This trip was four years old, decided to put something together to share.
Ibiza, Rio and Cancun might be where you go to beach part-ay, but when you want a beach holiday that leaves you relaxed, tanned and more energised than a green juice with a double shot of spirulina, give me Hervey Bay any day. I should know, I’ve got more Hervey Bay stamps in my Queensland passport than most. I’m lured by its waterfront views, good coffee and promise of the freshest scallops in Australia.
If you’ve got a long weekend up your sleeve, I suggest you get yourself to the Bay for a serve of sun, sand and seafood. Only in Queensland would a highway answer to Bruce. Regardless of whether you’re coming from north or south to Hervey Bay, you’ll need to spend some time getting acquainted with Bruce in all his tarmac glory.
From Brisbane, it’s 290 clicks to Hervey Bay, but kilometre-counters should note, it will take closer to four hours once you factor in loo stops and snack breaks.
We checked into Mantra Hervey Bay, overlooking the marina and Great Sandy Straight. Aside from the normal Mantra comforts, we had a sizeable balcony to breathe in the sea air and take in a bird’s-eye-view of the yacht hardware bobbing around in the marina below.
We dropped everything and headed down to the Urangan Pier. Built in the early 1900s to facilitate sugar, coal and timber export, today the Urangan Pier pylons serve a much greater purpose, fishing. The abundance of fish cleaning stations and seagulls circling the pier is good evidence that your afternoon efforts won’t be fruitless.
If you’re not hooked on fishing, this is one of the prettiest walks in the Fraser Coast and there’s 2 km of flat, wooden boardwalk to meander down. We walked around till sunset and worked up an appetite for dinner.
The next day was why we holidayed on Hervey Bay. Costumes on, we headed on the bus to Maryborough for the Maryborough Pub Fest.
IN 2004, a plan was hatched to celebrate Maryborough’s 100th anniversary of being a city the next year by combining the annual Best of Brass competition with a ‘Back to the Banyan Tree’ celebration. Then-Chronicle staff, editor Nancy Bates and journalist Jocelyn Watts, came up with an idea to give the flagging pub scene something to celebrate too – a giant pub crawl. The council including then-Mayor Alan Brown were quick to get on board, and so the World’s Greatest Pub Fest was born.
The first event was held in 2005, with 1198 people calling bottom’s up at 16 Maryborough pubs. The event was so popular that even though it was originally planned as part of the one-off festival, it had to be run again. Crowds grew every year, but other cities soon took up the challenge.
Maryborough’s PubFest made international history in 2008 when more than 3000 entrants handed in their official entrance cards, raising thousands of dollars for charity. MARYBOROUGH didn’t beat its own record, but thousands of people still decked themselves out as their favourite superheros for the last ever Pub Fest. Oompa Loompas, Marvel characters, orange angels and hundreds of others lined Maryborough streets to have a drink and raise money for the local State Emergency Service.
In March 2009, New York drinkers managed to outnumber their Australian counterparts but Maryborough smashed the record books just months later in June 2009, with a massive 4718 people officially taking part – a number that still remains unbeaten. Proof of its popularity was shown in 2011 when hundreds of letters that poured into the Chronicle after the council announced the event would be cancelled due to lack of interest from participating pubs. Several more hotels agreed to take part but the council decided the giant crawl was not sustainable and 2011’s event was billed the “Last Shout”.
About 10,000 revellers turned up, and in the face of overwhelming public support for the event, the council decided to instead expand it to include a wider demographic, by adding a food and fine wine festival, now known as Relish, on the Saturday. The joint PubFest and Relish weekend now forms a major highlight of the Fraser Coast’s calendar, drawing thousands of visitors from far and wide.
More than 100 people entered the costume competition, which judges managed to narrow down to just three winners. A group dressed as Orange Sirens won the group costume prize, while the super-sized Super Lego man took out the best individual prize. The No Gary No team, dressed as characters from an anti-smoking ad, won the judges’ choice award. Groups came dressed as where’s Wally, prisoners, ninjas and a Captain Crawl. We had a total blast.
The next day was a much earned sleep in to sober up. (You do the math’s, 14 pubs = 14 schooners) We then couldn’t resist the opportunity to put the sand between our toes once more with an afternoon stroll along Scarness Beach. The sheltered conditions in the bay meant you can bob around like an apple in the calm water without any risk of Kim being dumped by a wave.
After a chilling day yesterday, today we headed over to Fraser Island for the day. For many visitors, offroad driving on an island where all the roads consist of sand is one of the main reasons to look forward to Fraser Island. Others are apprehensive, yet exhilarated once they’ve negotiated their first island track. Others again are quite happy to take a back seat and let others chauffeur them across the island. There’s no denying it’s an unusual way to get around, but driving on sand in Fraser Island is part of the adventure and partly what makes a trip to K’gari so much fun.
Our first stop on Fraser Island was Central Station. We enjoyed a guided rainforest walk to the historical logging station and meandered along the banks of Wanggoolba Creek flowing silently through lush rainforest. Up next was Lake McKenzie to take a dip in the crystal clear blue waters and relax on the sandy white beach. Picture perfect is the only way to describe this beautiful perched dune lake.
After a nice swim we headed back out to Seventy-Five Mile Beach hit the famous sandy highway of Fraser Island and take the opportunity to join the Air Fraser crew for a scenic flight over the island. We then headed up to Eli Creek and floated down the fastest flowing freshwater creek on Fraser Island or just enjoyed the serenity.
Just up from there we hit the Maheno Shipwreck and snapped a shot of this rusting wreck that washed ashore during an out-of-season cyclone in 1935. Its rusted hull is perfect for photography enthusiasts. Just up from the wreck was The Pinnacles Coloured Sands. We were amazed at how these hued sand cliffs get there rich colours and heard the Dreamtime story of their origin. All tucked out we headed back to the barge and back to Hervey Bay.
The next morning we headed to Enzos for sunrise and breakfast. Then headed back home to Brisbane.
Fraser Island Attractions
Maheno Ship wreck
The grand Maheno was built in 1904, weighing a massive 5, 323 tonnes. After she was launched she held the blue ribbon in trans-Atlantic crossing. She then served as a hospital ship during World War 1. Now this magnificent wreck rests on the Coast of Fraser Island providing a portal into the past. Capturing a photo of your beloved 4WD next to this towering ship is a must.
These naturally formed shallow rock pools provide a popular swimming spot. The ocean crashes into the surrounding rocks and fills the pools with bubbly foamy water, hence the name ‘Champagne Pools’. The pools are located just north of Indian Heads, along 75 mile beach and are certainly worth adding to the ‘To Do’ list while on Fraser Island.
Out of all of Fraser Island’s beautiful landmarks, the Pinnacle Coloured Sands are one of the most breathtaking. Best viewed in morning light, the sands are a photographer’s delight. They have formed over hundreds of thousands of years as the elements interacted with minerals on the exposed sand dunes.
Lake McKenzie is one of the most iconic destinations of Fraser Island. This stunning fresh water lake with crystal clear water and perfect white sand makes for the ideal spot to relax and gaze in ore at the magnificent beauty Fraser has to offer.
Eli Creek is the largest freshwater stream on the east coast of Fraser Island. It can be viewed via wooden walkways that snake around the edges of its immaculate natural beauty. The swiftly flowing creek is a popular spot for walks, picnics and swimming. Swimming at the far end on the boardwalk can make for a very refreshing experience of a hot day.