Hervey Bay is probably most famous as the whale watching capital of Queensland and eastern Australia and as the main place to catch the barge to Fraser Island but is a lovely coastal town in its own right.
Pronounced Harvey Bay, it is located 295km north of Brisbane and 35km from Maryborough. It is actually made up of five suburbs running for 15km along the beach. Running east to west you have Urangan, Torquay, Scarness, Pialba and then Point Vernon. Most of the Hervey Bay accommodation is between Torquay and Pialba and most of the Hervey Bay restaurants, cafes and shops are in Torquay and Scarness but you will find more in Urangan especially around the pier and marina.
There is no official visitors centre here but there are lots of private ones. The Hervey Bay Visitor and Tourist Information Centre at 401 The Esplanade in Torquay is privately run by Pam and Kevin Smith and they are very helpful. They also have Internet access here which uses Global Gossip.
Hervey Bay Attractions
As mentioned above one of the main reasons to come here is for whale watching which generally takes place between July and November and is one of the most amazing day trips I have ever done. I would thoroughly recommend doing one of these trips as it is one of the highlights of my times in Australia.
Hervey Bay is a lovely laid back town with a beautiful beach especially in Torquay and Scarness although at low tide it can be a bit ugly. The bay is very sheltered and the sea is very calm so it is quite a safe place to swim.
There is a shared pathway that runs along behind the beach for 15km from Urangan Harbour to Point Vernon where it stops at the Gatakers Bay Boat Ramp. It is lovely to walk, jog or cycle along this although in many parts you can’t see the beach as there are trees and parks between the pathway and the beach. There are a few options for bike hire such as at the Fraser Roving Backpackers, The Jade Waters Apartments at 407 The Esplanade and the Bay Bicycle Hire who you can contact on 0417 644 814 and they will deliver bikes to you.
The Urangan Harbour is where many of the whale watching trips leave from along with passenger ferries to Fraser Island. It is also home to many yachts and fishing ships along with a growing number of cafes, restaurants and shops. The Boat Club, also at the harbour, has a bistro and is a great spot for the older crowd during the day with a band and dancing.
About 4km from the harbour is the Urangan Pier which was originally 1km long and had a railway line on it and was used to help export sugar and coal but it is no longer in use and is now “only” 868 metres long. You will often see lots of fishermen on the pier with a good catch of mackerel.
Between the pier and the Urangan Harbour is Reef World, a small aquarium, which has a lovely little cafe with great sea views.
Point Vernon is a very residential area which offers great views back along the coast to the town. There is a tall pole in this area with a nest at the top and if you are lucky you may see one of the resident sea eagles.
Hervey Bay Bars and Pubs
These are fairly spread out along the Esplanade mainly in Torquay and Scarness but also in Urangan.
In Torquay the Torquay Hotel has a couple of bars and is open till reasonably late but tends to be quite quiet during the week after the dinner rush is over.
Hoolihan’s has a bar area with stools around some kegs and by the window and also have plenty of tables outside. They have live music on at weekends when they open late but they do sometimes close quite early during the week if they are quiet.
In Scarness the Beachhouse Hotel is the busiest pub in this area and is a big favourite with the locals. They also have live music at weekends.
Sporties is a huge family pub in Urangan near the pier and has bingo and raffles on throughout the week.
The Boat Club, mentioned above, has a couple of bars with good views of the harbour.
Hervey Bay Excursions
Apart from the whale watching trips mentioned above the main excursions from Hervey Bay are to Fraser Island either on tours or by 4WD self-drive.