Hervey Bay  is a beachside city located in south east Queensland.
The town (population approximately 80,000 and growing fast) is a centre for whale watching. People flock to Hervey Bay every Whale season, which starts late July and goes through to early November. Is is also a gateway to Fraser Island and the southern Great Barrier Reef.
It has fantastic weather and consequently draws 'sea-changers', backpackers and those who don't like living in houses. Its offshore protection provides beaches almost free from waves.
The large bay is formed by Fraser Island and the coast. Hervey Bay is not so much single town, as a few seaside towns merged along the bay, Urangan, Torquay, Scarness, Pialba, and Point Vernon each have their own shopping precinct, parks and playgrounds.
The area has a mild, sub-tropical climate with an average 30 °C (86 °F) in summer and 23 °C (73 °F) in winter. The coast is predominantly affected by the south east trade winds which keep a cool breeze throughout the summer.
Hervey Bay was discovered by Captain James Cook in 1770 while he was travelling the east coast of Australia. He wrongly assumed that Fraser Island was joined to the Australian mainland and the sheltered waters behind it were a bay. The waters of the Great Sandy Strait are very shallow and he did not proceed far enough south to find the passage between Fraser Island and the coast. He named the bay "Hervey's Bay" after Lord Augustus Hervey an admiral of the Blue, the Earl of Bristol and Captain Cook's boss.
It is pronounced Harvey Bay. While the town may have a relaxed feel to it, there has been a growing drugs problem. The police have been trying to crack down on this, as well as drink-driving so be forewarned!
Hervey Bay Airport (HVB) airport is around 4km from Urangan, or a few minutes drive. It is only about an hours walk, so it would be possible if you were enthusiastic. It is certainly an easy cycle if you box your bike on the plane.
The airport is called the Fraser Coast airport, by some airlines.
Shuttles are available from the Airport into town, or as far as Bundaberg.
Taxis from the airport into town cost $20-$30 depending on destination.
The airport has an ATM, and a cafe restaurant which is inexpensive compared to those in other airports. The terminal buildings are air-conditioned. There is free wi-fi access and even two free (15min) makeshift foot massage machines. There is no aerobridge access to planes, but most aircraft can be accessed by ramp.
About 3-4 hours drive north from the Sunshine Coast, and 4-5 hours drive north from Brisbane.
Take the Bruce Highway (driving north from Brisbane) until you reach the town of Gympie, where you take the road to Maryborough.
A coach service connects with the Brisbane to Rockhampton tilt train at Maryborough, the closest station. You disembark here and continue the 30 minute journey by bus to the Hervey Bay Transit Centre terminal in Pialba.
Coach services running north from Brisbane stop in Hervey Bay.
Can rental facilities are easily available. Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Budget all have car rental depots.
Hervey Bay Rent A Car. 5 Cunningham Street, Hervey Bay. (07) 4194 6626. Rent small, medium and large vehicles, motor scooters and bicycles. All vehicles are automatic, power steering, and have air conditioning. Short and long term rentals are available.
Taxis are available. Call the national 131 008 taxi number for service.
There is 18km of waterfront cycleway, starting from Urangan and going to Point Vernon, and there is never a need to cycle on the Esplanade. If you want to make better time, the backstreets tend to be wide, flat and quiet. A bicycle is quite an ideal way to see Hervey Bay, because with the towns spread over about 10km, it is a little far to walk, and a car seems unnecessary. The two bike hire places make prices competitive.
The layout of the cycleway should inspire even the most lycra-averse to get on a bike, with possibilities of stopping for coffee, ice-cream, a swim or a beer, every couple of kilometres along the path.
- Bay Bike Hire, 106 Truro Street, ☎ 0417 644 814, . edit
- Fraser Coast Bicycle Hire, ☎ 0400 666 488, . edit
- Go and see Fraser Island (the world's largest sand island). Ferry services run regularly from the boat harbour.
- Explore Urangan Jetty (980m long and formerly much longer), if only for its "pier rats" and their local dialect. A variety of fish can be seen from the Jetty, as well as many people with a line trying to catch them. This is the most photographed object in Hervey Bay.
- Hervey Bay Regional Gallery, 161 Old Maryborough Rd, Pialba QLD 4655, ☎ 61-7-4197-4210, . edit
- Coral Viewing Boat Tours, . View coral from a glass bottom boat. Both day and night viewing coral tours are available. Enjoy the natural beauty and also see a variety of fish. edit
- Burrum District Museum, ☎ 07 4197 4201. A collection of natural and cultural artifacts. The emphasis is on the history of mining in the Hervey Bay region. edit
- Hervey Bay Historical Village and Museum, 13 Zephyr Street, Scarness, ☎ 07 4128 4804. This museum has 19 buildings that take you on a tour of Hervey Bay's past. Also has blacksmith and woodcraft demonstrations. It is only open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and on certain special days. edit
- Blue Dolphin Marine Tours, ☎ (07) 4124 9600, . Go on a dolphin boat tour to see the bottlenose dolphins and the indopacific humpback dolphins. Boat departs at 8 am from the marina. edit
- Swim. Hervey Bay's has calm waters, and a range of sandy beaches.
- Cycle. The 18km bay foreshore cycleway.
- Whale Watching (WhaleFree), ☎ 1800 088 511, . 6am-9pm. Hervey Bay is the end of the line for many of the Antarctic humpback whales that migrate north annually. Although many places along the New South Wales and Queensland coast offer opportunities for whale sightings as the whales pass, this is where they stay for a while. Whales are around from August to October. from $110 per adult. edit
- Fraser Island Tours (FraserFree), ☎ 1800 088 511, . 8am-5pm. Fraser Island is a popular destination for those visiting Hervey Bay as one of the main barges to Fraser Island leaves from here. Some companies combine Whale Watching with Fraser Island tours at a package price. from $149 for each adult. edit
- Susan River Homestead Horse Riding, . Go on a horse ride for up to 2 and a half hours. Get picked up and dropped off from Hervey Bay. $85 for each adult. edit
- Fish. Different types of fishing are offered including beach fishing, rock fishing, continental shelf fishing, and deep sea fishing. There is a great variety of fish ranging in size from garfish to marlin. edit
- WetSide Water Education Park, ☎ 1300 808 888. WetSide is supplied with recycled rainwater harvested from the city's stormwater network. The water park features hundreds of spouts and jets, fountains interactive play equipment, water slides, surfing, special play area for children under-5 called TotSide, tipping buckets, music and a giant water screen. The site also includes a coffee shop, viewing decks and boardwalks, educational displays, amenities blocks and the pay-per-use Board Rider wave machine. edit
- Reefworld Aquarium (Hervey Bay Aquarium), (Next to the Waterfront Restaurant in Urangan). A bit expensive but now the only true aquarium in Hervey Bay following the closure of the other shark aquarium Vic's. Features some fish, sharks and turtles. Feeding time for turtles is at 11am and sharks at 2pm. It also has a package deal with the restaurant next door, where you can get up to $8 off your meal if you go to the aquarium and take up the deal. $20 for adults and better value for kids/families. edit
- Krystal Klear Charters. Go on a boat tour to see dolphins and to snorkel. After the water activities, enjoy a barbecue lunch at Round Island. Departs in the morning and returns approximately 5 hours later. $90 for adults, $50 for children. edit
- Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre, ☎ (07) 4125 9722. Swim in 2 large outdoor swimming pools. edit
- Hervey Bay Golf Country Club, ☎ 07 4124-4544. Golf at the country club for a relaxing afternoon. edit
- Hervey Bay Bowling Club, Denham Camp Rd, Scarness, ☎ (07) 4128-1093. Have fun while lawn bowling. This is situated on the Scarness side of the Scarness-Torquay suburban border. edit
- Humpback Whale Watch, . Hervey Bay based, Humpback Whale Watch enables you to book your Hervey Bay Whale Watch Tours online from Aug through to Oct. edit
- Vic Hislop's Shark Show was formerly a display on dangerous sharks before its closure in early 2016. Situated at 553 The Esplanade, Hervey Bay, the former owners have left some figurines such as the 2 at the entrance - one of a gigantic shark mouth and one of 3 sharks attacking a boat. These figurines are the second-most photographed objects in Hervey Bay, behind the Urangan Jetty.
There are a number of restaurants and take-away places situated in town and along the Esplanade. You will have no difficulty finding Thai, Italian, Chinese and Mexican restaurants.
There are kiosks, fish and chips, bakeries and cafes located near the beach.
- The Water Front Restaurant, ☎ (07) 4194 6733. Exclusive waterfront dining with views of Fraser Island, Hervey Bay's calming waters and the famous Urangan pier. Winner of the best restaurant in Australia for wedding receptions by ABIA in 2013 and top 3 in 2015. edit
- Salt Café, ☎ (07) 4124 9722. Has delicious food and also provides a stunning ocean view. edit
- Gataker's Restaurant, The Esplanade, Point Vernon, ☎ (07) 4124 2470. 10AM- 2PM. Serves steak and seafood. edit
- Goody's On the Beach, 54 Moreton Street, Toogoom, ☎ (07) 4128 0227. opens at 10AM. Offers lunch and dinner from Wednesday through Sunday. edit
- Gringos Mexican Cantina, 449 Esplanade, Torquay. Opens at 5:30 PM. Open 7 days a week, is a Mexican restaurant. edit
- Wild Lotus Restaurant & Bar, 433 Charlton Esplanade, Torquay (Over the road from Torquay Beach), ☎ (07) 4125 3278, . An upscale restaurant that offers a selection of salads, steaks, pastas, Hervey Bay seafood and deserts. Many Gluten free, vegetarian and dairy free options. Fraser Coast tourism awards restaurant winner 2012, 2013 and 2015. edit
- Hoolihan's Irish Restaurant & Bar, 382 Charlton Esplanade, Torquay, ☎ (07) 4194 0099. Provides live music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. edit
- Hervey Bay RSL Club. Good quality club feed with discount meal options, 3 bars, and a courtesy bus service. edit
Some of Hervey Bay's pubs are on the Esplanade. The Torquay Hotel, Hoolihan's, and the Beach House, all of which are across the road from the beach and perfect people-watching locations.
There are other pubs on Boat Harbour Drive.
Hervey Bay Boat Club is a large club near the marina and Fraser Island ferry wharf. It serves meals including cut-price lunch specials, and has live music country style.
- Bay Central Tavern, ☎ 07 4124 4111. Enjoy food and drinks at the tavern. edit
- Bayswater Bar. Carries a broad list of Australian and International beers, a vast list of wines and a cocktail menu featuring 20 traditional and innovative cocktails. It is located inside the Bayswater Hotel and also provides live entertainment. edit
- Wild Lotus Restaurant & Bar, 433 The Esplanade, Torquay, ☎ 07 4125 3278, . Wild Lotus Restaurant & Bar's wine list showcases many of the great Australian wine styles. Their list focuses on iconic Australian wineries and also carries some New Zealand and Italian wines. Wide range of cocktails, beers and spirits. edit
There are many apartments for rent along the Esplanade. The Esplanade is a road that runs along the waterfront, but there are no buildings on the ocean side of the road. All the apartments, motels, etc look over the road, and then a park, and then the water. You have to cross the road to the beach.
- Grange Resort, Urangan. Offers 2 to 3 bedroom villas located within a tropical landscape. It has privacy and is ideal for families on vacation. edit
- Kingfisher Court Holiday Apartments, 374 The Esplanade, Scarness, ☎ 07 4124 1876, . Kingfisher Court is mid range family accommodation on the beachfront. Shopping, dining and entertainment are on your doorstep. Hotels, clubs, water sports, dining venues, jetties, playgrounds, bowling clubs and more are all within walking distance. 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Fraser Coast Tourism Awards winner. edit
There are numerous backpackers hostels in the Bay.
- Palace Adventures (Palace Backpackers Hostel), 184 Torquay Road, Scarness, ☎ 1800 063 168, . Located near food shops, the beach, and recreational centres. Hostel has a swimming pool and entertainment room. edit
- Colonial Village YHA, . The hostel is surrounded by tropical gardens and has a large pool and spa, bistro, bar, internet lounge, tennis & basketball courts and tour booking service. Breakfast is served at $6 per person edit
The resort tag on the end of the names of hotels and motels in Hervey Bay can be misleading. It seems a small backyard swimming pool is all that is required for a fairly standard motor inn to call itself a resort. Check the facilities and prices carefully, so you know what you are in for.
- Australiana Top Tourist Park, 295 Boat Harbour Drive, Scarness (on Boat Harbour Drive south of the Scarness attractions and east of Pialba), . checkin: 12pm; checkout: 10am. Very cheap out of the mid-range accommodation and much better than a hostel. It gives you a swimming pool, TV room, BBQ room and 4hrs of free wi-fi every day. However, you would need a bus to go to Urangan and don't expect premium services. $60-$90. edit
- Beachside Motor Inn Hervey Bay, (on the Esplanade in Pialba opposite the beach), ☎ +61 7 4124 1999, . edit
- Shelly Bay Resort, (on the Esplanade). Thai restaurant on the premises. edit
- Playa Concha Motor Inn, (on the Esplanade). Spanish restaurant on the premises. edit
- Breakfree Apartments, ☎ 1300 987 602. 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments edit
- Mantra Harvey Bay, . One of the Pepper's chain of resorts is on the Esplanade. Fancy! Has three bedroom apartments consisting of a hotel room + 2 bedroom adjoining. edit