National Park, a 1.5km hike passes through woodlands to the Waterfall Creek Rock Pools. The pools (also known as Utopia rock pools) are most impressive after rainfall, when the cool cascading waters invite weary walkers to cool their feet. Other hinterland highlights include crafty shopping and pub fare in Tiaro, nutty history at the home of the macadamia in Bauple, and kayaking on the meandering Mary River.

The summit of Mount Walsh surrounded by bushland in the Fraser Coast hinterland.
Mount Walsh is popular for bushwalking in the Fraser Coast hinterland.

Find out more about Hervey Bay

See cheap flights to Hervey Bay