Whale-watching mecca, gateway to Fraser Island

Laidback coastal charm, breathtaking nature and wildlife, and lush hinterland just 300km north of Brisbane, Hervey Bay and the Fraser Coast is an idyllic Queensland getaway. Come for the whales and Fraser Island, stay for the quiet, unspoilt beaches, fresh local seafood, and waterfront escapes perfect for relaxation and adventure.

Hervey Bay’s quiet, calm beaches are perfect for family holidays. Relax on the sand and at beachfront restaurants and cafes, or dive in, snorkel, windsurf or paddle. From July to October, watch the world’s biggest families enjoy a coastal break: humpback whales on their annual migration from Antarctica. Hervey Bay is the world’s first ever World Whale Heritage Area, and one of the best places in Australia to see these majestic mammals making a splash with their calves.

Across the bay, explore the remote wilderness and wildlife of World–Heritage listed Fraser Island. Aptly named K’gari (paradise) by indigenous Butchulla people, the world’s largest sand island is home to spectacular beaches, subtropical rainforest and inland freshwater lakes. Camp, stay at a resort, or combine a day trip with a whale-watching tour.

Beyond the coast, venture into the green hinterland to explore wildlife-filled national parks, and charming, heritage-filled country towns.

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Things to do: Hervey Bay

  • Tasman Ventures whale-watching tour and breaching humpback whale, Hervey Bay, Queensland. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland/Vince Valitutti

    Whale watching

    Hervey Bay is the place for whale watching. Every winter (July–October) on their migration between Antarctica and the Great Barrier Reef, humpback whales make a stopover in the calm, sheltered waters around Fraser Island, the first ever World Whale Heritage Site. Take a whale-watching boat tour to catch the extraordinary sight of these behemoths splashing about or dive in and join the big swim.

    Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland/Vince Valitutti

  • Aerial view of inland Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island, Queensland. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

    Fraser Island

    Head across the water to Fraser Island. The world’s largest sand island, its World Heritage-listed remote wilderness, white sand beaches, rainforest and inland lakes are extraordinary. Cruise along the 75 Mile Beach highway in a 4WD, climb the cliffs of Indian Head, and explore the Maheno Shipwreck. Cool off in the Champagne Pools, with a tube-ride along Eli Creek or a paddle in Lake McKenzie. Go for a day trip, stay in five-star accommodation or camp under five-billion-star skies.

    Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

  • Person in Mary Poppins costume outside Maryborough Heritage Centre, Fraser Coast,  Queensland. Image credit: Andrew Tallon

    Maryborough

    Take a day trip to Maryborough. Bursting with charm, the heritage town is the birthplace of author P.L. Travers and inspiration behind Mary Poppins. For all things Poppins, follow the interactive Magical Mary Trail, pop into the Story Bank, or time your trip with the Mary Poppins Festival. Maryborough’s other charms lie in its classic 1800s architecture, riverside parks, galleries, museums and public art. Wander among heritage sandstone buildings, take a steam train through Queens Park, and follow the Maryborough Mural Trail.

    Image credit: Andrew Tallon

  • Couple walking along Urangan Pier at sunset, Hervey Bay, Queensland. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

    Urangan Pier

    Stroll along historic Urangan Pier for stunning views of Hervey Bay and across to Fraser Island. At 868m, it’s one of the longest piers in Australia and offers stingray, fish and dolphin-spotting opportunities. Catch sunrise, sunset or some whiting – it’s one of the best fishing spots in Hervey Bay. Next to the pier, relax with beachside fish and chips in the park and watch the windsurfers work the waves.

    Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

  • Drinks in the foreground, people watching the sunset at beachfront café and bar Enzo's on the Beach, Hervey Bay, Queensland. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

    Restaurants and cafes

    Feast on fresh seafood and local produce at Hervey Bay’s restaurants and cafes. Treat yourself to the all-day brekky options at local favourite Eat at Dan and Steph’s, or a beachfront brunch or sunset tipple overlooking Scarness Beach at perennially popular Enzo’s on the Beach. The local foodie scene is ever-growing, and options abound. Wherever you dine, don’t miss the famous local Hervey Bay sea scallops.

    Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

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Airport information

Airport Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport (HVB)

Distance to Hervey Bay 6km

Taxi/rideshare Hervey Bay Taxi Service (1300 008) and Uber offer services to and from the airport.

Shuttle bus Just Shuttles runs between the airport, Hervey Bay, Maryborough and other surrounding towns. Pre-booking only. Fares start at around AUD $15.

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When to go

With year-round warm weather, any time is a good time to visit Hervey Bay and the Fraser Coast. Summer (December–February) can be hot and wet, with an average daily temperature of 30C. The winter months (June–August) are warm and dry, with a daily average of around 22C.

The best, and most popular, time for whale watching is July–October. Book well ahead. In July, pop along to Maryborough’s Mary Poppins Festival. In late July/August, you’re in for a whale of a time at the Hervey Bay Whale Festival, which includes a paddle out, parade and seafood festival.

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Getting around

Wide Bay Transit runs bus services in and around Hervey Bay and Maryborough. Fares start at around AUD $2.50. Uber is available in Hervey Bay, as are taxis: phone Hervey Bay Taxi Service (1300 008).

Going exploring? Hiring a car is a great option for getting around the coast and hinterland. If you’re planning to drive on Fraser Island, you’ll need a 4WD. Fraser Island Barges runs daily car and passenger services from River Heads, a 15-minute drive south of Hervey Bay, to Fraser Island. The journey takes 30–50 minutes. If you’re planning to drive or camp on the island, you’ll need a permit before you go.

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