Hervey Bay is a peaceful and picturesque seaside city, 318 km north of Brisbane, which thrives on tourism based on its access to Fraser Island, to Lady Elliot Island in the Great Barrier Reef, and on seasonal whale watching.
Hervey Bay is linked to Brisbane by air services, by bus services, and by rail from Maryborough (36 km west) with a rail–bus link to Hervey Bay. There is a daily direct jet flight from and to Sydney—Hervey Bay Airport (also known as Fraser Coast Airport) .
The population of Hervey Bay is approximately 53,000 persons. Since amalgamation with adjoining local councils in 2008, Hervey Bay is part of the Fraser Coast Regional Council with a combined population of approximately 100,000. Hervey Bay’s main industry is tourism: the Fraser Coast Tourism Region has more than 1.5 million visitors annually comprising domestic day visitors, domestic overnight visitors, and in excess of 200,000 international visitors (of whom just over one-quarter are from the United Kingdom).
Hervey Bay has five large shopping centres and a full range of retail, financial, commercial, and recreational services.
Hervey Bay has a most agreeable climate with an average maximum temperature of 28° C during January (the warmest month) and 20° C during July (the coldest month); the average minimum temperature is 22° C during January and 14° C during July.
A distinctive feature of Hervey Bay’s perennially sunny climate is that the early mornings are nearly always warm—the average air temperature at 9 a.m. is 26° C in January and 17° C in July. Days are very sunny in the region with, on average throughout the year, 7 hours of bright sunshine per day! Long-run average rainfall at Pialba in Hervey Bay is 1100 mm a year (the months of heavier rainfall being December to March, the months of lower rainfall being July to October).
As a seaside city, Hervey Bay began as a series of small fishing villages dotted along the 18 kilometres of beach that form Hervey Bay. The beaches are protected by Fraser Island and provide a safe and ideal place for numerous water activities including swimming, fishing, sailing, boating, and diving. There is a landscaped walkway/ cycleway along the foreshore with the beachside Esplanade providing many restaurants and cafés as well as boutique shops.
Hervey Bay is well provided with medical facilities: a large public hospital, two private hospitals, and over 30 general medical practitioners in the City, plus 3 specialist orthopaedic surgeons, 3 specialist ophthalmologists, 2 general surgeons, and 1 psychiatrist. There are nine dental practices (several
with more than one dentist), three X-ray and medical imaging practices, 8 physiotherapists, and 8 optometrists.
Hervey Bay Hospital forms part of the Wide Bay Health Service District and works together with Maryborough Hospital, with The Prince Charles Hospital (The Prince Charles Hospital, in north Brisbane, as the major tertiary level cardiothoracic referral hospital for Queensland, provides cardiac surgery and heart and lung transplantation among other services), and with the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (at Herston in north Brisbane, the largest tertiary referral hospital in Queensland, for other serious cases).
Hervey Bay Hospital is a modern 137-bed public hospital which was opened in 1997 at a cost of $36.2 million. Since then the hospital has built a reputation for excellence especially in professional education and participates in medical and nursing education programs with the University of Southern Queensland, Central Queensland University, Queensland University of Technology, and the University of Queensland. Hervey Bay Hospital currently has a staff of 600 and treat 20,000 inpatients annually.
Hervey Bay Hospital provides services which include operating theatres, general surgery, day procedure unit, 24-hour emergency department, medical imaging (X-rays, CT, and ultra-sound), orthopaedic surgery, intensive care, internal medicine, coronary care, cardiac rehabilitation, oncology services, endocrinology services, renal dialysis obstetrics and gynaecology, midwifery, paediatrics, specialist outpatients, pathology, and pharmacy. Allied Health Services include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dietetics, diabetes education, speech pathology, and social work.
Renovations to Hervey Bay Hospital’s Emergency Department have recently been completed. Additionally, several major redevelopment works have recently ben completed including a new Pathology Unit ($4.3 million) and Rotary Hospital House. Planning is also underway for the new Cancer Care Services and an expansion of the Oral Health Services (both scheduled for completion in 2012).
There are two private hospitals in Hervey Bay, both of which are subject to the provisions and standards of Queensland’s Private Health Facilities Act 1999. Hervey Bay Surgical Hospital (8 beds, three operating theatres) undertakes procedures in orthopaedics (especially hip replacement), gastroenterology, ophthalmology, dental surgery, plastic surgery, and general surgery. St Stephen’s Hospital (Uniting Care Health) offers day procedures in oncology (chemotherapy), ophthalmology, gastroenterology, general surgery, dental surgery, and orthopaedic surgery (St. Stephen’s Hospital has approval for the construction of a 100-bed inpatient hospital, and works in conjunction with St Stephen’s Hospital, Maryborough, established in 1946 with a 58-bed acute inpatient hospital and a 12-bed day surgery unit).
Hervey Bay provides a wide range of recreational facilities: there is the modern Hervey Bay Library (with a large collection of genealogical records and further enhanced by including the library of the adjacent Hervey Bay campus of the University of Southern Queensland); the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery with an active year-round programme of art exhibitions; The Hervey Bay Historical Village and Museum; the 26-hectare Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens (established in 1974 to ‘collect, display and research the native plants of the Great Sandy Region’) with the Orchid House (home to a collection of around 15,000 orchids mainly tropical epiphytes, displayed when in flower); and the new WetSide Water Education Park (using harvested rainwater and including a special area for under 5s called TotSide, and the FlipSide Board Rider wave machine) which is an ideal place to take the grandchildren for a fun day out.
Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre (very near Torbay–Torquay) has a 50-metre, 8-lane outdoor swimming pool, a 1,000 square metre children’s leisure pool containing water slides and play equipment, an indoor 15m×8m heated learn-to-swim pool, and a heated 8-lane, 25 metre pool with disability ramp (open all year).
During the whale watching season (July to October), humpback whales come to the calm waters of the Wide Bay between Hervey Bay and Fraser Island in order to give birth and to rest before going to Antarctic waters for the summer. The humpback whale is one of the world’s largest whales (adult females grow to 15 metres and weigh about 40 tonnes); the current Australian east coast population is estimated to be about 7,000 with about 5,000 coming to Wide Bay each year. Year-round, there are also bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, turtles, and dugongs in Wide Bay.
Using the pristine waters of the sheltered Great Sandy Strait off the southern end of Fraser Island, a pearl farm produces Akoya cultured pearls of 10 to 12 mm in diameter sold as ‘Fraser Island Pearls’. These are renowned world-wide for their lustre, perfect shape, and brilliance.
Fraser Island (123 km in length, and 184,000 hectares) is the world’s largest sand island and was World Heritage Listed in December 1992. Famed for its beaches, magnificent rainforests, sand dunes (many of which rise to over 100 metres above sea level), over 100 freshwater lakes (many of which are fringed with white sands), numerous freshwater creeks, and naturally-formed seaside volcanic rock sea-pools―the Champagne Pools washed by Pacific breakers are an especial attraction, Fraser Island is Hervey Bay’s main year-round tourist attraction, with one-day, two-day, and three-day tours available, as well as self-drive (4WD) camping, and many walking tracks with camping facilities.
Lady Elliot Island, just north of Fraser Island and in the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef, has a coral reef accessible from the beach with the tourist attractions of turtle nesting (November to February) and turtle hatching (February to April). There are modern resorts on both Fraser Island and Lady Elliot Island.
Hervey Bay offers:
Five large shopping centres: three Woolworths supermarkets (one at each end of Hervey Bay and one in the middle); one Coles Supermarket; one Supa IGA supermarket; one Aldi supermarket; Dan Murphy’s; Big W; Target; Bunnings Warehouse; Officeworks; Harvey Norman; Dick Smith
Calm beaches and waterways
A congenial pleasant climate year-round
Access to resorts on Fraser Island and Lady Elliot Island
Bigscreen Cinemas: a 5-screen cinema complex offering up-to-date releases
Bowling clubs: 3 in Hervey Bay, 2 in Maryborough (36 km), 1 in Burrum Heads (30 km)
Three golf courses (Hervey Bay Golf & Country Club; Craignish Country Golf Club; and Eagles Nest Golf Course), with the nearby Maryborough Golf Club, renowned as one of Queensland’s best regional courses, and Burrum District Golf Club
Hervey Bay and District Tennis Association, opposite Torbay–Torquay, with 8 artificial-grass courts (all flood-lit) and 4 hard courts (all flood-lit), all championship size, and a pro-shop and clubhouse
Hervey Bay Woodcrafts Club (all forms of woodwork; club equipped with a wide variety of power tools and hand tools) across the road from Torbay–Torquay
Recreational fishing: Wide Bay offers ideal sheltered fishing and most types of recreational sea-fishing are available in the Bay; Hervey Bay has six public boat ramps, not including the boat ramps at nearby River Heads where the vehicle and passenger ferries for Fraser Island depart. The historic Urangan Pier (868 metres long) offers good land-based fishing.
Two Sunday markets (alternate Sundays) offering fresh produce―fruit, vegetables, and flowers (all at exceedingly reasonable prices), jams and chutneys, herbs and spices, clothing, jewellery, craft, hardware, antiques, bric-à-brac, food stalls, and entertainment. Nikenbah Markets (first and third Sunday of the month) and Koala Market (second, fourth and fifth Sunday of the month)
Modern 137-bed public hospital, and two private hospitals
Extensive medical, dental, and other health-care services
Many pharmacies, including three discount pharmacies
All major banks: ANZ; Bank of Queensland; Commonwealth Bank; Suncorp Bank; National Australia Bank; Westpac
Four post offices
All major automobile sales/service: Ford; Holden; Honda; Hyundai; Nissan; Mazda; Mitsubishi; Toyota
A modern jet-capable airport offering daily flights directly to and from: Brisbane (Qantas Link, four flights each week day, three flights each weekend day, 45 minutes); Sydney (jet service with Virgin Blue, one flight every day, 105 minutes); and Lady Elliot Island resort. Hervey Bay airport has a 198-space public car park (first two hours free of charge) and a 28-space long-term secure car park. There are car rental facilities at the airport (Avis, Eropcar, Thrifty, Budget, and Hertz)
A bus link to Queensland Rail’s (‘Traveltrain’) State-wide passenger services from Maryborough
Bus services to destinations in Queensland and inter-state: Greyhound; Premier; and Tory’s Tours
Easy driving to nearby regional centres such as Maryborough (on Queensland’s main south-north highway—the Bruce Highway), Bundaberg, and Gympie
Botanic Gardens with the Orchid House
Hervey Bay Public Library (enhanced by also containing the library of the Hervey Bay campus of the University of Southern Queensland)
Hervey Bay Regional Gallery
The University of Southern Queensland’s Hervey Bay campus
Marina and associated speciality shops, together with the popular Hervey Bay Boat Club
Hervey Bay R.S.L. & Services Memorial Club
Hervey Bay Sportsmen’s Club
Hervey Bay United Soccer Club (one block from Torbay–Torquay, and offering reasonably-priced meals―lunch and in the early evening, beer, wines, spirits, and soft drinks)
The beachside Esplanade with its many boutique shops, restaurants, and cafés, and a landscaped bicycle/walkway along the foreshore
The ‘Links Mobility Corridor’ (two or three blocks up from the beachside Esplanade), a safe 8 km-long sealed pedestrian walkway-and-cycleway running the length of the city in landscaped gardens along a disused railway line with comfort and other facilities such as benches, drinking fountains, and lighting
Government offices (Regional Council, State, and Commonwealth)
Modern police station and adjacent magistrates’ court.
Updated: 21 March 2012