Hervey Bay attractions
There are lots of the usual things to do in a seaside holiday area and Hervey Bay is no exception – swimming, walking, golf, fishing, boating, eating out, markets, but Hervey Bay is renowned for winter whale watching. (More about that later. Here’s what else to do first.)
Hervey Bay Markets
When we are at home on the Mornington Peninsula there is a weekend market to visit each weekend somewhere on the peninsula. So we were happy to find that there is a weekend market at Urangan just near the pier. Held from 7am to 1pm on both Saturday as well as Wednesday. We enjoyed the Saturday market on a previous visit but this time we were only in town for the Wednesday market. You can buy fruit and veggies, clothing, locally made goods, food and drink, even leather goods.
A feature we loved was the live music on stage right in the middle of the market.
We also discovered there is a Thursday market in nearby Maryborough. It’s held just near the Town Hall along Adelaide and Kent Streets from 7am to 12pm. There are probably more than a hundred stalls, ranging from farmer’s produce to jams to crafts and jewellery to food and coffee stalls.
Hervey Bay Foreshore Trail
From our caravan park, Ingenia Holidays Hervey Bay, it was only a 600m walk to the foreshore trail along the Esplanade. Every day we took our little dog, Mel down there for a walk. It’s a well treed and beautifully landscaped walk which goes nearly 17km from Urangan to the west then northwest ending around Point Vernon. Unfortunately (or otherwise) it’s a shared trail and Mel loves to bark at anything with wheels so whenever a cyclist, a scooter rider or skateboarder came along we had to pull her aside and hold her firmly, at the same time discouraging her from barking and lunging at the wheels.
Dog Friendly and Off Leash Beaches
As well as walking along the foreshore trail we also would visit one of the nearby dog friendly beaches. Some of the beaches, and sadly Urangan pier, don’t allow dogs, at some beaches dogs are welcome whilst on a leash and some are leash free. Mel loves to go for a run with other similar minded dogs and usually we found at least one whose owner was happy for their dog to join in. You can click here for the link to information about Leash Free Beaches in the Hervey Bay area which includes a detailed map. One of our favourite leash free beaches was to the southwest of the Urangan Fisheries shop ( a great place to buy fresh fish.) Mel could always find another dog for a run. However one day we (well, actually Mel) noticed a large number of small moving creatures on the beach.
On closer inspection we discovered they were blue soldier crabs.
They certainly scampered away when Mel approached them!
Hervey Bay Golf Course
Just in case there is time I carry a half set of golf clubs in a smaller bag whilst we are travelling. This time whilst staying at Hervey Bay I only managed a quick nine holes one afternoon at Hervey Bay Golf Course. It’s a popular, well manicured course with lots of trees.
Apart from playing golf it’s a good spot to see some local wildlife such as these kangaroos lounging around at the side of this hole.
Hervey Bay Whales
Now to one of Hervey Bay’s biggest attractions – humpback whale watching. There are several companies offering whale watching boat trips from Hervey Bay marina. In the end we chose one which offered a good time, immediate availability, dinner included and industry experience – Whalesong Cruises.
We booked ourselves onto an afternoon cruise. Our caravan park neighbours joined us. Once on board, the catamaran headed out from the Hervey Bay Marina, passing incoming boats and some pelicans as we went.
Our catamaran moved quite quickly, overtaking a yacht
before passing this small sand island.
As we came to the stretch of water to the west of Fraser Island (now known as K’gari) we saw another whale watch boat from a rival company.
Our captain was giving a quick discourse on the whales and why they come to this part of the coast when he told us to look to the starboard (right) side. Sure enough there was our first whale within metres of us.
It soon became obvious it was one of three in a pod.
It also became obvious to me that my reflexes weren’t quick enough to snap or video the whales as they dove in and out of the water.
However I remembered that on my Nikon I have a sports setting so I engaged that and achieved almost instant success at taking a better shot. (Shame about the hat of one of my fellow passengers!)
Here’s a series of three shots.
The best part was that our boat barely moved over about an hour and the three whales continued to make their moves close to us. As the captain explained, the whales’ behaviour was totally natural and there was no show going on, even though we were loving it. Just fabulous!
All good things come to an end and so it was for us when the three whales swam off. Our boat moved a bit and fortunately we came upon another pair of humpback whales that stayed near us for the better part of another hour
occasionally surfacing just near the side of our boat.
We were now making our way back down the coast of Fraser Island.
To our starboard side the sun was setting in a magnificent orange glow
whilst to our port side boats were mooring for the night below a beautiful pale pink sky.
Back at the marina we made our way back to our caravan park, which was a short walk away, totally in awe of the amazing afternoon we had experienced. Yes, it’s not cheap but whale watching in Hervey Bay is so worth it.
To finish this post off here’s one last attraction, which can be found on the back wall of the Urangan Fisheries. It’s a colourful mural.
After taking a look it’s well worth going into the shop to buy some fresh fish. Great on the barbecue!