After a wonderful and inspirational few days at the ProBlogger Conference on the Gold Coast, I was mentally and physically drained and very much looking forward to some R&R. And Hervey Bay was the perfect answer. Located just 3½ hours drive (or a 45 minute flight) north of Brisbane, I was thrilled to be selected by Tourism and Events Queensland and Fraser Coast Tourism to participate in one of their famils trips.
We arrived in Hervey Bay to impossibly blue skies and mid-twenties weather (a welcome reprieve from Sydney’s wintery and wet efforts). Naturally my first thought was eating, so we headed straight to EAT @ Dan and Steph’s, a new restaurant opened by My Kitchen Rules winners Dan and Steph Mulheron.
I started off the meal with a much-needed Macchiato ($4) and snuck a few sips of Sara’s House Blend Chocolate Milk ($5).
While the other 2 ladies went for sensible salads, naturally I went for the most over-the-top and decadent thing on the menu. This is called the Showstopper ($16) and it had Dan & Steph’s Italian sausage on herbed baguette, house kimchi slaw, sharp cheddar, fried shallots and wasabi aioli.
Chicken Cobb Salad ($18) – sous vide miso chicken, crispy bacon, avocado, tomato, toasted corn, greens, soft boiled egg, parmesan croutons and basil aioli.
Lentil Salad ($16) – green puy lentils, sunflower seeds,fried capers, sultanas, herbed crème fraiche, greens, preserved lemon and candied walnuts.
We left Dan & Steph’s full and content (with some brownies for an afternoon snack!) and set off to discover why Hervey Bay was referred to as the “Whale Watch Capital of the World”.
Here I am on the dock looking excited and not appropriately dressed for whale watching (of course).
We set off and I enjoy the view whilst munching on my brownie.
I feel like whale watching should be referred to as “whale stalking” as there was an entire boatload of people, frowning at the water in anticipation for something, anything. I’ve been on a failed whale watching mission before that resulted in no whales and only seasickness, but Hervey Bay’s location combined with clear and still waters make it an excellent place for viewing these magnificent beasts.
And then suddenly, one appears. So incredibly close to the boat and I couldn’t even fathom the sheer size of the whale. There may have been excited squealing.
Cameras at the ready everyone, they are getting playful!
Over the next few hours we encountered several different pods of whales, all enjoying a bit of tail-flipping and showing off. I had an amazing time!
We headed back to shore as dusk settled in, viewing Fraser Island in the distance. For more information on whale watching go to www.whalesherveybay.com.
We check into our hotel for the next few nights, at Mantra Hervey Bay.
I sat on the balcony and enjoyed this beautiful view of Urangan Marina each morning.
I wanted to collapse either in my large king bed, or soak in the spa, but it was off to dinner we go!
We head to Coast, which recently was the winner of the exclusive Diners Choice Awards in the Queensland Good Food Guide, and knew we were in for a treat.
Coast was incredibly dark so please excuse the sometimes strangely-hued photos! We had an incredible meal and were stuffed to the gills (naturally we over-ordered) but highlights included:
Potato Gnocchi, Mushrooms, Chilli, Garlic, Oregano ($23) and Hervey Bay Scallop Ceviche, Avocado, Corn, Bacon Jam ($23.50)
Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder, Tomato Relish, Red Wine Jus ($58) and Atlantic Salmon, Apple, Radish, Coriander, Mint, Peanuts, Nam Jim $24.50)
COAST Banana Split- Lady Finger, Peanut Cream, Peanut Crunch, Banana Ice Cream, Milk Chocolate Mousse, Caramel Peanut Popcorn ($16) and Treacle Tart, Roasted Macadamias, Rhubarb, Gayndah Citrus Crème Fraiche ($13.50).
The next day we head to Maryborough, one of Queensland’s oldest city and the birthplace of Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers – stay tuned and I will post this next week!
I took in some beautiful sunset views at dusk settled in on my walk along the beach.
Wild Lotus, located on the Esplanade of Hervey Bay, is a great example of the fresh and local products they use to produce Modern Australian food.
Highlights included a dozen scallops ($32.50), calamari and tiger prawn pesto salad ($17.50), eye fillet steak with root mash ($32.50) and the fish of the day served with chips (market price).
I was eagerly eyeing off the dessert menu and loved that they have a dessert tasting plate (why choose one when you can sample them all?) Each item was delicious, with my favourite being the coconut and passionfruit panna cotta.
Our last meal in Hervey Bay is a scenic one – breakfast at Enzo’s on the beach.
We eagerly wolfed down eggs benedict; two poached eggs with hollandaise sauce on pasta dura bread ($12) and a Mexicana omelette; chorizo, red onions, tomato and jalepenos served with cheese and toasted sour dough ($18.50).
And went for a final stroll along the beach before being driven to the airport (by Enzo himself).
Goodbye Hervey Bay! You’ve been wonderful.
Love Swah travelled, ate & stayed courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland and Fraser Coast Tourism
Fantastic wrap up of a wonderful escape to the Fraser Coast. I really only have one thing to say. Helloooooo *clap clap clap* ;p
Our “whale whisperer” really was something, wasn’t she? ;)
Hervey Bay looks stunning. I can’t believe you saw whales (or that people use their iPads to take photos of said whales).
I couldn’t believe people using their iPads either! Haha. The whales were incredible <3
The whale watching at Hervey Bay is amazing – I was there a couple of years ago and had a glorious time watching the whales frolicking in the sea. Such an incredible experience.
Having never seen whales so close, I was truly blown away! Such a great travel memory x
wow, it looks so amazing! the clear blue skies with the calm water! I felt like I was on retreat looking at your photos then be hit with reality and a pang of jealousy!
Apologies for the pangs of jealousy Cassie! It was an amazing experience :)
Great photos. Love to be back on that right about now x
Me too!! Take us back x
I love visiting Hervey Bay and your photos make it look especially stunning. That ‘Showstopper’ is definitely going to put Dan and Stephs on list for my next trip (I’ll eat salads at home).
Thank you Toni! And I can’t recommend the Showstopper enough, it was delicious!
oh the food at Dan & Steph’s looks awesome! In fact, all that food is making me hungry! How good was the whale watching there? Such a fabulous experience and you’ve captured it so well xx
The whale watching was incredible, as was the food. I can’t wait to go back! x
Wow! That looks like a great trip. I would love to go out whale watching. And that food!
Glad to have found you via the Wanderlust linkup.
Thanks Fairlie, it was an amazing trip! And SO much food hehe
I haven’t been to Hervey Bay since I was a kid, but seeing your pictures I definitely think it would a great place for a family holiday! Going to start planning that one now…!
Oh, and thanks for linking up with Wanderlust! I hope you’ve enjoyed it and will linkup next month too!
I have found so many great blogs through the Wanderlust link up! I can’t wait to do it again next month :)
[…] This is Part 2 of my recent trip to Queensland. You can read Part 1 here. […]
[…] took this photo of a salmon salad in a very dark restaurant in Hervey Bay on a travel famil. Despite setting my aperture to F1.8 (the lowest setting on my camera which […]
I am glad that you have shared so many pictures of your tour here. Giving your loyal viewers a visualization of what you have experienced is quite good.