50 things to do on the Fraser Coast
If visiting the Fraser Coast isn’t on your bucket list, then you’ll want to do some serious revising, pronto.
Home to the whale watching capital of Australia, the largest sand island in the world, and some of the best seafood known to man, the place is a natural goldmine of sights and experiences.
Get your pens ready to tick off these 50 things to do while you’re there.
1. Lace up your hiking boots for your own Wild adventure through the woodlands and subtropical rainforest of the Fraser Island Great Walk.
2. Toot toot around Queens Park in Maryborough aboard the miniature steam engines at Melsa during Sunday in the Park. This regular event is held on the last Sunday of every month and is a fun day out for the whole family with bands, food stalls and kids activities.
3. Take to the Hervey Bay waters on a paddle board. Hire your SUP from Enzo’s on the Beach, then when you’ve had enough water time, you can order a mango smoothie and kick-back on a beachfront bean bag.
4. Who needs the Hollywood Hall of Fame when there’s the Maryborough Achievers Walk? Sure, you might not see the names of hot shot movie stars, but even better, you’ll learn about every day Australians who achieved amazing things in their lifetime, like Hayden Kenny, the original Ironman, and Duncan Chapman, the first ANZAC to land at Gallipoli.
5. Get THIS CLOSE to humpback whales as they rest and play in the warm waters of Hervey Bay each year between July and October (psst, use this guide to decide which whale watching boat is right for you).
6. If you find yourself in Hervey Bay outside of whale season, you can still head out for a half-day tour to watch pods of dolphins frolic along the coast of the Great Sandy Strait (if you’re lucky, you might even spot some turtles and dugongs!).
7. Ditch the Netflix for a live show at the Brolga Theatre in Maryborough.
8. Munch on homemade treats and locally roasted coffee in a Bali Hut at the Arkarra Tea Gardens, before walking it off with a short stroll around the lagoons.
9. Get a taste of the high life on a scenic flight along the coast with Compass Helicopters.
10. Seafood buffets don’t get any fresher than reeling in your own at these top fishing spots.
11. Forget your gear? Hervey Bay Fly and Sportfishing can hook you up and take you out on the water for half-day and full-day trips.
12. If you’re not a fishing fan, nab a table at COAST Restaurant and Bar and tuck into some local scallops washed down with a COAST Colada cocktail.
13. The Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum might look small on the outside but don’t let that fool you because once inside, military buffs could spend hours pouring through the vast collection of memorabilia across three levels of displays.
14. Dive beneath the surface on a 3 to 7-day scuba charter aboard the Freedom III, where your skipper will take you to Lady Musgrave Island and other Southern Great Barrier Reef hot spots.
15. Pitch a tent on Fraser Island – there are a whopping 35 camping spots to choose from, ranging from national park and beachfront to remote and (somewhat) civilised. Make sure you plan ahead with this 5-minute boot camp guide.
17. Take the kids to the WetSide Water Park for hours of FREE fun! The splash park features a giant tipping bucket, a special Totside area for little ones under five, and if you happen to be there on a Saturday, a FlipSide Board Rider you can test your surf skills on for just $6. #bargain
18. Birdlovers, bust out your binoculars, because you’re in for a birdwatching frenzy on the Fraser Coast. Every year thousands of migratory shorebirds visit Hervey Bay and the Great Sandy Strait from destinations as far away as Japan, Alaska and Siberia.
19. Take a trip down memory lane with everyone’s favourite nanny, Mary Poppins. Get a snap of the life-sized statue in front of the heritage-listed bank building where the author of the book, P.L. Travers, was born, before poppin’ down to the town hall (pun intended) to check out the 10 characters etched on the brick plinths and footpath.
20. If that’s not enough, make sure you’re in town for their signature event, the annual Mary Poppins Festival, a week-long celebration filled with themed activities like nanny races, chimney sweep challenges, and so much more ‘practically perfect’ fun.
21. Quench your thirst for beer AND history on this historic pubs trail in Maryborough.
22. If a long weekend of sun, sand and seafood sounds ideal, follow this itinerary eating and exploring through Hervey Bay.
24. Don’t have a 4WD? You can still make tracks down Fraser Island’s eastern beach on two wheels. Catch the ferry across to Kingfisher Bay and hire a segway from the jetty.
25. Explore the melaleuca wetlands, paperbark swamps, and banksia woodlands along the walking tracks of Burrum Coast National Park.
26. Browse over 120 stalls of farm fresh produce and hand-crafted knick knacks at the Maryborough City Heart Markets held every Thursday from 8am to 1pm.
27. Kick up some
dirt water on this jet ski adventure exploring Hervey Bay and the surrounding Great Sandy Strait.
28. If you’re planning a trip to the Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary, try and make it on the third or fifth Sunday of the month when the local country markets are on, because as well as feeding the roos and patting a dingo, you’ll score a bargain on plants, fresh produce, and unique wares.
29. Go horsing riding through the scenic farmlands and bush of the Susan River Homestead Adventure Resort.
30. Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life for a private loft-style villa nestled in the treetops at Kingfisher Bay Resort.
31. Grab your camera and pay a visit to Fraser Island’s Maheno Shipwreck at sunset to capture the rustic skeletal remains of this WWI vessel in golden glory.
32. You don’t need to head out into the open waters to get a close encounter with marine life, just head to the all-natural Reefworld Aquarium at the foreshore in Urangan, where you can feed green sea turtles, hold a starfish and even swim with reef sharks!
33. Hummer rides are a pretty boss means of transportation as it is, but combined with a scenic tour highlighting the best of Fraser Island? Freakin’ epic.
34. Take a picnic down to the Mary River Parklands and enjoy a riverside feast in the company of the Maryborough Bollards, seven colourful timber posts representing a sea captain welcoming a family of immigrants landing at the Port of Maryborough in the 1860s.
35. Green thumbs can’t go past a squiz through the Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens. The peaceful parkland features both an Australian bush tucker garden and Chinese garden, plus an Orchid House which is home to a collection of around 20,000 orchids donated by a local resident.
36. Keen divers, sign up for some underwater time exploring the largest artificial reef in the southern hemisphere.
37. Breathe in the fresh country air on a road trip through the Fraser Coast Hinterland. Start in Tiaro and work your way through the charming country towns of Bauple, Gundiah and Theebine.
38. Bounce and flip to your heart’s content at the Jump Park in Hervey Bay, where dodgeball wars, inflatable playgrounds, and Olympic-sized trampolines are all on the menu.
39. Explore the seaside villages and pristine beaches dotting the coastline on this self-drive discovery trail.
40. Ladies, show the boys you’ve got grit and swap the mani-pedis for this ultimate girls weekend 4WDing on Fraser Island.
41. Get a peek into Maryborough’s past on a two-hour scenic tour of the heritage city. You’ll come away with a knowledge bank filled to the brim with facts about its past life, the original wharf precinct, and the stunning 1800s architecture that still remains today.
42. Learn the tricks and trades of the old days like how to make rope and grind corn at the Hervey Bay Historical Village.
43. Take happy hour to the next level with this champagne sunset sail.
44. Have you ever heard of a go-karting track with its own 120-metre long waterslide? Neither had we, but then the Hervey Bay Go Kart Track went and surprised us all (and aren’t you glad they did?!).
45. Stuff your faces with fresh-off-the-boat seafood at the only festival in Australia managed by the people who do the catching.
46. Hop on a scenic flight to Lady Elliot Island for an all-inclusive day trip where you’ll get to explore the reef from the air, glass-bottom boat and water, all in one day!
47. If you don’t have time to see everything on the Fraser Coast, you can still get a full taste of the region at the Fraser Coast Discovery Sphere, where interactive displays, theatre shows and kids activities will have the whole family clued up on the diversity of the Great Sandy Biosphere.
48. Go luxe and book in for the signature Oceans Delight treatment at Spa Botanica in Oceans Resort. This spa journey will take you from blah to bliss with its body wrap, hot stone massage and renewal facial.
49. You won’t be short of creative talent at the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery, with new exhibitions happening every six to eight weeks.
50. Join Rocco and Mara for an authentic Italian cooking class at their charming B&B, Villa Cavour and wash down your culinary masterpiece with Piedmonte wines.