12 Things to do on the Fraser Coast
Local Jennifer Heitzmann gives us the insiderís scoop on
the best things to do with kids on the Fraser Coast.
What do humpback whales,
warm waters and Mary
Poppins have in common?
They can all be found in
Hervey Bay Ė aka the heart
of the Fraser Coast. Not only does this seaside
town lay out the perfect welcome mat to World
Heritage-listed Fraser Island, but Hervey Bay is
known as Queenslandís whale-watching
capital. This is the only place in the world
where the mammoth mammals stay and play
longer than school holidays last.
But itís not all breaching and fin-slapping
here, with plenty of land activities the whole
family will adore. Here is my pick of the top
12 things to do with kids.
1. Teach your kids to speak Whale
Hervey Bay is the place for migrating
humpback whales to be seen from July to
October each year. The warm, calm waters of
the bay create the perfect detour for whales to
come to rest, socialise and play, while we get a
soul-stirring close encounter with one of the
biggest marine animals on the planet. Warning:
you might have to pick your kidsí jaws off the
floor when they witness their first breach!
2. Meet Mary Poppins
It won't take a spoonful of sugar to get
your kids excited to do this activity! Visit the
heritage-listed bank building in Maryborough
where PL Travers, the author of the much-loved
literary series 'Mary Poppins', was born in 1899.
Take a photo with the life-sized statue of the
original supernanny and have the kids bring
a crayon and notebook to draw the 10
movie characters that are etched on
the brick plinths.
3. Stroll The Esplanade
Hervey Bay is blessed with
kilometres and kilometres of parkland,
bike paths and sandy shores
overlooking the still waters of the bay.
Rent bikes and take in the whole
length of the 14-kilometre long
pathway from Urangan to Gatakers
Bay, or break it up into smaller
sections and discover piers, views,
parks and playgrounds along the way.
Don't forget to bring your rod one
afternoon to take your little anglers to
fish off one of the small jetties.
4. Step Back in Time
Give your kids a taste of the olden days
at the Hervey Bay Historical Village and
Museum. More than 20 historical buildings
have been gathered here, including a slab
house, schoolroom, railway station, church and
more. Come on a Sunday for the full, hands-on
experience with volunteers dressed up in
period clothes demonstrating old-time crafts
such as blacksmithing and woodworking.
5. See Under the Sea
Observe the world under the waves at
the all-natural Reefworld Aquarium. Complete
with sharks, green sea turtles, large reef fish
and crabs, and experiences such as the
hands-on touch tank and marine life feedings
throughout the day, this water wonderland will
leave your kids happy as clams.
6. Visit Fraser Island
Fraser Island, just a 45-minute ferry ride
from Hervey Bay, is one of five World Heritagelisted
natural playgrounds in Queensland. For
families who like the great outdoors, pack your
camping gear and head off the grid. Take a
four-wheel drive through the rainforests, snap
the rusty SS Maheno shipwreck, tube down
freshwater Eli Creek, visit Lake McKenzie, spot
dingoes, hike Indian Head for a bird's-eye
viewing platform to look for sharks, dolphins
and whales, and enjoy some epic stargazing.
For those looking for a more civilised stay,
Kingfisher Bay Resort has all the modern
conveniences for a family including villa or
hotel room accommodation, two full-service
restaurants, a resort-style pool and tours to get
you out and about on the island.
7. Don your Thinking Caps
If you donít have time to see everything
on the Fraser Coast, you can still immerse your
family in the diversity of the region at the
Fraser Coast Discovery Sphere. Here itís
easy to weave a little education into your
holiday with an impressive, full-size humpback
whale skeleton replica and childrenís activities
such as marine life arts, crafts and storytelling.
Donít forget the obligatory family selfie next to
Nala, the giant whale out front.
8. Be a Daytripper
Discover the Great Barrier Reef in all its
glory just steps from the coral beach with a
Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort tour. Start your
day on a scenic 40-minute flight from Hervey
Bay before beginning your fully guided
experience on the island. This kid-friendly
outing takes you snorkelling with the turtles in
the shallow lagoon and spotting manta rays in
a glass-bottom boat around the island,
followed by a delicious lunch.
9. Hand-feed Dolphins
This bucket list item is easy to tick off
when you visit the Fraser Coast. Only about an
hourís drive south of Hervey Bay, you and your
budding marine biologists can get up close to
the resident humpback dolphins of Tin Can
Bay at Barnacles Cafe and Dolphin Centre.
Bonus: no deciding where to have breakfast;
you can just eat while you wait!
10. Indulge your inner Water Baby
With the calm waters of Hervey Bay at your
feet, nowís the perfect time to try some water
sports; kite surfing, paddleboarding and
kayaking are all popular Hervey Bay activities.
The shallow, surf-free water makes it less
intimidating for the young ones to give
something a go and if you donít have your own
gear, try one of the beachside cafes for rentals.
11. Full Steam Ahead
Every Thursday the Mary Ann Steam
Engine Ė a replica of the first steam engine built
in Queensland Ė chugs her visitors around
Maryboroughís Queens Park. As it coincides
with the Maryborough Heritage City Markets,
you can make a day out of it by grabbing a bite
at a local cafe or browsing the 120 stalls of
local produce, crafts and artwork.
12. Get Wild with Wildlife
Fraser Island is home to the purest
strain of dingo remaining in Australia, but you
donít have to visit the island to get close to
one. The Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary is
home to many dingoes, including an albino!
Thatís not all youíll see there either; the
sanctuary is also home to wallabies, echidnas,
birds, snakes and a host of other critters who
will welcome your crew with open paws.
This article appeared in volume 52 of Holidays with Kids magazine. To subscribe to the latest issue, click here.