Do you have a holiday to Lady Elliot Island approaching? Why not explore the local Fraser Coast region while you are here, there are so many things to see and do!
1. Island Day Trips
Grab your swimmers, towels and sunscreen and get ready for an action-packed day! Day trips to local islands in the Fraser Coast region are a highlight for many visitors, giving them the opportunity to dive right in and explore. Interested in a day tour on K’gari? There are plenty of options! These tours share island gems with visitors, such as the stunning Lake McKenzie, Eli Creek, Maheno wreck and more. Day trips to Lady Elliot will have you on island time within 35 minutes of departure from the Fraser Coast, ready to snorkel with local marine life while feeling a world away from regular day-to-day hustle and bustle! A camera is a must for these day trips, you will undoubtedly want to look back on your new-found island obsession!
K’gari – Fraser Island Day Tour
Lady Elliot Island Day Tour
2. Diving the Tobruk or the Roy Rufus artificial reef
The ex – HMAS Tobruk was scuttled off the Fraser Coast in 2019 and has become a popular dive site for ocean enthusiasts and wreck divers. The ship is laying on its starboard side and offers numerous pathways to explore. Due to the open design of the shipwreck, certified divers have access to explore 8 deck levels, including a 100m swim within the cavernous tank deck. Local green turtles, stingrays and fish are sighted here on a regular basis. The Roy Rufus artificial reef is another local gem, located off the eastern side of Big Woody island. The artificial reef is home to coral, turtles, wobbegongs, stingrays and more.
If you would like to learn about the history of ex-HMAS Tobruk, click here – https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/ex-hmas-tobruk
Ex HMAS Tobruk Scuba Diving
3. Whale watching in Hervey Bay
Hervey Bay is THE place to go whale watching! The sheltered bay is a haven for these large Cetaceans and has been named as the first “Whale Heritage Site” in the world. There are numerous tourism organisations who will take you out to see the whales, with some even holding permits for whale swim activities. The interactions here will take your breath away as the whales frequently spend time alongside the vessels and even seem interested in the boat’s occupants! From July to October each year, the protected bay behind K’gari -Fraser Island acts as a Humpback whale nursery and throughout the season you can see everything from babies, mother and calf pods, juveniles to even heat runs. This is something that definitely should not be missed when on the Fraser Coast!
Humpback Whale Season – Whale watching in Hervey Bay alongside K’gari – Fraser Island.
4. Get out on the water!
Is the ocean looking enticing? There are so many options for in-water activities! The Great Sandy Straits is sheltered by K’gari and offer stunning scenery within the local waterways while providing habitat for sea turtles, dugongs, dolphins and more! Stand up paddleboarding and jet skiing leave from the beach in the middle of Hervey Bay, while numerous other tours depart from the marina or K’gari itself. You can head out for a kayak, jump on a guided boat tour, or even hire a vessel and self-sail around the area. Pelican Banks is a must-visit area if you’re exploring the Sandy Strait and is a spot that could easily be confused for the white sand beaches of the Whitsundays! Don’t forget to check zoning plans when exploring this area as some parts are protected and only permit certain activities.
Boating, Bareboating, Guided Tours and Kayaking in the Great Sandy Strait Marine Park
5. Military history, murals and Mary Poppins in Maryborough
Make sure to stop off in Maryborough when visiting the Fraser Coast to be inspired by the town’s rich history. Walk the Maryborough Mural Trail which tells the quirky and serious stories of the city’s colourful past from when it was Queensland’s major industrial city, tasked with building naval ships, sugar mills and railway rolling stock. Launched in 2015, the trail now has 39 large scale murals and installations adorning buildings in the city’s Central Business District. Ensure you take a look at the Gallipoli to Armistice memorial, which traces the birth of the Anzacs at Gallipoli where a Maryborough local, Duncan Chapman was the first Allied soldier to step ashore. Read the personal perspectives which are drawn from letters written home from Maryborough men on the front line, and reflect on the contribution made by our Anzacs.
Mary Poppins and history in Maryborough
Military and Mural Trails in Maryborough
6. Explore the botanic gardens, local tea gardens or take a nature walk
The Fraser Coast has no shortage of immersive nature experiences sure to wow you! Take a stroll through the Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens and keep an eye out for some of the local freshwater turtles! The Botanic Gardens has a beautiful Orchid Garden at its centre with over 5,500 orchids inside. After taking in the incredible surrounds of this local gem, venture a little out of town to tea gardens or rock pools. Utopia Rock Pools are a series of natural swimming holes in the granite rocks of Mount Walsh National Park and are a great place for a picnic or relaxing with family and friends. The area is 1 hour and 20 minutes from Hervey Bay and from the car park, it is a 3km return walk to access the rock pools. Lastly, we can’t forget about K’gari for nature walks, boasting 166,000 hectares of land, with ancient rainforests carpeting this vast sand island.
Nature walks on K’gari
Nature walks on K’gari
Utopia Falls, Mount Walsh National Park
7. Local markets and fresh produce
If you are visiting the Fraser Coast on a weekend, be sure to check out the local markets! Urangan, Torquay and Howard all host weekly markets with some delicious local produce and crafts. The Fraser Coast is also home to the Relish Food and Wine festival each June which is a feast of local cuisine serving up celebrity and local chefs, gourmet tastings, cooking demonstrations, live music and more. Don’t miss Hervey Bay’s beach-front cafes and restaurants where you can watch the sun go down behind palm trees while enjoying local produce, including some incredible seafood. A short drive from central Hervey Bay you will stumble across local macadamia farms and stalls with farm- grown fruit and vegetables. Lastly, enjoy a sunset on the foreshore with local seafood or a charcuterie board!
Interested in Relish Festival? Click here – https://relishfrasercoast.com.au/
Beach front restaurants and local produce
8. Stay overnight
One day won’t be enough once you arrive! There are loads of accommodation options from caravan and camping parks to beach front resorts and island getaways. An overnight stay means you can fit more into your itinerary and really immerse yourself in the region.
Hervey Bay Accommodation
Lady Elliot Island Accommodation (Glamping Tent)
9. Take a drive
Hop in the car and make a day of it! Visit the small local wineries, local attractions, wildlife parks and small coastal towns. You can find self-drive trip itineraries on the Visit Fraser Coast website and there are some great 4WD trips running daily to K’ gari, just make sure you bring your sense of adventure!
Driving on the beach, K’gari.
10. Hit the beach
Lastly, we strongly recommend that you check out some of the local beaches and bays the region has to offer! The beachside towns of the Fraser Coast are protected in the lee of K’gari and stretch for 16km. Along this stretch are numerous playgrounds, cafés and barbeques plus a continuous walking and bicycle track.
Lake Mckenzie, K’gari.
Local beaches, Fraser Coast
Local beaches, Fraser Coast
Local beaches, Fraser Coast
This year, the Fraser Coast is also celebrating 150 years since the Mary Ann Steam Locomotive was made in Maryborough! The Maryborough City Whistle Stop volunteers maintain and operate the Mary Ann replica steam locomotive, manage the Railway Station Museum and work towards the preservation and restoration of the B15 steam locomotive #299. A not-to-be-missed tour recreating the romance of the steam era is a ride on the Mary Ann, a working replica of the first steam engine built in Queensland at Maryborough’s Walkers Ltd Foundry in 1873. The boilers are fired up every Thursday and on the last Sunday of the month, on a track that takes you beside the Mary River and through the city’s main park.
For more information on the region (there is a stack!) visit the “Visit Fraser Coast” website which has recently undergone an extensive upgrade and provides readers with a comprehensive list of all upcoming events, activities and more!
Keep an eye out for upcoming blogs on the Bundaberg and Gold Coast regions!
A special thank you to Karen Broadhurst for additional information on the region.
All images supplied by Tourism and Events Queensland (@queensland)