After leaving Airlie Beach – our last stop in The Whitsundays, we headed to the Fraser Coast.
Boarding the Queensland Rail Network for our ten-hour train journey down to Maryborough West I was delighted to be in business class, it wasn’t that economy wasn’t good enough. Far from it, economy class on the Queensland Rail Network is probably the best I’ve ever seen.
However, for such a long journey I relished the extra comfort provided by business class and I managed to get some much needed shut-eye before we arrived at Maryborough West.
After a coach transfer to Pilba, Hervey Bay, we were met by Tas Webber, our lovely representative from the Fraser Coast tourist board. I felt sorry for Tas having to pick us up at 7am, but he did so with that typical Aussie grin and took us a short drive along the beach to have breakfast at Enzo’s, a beachfront café.
Here, we had not only breath-taking views of the ocean, but also direct access to the longest stretch of golden sand, which lay at our feet.
The sun had come up, casting a beautiful golden glow over the beach, as I enjoyed a yummy veggie breakfast of toast, sautéed mushrooms and grilled Halloumi. After eating, I couldn’t resist the urge to dip my toes into the crystal clear sea and write my name in the sand – sorry, but it was just one of those moments.
We were sleepy and tired from our journey, but equally keen to explore and so Tas took us along the pier, which seemed to go out for miles. Despite the early hour, there were lots of people out, enjoying the sun and the beautiful views. Tas told us that most locals tend to get up early and explore, or go for a workout because the daytime sun is just too strong.
By 10am I could understand what he meant, it was already 35 degrees in the shade and a dry heat, unlike the humidity we had experienced in the tropical north.
Ever helpful, Tas took us to the new Fraser Coast Discovery Sphere, a nature and regional education centre. I revelled in learning more about the local environment and wildlife that dwell in the region.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Hervey Bay region, an area with the best opportunities in the world for sightings of humpback whales. But, I was rather gutted to learn it's currently out of season for the whales, but it has given me an excuse to go back.
I had come to Fraser Coast largely to go to Fraser Island, yet it wasn’t until I spent more time in Hervey Bay, that I really appreciated the beauty and assets that the bay and its surrounding region had to offer.
It truly is a sleepy wonder of natural beauty and wildlife, with a laid back lifestyle to match, and I was delighted by this. I had come to see Fraser Island, but I had found a whole other wonderful part of Australia.
I really have taken away much more than I had expected.
Until next time...