Australia

Exploring Hervey Bay beaches

You may be surprised, as we were 20 years ago, to arrive on the Fraser Coast and find there is no beach called Hervey Bay. Instead, a 16-kilometre sandy bay stretches from Urangan through to the tip of Point Vernon which collectively comprises the Hervey Bay beaches, each with its own attractions.

Having recently spent a month in the region we had the opportunity to spend time exploring the full Wide Bay Coastline from end to end and today I’ll take you through each of the Hervey Bay beaches including our favourites, what they each have to offer and which ones might be of interest to you.

Gatakers beach

Rather than rank them based on our personal favourites I’ll list them from the south heading north as I recently did for our top Sunshine Coast beaches. This may help you in planning your road trip through the Fraser Coast or when choosing where to stay.

If you are planning to be in the area I also recommend taking a few minutes to browse our pick of the best things to do in Hervey Bay.

The first 6 beaches I am going to mention basically run from one into the next and you could walk the full 16 km along the sand from Urangan up to Point Vernon passing from beach to beach with the occasional flat rock pool shelf to navigate depending on the tides. Beyond that, the next 4 are distinct beach hamlets that you’ll access as you drive north.

Urangan

The first beach and perhaps the most recognisable is Urangan. The historic pier used to clock in at over a kilometre in length back when it was used as a railway connection to the deep port. The tracks have long since been removed along with a section of the pier but at 868 metres today it’s still a good walk. We love this one especially in summer when you can catch a little bit of cooling sea breeze. It’s popular with fisherman, families and local walkers getting their exercise but is rarely crowded even during the holidays.

Urangan Pier Hervey Bay

You’ll often see kite surfers on the beach here on a windy day and on the low tide we enjoy walking out through the knee-deep water out to the sand bar. Out there and from the wharf you regularly see birds of prey such as Brahminy Kites, Osprey and White Bellied Sea Eagles fishing or resting. You can also see turtles, dolphins and even occasionally dugong and humpback whales from the wharf.

Urangan beach is in two parts, on either side of the pier. About a 1.5 km walk south from here either along the beach or a flat waterfront path you’ll come to the boat harbour. This is where the whale watching and Fraser Island tours leave from.

There are also cafes and The Boat Club along here if you are looking for somewhere to eat and drink. Our favourite is Cafe Balaena sat out on their wooden deck, unless it’s a rare windy day the sides are rolled up and you can enjoy the views of the boats coming and going from the marina and beyond that Fraser Island.

On Wednesday and Saturday mornings there are markets in Urangan set up in the park just up from the Pier. The weekday market is mostly craft and clothes, the weekend has more focus on food and local growers.

Urangan is an option for a swim at high tide and provides a fun spot for a family day at the beach on most tides with enough water caught in little pools and channels for some fun splashing about.

Torquay

Torquay Beach has a couple of parkland areas with picnic tables, the main one is Neilson’s Park, located between Toms walk and Coopers walk. The parkland offers all the usual features of shaded tables, BBQs, toilets and grassed areas.

Torquay near high tide

The two boardwalks are set back towards the beach from the main coastal pathway. They are for walkers only and provide a shady nature experience with seating areas offering peaceful places for reflection along the way. Both Tom and Cooper were local boys who were taken far too young from their families by brain cancer, the walkways are memorials to the boys and a gift to the community at a beach they loved.

For your caffine hit and tummy rumbles, Torquays Aquavue is a beachfront cafe offering a great outlook over the beach, meals, events and their own Mañana coffee blend from Queensland Seven Miles Coffee Roasters.

Scarness

The Scarness Jetty park is another picturesque spot with covered tables, bbq facilities, a playground and a small jetty where a resident Osprey will closely vet anything you might manage to catch fishing here. The water is ideal off here not only for swimming or cooling off on the full tide but a variety of watersports including kayaking, SUP and sailing.

Scarness beachfront

If you are looking for a meal or drink then Enzo’s on the Beach is another of the select few cafes located beachfront in Hervey Bay as opposed to on the road ensuring it is always popular. That beachfront bar seating and bean bags mean it’s also an Insta hotspot when the water is sparking, and when isn’t it.

Pialba

The beach at Pialba is lovely and quiet, similarly to the rest of the bay swimming here is on the high tide with shallow pools in the sand on the low tide.

The beach parklands at Pialba are also a community hub, you’ll find the popular WetSide waterpark here with its zero-depth water play areas and water slides.

Hervey Bay Water Park

Adventure Side is next door with an extensive play area featuring an all-abilities playground and towering rope climbing frame with spiral slides and an enclosed swing bridge. Adventure Side also has a skate park and Parkour course. There are covered and naturally shaded picnic tables, BBQs and landscaped grass park areas.

Adventure Side Hervey Bay

Between WaterSide and AdventureSide is the Seafront Oval, the outdoor stage and open area are used for a variety of events and shows throughout the year including the Seafood Festival and parts of the Whale Festival.

Across the Road on either side of Tooan Tooan Creek you can see fruit bats roosting. During the day they are fairly still and sleeping, if you want to see them coming to life and preparing to fly out for the evening you are best to be there around dusk. There are more parks and a walking track that follows the creek and mangroves here.

Just back from the beach in Pialba is also where you’ll find the main shopping and business area in town.

Point Vernon

There are a couple of access points and parks along Point Vernon beach you’ll first come to The Pines Park just after Pialba then Esa Park at the top of the Point.

Esa Park is our pick of the two, there is more parking here but often fewer cars. It has a good children’s play park with picnic shelters, BBQ’s and toilets at one end then another large grassed area with picnic tables or plenty of room to put up your own beach gazebo if you prefer at the other end.

Esa Park Point Vernon

There’s a nice sandy beach through the middle, plenty of room to stake out a beach spot and set up and at either end there is a flat rocky shelf with tidal rock pools to explore. You can walk for miles along the beach in either direction.

Gatakers Bay

Gatakers Bay is also located on Point Vernon. It’s a quieter beach that offers a boat ramp, plenty of parking and picnic spots, gas BBQs, public toilets, extensive tidal rock pools, a sandy beach and as you head down the western side of the point, mangroves and bushland areas.

Gatakers Bay

There aren’t any shops of cafes adjacent to the beach area so you might want to consider bringing a picnic with you. It’s usually a fairly quiet spot down here, even on weekends and public holidays.

Dundowran Beach

A 10-minute drive north of the centre of Hervey Bay is Dundowran Beach. I’ve had a soft spot for this small beachside community for many years and it has turned on some incredible sunrises for us over that time, if you are wanting a spot for a dawn walk, breakfast on the beach or just to get some sunrise photos with a classic beach backdrop this one is a winner.

Sunrise on Dundowran beach

It’s also a fabulous beach to spend the day on. The bay is very flat leaving a huge expanse of sand as the tide goes out but this means if you are planning to swim you need to time it around the full tide. The rest of the time it’s good to sit in the water and cool off or paddle up to your knees but not much more. Perfect if like me you like walking the beach splashing along in the tide.

It’s a long beach for walking from Eli Creek through to Craignish with park and bush backdrops to most of it. Watch out for the Mungomery Vine Forest Reserve entrances off Ebony and Cissus Court through to the beach for something different, you’ll have a good chance to spot local birds and wildlife there and also at the Arkarra Lagoons on Sempfs Road. The lagoons are on public land with walking tracks around them, the Arkarra Gardens Cafe behind them is privately owned and an attractive spot in the area if you are looking for somewhere for coffee or lunch.

There are two main beach accesses, with car parking, a toilet block and a grassed reserve running behind the beach. One is at the end of Sawmill Road, the other at Ansons Road.

Craignish Beach

The next beach north from Dundowran is Craignish running from Dundowran through to O’Regan Creek although in reality the two beaches blend very much together and the main differentiation is the beach access point. In Craignish the main beach access is from Whiting Park at the end of Petersen Road. Again you will find a small car park, public toilets and a beach shelter with a couple of seating areas and BBQ.

Two other public access points are available from Pacific Promenade, the one opposite Cedar Road is a narrow grassy strip between two houses and from the turning circle at the far end of the street there is another entry.

Craignish beach

Like Dundowran it’s a beachside residential village with a beautiful, quiet beach and safe swimming although care should be taken particularly near the creek mouth. The creek area is also popular for fishing and the Conservation Park that surrounds the creek can be accessed from the end of Edgewater Road. There’s street parking for a couple of cars here but no additional facilities.

Toogoom Beach

There are two other more remote beaches in the Hervey Bay area. Around 15 minutes from central Hervey Bay you’ll come to Toogoom Beach. There are a number of beach access points in Toogoom but the beaches are generally very quiet with little tourism. The area around the Beelbi Creek inlet is popular for crab pots and fishing, birdwatches also enjoy several spots in the area and watersports such as kayaking and windsurfing are popular with locals.

Burrum Heads

Burrum Heads on the southern side of the entry to the Burrum River and is the very top of the Fraser Coast region, across on the northern bank is Woodgate, a favourite of ours and part of the Bundaberg region.

Like Toogoom, Burrum Heads is especially popular with fishermen and boaties but there is a beach suitable for swimming.


These 10 beaches are all on Hervey Bay, sheltered from the surf and rough weather by the stunning Fraser Island. What I love most about the region is the diversity of Hervey Bay beaches. Do you want more facilities, nearby cafes and shops, waterpark, playgrounds and pier, or do you want quiet, a peaceful beach with extensive bird and marine life just offshore?

Even the inner beaches are very relaxed and quiet all year round by most peoples standards. Pialba would be the busiest with the water, skate and adventure park right on the beachfront. While it does get busier here and they have an overflow car parking area to add capacity when events are in it is usually still pretty peaceful. We were down there for several hours in the sun and saw half a dozen people on the beach, all just walking past, we were the only ones sitting there and it’s a gorgeous spot.

Cool Cabana on Pialba beach

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