Hervey Bay has a reputation for being a sleepy retirement zone with not much to offer anyone slightly younger, more active or adventurous aside from seasonal whale watching. It doesn’t get as much press as some other Queensland holiday resort destinations but I wanted to see for myself what Hervey Bay has to offer. We bundled our three kids in the car and drove north. Imagine our surprise when we found some fabulous things to do in Hervey Bay for kids.
Located on the Fraser Coast in Queensland, Hervey Bay is easy to get to. It’s about four hours north of Brisbane and two hours south of Bundaberg.
So what are the best things to do in Hervey Bay?
Things to do in Hervey Bay for kids
1- Explore the Hervey Bay Esplanade
The 14km Hervey Bay promenade is located along the esplanade. It stretches from the Urangan Harbour to Gatakers Bay.
You can explore the Hervey Bay Esplanade in one go if you’ve got the stamina or break it up into smaller visits.
Hervey Bay Esplanade is easily explored on foot or by bike. Active types can extend the 6km trip by continuing along the Link Mobility corridor through the Botanical Gardens and back to Hervey Bay’s CBD.
We hired three-seater bikes for some family fun and pedalled along the Esplanade to get a feel for Hervey Bay.
There are lots of places for coffee, ice-cream or a meal.
2- Hervey Bay Watersports
Hervey Bay is beautifully sheltered by Fraser Island and practically wave free, so it’s the perfect place for just about any type of watersport apart from surfing.
You can hire water toys from the Aqua Vue Cafe in Scarness and choose from sailing, water skiing, jet skiing, kayaking or stand up paddleboarding.
Watch out for dugongs that bask in the shallow waters off the Hervey Bay beach.
If you haven’t seen a dugong before, they are large marine mammals that look like a cross between a seal and a finless dolphin.
Dugongs are protected animals and the only strictly marine herbivorous mammal, so it’s a rare thrill to spot one.
3- Fraser Island Day Tours from Hervey Bay
Hervey Bay is the gateway to World Heritage-listed Fraser Island.
A car ferry operates most days and there one of the Fraser Island day tours is a fantastic way to see this amazing island.
Day trips to Fraser Island are an option but if you’re worried about getting stuck in the thick dry sand then join a guided overnight tour.
You can even try a jet ski tour to Fraser Island from Hervey Bay if you’re game. It’s one of the more adventurous Fraser Island day tours to put on your to-do list.
4- Entertain the kids at Wetside or The Pines
Hervey Bay’s free “no height aqua park” Wetside is an easy way to keep young kids happy on a hot day.
Check the Wetside website for opening times.
If it’s closed over the winter months or during term time, head to nearby The Pines playground.
It has great climbing equipment to challenge older kids with the usual slides and swings for their younger siblings.
There’s no doubt Hervey Bay is the whale watching capital of Australia.
From July until October, Hervey Bay is the perfect spot for whale watching because the ocean is calm compared to the open seas and there’s less chance of getting seasick.
Seasoned whale watchers with good eyesight can pick out a breaching whale with the naked eye from 10km because at 40 tonnes they make quite a splash.
Hervey Bay whale watching operations like the family-owned Whalesong are a good option. They limit passenger numbers, so everyone has a decent view of the whales.
6- Cruise Hervey Bay at sunset
Hervey Bay whale watching is an iconic thing to do but if you can’t make it there during the season, you can enjoy a sunset cruise at any time of the year.
A Hervey Bay cruise is a great way to see dolphins gliding around the boat or riding the wake.
On a sunset cruise, you can watch the birds and dolphins, take selfies and sunset photos and feast on fresh local seafood. If you’re a seafood lover, you won’t go hungry. Plan to go during the Hervey Bay Seafood Festival.
Imagine feasting on mud crab, prawns and oysters or roast beef and chicken with new potatoes and salad.
7- Hervey Bay’s Urangan Pier
While in Hervey Bay, try to visit Urangan Pier when the tide is high. Another good time is in the early morning when fisherfolk are trying their luck in the sparkling blue waters.
Strolling along the 868m pier will give you some healthy exercise and fresh air as well as a trip back in time.
Built in 1917 to ship sugar, coal and Fraser Island timber for overseas export, Urangan pier used to have a train running down it.
Today the pier is train free and walking along the pier is one of the more relaxing things to do in Hervey Bay for the family.
8- Hervey Bay Restaurants
There was a time when finding a decent place to eat might have been a bit difficult in Hervey Bay. But those days are long gone and there’s a good choice of Hervey Bay restaurants suitable for a range of palates.
Hervey Bay is a seafood lover’s paradise and fresh fish is caught daily in local waters.
You simply have to try the seafood in this Queensland seaside destination. There are plenty of restaurants in Hervey Bay to choose from.
For waterside dining, there’s the Hervey Bay Boat Club on Urangan Marina and Enzo’s on the Beach. Enzo’s has an appealing location on the Esplanade.
Maddigan’s Seafood on the Esplanade has the best fish and chips in town. But if you prefer dining in nature, you can walk across the road to eat your supper on the bay as the sun sets.
9- A day at the beach
A day at the beach in Hervey Bay is fun for all the family. There are plenty of beaches to choose from, such as Torquay, Pialba and Scarness.
The best spots are on on the Hervey Bay Esplanade between Pialba and Urangan. There are perfect sandy strips for sunbaking and the clean ocean is safe for swimming.
At low tide, you can poke around in the rock pools and watch the hermit crabs.
10- Visit Burrum Heads National Park
A 30-minute drive from Hervey Bay, Burrum Heads National Park has some great picnic spots, walks of varying lengths and wildlife.
It’s a lovely remote coastal spot and a good place to head on a Hervey Bay camping holiday.
Sleeping under the stars in the national park instead of booking a Hervey Bay hotel is a fun way to enjoy the nature with the family.
What would you see and do on a visit to Hervey Bay?
Discover Hervey Bay
If you’re looking for a fun family day out make sure to put the Hervey Bay Ocean Festival on your calendar this year, with events such as the whale parade, Paddle Out for Whales and the seafood festival.
What to do in Hervey Bay when the weather is inclement
Take the family to the Hervey Bay cinemas and watch the latest blockbuster movie. Located on Boat Harbour Drive, there are multiple shows to choose from all day.
Hervey Bay Golf club
Hervey Bay has a decent 18-hole championship golf course that welcomes temporary members that have a membership with another golf club. There’s a good chance of spotting kangaroos on the golf course.
Hervey Bay accommodation
There’s a range of family friendly hotels in Hervey Bay that caters to most budgets. A few years ago the Grange Resort in Hervey Bay made the list of top 10 hotels in Australia.
Other Hervey Bay resorts with checking out are Oceans Hervey Bay and Mantra Hervey Bay.
If you’re on a budget, you won’t have trouble finding a hotel, motels and apartments that won’t break the bank either. There are also houses for rent in Hervey Bay.