No wonder that Hervey Bay is such a popular tourist destination with the magnificent Fraser Island beckoning, and whale tours galore! We were quite amazed by the size of the city – for some reason we had been expecting a small coastal town. Our stay at the Fraser Coast caravan park in in the seaside suburb of Scarness, one street back from the esplanade was lined with lovely shops, cafes and hotels – a great base for exploring.
Fraser Island is simply amazing, an island completely made of sand but it grows beautiful variety of trees and plants! Apparently this happens because of mycorrhizal fungi that naturally occur in the sand and these release nutrients in a way that plants can absorb. We feel really privileged to have seen such a variety of landscapes and ecosystems in one place.
Only 4WD vehicles are allowed on the island and we enjoyed exploring the inland regions while most people seemed to descend on the beach in droves. One interesting site was the Maheno wreck, a steamer which operated on the trans-Tasman route in the early 1900s. Once decommissioned in 1935, it was sold for scrap to a Japanese company. En route, a freak cyclone in July separated it from the tow ship and it was grounded on the eastern coast of Fraser Island. It became a training base for Z force and an artillery target. Such a sad story but she still captures the imagination of more than 250 000 visitors each year!
Seeing a pod of the mighty humpback whales swim and frolic around us rated way up there on our Richter scale of amazing experiences. Freedom Whale Watch guaranteed that we would see whales in Platypus Bay and it was a brilliant showtime as they seemed to be just as interested in us as we were in them. We also now have a greater appreciation of the female humpback’s lot in life… a mere 15 days after giving birth to a gynormous calf, she is ready to conceive the next one so the males are pretty much courting her ALL THE TIME. This causes lots of angst and jostling ‘whale-style’ while mum and her calf just ‘keep on swimming’…
All in all a great day out with a fun crew including our return transfers to the marina and yummy home catering.