Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Slightly Famous on the Fraser Coast

Hervey Bay doesn't just attract thousands of visitors each year, it's also attracted it's fair share of celebrities throughout it's time too! 

Drawn to the town's charm, great looks and superb personality, Hervey Bay is now home to a lineup of Australian musicians such as Guy Sebastian - Winner of the first ever Australian Idol - and Adam Brand, one of our best known country singers.

And if you're into sport more than music you might recognise the name Nathan Hauritz, the Australian off-spin cricketer, who started his cricketing career with the Hervey Bay Junior Cricketing Association. 

If you're a movie buff you won't just recognise celebrities, but some of Hervey Bay's most obvious landmarks in some movies as well. Fraser Island has been home to two films; Eliza Fraser (1976) which highlights Fraser Island's history, and Jilted (1987) the romantic comedy based around a Fraser Island resort.

More recently, the region has spurred the filming of Fools Gold (2008) starring Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson, with Kate bringing (her then boyfriend) Owen Wilson to take some time out and holiday in Hervey Bay. During their time filming, Matthew & Kate were even spotted drinking in one of Hervey Bay's backpacker bars - a real treat for the guests!

And lets not forget to mention the movie Subdivision (2009), which was not only filmed in Hervey Bay but was remarkably close to home on plot topic which focused on the change a community goes through when big city developers come into the region! Cast members were very relaxed, joining in on yoga classes at the gym, shopping locally and heading to Hervey Bay's many cafes for breakfast.

So next time you visit Hervey Bay, keep your eyes open and your autograph books close at hand. You never know who you might see!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's The Size That Counts

When travellers think of Hervey Bay they often think of a quiet seaside village, but they couldn't be further from the truth. Think more of a 'quiet seaside city' and you're closer to the mark. 

It all started thanks to a man named Boyle Martin, who was the first person to take up settlement in Hervey Bay. His bold move attracted others, until in 1984 Hervey Bay was officially popular enough to be proclaimed a city. The city now boasts a population of over 75,000 people and with the title of one of Australia's fastest growing cities under it's belt, the annual growth of the region increases on average another 3% each year. 

With 75,000 people to cater for, Hervey Bay has 5 shopping precincts and over 30 kilometres of safe swimming beach-front for everyone to spread themselves out over, meaning the city never feels crowded. And there is plenty to do - from Ten Pin Bowling to Camel Rides, to the botanical gardens and water park. In fact, here's a few more ideas:
Stand Up Paddle Boarding from Enzos

  1. Parasailing
  2. Jet Ski Tours
  3. Skydiving
  4. Stand Up Paddle Boarding
  5. Kite Boarding
  6. Aquarium
  7. Scenic Tours by Microlite, Helicopter or Plane
  8. Fishing Charters
  9. Wakeboarding
  10. Trike & bike tours
  11. Horseriding
  12. Go Karts and Movies
  13. Whale Watching
  14. Shark Museum
  15. Kayak Hire, Banana Boat Rides and Beach Volleyball... And that just gets us started! 
So don't be surprised when you get to Hervey Bay and it's not what you expect, and it's not what you've been told. Unless you've been told "Paradise". Because Paradise it definitely is. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Travelling Solo on the East Coast

New friends are made every day on a Palace Adventures tour!
Many travellers along the East Coast are travelling solo, with Australia one of the safest destinations in the world to do so. Travelling solo can be one of the most rewarding ways to truly explore and make the most of your holiday. Not only do you have the flexibility to go where you want and do what you want, but people travelling alone are also more likely to immerse themselves in local cultures, meet new people and try new things.

The reason being, people travelling alone don't have the 'safety bubble' of the companionship of their friends. They don't travel with the same views, and they don't have the the strain of friendship arguments when differences arrive regarding travel plans. Solo travellers have the ultimate freedom ... but sometimes the ultimate sacrifice to make as well!

While travelling alone can be a scary thought and sometimes can feel quite lonely, it is a fantastic way to grow as a person. Travel is the ultimate confidence booster and a fun way to build new independent skills. Who knew what you were capable of until you tried? Travelling Australia is not only just a great adventure, but it's a great journey of self discovery too. Thousands of travellers every year embark on a holiday on their own - there's no reason you shouldn't too!

Here are some of the top travel tips for Solo Travellers in Australia:

  • Stay in a hostel. Hostels are communal and will attract travellers from all walks of life. 
  • Take a journal. You'll want to remember everything and won't have anyone to remind you!
  • Join a tour group. They're a great way to meet people you immediately have something in common with.
  • Avoid romantic destinations, or attractions encouraging groups of people.
  • Carry a book. It's a great way to look busy in uncomfortable situations or when trying to avoid unwanted conversation with someone.
  • Utilise hostel and touring safe/lockers for valuables when you haven't got anyone to watch your belongings. 
  • Use common sense. If you wouldn't do it at home, don't do it when you're away!
  • Get to know local cultures so you won't be misunderstood.
  • Familiarise yourself with popular travel agencies or information sources for advice you can trust. 
  • Don't be afraid to ask. Nobody cares if you ask a silly question and you'll never forgive yourself if you miss a great opportunity or don't fully understand something because you were too embarrassed to find out more.

More Information:
Your home country may provide helpful government websites and resources for travel, but in Australia it's useful to check Smart Traveller for travel advice, tips and helpful checklists for your journey. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

8 Ways to Protect Our Native Dingoes - and Yourself!

The Dingo (a.k.a 'wild dog') has become a species very unique in Australia. Originally thought to have arrived with the first settlers, the dingo's tendency to live apart from other people and other dogs has seen them develop features and instincts different to that of any other canine. 

Mostly found in remote areas, dingoes can't live very far from water and have therefore made Fraser Island a very important home for the survival of their species. Over the years, dingoes in the region have become one of the purest strains within Australia, and Fraser Island has become one of the best areas to observe these incredible creatures in their natural habitat. It's no wonder spotting a dingo on Fraser Island is such a special experience!

As people visit Fraser Island, some dingoes have begun to lose their fear of humans and have found 'people food' such as bags of chips, fruit and loaves of bread a luring new food source. This disruption to the dingoes natural diet can be very dangerous, and Queensland Parks and Wildlife have many guidelines to help protect the dingo (and yourself!) from the new hunting and scavenging techniques they're adopting:

  1. Never feed the dingoes. Dingoes can become aggressive if they begin to rely food from you, and dingo pups may never learn important hunting skills if human food is readily available.
  2. Lock away all food and containers so Dingoes can't chew or tear your possessions when following the scent of food.
  3. Don't take food to the lake shores and beaches. It's too easy to forget or leave unattended, and it attracts dingoes into populated areas.
  4. Always stay close to children, even small teenagers! Dingoes can get excited by children running or playing, and may attack by the confusion of their behaviour.
  5. Walk in groups. Wild animals are less likely to attack if they feel the fight is unbalanced.
  6. Clean up rubbish and food scraps and never hang rubbish bags from trees or tents. Bin everything as quickly as possible, and nothing will be enticing for the dingoes.
  7. Make your area or campsite boring for the dingo. A boring campsite won't invite unwanted guests.
  8. Get your dingo experience from a distance. Never encourage dingoes to come close or excite the dingo just to get a good photo. Remember, dingoes won't react like a pet dog... even though sometimes they seem a lot like one!

More information:
Dingoes can be seen all year round on Fraser Island, with Dingo pups traditionally born during the winter. Fraser Island provides a varied diet for dingoes to hunt including; fish, crab, reptiles, echnidnas, wallabies, bandicoots, bush rats, beached marine life and small berries. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Splashing Out With A Difference

A great big thing happens in Hervey Bay every July - November... the whales arrive!
Hervey Bay has long been known as the Whale Watch Capital of Australia, and it's unique attraction for whales to stop and play in the region has often led to discussion about the bay being categorised as a whale 'sanctuary'. 

Year after year, thousands of these majestic creatures have made Hervey Bay their home during their migration back to Antarctica. The sheltered nature and temperate waters make the bay a safe and desirable region to rest and teach their newborn calves important  life skills, without any fear of threat. It's one of the only places on the East Coast where whales will actually stop and 'hang around' at... many whale pods will stay for up to 3 days at a time!

The unique behaviours of the whales in the region have built Hervey Bay a spectacular reputation for whale watching tours. A naturally curious animal anyway, as the years have rolled by the humpback whales have become familiar with the whale watching vessels and are no strangers to coming right up to your boat and saying hi. The humpbacks can often be seen performing acrobatics; jumping from the water, breaching, spy-hopping and tail slapping as they show off for an audience. And it's an amazing sight to see as the mothers try to teach their younglings the same tricks!

Not to mention, most vessels now also offer additional facilities to enhance your experience and knowledge of these marvellous wonders, including knowledgeable commentary, hydrophones to listen to the whale songs and underwater viewing windows. Whale Watching is no longer just an amazing show to watch, it's also an opportunity to learn more about these giants of the ocean. And you can't miss something this big!

More information:
Up close and personal encounters with the whales can be experienced every day of the week, with tours ranging from half day, 3/4 day OR full day tours ($85-$120). Free courtesy collections from Palace Backpackers Hervey Bay can be arranged with most operators, with delicious snacks/refreshments usually provided.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter in Hervey Bay!

It’s Easter in Hervey Bay! ... well, it’s Easter everywhere this weekend but if you’re in Hervey Bay you’re in for a real treat!

Saturday 23rd April, 2011 is host to Hervey Bay’s ‘Easter Fun Day’, held at Scarness Park, just 500metres (or a 3 minute walk!) from Palace Backpackers Hervey Bay. The Easter Fun Day is packed with entertainment and market stalls – as well as a number of activities, fun and games.

Two sound stages will play host to a number of entertainers playing music for all ages, while buskers and performers will entertain along the Esplanade walkways. It’s a great day to get together and experience some of Hervey Bay’s local culture with lots of locally made arts and crafts available – plus games and activities for the kiddies (or young at heart!) such as egg and spoon races and sack races. If that’s not enough to tempt you, then maybe trying your hand at the free Zumba, Drumming, Hoop Dancing and Belly Dancing workshops might get your heart racing.

The day is also home for the Great Aussie Sausage Sizzle and some really great prizes up for grabs!!
And of course, what’s Easter without an EASTER EGG HUNT!! Sponsored by Cadbury (yum!) the egg hunt has 10,000 eggs to be found and is the highlight of the day so DONT MISS OUT!

Where: Hervey Bay Scarness Park – just 500 metres from Palace Backpackers
When: 10am – 3pm, Saturday 23rd April 2011
How Much: FREE!

Accommodation at Palace Backpackers Hervey Bay starts at just $25 per person per night for dorm accommodation, and just $55 per night for a private double or twin room. Book early – Easter in Hervey Bay or on Fraser Island is the place to be!  

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hervey Bay: The Adventure Capital of Queensland

Most people know Hervey Bay as the gateway to Fraser Island, but little do they know Hervey Bay is fast becoming the adventure capital of Queensland with so many daring activities on offer.

The traditional Fraser Island tours of both guided or self-drive variety can range from 1 to 3 days - but it's easy to fill up a week in this seaside capital that's fast proving why it's one of Australia's fastest growing cities.

1. Go Para-sailing! - Have the flight of your life above water in Hervey Bay, without getting wet.

2. Take an adrenalin filled day out on a Jet Ski Eco Safari!

3. Release your inner rev-head and tour the region on a fast 3 wheeled trike! - With 3 wheels and plenty of grunt, watch out you don't get addicted. Or, if you prefer to drive yourself at speed, hit the Go Kart Track and race your mates!

4. Skydive from 14,000 feet! - At 14,000 feet you can see the curvature of the earth, plus dugongs, turtles and dolphins in Hervey Bay's waters.

5. Learn to Kite Board! - It's an adrenalin rush mastering surfing the wind and the waves.

6. Go Paddle Boarding! - Celebrities aren't the only ones using a paddle board to look cool and exercise. You can do it to!

7. Dive the largest artificial reef in the southern hemisphere! - Over 63 different drops has built a thriving underwater haven for fish, coral and other sea creatures all waiting to be discovered.

8.  See the Fraser Coast by air! - Be brave and let your legs dangle under a Microlite, or experience the vertical thrill of heading upward in a helicopter.

9. Reel in a big one with some world-class game fishing! The calm waters of Hervey Bay attract some big beauties, and delicious eating.

10. Wakeboard at Hervey Bay's newest Wakeboarding park!

11. Get a little country with Horseriding, Cattle Mustering and Moonlight rides at Susan River Homestead!

12. Paddle the reefs of the bay with Glass Bottom Kayaking! - See the protected waters and wildlife in their natural habitat directly below you completely untouched.

13. Go Whale Watching! - Hervey Bay plays home to Humpback whales between July and November each year. It's one of the only places in the world where whales actually stop and play, staying for up to 3 days at a time to mate and teach their newborn calves important survival skills.

14. Get humpy on a Camel Safari! - These local beasts know the beach pretty well, and tours along the beach are a must do at sunset.

15. Get wet! - Spend a day in the sun at 'Wetside', Hervey Bay's FREE water park. Or take a slippery ride down one of Hervey Bay's two Monster Water Slides.

And finally: Explore! - The best way to get adventurous in Hervey Bay is to grab a bike or move those feet and hit the Esplanade. Scattered with fashion boutiques, restaurants, cafe's, shops and resorts - you wont get far without something catching your eye and forcing you to stop again. Picnic in the gardens, visit the aquarium, see the impressive shark catchings of Vic Hislop with a real frozen Great White shark on display, or just utilise the free gym equipment set up by the beach.

You'll never be bored!

Hervey Bay: The adventure capital of Queensland!