Hervey Bay

Hervey Bay & Fraser Island: 4 great reasons to visit!

Just under 4 hours drive north of Brisbane you will find Hervey Bay. This town is an aquatic paradise with a picturesque Esplanade, a vibrant Marina, plenty of cafes/shops and attractions to explore. The mild temperatures of this region mean that the sheltered waters of Hervey Bay are perfect for year-round swimming, sailing, water-sports, diving & fishing. But that is not all!

Hervey Bay

Credit: Jewelszee Photograhy/Tourism and Events Queensland

Hervey Bay is best known as the whale watching capital of Australia. It is a hotspot for Humpback whales to breed and enjoy the calm waters of the Bay. It is their rest stop on their annual migration north. This is their play time, and so it is a great opportunity to enjoy an up-close whale encounter as they are typically in a relaxed mood, and their inquisitive nature means they’ll often approach the boats of their own free will.

Hervey Bay

Whale Watching Hervey Bay. Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland

Off the coast from Hervey Bay is Fraser Island. This is the world’s largest sand Island, and World Heritage listed for good reason. The 120km-long island stretch boasts a range of sights, colours and features that make it very special: sprawling sand dunes famous for their multicoloured hues, numerous inland freshwater lakes, lush forested areas and distinctive wildlife. Fraser Island is an eco-tourism adventure with no major towns or developments. It is protected for all to enjoy the wonders of Fraser Island.

Hervey Bay

Lake Mackenzie Water, Fraser Island. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Hervey Bay also boasts easy access to the southern-most tip of the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef. After only a 40-minute scenic flight you arrive at Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, a pristine coral cay island. Enjoy a day of snorkelling and exploring the amazing sights of the Great Barrier Reef.

Hervey Bay

Lady Elliot Island – Snorkelling on The Great Barrier Reef. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

There are many good reasons to visit Hervey Bay. This region is easily accessed from Brisbane and it delivers many nature-based activities that make it a very special part of Queensland & Australia to explore!

Here are some of the key things to do:

Whale Watch:

Hervey Bay is the #1 spot to see the magnificent Humpback whales during July to the end of October. See their playful antics on a half or full day cruise. Swimming with whales is also an option!

 

Hervey Bay

Dolphins/Turtles:

Get up close and personal with some playful dolphins and catch a 4-hour cruise in sheltered Bay. Join a tour that enables you to snorkel in the Great Sandy Marine Park and see plenty of fish, turtles, dolphins and possibly dugongs. Travel an hour south to Tin Can Bay and you can feed wild dolphins at 8am daily.

Hervey Bay

Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Fraser Island:

This is a must…as only 30km off-shore or a 45 min ferry ride. As only 4wd vehicles are allowed on the island there are plenty of tour operators to choose from departing Hervey Bay. Take a one-day tour that explores the many amazing natural sites on this World Heritage listed Island.

Hervey Bay

Seventy Five Mile Beach. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland/Darren Jew

The great outdoors:

You are spoilt for choice with some fantastic beaches, hikes and walks to be had. Stroll along the Urangan Pier, which stretches almost 1 kilometre into the ocean. The Esplanade offers some great beach walks. Consider hiring a kayak, paddle board or try kite surfing.

Hervey Bay

Central Station, Fraser Island. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Hervey Bay and Fraser Island combine to deliver a fantastic holiday destination with an aquatic paradise and a huge offering of animal/nature experiences to enjoy. Ask us to include Hervey Bay/Fraser Island in your Queensland holiday itinerary…

Great Barrier Reef

An Aussie’s guide to the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef…

The Great Barrier Reef stretches for over 2,000 kilometres off the eastern coast of Australia. It consists of 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands. It is the world’s largest coral reef. Packed with amazing beauty and recognised as a World Heritage Site, it is also one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World. It is big, a definite must-see and confusing for anyone planning to visit!

This is an Aussie’s guide to the Great Barrier Reef. It is a local’s lowdown with short, helpful information on where to go, what to do and when to visit …

So where to go & what to do?

Hmm, this is tough! You may have heard of some gorgeous coastal towns such as Port Douglas or Palm Cove. Or the town of 1770…. plus, other places like Cairns, Hamilton Island, Heron Island or Airlie Beach.

These are all fantastic launch pads to dive in and explore the magnificent Great Barrier Reef. But essentially you can break it down into mainland towns versus Islands. Let me explain….

Great Barrier Reef

Heart Reef. Photo by Mia Glastonbury, Tourism & Events Queensland

Heart Reef. Photo by Mia Glastonbury, Tourism & Events Queensland

Mainland Towns:

Your Great Barrier Reef experience from a mainland town will be a fast catamaran ride out to a pontoon/dive site where you will base yourself for a day or overnight. One way can be up to 1:5 hours. Allow a full day with over 4 hours on the Great Barrier Reef itself.

The main launch spots in Far North Queensland are Cairns and Port Douglas. You can choose operators that take a minimum of 30 or a maximum of 350! The bigger operators have more toys to play with, expect glass bottom boats, helicopter rides, toddler wading pools, semi-submersible tours, underwater observatories, Seawalker helmet diving and the list goes on. The smaller operators offer a completely personal nature experience focused mainly around snorkelling and diving.

I would always recommend the smaller group tours unless some in your group are not keen on snorkelling or diving, then the bigger tours are the way to go as they still offer the Great Barrier Reef experience without being in the water if you don’t want to…

Great Barrier Reef

Groper Fish & admirer

Islands:

Particularly good for young families, the islands on the Great Barrier Reef are a great way to relax and enjoy the reef without all the travel time. Think Hamilton Island, Heron Island, Lady Elliot Island, Hayman Island….the list goes on! You also have the added bonus of kid’s clubs so that both parents can do a spot of diving whilst the children are also having a great time!

When to go?

The Great Barrier Reef is located in the tropics and hence accessible year-round. So, expect warm weather and perfect snorkelling conditions! You do want to avoid rain as that can play havoc with water visibility.

Great Barrier Reef

Opal Reef. Photo from Tourism & Events Queensland

Don’t forget….

There has been lots in the media recently about climate change (and the resulting warmer waters), and how this is having a great impact on our coral reefs around the world…. including the Great Barrier Reef.

It is very important to note that there is minimal coral damage south of Port Douglas, and the very southern section has very little coral lost. So, make sure to visit the areas on the Great Barrier Reef which have very little damage!

Now here’s another hint ….

don’t view your Great Barrier Reef visit in isolation!

The last consideration is definitely about bundling your Great Barrier Reef visit with what else to do in the area. This is where the Far North wins hands down! Not only do you have the Great Barrier Reef but you also have the double whammy of another World Heritage site, the Daintree Rainforest (top three world’s oldest Rainforest).

But that is entirely another story, so in the meantime……

Make sure to ask us the where/when/what is best re the Great Barrier Reef. We are happy to help with your planning to make sure your Australia Holiday is your best ever!

Palm Cove

Australia: Palm Cove Escape

Palm Cove BeachPalm Cove is one of our all-time favourite family holiday destinations. It is in tropical North Queensland, just north of Cairns, and is a beachside haven with a charming village atmosphere. White sandy beaches lined with glorious coconut palms and the year round warm ocean make Palm Cove one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Palm Cove also boasts plenty of award winning restaurants & day spas to enjoy. The town packs a lot in for a holiday as it is lucky to be in a location which has a double whammy close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef as well as the Daintree Rainforest. It really is a perfect holiday destination where you can do as much or as little as you please.

Our family of 5 have been lucky enough to holiday regularly in Palm Cove for 10 years now and so we have pretty much done most activities and there are plenty of them! When the children were younger we favoured relaxing on the beach, visiting the Cairns Tropical Zoo to feed the kangaroos and cuddle a koala, catching the Skyrail to Kuranda for the day, visiting the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, relaxing on an eco-adventure tubing down Behana Gorge and enjoying Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park to learn how to throw a boomerang.

Cairns Zoo, Palm Cove and Rainforest Tubing

Two of our children are now teenagers which means different types of activities appeal. more action based adrenalin-pumping adventures are now in demand! Recent conquests are water-skiing/wakeboarding/kneeboarding at Cable Ski Park (a huge favourite), Jet ski hire at the Palm Cove beach, bungy jumping, horse-riding for the day, jungle-surfing, swimming at Mossman Gorge and a full day trip trekking & white-water rafting through the rainforest.

Daintree Rainforest near Palm Cove

But the two big World Heritage drawcards to this area the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest – amaze all ages and we continue to explore both on numerous visits. The magic of the Great Barrier Reef is in the variety of soft & hard corals, fish species, the Manta Rays and of course, the Green Turtles. Snorkelling in the warm, clear waters of the colourful Great Barrier Reef is an unforgettable experience not to be missed. Similarly, the Daintree Rainforest is a wonderful treat exploring the world’s oldest rainforest and discovering plenty of plants, animals & reptiles along the way. Crocodile spotting along the Daintree River is fun, especially when the kids find a Logodile instead of a Crocodile!

Great Barrier Reef

Tropical North Queensland and Palm Cove are definetly a must-see for any visit to Australia as the area delivers iconic and unique Australian experiences that make for an unforgettable holiday!

Facts:

  • Best season (April to October) has daytime temperatures ranging around 26- 30 degrees Celsius. Perfect weather for all activities.
  • Palm Cove is a 30 minute drive from Cairns & 45 minutes to Port Douglas. Palm Cove is well placed for all activities/destinations.
  • Recommended Activities/Tours: This is a short selection. There is so much you can do in this area!

 

Animals:

http://www.australianbutterflies.com/

http://www.crocodileadventures.com/

 

Nature & Adventure:

http://www.mossmangorge.com/

http://www.skyrail.com.au/

http://www.aussiedrifterz.net/

http://www.tourismpalmcove.com/beach-fun-co/

http://www.cableskicairns.com.au/

http://cairns.ajhackett.com/

http://www.cairnshorseriding.com.au/

http://www.foamingfury.com.au/

http://www.junglesurfing.com.au/

 

Culture:

http://www.tjapukai.com.au/

 

Great Barrier Reef:

http://wavelength.com.au/

http://www.passions.com.au/

http://www.reefmagiccruises.com/

 

Daintree Tours:

http://www.tropicaltours.com.au/

http://www.billytea.com.au/