Hervey Bay is a cluster of seaside suburbs (Pialba, Scarness, Torquay and Urangan among others) that would otherwise never have made it onto the backpacker map if not for its proximity to Fraser Island. Its beachfront drive, the Esplanade, is not nearly as flashy as it sounds. There are some cheap restaurants, but otherwise it is a boring string of souvenir stores and overpriced surf shops. However Hervey is the most popular launching point for trips to Fraser Island, as it has an industrial and commercial infrastructure that makes it the ideal place to stock up on cheap supplies and organise your Fraser excursion. There is more than enough hostel accommodation here, from drab caravan park/hostels to party hostels, and not one of them misses a beat when it comes to the lucrative draw card of Fraser trips.
That said, it does have one other major attraction. Between August and October, humpback whales slowly cruise through Hervey Bay in the middle of their long migration. They stay in the area for a few months preparing the calves for the trip south to Antarctica. Several tours operate during this period; they can be expensive, but the sight of these creatures up close is definitely worth it. Many companies also offer guarantees, with a free trip if you don’t spot any whales.
There are also good fishing spots, helicopter and skydiving trips, horseback riding and camel safaris. If you are in town for a few days, it is a good idea to rent a bike to get around, since the bus system in town is quite unreliable.
Wide Bay Transit run local bus services in Hervey Bay. There are six bus routes in Hervey Bay and routes 5, 16 and 18 cover the part of town where most of the hostels are and route 5 goes as far as Marysborough. All bus routes terminate at the Centro Hervey Bay Shopping Centre.
One way fares cost $2.20 to $7.70.