Queensland’s Fraser Coast puts out a warm welcome any time of the year, especially when whales are making their way through the shallow waters of the Great Sandy Strait between late July and November.
It is certainly a wow moment when you come up close and almost personal with a whale, but the Fraser Coast has plenty of other delights that will fill your memory bank.
Those delights start at Lychee Divine, located at South Tinana before you leave the Bruce Highway. This is where you will find the best lychee ice cream you’ve ever tasted. Find it at the Information Centre located behind the Puma Service Station. Pick up some lychee liqueur while you are there.
Make your way into Maryborough and straight to the Maryborough Markets, which wrap around Adelaide and Ellena Streets every Thursday, with more than 120 stalls offering an amazing array of farm-fresh produce and unique wares.
When it is time for lunch, there’s plenty of choice. Opt for light refreshments at A Spoon Full of Sugar at the corner of Kent and Richmond Streets. It is located in the butler’s quarters of the Bank Building, where PL Travers, author of Mary Poppins, was born in 1899.
Sitting on the veranda of the heritage-listed former Customs House in Wharf Street, gazing down towards the Mary River for a meal at Muddy Waters Café is a very pleasant way to while away a few hours. Award-winning chef Michael Cox makes everything in-house, focussing on the best local ingredients, including fresh seafood. His desserts are worth the calories.
Next door is the historic Maryborough Bond Store, filled with the area’s history and some surprisingly good liqueur wines.
Pop into Mary Delicious in Kent Street for another sweet fix or to take home some of the region’s flavours with a wide selection of fudge flavours, including one that tastes and looks like liquorice allsorts.
Hervey Bay is a short 30-minute drive towards the coast and it is here that you’ll find another good selection of cafes and restaurants lining the beachfront to work your way through. Enzo’s on the Beach, 351 The Esplanade, offers the sort of laid-back beach dining ambience that Hervey Bay does so well.
Just a little further down The Esplanade is Coast Restaurant and Bar, where you’ll enjoy steamed pork buns, fresh scallops from the bay, and a banana split that’s become a local legend.
Hervey Bay also offers a chance to meet some of the area’s most famous locals – Dan and Steph Mulheron and baby Emmy makes three – at EAT @ Dan, Steph & Emmy’s.
Although they both love snags and beer, Dan and Steph have some serious food cred after winning the fourth series of Australian’s My Kitchen Rules in 2013. One bite into their crusty po’ boy filled with crumbed Hervey Bay scallops, bacon jam, and fresh apple and pickled radish salad and you’ll be transported to food heaven.
Other places to try for a coffee boost include Bean Beat and the Minimalist.
The Vineyard is another Hervey Bay restaurant that is setting new standards by pairing some of the world’s best wines, beers and spirits with inventive food using local ingredients. Don’t miss their trio of scallops or the signature fried calamari.
Of course, a visit to Hervey Bay would not be complete without a stroll along the almost one-kilometre long historic Urangan Pier. However, also not to be missed is a sunset at the other end of the bay, from the rocky promontory of Point Vernon.
There’s a reason why the whales like to play and stay at Hervey Bay and you are sure to work out why when you visit.