About the only thing you can predict regarding tropical weather, is that it is unpredictable. So sometimes your well-laid holiday plans don’t go exactly as intended, which is how this story ended up being about Hervey Bay, instead of the town of Seventeen Seventy, which was blocked off by flood waters and completely inaccessible.

By going with the flow, and not letting a last minute reroute interfere with your holiday Zen, you may find that your accidental destination turns out to be just as great as the one you had planned.

Hervey Bay is three and a half hours drive north of the Brisbane campervan hire depots, which are located conveniently outside of the city centre and its hectic traffic. It’s an easy drive via the Bruce Highway, and there are plenty of campgrounds available with powered sites when you arrive. 

Pialba Beachfront Tourist Park

Tip: The “Discovery Roadtrip” mobile app is free to download, and is super helpful for locating campgrounds in Australia – for free or paid sites. This is useful both when planning ahead, because it allows you to save to your favourites, and for the spontaneous traveller, because it allows you to conveniently search the surrounding area for options. 

Staying at one of the campgrounds along the esplanade, makes for easy walking to local cafes, and the park grounds along the way are a great spot for a picnic. There is a skate-park and a playground along the esplanade too, and the native gardens surrounding are well maintained and home to a variety of native bees– which are both small and stingless. 

At the Pialba end of the Esplanade is a free water park, Wetside, which is patrolled by lifeguards. It provides loads of fun for kids, with its waterslide, water spouts and water cannons. On Saturday nights, there is a free sound and light show, and it is located conveniently beside a local fish and chip shop. 

The beaches across Hervey Bays coastline are breathtakingly beautiful, and if you’re travelling in weather not suitable for swimming, the beachscapes and serenity are still perfection. 

When the tide goes out each day, it goes ALL the way out, and the rippled effect it leaves upon the sand at Torquay Beach is delightful. 

The Hervey Bay sunsets are exquisite, so don’t be surprised if you spend every afternoon strolling on the shore, looking out for sea-life in the nearby fairy rock pools, and generally relishing in nature. 

The Urangan Pier is located at the end of the Esplanade, and is one of the longest piers in Australia, stretching almost a kilometre out to the ocean. It is a wonderful spot for a walk, and you will see some great birdlife here, including pelicans, gannets and great crested terns. If you’re lucky and keep a lookout, you may even spot a pod of dolphins or some sea turtles.

On Saturday mornings, the Urangan Pier Park holds a community market, where you can grab a bite to eat whilst listening to some live music. Their large number of stalls provide a variety of goods, including fresh produce, local art, craft, clothes, toys, hand-made jewellery and flowers.

The Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens and the Reef World Aquarium, are also within walking distance from the Pier.

Fraser Island

Hervey Bay is a gateway to Fraser Island, and there are many day-trip options available that will provide transfers over from River Heads, and include meals and permits. 

Fraser Island is the largest sand island on the planet, and it holds world-heritage listed rainforest. The sandy walking tracks wind you through the ancient ferns, thousands of years old satinay trees and abundant native wildlife, including dingoes and peregrine falcons.

There are several shipwrecks found upon the island, but the iconic remains of the S.S. Meheno are the most well-known. Luckily, no one was on board the ship in 1935, when a cyclone drifted it onto Fraser Island’s shores, but it makes for a must-see piece of history when visiting.

Whale Watching

Whale watching season takes place between mid-July to November, and Hervey Bay is famous for its humpback whale encounters, which occur annually, as they migrate via these waters on their journey to the Antarctic. Although viewing them from the shore is not possible, you can take a whale watching cruise where you will almost certainly experience a sighting. Some tour providers even offer guaranteed sightings – so if you don’t see a whale, you can cruise again with them for free until you do. 

Other nearby attractions:

  • Reef World Aquarium
  • Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens
  • Bingera National Park
  • Bundaberg Rum Distillery
  • Elliott Heads rock pools
  • Point Dayman Park
  • Hervey Bay Regional Gallery
  • Stockland Hervey Bay
  • Hervey Bay Historical Village & Museum

Either as an inadvertent or intended destination, Hervey Bay is a terrific spot to unwind! It also provides a very convenient base to explore the Fraser Coast region, especially by choosing a campervan hire, which provides an easy means of transport to tour neighbouring towns of interest, such as Bundaberg or Maryborough. Staying in a seaside campground and having the beach on your doorstep allows frequent access, and is an optimal location for daily walks down the esplanade, where you can hit the cafes and restaurants.

Author: Leila Gear – Discovery Campervans