Hervey Bay in Queensland is the launching point to explore some of the best family travel options in Australia. It is the gateway to access Fraser Island, the Great Barrier and is best known for Whale watching trips.
Australians so often prefer to travel overseas rather than discover their own backyard, this is in part due to the costs of travel, especially in comparison with cheaper options to Asia. However if you do get the chance to travel in Australia you are spoilt for options, some would say too many. Australia is also an easy destination for families, so why would you not travel within Australia.
On a break from a Melbourne winter, I decided to take the kids by myself (not sure what I was thinking really) whilst Mr. Techno was juggling full-time work and studies. And so flights into Brisbane to visit a friend followed by car hire and a pleasant drive up to Hervey Bay for 2 nights. This was then followed with a visit to Lady Elliott Island for a few nights – (more to come on that)
Hervey Bay offers many Whale watching cruise options that it took some time to make my way through all the choices. I settled for a half day cruise (kids have the attention span of a gnat…short and sweet was best in this case) – You can pre book the cruise or if you are not travelling in peak season you may want to book closer to the day and keep an eye on the weather. I booked my cruise with Whalesong Cruises , the afternoon cruise. The courtesy bus picked us up on the roadside across from the resort and drove us to the Marina, where we boarded the cruise. It was a great day, not too windy thankfully as my little one gets motion sickness. The afternoon cruise included a lunch and afternoon tea. It did not take long once out of Hervey Bay to spot Dolphins and yes Whales…one came so close that I have blurry image of its eye… They are so gorgeous.. the kids thought it was really cool - I could have spent hours watching the whales as they showed off their breaching, tail lobbing skills. ( My photo skills need a bit of work unfortunately in this case ..)
As we were in Hervey Bay only for a short time we did not have a a chance to explore much. Having the beach at our doorstep was handy for the kids to muck around. North of the town there is the Wetside Park and is a great way to keep the kids active and cool in summer. The idea of the park is to educate us about the this precious natural resource. The water comes from recycled storm water so a great activity to participate in. The kids had a great time getting drenched with the big bucket duping litres of water onto them.
Here are some of the finds whilst walking along the beach with the kids. There was for some strange reason a lot of dead fish carcasses washed up ashore. (If you have an explanation do let me know)
We booked ourselves into Shelly Bay Resort which has self-contained 2 bedroom apartments and is located across the road from the beach. A supermarket nearby and a few take away shops are a short distance away. We were able to prepare meals in the apartment which is always such a great option with kids. The resort has a restaurant on the ground floor which was very handy.
Hotel: Shelley Beach Resort - Hervey Bay
Whale Watching Cruise: Whalesong Cruises - Hervey Bay