Hervey Bay's History

Captain James Cook founded Hervey Bay in 1770.  Named after Britain's Earl of Bristol but at the time thought Fraser Island and the mainland were separate bodies of land so called it a Bay.  Matthew Flinders mapped the area in 1802 finding this was not so.  The first settler was Boyle Martin who came with his family 1863.  He could be the first cane grower in the region!

In 1870 further settlers came, the area was known as Aarlborg when dairy farming started.  Sugar cane growing also began in earnest around 1880.

Hervey Bay has an amazing bike path system, some which follow the old railway line that originally ran from Maryborough all the way out onto the Urangan Pier to carry sugar to cargo ships, built in 1917.  This iconic pier was originally over a kilometre long but when closed in 1985, 239 metres of it was demolished.  Now 858 metres long, it is available for all to use.

The area became a great weekend retreat with good fishing, swimming, amazing weather and boating. People bought up land to build their holiday homes on the waterfront in little villages.  These villages combined in 1977 when it was declared a city in February 1984 and would be known as the Town of Hervey Bay.

Named the world's first certified Whale Heritage Site in 2019, Hervey Bay is known as the Whale Watching Capital of Australia with Southern Humpback whales visiting the region between July and November each year.  

Places worth a visit:

  • K'gari - Fraser Island - the world's largest sand island - accommodation, tours, activities, the Wreck of Maheno
  • Esplanade - pristine parks, restaurants, facilities, BBQ areas, bike paths
  • Pialba seafront oval and water park - family activities and parklands
  • Urangan Pier - fishing and a 800m walk
  • Urangan Marina - food outlets, club, boat services, tour centre and accommodation
  • Botanic Gardens - 26 hectares of bushland housing an Orchid House, Japanese Bridge, bush tucker gardens and a lake/wetlands area.  BBQ and picnic areas available.
  • Point Vernon parks and boat ramps
  • River Heads barge facilities to Fraser Island, boat ramps and fishing
  • Burrum Heads - caravan parks, fishing, boating, accommodation, restaurants