Home' Open Road NSW Central Coast and Hunter : OR0518 Contents been subject to some recent renovations and is, as its
marketing material now suggests, “worth the drive”. We sit in
the large outdoor area for a bistro meal and a beer while
kangaroos bound past on the far side of the bowling green,
geckos look down from the cornices of the vaulted ceiling, and
an oversized Connect Four game keeps the kids amused.
We return to Hervey Bay the following day, driving along
Charlton Esplanade, which stretches 12km from the iconic
868-metre Urangan Pier to Gatakers Bay in Point Vernon. It’s a
good way to get a sense of how eclectic this region has become.
It retains its eccentric beach culture and classic Queenslander-
style homes from yesteryear, which now sit alongside new-build
homes, resorts and marina developments, seaside parks, and
trendy eateries and bars. Yet it has all been conceived so
tastefully that these disparate elements are harmonious – visual
proof that progress needn’t be an eyesore.
We also get to know Hervey Bay via an Eco Marine Tour. Our
guide for the day is Dusty (above), one of the local Butchulla.
He gives us the Indigenous names for sea turtles and dolphins,
which we’re encouraged to shout out if we see the creatures.
It’s not whale migration season, but we do spot a number of
green sea turtles, including one that takes us on a merry chase
up the beach as we try in vain to take snaps of it in the shallows.
While we take a dip at one of the small islands between Hervey
Bay and Fraser, Dusty is collecting rubbish so he can give us a
brief lecture on biodegradability and the consequences of
putting plastics in our oceans. He’s so charming, though, it
doesn’t feel like a lecture. My daughter falls in love with him over
the course of the four-hour tour and he patiently answers her
endless fusillade of questions before making her a little bracelet
from the bark of a cottonwood tree as a farewell gift.
Saturday night is a terrible time not to make a dinner
reservation at Café Balaena, so we end up at the Hervey Bay
Boat Club. But this works out well for everyone. The kids get a
photo with a whale sculpture on the way there and my shorts and
thongs don’t preclude me from the club, even though it’s after
6pm. Maybe these Queenslanders are onto something.
Along Charlton Esplanade there are more than a dozen
parks, each with seaside views and play equipment.
Built in 1979 and outliving even the iconic Vic Hislop’s
Shark Show (which closed its doors after 30 years in early
2016), this aquarium is unique in that it uses only water
from Hervey Bay and natural light. Everything from sharks
to stonefish are fed at various times, and a stamp allows
visitors to come and go as they please throughout the day.
WETSIDE WATER PARK
This impressive public water park is free. Not ‘free’ as in
‘ free entry and then pay through the nose for everything
else’, but actually free! When it’s not in use during the
cooler months, it doubles a whale-watching hotspot with an
almost singular vantage point looking out to the Coral Sea.
It’s the perfect place to see humpback whales making their
annual pilgrimage and around the park’s perimeter are
plaques with whale trivia inset into the timber fencing.
Whale migration past Hervey Bay typically occurs during
winter and early spring.
ENZO’S ON THE BEACH
This pub-style café is in touching distance of the beach
and is also adjacent to one of the area’s seaside parks.
For those who really want to relax, one section has floor
lounges and pillows beneath the shade of palm trees.
PLANET 72 ICECREAMERY
As the name suggests, this ice cream shop boasts 72
flavours. I had raspberry white chocolate and salted
caramel. If you feel like fish ‘n’ chips instead, the locals
recommend Maddigan’s Seafood, which is two doors up.
HERVEY BAY TOP SPOTS
WHAT WE DROVE
The Mitsubishi Outlander SUV does everything well.
It’s simple to manoeuvre, comfortable over a long
journey, offers loads of luggage space, and is easy
to get in and out of. We hired ours from Thrifty at
Hervey Bay Airport. Don’t forget, NRMA Members
receive a 15 per cent discount on Thrifty car hire.
See www.thrifty.com.au/nrma-offers for details .
While it’s not whale migration
season, we do spot a number
of green sea turtles
On a premium rail holiday, you’ll return to a time
when travelling was an art in itself. As scenery unfolds
outside your window, you’ll discover the pleasure of
travelling aboard these iconic trains with the perfect
balance of comprehensive inclusions and free time.
Stay (No. of nights)
Edinburgh, The Highlands
9 Days From
PP Twin Share
*Conditions apply. SEE: travelmarvel.com.au/specialdeals for full conditions. Prices are per person (pp), AUD, twin share. Prices are correct as at 25 March 2018. Prices based on RJTSHS9P: 20 October 2019 and RJTACJ16P: 13 August 2019. Limited seats on set departures are
available and are subject to availability. DEPOSITS: A non-refundable deposit of $2,000 pp is due within 7 days of booking. Price is inclusive of the stated monetary savings and $200pp Bonus Early Payment Discount. BONUS EARLY PAYMENT DISCOUNT: Tour must be paid in
full 10 months prior to travel. Australian Pacific Touring Pty Ltd. ABN 44 004 684 619. ATAS accreditation #A10825. TM4333
Escorted Rail Holidays
Hurry – Selling Fast!
Call Travelmarvel on 1300 301 076 or NRMA Travel on 1300 235 512
Stay (No. of nights)
Arctic Circle Express
16 Days From
PP Twin Share
More Value • More Inclusions • More Choice
ü Travel aboard Europe’s most iconic railways
ü Services of a Great Rail Tour Escort and expert local guides
ü Premium accommodation throughout
ü Most meals, key sightseeing, transfers, tipping and
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