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Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Whale watching Hervey Bay

Looking across the calm, sparkling waters of Hervey Bay heading towards Fraser Island from our whale-watching vessel, there is a sense of anticipation. 

Hervey Bay is the jumping off point for some of the most spectacular whale watching in Australia. 

The reason for this is that the sheltered waters of the bay and warm year-round conditions are the perfect place to act as a kind of humpback-whale nursery. 

It is here that they come to give birth to their calves and teach and play with them until they are ready to make their journey back down the coast to their Antarctic feeding grounds. 

We don't have to wait long to get up close and personal with the whales - just 20 minutes out of the marina, the gentle mist of whale breath is the first sign of a pod of four giant humpbacks. 

While this pod keeps their distance from the boat, it's not long before a massive humpback breeches just 100 metres away. Weighing around 40 tonnes (the equivalent of 10 elephants or 20 Holden cars) the whale uses it powerful pectoral fins to push itself out of the water. 

Then another, and another! School's in and the lessons are underway. The spectacle of these gentle giants at play never fails to fascinate our fellow passengers. With every sighting, we move to the closest side of the boat to the whales and it seems, collectively hold our breath. Even with today's full capacity of 80 passengers, there's plenty of room on the two-storey deck and enclosed cabin. 

Our trip to Hervey Bay has not been all whales however – there's been a lot of time to take it easy and 'unwind' in the easy pace of this beautiful coastal town. 

An four hour drive from or short flight from Brisbane Hervey Bay is a cosmopolitan destination with some wonderful cafes, restaurants, boutiques and major shopping outlets. 

Our accommodation is the brand new Ramada Resort and Hotel Hervey Bay, which has made the experience come together seamlessly. 

Ramada Hervey Bay is a true fourth-generation resort – with their focus on the guests' overall destination experience. Going well beyond their beautifully appointed rooms or value for money. 

We opted for the --- package because we knew we wanted two things from our break – to relax and to see the whales. 

But there were plenty of other options to choose from. 

For anything else we wanted to arrange during our stay the friendly, highly trained staff was able to look after any of our queries.  

The studio, 1, 2, and 3 bedroom apartments have all the mod con's people expect from a five-star experience. 

They are all beautifully appointed with the latest appliances, fittings and furnishings including flat-screen TV's, movies on demand, high-speed internet connections, full kitchen facilities with stone bench tops and balconies overlooking our pool – which is the longest resort pool in Hervey Bay. 

For those wanting to keep in shape, there is also a sauna and gym on site. 

If a little indulgence is in order without leaving the Ramada grounds there is a café bar on site providing great food and wine and friendly service. 

Ramada Hervey Bay is also offering opening specials to, so get online and register your details to take advantage of their exclusive opening rates.

Getting there

Self Drive

Maryborough is just three hours drive (255km) north of Brisbane along the Bruce Highway. Hervey Bay is a further 34km northeast via Maryborough. 

By Air

Jetstar and Virgin Blue operate direct jet services from Sydney to the Fraser Coast, with convenient connections from most Australian capital cities. Qantas Link has several daily flights from Brisbane to Hervey Bay and Maryborough.

Jetstar   http://www.jetstar.com

Virgin Blue http://www.virginblue.com.au

Qantas Link http://www.qantas.com.au

By Rail

QR (Queensland Rail) operates regular services from Brisbane, Rockhampton and Cairns into Maryborough West. Transfers to Hervey Bay can be included via the Trainlink bus service, which connects with every train. 

By Coach

Greyhound Pioneer and Premier Motor Services operate several services each day through Maryborough, Hervey Bay, Howard and Childers. Suncoast Pacific also operates daily services from Brisbane via the Sunshine Coast and Tin Can Bay.

 
For more information visit www.ramadaherveybay.com.au

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