Hervey Bay is one of the key stops on any drive up the Queensland Coast. It takes a few days to soak up the attractions in the area.
The town has a very relaxed vibe and is family-friendly
The two main drawcards to the area are actually located offshore, with the first being the whale watching. Each year, between mid July to early November, the bay fills with whales as they head north to warmer waters and then south again for feeding when spring comes. Whale watching in other locations can't compare to these offerings.
The other main attraction is Fraser Island, directly to the east, which is the biggest sand island in the world. It has dingoes, a shipwreck, freshwater lakes and plenty of other attractions. Tours can be booked or you can attempt driving on the sand yourself.
Fraser Island is perfect for adventurous travelers, but can cater for others too, so never write it off
Attractions within the bounds of Hervey Bay include the spectacular Urangan Pier, which is 860 metres long (and was once 1100 metres).
Out on the pier
The beach is another go-to place, though when I visited storms had taken away much of the sand and it was very rocky. The water is also very calm, so if you want a bit more excitement provided for you, there's the WetSide Water Education Park, a water park open during the warmer months.
There are plenty of museums (including aquariums), gardens and parks for picnics (Arkarra Lagoons is quiet pretty, and just a little out of town) and a very long esplanade where you should take a walk or ride a bike at least once. Markets are always taking place somewhere.
The Arkarra Lagoons are a picturesque spot outside town where you'll find a cafe and stunning setting, including a lagoon full of turtles
The town has everything you will need within its bounds, including multiple supermarkets, a shopping centre, a library, laundromats and more.
Accommodation in the area is also plentiful, with multiple hostels and caravan parks along the esplanade (you'll forget there's a whole other section to the town further inland because everything visitors need is along here).
The Hervey Bay Whale Festival is an annual August event that includes Paddle Out For Whales
Where: 3.5 hours north of Brisbane
When: Winter and Spring are good if you want to see whales, but any time of year is worthwhile
Cost: Suits all budgets