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Hervey Bay
Torquay Beach, Hervey Bay
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 • Density 586.6/km2 (1,519/sq mi)
Postcode(s) 4655
Area 93.2 km2 (36.0 sq mi)(2011 urban)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10:00)
LGA(s) Fraser Coast Region
Region Wide Bay-Burnett
State electorate(s) Hervey Bay
Federal Division(s) Hinkler
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
26.2 °C
79 °F
16.6 °C
62 °F
1,061.6 mm
41.8 in

Hervey Bay is a city on the coast of the Fraser Coast Region of Queensland, Australia. The city is situated approximately 290 kilometres (180 mi) or 3½ hours' highway drive north of the state capital, Brisbane. It is located on the bay of the same name open to the Coral Sea between the Queensland mainland and nearby Fraser Island (also known as K'Gari and Gari). The local economy relies on tourism which is based primarily around whale watching in Platypus Bay to the north, ferry access to Fraser Island, accessible recreational fishing and boating and the natural north facing, calm beaches with wide undeveloped foreshore zones. In October 2019, Hervey Bay was named the First Whale Heritage Site in the world by the World Cetacean Alliance, for its commitment to and practices of sustainable whale and dolphin watching. A 2010 study by Deakin University showed that people on the Fraser Coast area including Hervey Bay, were the happiest in Australia. By June 2018, there were 54,674 people in Hervey Bay, having grown by an annual average of 1.31% year-on-year over the preceding five years.


The indigenous Butchulla people are the traditional residents of Hervey Bay. The first recorded European sighting of Hervey Bay was made by James Cook while carrying out his running survey of the east coast of Australia, on the 22 May 1770. "By noon Cook's ship was in a position a little over half-way across the opening of Hervey Bay heading for Bundaberg. When Cook first discovered Hervey Bay, he did not realize that Fraser Island was separated from mainland Australia; Cook did not travel far enough south due to the shallow depths of the waters in the Bay. Cook named the bay "Hervey's Bay" after Augustus John Hervey (1724–1779), later Third Earl of Bristol, a naval officer who became a Lord of the Admiralty the year Endeavour returned".

Until around the mid-1980s the area was serviced by a rail link from the Main North Coast line that diverted from Aldershot and went through Takura, Walligan, Nikenbah then on to Pialba and Urangan. The line was a major freight point for the Port of Maryborough and for the sugar cane industry until road transport assumed the role.

In 1984, Hervey Bay was officially known as the 'City of Hervey Bay'. It was known as a city because of its large growth in business, population, tourism and industry. Although it was now being known as a city, it still remained a small seaside village to most of the local residents.

Heritage listings

Hervey Bay has a number of heritage-listed sites. Fraser Island is listed on the World Heritage List. The Woody Island Lighthouses are listed on the Queensland Heritage Register.


The Esplanade, leading to Urangan from Hervey Bay
Urangan Seawall and Urangan Pier in the background
Hervey Bay beach
On the beach Hervey Bay looking towards Torquay

Hervey Bay is situated approximately 3½ hours' drive north of Brisbane, via the Bruce Highway and 30 minutes' drive north-east of Maryborough. The city is also served by the high-speed Tilt Train, which has connections from Maryborough West or nearby Howard. The city is served by the Hervey Bay Airport, with direct flights from Brisbane (QantasLink) and Sydney (Virgin Australia). The City of Hervey Bay (now the Fraser Coast Region) has released an airport master plan which includes future provision of a taxiway parallel to the main runway, additional car parking and a larger terminal. The city is also served by passenger ferry to Fraer Island, as well as both scheduled and unscheduled vehicular ferries.


Despite Hervey Bay's growing popularity, no plans have been made for a new railway line to the city. The previous passenger and freight line branched off the North Coast main line at Colton, just north of Maryborough. Trains stopped at many stations along the line, but the main stations were Pialba and Urangan. The railway then extended along the Urangan Pier. The line carried out pineapples and local goods from the city. The line was closed in 1993. The tracks from Nikenbah to Urangan were removed and the Pialba – Urangan line was converted into a rail trail. Traces of the railway line are still visible in Urangan. There are two semi-removed crossings (Everything but the tracks was removed) near the end of Pier Street and the track's ballast is still slightly visible from where the mobility corridor ends.


In the 2016 Census, there were 52,073 people in Hervey Bay.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 4.0% of the population.
  • The median age of people was 48 years, ten years older than the national median age.
  • 74.6% of people were born in Australia. The next most common countries of birth were England 5.9%, New Zealand 3.5%, Germany 0.8%, Scotland 0.6% and Philippines 0.6%.
  • 88.4% of people only spoke English at home. Other languages spoken at home included German 0.5%, French 0.2%, Mandarin 0.2%, Dutch 0.2% and Italian 0.2%.
  • The most common responses for religion were no religion 28.0%, Anglican 20.5% and Catholic 18.9%.


Hervey Bay has a mild climate with an average 30 °C (86 °F) in summer and 22 °C (72 °F) in winter. The coast is predominantly affected by the south east trade winds throughout the summer with occasional strong northerly winds and storm swells. These winds keep the temperatures down in summer and up in winter, preventing temperature extremes. As a result, Hervey Bay rarely experiences temperatures over 35 °C (95 °F) in summer or under 5 °C (41 °F) in winter.

Tropical cyclones are a threat at times with Cyclone Hamish threatening in 2009 as a Category 5. The land mass of Fraser Island significantly affects the pattern of weather in Hervey Bay and protects the immediate marine environment from open ocean storm effects. Cyclone Oswald in 2013 caused significant damage in the area, mainly as a result of tornadoes spawned by the system. The average rainfall for the year is around 1,100 millimetres (43 in). December to March is the main rainy period, with a secondary peak in May and June. The months of April and from July to November are generally dry and sunny.

Climate data for Hervey Bay Airport
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 35.2
Average high °C (°F) 30.0
Average low °C (°F) 22.0
Record low °C (°F) 16.0
Rainfall mm (inches) 160.3
Humidity 61 64 62 62 59 63 55 54 58 60 59 61 60
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2mm) 12.7 12.9 17.2 16.1 17.1 16.3 12.5 8.5 8.5 7.9 10.5 11.4 151.6
Source: Bureau of Meteorology


Hervey Bay
Whale watching tours centre in Hervey Bay Marina
Giant whale sculpture at Hervey Bay

Hervey Bay began as a dispersed community spread over numerous small, seaside villages. As the area grew, these communities amalgamated and became suburbs of the new city. The current city includes the following settlements:

Townships outside the Hervey Bay city limits include:

  • Beelbi Creek
  • Burgowan
  • Burrum
  • Burrum Heads
  • Burrum River
  • Burrum Town
  • Cherwell
  • Dundathu
  • Howard
  • Pacific Haven
  • River Heads
  • Torbanlea
  • Walliebum

Hervey Bay's largest shopping center Stockland Hervey Bay, is located in the suburb of Urraween. The centre currently has the county northernmost Harris Scarfe Department Store.

Whale watching

Hervey Bay is the whale watching capital of Australia, with humpback whales migrating along the coast between April and October every year. Researchers at the Oceania Project conducted a 14-year study which found the bay was an important social hub for humpback whales. Whale number have increased from about 2,000 in 1992, to around 7,000 in 2005. Hervey Bay is the resting place for Humpback whales, Mum's and Calves, they come to the Bay to rest and build up energy for their long travels back to Antarctica. The Adults come to play, socialise and there have been heat runs observed in the Bay. The Humpback Whales are known to be very relaxed in the company of the whale watching vessels.

Sister cities

According to the Australian Sister Cities Association, Hervey Bay has two sister cities;

  • Japan Otsuki, Japan
  • People's Republic of China Leshan, China.


The Hervey bay premiership cup

Hervey Bay has an active sporting community with the geography and climate encouraging a diverse range of activities. The natural foreshore area of Hervey Bay has a 14-kilometre (8.7 mi) long bike and pedestrian path that visibly integrates recreational fitness into the environment and community.

Competition sports are generally regional and played against nearby cities, Bundaberg, Maryborough and Gympie.

The calm waters and gently sloped beaches make recreational and competitive water sports popular and accessible. These include sailing, kite boarding, water skiing, wake boarding, kayaking, out-rigging, snorkelling, scuba diving and ocean swimming.

The Hervey Bay Triathlon started in 1988 and has been raced annually since.

The local rugby league team, Hervey Bay Seagulls, are the cornerstone of rugby league in the Hervey Bay area.

Buckelwale humpback whale Frazer Island (23792293570)
Humpback whales nearby Fraser Island


Hervey Bay has 14 schools.

Pre Primary Secondary
  • Kawungan State School
  • Urangan Point State School
  • Yarrilee State School
  • Kawungan State School
  • Urangan Point State School
  • Yarrilee State School
  • Pialba State School
  • Sandy Strait State School
  • Torquay State School
  • Hervey Bay State High School
  • Urangan State High School
  • Carinity Education - Glendyne Education and Training Centre
  • Fraser Coast Anglican College
  • Xavier Catholic College
  • St. James Lutheran College
  • Star of the Sea Primary School
  • Fraser Coast Anglican College
  • Xavier Catholic College
  • St. James Lutheran College
  • Bayside Christian College
  • Fraser Coast Anglican College
  • Xavier Catholic College
  • St. James Lutheran College
  • Bayside Christian College
  • Hervey Bay Performing Arts College

Hervey Bay also has two Higher Education institutes, a campus of the University of the Sunshine Coast and the Wide Bay Institute of TAFE. and a State Government Special School.

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