20 Best Things to Do in Hervey Bay, Queensland

Hervey Bay, Australia
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If you would love to watch friendly whales frolicking in the sparkling waters, visiting Hervey Bay should definitely be on your bucket list.

This city in Queensland's Fraser Coast Region is referred to as Australia's Whale Watching Capital.

Hervey Bay is blessed with around 14 kilometers of sandy stretches where humpback whales migrate between April and October.

While whale watching has become the coastal city's quintessential attraction, there are many other places to see and activities to enjoy.

These are the best things to do in Hervey Bay, Australia:

Go on a Whale Watching Tour and Swim with the Whales

Whale Watching at Hervey Bay
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No trip to Hervey Bay is complete without taking a shot at whale watching.

The quintessential tourist attraction, whale watching is available for tourists from July to November.

To experience this majestic experience, make sure you visit Hervey Bay during these times when you can watch the mesmerizing dance of the humpback whales.

Tourist watching a whale
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Whale watching tours will take you to places where the waters are bluer and deeper, and tourists can simply watch them or even enjoy a safe, enjoyable swim alongside the mighty mammals.

These tours come in different packages that include meals and hydrophones, which are instruments used to hear the whale song.

Whale Watching boat tour
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Enjoy the Exhibits at the Fraser Coast Discovery Sphere

Interior of The Discovery Sphere
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Hervey Bay is filled with many attractions, both natural and man-made.

One of them is the Fraser Coast Discovery Sphere, located in the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery Building on Old Maryborough Road.

The place is keen on showcasing the natural and beautiful diversity the Great Sandy Biosphere is drenched in and has many interpretive panels and exhibits.

Large whale sculpture in front of Fraser Coast Discovery Sphere
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The Fraser Coast Discovery Sphere exudes an underwater experience, with many displays capturing the essence of the whales, including a fascinating reproduction of a full-sized whale skeleton.

The on-site gift shop has a variety of unique and locally crafted products and keepsakes, which you can take home as memories.

Visitors are usually most attracted to Nala, a magnificent 12-meter-tall sculpture of a whale, representing Hervey Bay's natural inhabitants.


Walk along the Famous Urangan Pier

Wooden bench overlooking Urangan Pier
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Located in the coastal suburb of Urangan, the iconic Urangan Pier stretches almost one kilometer into the ocean and is surrounded by glittering waters.

It completed construction in 1917 and was used to transfer cargo among rail and ships.

One can find pods of dolphins and stingrays around the pier in abundance, along with fish, making it a hotspot for fishing.

View from within the Urangan Pier
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The first Urangan Pier Festival was held in 1986, organized to save the Urangan Pier by raising funds.

This became quite a tradition, transforming into a fishing competition held annually.

Walk down the pier and take in the beautiful Hervey Bay—it will be worth it!

Sunset over Urangan Pier
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Tour the Stunning Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens

The natural and mesmerizing Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens are located on Elizabeth Street, a few minutes from Urangan Beach.

They have a variety of native plants extracted from the local Wide Bay and Sandy Straits regions, growing out of 6,000 old sand dunes.

The botanic gardens are home to the Orchid House, which features more than 15,000 varieties of orchids, including some rare ones.

The Orchid House also has a quaint cafe, where you can sip on hot tea or coffee while looking over the surrounding rainforest and the lagoon.

There's also a formal Chinese Garden, complete with Feng Shui windows, bamboo groves, moon gates, and bridges.

A Japanese Bridge is built over a tranquil lake, where you can observe the tortoises and ducks floating around.

The Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens can surely cleanse your soul—such is the peace and tranquillity of the place.


Explore Hervey Bay's Iconic Esplanade

The grounds of Hervey Bay Esplanade
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The Esplanade in Hervey Bay is one of the most underrated esplanades in the world.

It runs from the Urangan Boat Harbour to Gatakers Bay, covering the suburbs of Urangan, Torquay, Shelly Beach, Pialba, Point Vernon, and Scarness, for around 17 kilometers.

The Esplanade is an active place filled with excellent accommodations and eateries.

BBQ shed along Esplanade
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All the accommodation options mostly cluster around the south of the Seafront Oval—besides Peppers and Ramada, there are many luxurious and amazing resorts to stay at.

As for the cafes and restaurants, some of the gems include Salt Cafe Urangan, Paolo's Pizza Bar, and Cody's Coffee Shack.

Walk along the pedestrian and bike path, stop at the fantastic eateries, and try staying at one of the resorts—the Esplanade is worth it.


Treat Yourself to a Relaxing Stay at Oaks Hervey Bay Resort and Spa

Oaks Hervey Bay Resort and Spa, promising a luxurious experience near the coast, is something of a blessing the Esplanade offers.

The beaches, coast-side eateries, bars, boutiques, and other local attractions are just a minutes' distance from the resort, making it one of the most sought-after resorts in Hervey Bay.

Oaks Hervey Bay Resort and Spa has a comfy lounge, dining areas, and a variety of suites, including one, two, and three-bedroom options and those with private balconies.

The resort also has a lagoon pool where you can enjoy an exhilarating swim and an on-site day spa offering relaxing massages and spas.

Oaks Hervey Bay Resort and Spa is everything an ideal resort could become—and then some more.

Take the Kids to Wetside Water Park

Are you looking for a place you can enjoy with the whole family?

Just at the intersection of Main Street and the Esplanade is Wetside Water Park, an exciting and eco-friendly place big on providing insightful water infotainment.

A large water area is available for the children to frolic around and is free to use.

Wetside Water Park is home to waterslides and other attractions like the Totside and the FlipSide BoardRiver wave machine.

A restaurant, a cafe, and a fish and chip shop are located just inside the premises, where people can enjoy delicious food.

Have a Delicious Meal at Cafe Balaena

Resting on Buccaneer Drive is Cafe Balaena, one of Hervey Bay's famous cafes.

It comfortably looks over the marina and is a beautiful spot to enjoy meals with your loved ones.

Those who visit the cafe are keen to brag about how the menu is extensive and top-notch—and once you dine there, you will be assured as well.

Some of their much-loved dishes include steak, carol trout, scallops, eggs Benedict, and coffee.

What's more, Cafe Balaena also offers room service for the nearby Mantra Hotel—if you are, by any chance, living in that one, you know where to order your meals.

Soft music plays in the background as you have amazing food over the sparkling waters—can any other experience beat this one?


Watch the Sunrise at Dundowran Beach

Sunrise at Dundowran Beach
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While there are many beaches in the city, many are secluded and waiting to be explored.

One of them is Dundowran Beach, tucked away along Hervey Bay (the body of water).

While people go to beaches to enjoy sunsets, Dundowran Beach specializes in providing picturesque views of the sunrise.

This has made Dundowran Beach a favorite attraction among locals and tourists.

It is quite a flat beach, making the tides come and go swiftly.

During full tides, one can easily splash in the water by the beach without getting their upper body ruined in the water.

Frolicking in the shallow water as the early sunshine warms you up is one of the relaxing things you'll experience on this paradisiacal beach.


See the Ducks at Arkarra Lagoons

Within Dundowran Beach is Arkarra Lagoons, another of Hervey Bay's famous attractions.

The word "arkarra" is an Aboriginal term that translates to "place of many ducks."

Arkarra Lagoons was first believed to be a swamp in the 19th century and was a part of the original freehold property, spread across 200 acres.

It is home to a wide variety of birds and wildlife, attracting a lot of birdwatchers and wildlife photographers.

The area also has an on-site cafe offering decent food options.

Arkarra Lagoons has been one of the top picnic spots in Hervey Bay ever since it was discovered.

Satisfy Your Taste Buds at Eat at Dan & Steph's

You might know about Dan and Steph, the winners of My Kitchen Rules' fourth season.

Their restaurant, Eat at Dan & Steph's, is located on the Esplanade.

After winning the competition in 2013, they started this family-owned business, which has been soaring ever since.

Eat at Dan & Steph's is well-known for its low and slow barbecue cooking style and ensures they incorporate the freshest produce in its cooking.

Dan and Steph poured their passion into this restaurant and created an urban eatery where people will not only satisfy their stomachs but also their souls—and by the looks of it, they are clearly succeeding.


Enjoy Your Fill of Entertainment at the Hervey Bay Boat Club

The Hervey Bay Boat Club is more than just a club—it is a perfect place where hospitality and tourism facilities come together to form an ultimate tourist experience.

It is located on Buccaneer Drive, overlooking the Great Sandy Straits and the Urangan Marina.

The club provides many options, including a la carte dining, excellent coffee shop bars, free live entertainment, and a fine selection of the latest poker machines.

The Hervey Bay Boat Club's prized possession is the MV Amaroo, a 90-passenger catamaran that runs all year round and takes people whale watching in the winter.

It is no wonder that people are seen returning to the boat club frequently—it is simply outstanding!

Ride the Waves at Torquay Beach

Scenic view of Torquay Beach
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Torquay Beach is one of Hervey Bay's best beaches and one of Australia's most famous surfing spots.

Families are seen hanging out on this beach frequently, as it has several lush grassy areas for picnics and BBQs, along with a sheltered bay known for its calm waters, perfect for swimming.

Scenic view of Torquay Beach
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There is also an exposed reef break, known as the Torquay Reef, which is ideal for reliable surfing.

Make sure, however, that you visit during the winter when the beach offers clean and consistent waves.

Surfing over these flowing waters as the wind tousles your hair is the best feeling ever—and something you can experience on Torquay Beach.


Take a Scenic Stroll along Cooper's Walk

While Cooper's Walk is a relatively recent addition to Hervey Bay's top attractions, it is nevertheless a beautiful one.

It came into existence in 2015 and starts from Neilson Park in Torquay and runs almost parallel to the beach, where you can enjoy moments of quiet contemplation.

The boardwalk honors the memory of Cooper Christensen, a six-year-old local who, unfortunately, lost his life to brain cancer.

Just at the start of Cooper's Walk, opposite Neilsons Park, is a fantastic restaurant, Maddigans.

There, you can enjoy the city's best fish and chips before visiting the boardwalk.

The seats under the shaded trees are cozy and comfortable, and so is the place's peace.

Learn History at the Hervey Bay Historical Village and Museum

The multi-award-winning Hervey Bay Historical Village and Museum is one of the city's family-friendly attractions.

This portal into the past is located in the heart of Hervey Bay, on Zephyr Street.

Stroll around their 1.2-hectare museum because the Hervey Bay Historical Village and Museum has been able to retain part of its early heritage.

Visitors may visit 21 historic structures from those early times, look at around 12,000 artifacts, participate in interactive demonstrations, and learn about the life of individuals who first inhabited the area.

Drop by Hervey Bay Historical Village and Museum to learn more about the history of Hervey Bay.

Snap Photos of the Sculpture of Nala

The 22-ton Nala the Whale Sculpture is pretty hard to overlook as you pass through the area.

The massive artwork was made of stainless steel and ironbark and is destined for Australia's "big things" tour.

It was made by artist Ross Bradbury to portray Nala, a mother whale first seen in Hervey Bay in 1992 with her young baby, Simba.

According to Ross Bradbury, cutting the native ironbark timber took roughly 250 hours of labor.

Don't forget to pause and pose for a picture next to the magnificent artwork serving as Hervey Bay's trademark.

View the Wonderful Sea Animals inside Reefworld Aquarium Hervey Bay

​A tourist hotspot, Reefworld Aquarium Hervey Bay has been in operation since 1979.

With its distinctive displays of aquatic life, it has enthralled and astounded residents and tourists from all over the world.

This attraction is an utterly natural aquarium using just sand-filtered sea water and ambient light.

Reefworld Aquarium Hervey Bay supports marine species, including giant reef fish, sharks, colorful tropical fish, tubeworms, crabs, and many others.

You'll enjoy strolling around and soaking in all the beauty exhibited in the highlight tanks where these marine creatures live.

This attraction is located at the corner of Kent and Pulgur streets.

Relax and Stay the Night at Mantra Hervey Bay

There are numerous benefits to staying and having fun at Mantra Hervey Bay, which looks out over the renowned tranquil seas.

Located along Buccaneer Drive, the hotel serves as the ideal launching point for excursions, including daytime excursions to Fraser Island, tours, and diving.

Experience year-round activities for tourists of all ages; visitors adore being here during the Hervey Bay whale watching season.

With a warm outdoor lagoon pool, a kid's pool, and beachfront accessibility to the Urangan Marina, Mantra Hervey Bay is a terrific spot to relax.

A spacious balcony, first-rate amenities, and a spa bath make it easy to unwind in your hotel room or apartment.

Taste French Cuisine at Aegean Waters French Restaurant

Fun fact: The Aegean Waters French Restaurant at the Esplanade is the oldest restaurant in Hervey Bay.

The original proprietors and chefs have been enticing diners in Hervey Bay—both residents and tourists—with delectable food and unforgettable dining encounters for over 25 years.

The Aegean Waters French Restaurant is an elegant a la carte establishment with a full liquor license.

It is well known for its unique design and individualized, attentive, and welcoming service.

Sample a fusion of French and global cuisine in this sophisticated setting.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Take a Day Trip to Fraser Island

Scenic view of Fraser Island
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Fraser Island, a 50-minute ferry ride from Hervey Bay, is a picturesque place to visit.

It's filled with creeks, freshwater lakes, beautiful rainforests, and bush tracks.

The island is often visited for the wonderful Lake McKenzie, the largest sand island in the world.

Aerial view of the beautiful Fraser Island
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Fraser Island sings of natural beauty; you'll need a full day to explore the entirety of this place and then some more.

Make sure you visit the Maheno Shipwreck—the fascinating story will make you spend even more time on the island.

Daytime view of the Maheno shipwreck at Fraser Island
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Final Thoughts

Hervey Bay is well known as the beginning point of a Fraser Island trip and for whale watching excursions.

More particularly, the city is filled with breathtaking scenery, exciting sights, and fascinating fauna to discover.

Bookmark this list of the best things to do in Hervey Bay, Australia, and enjoy a memorable trip!