23. Hervey Bay

We have enjoyed a week long holiday in that well known resort of Hervey Bay! We possibly were the only non-Antipodeans in residence. It is actually the jumping off point for one of the best whale watching areas on this continental east coast and to Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world. Much like the Isle of Wight of our youth we just sat on the beach looking at it but didn’t actually venture across the narrow straights to explore this world heritage sight.

imag4108We were fortunate enough to secure a rather nice one bedroom apartment for a reasonable price and spent considerable amounts of time sitting on our balcony, overlooking the marina. Unexpectedly, the best time was between 5.30 and 7am! The sun was up, shinning on our little patch but not yet too hot, that came at about 8am! From this position we could observe the marine community waking and opening up. It may have been early but it is certainly the more comfortable time of day. The first whale watching boat departed from beneath us at 7am followed by 2 more at 8.30, by which time were ready to start the day, having already luxuriated in a lazy start and several cups of tea. Fortunately this time did suit us because if it hadn’t we would have be woken by the ever efficient waste disposal trucks executing their processes alongside our building any time from 5am onwards!

imag4093imag4100The only day that this didn’t happen was Sunday, a day of rain, all day rain, not unlike England in its greyness. We were compelled to stay in, but didn’t object. After all we just had to make use of the spa bath (an unexpected upgrade) and had done a shop for groceries only the day before. There had been quite significant winds the previous evening and talk of a storm but it didn’t materialise in any dramatic sense. We had been seeing cyclone planning alerts on the TV and even the resort information booklet gave details of cyclone procedure along with those for fire. Our first taste of the potential hazards of living in this seeming paradise. However by evening the clouds were beginning to break up and we were treated to a magnificent sunset, endorsed by a huge but entire double rainbow, too extensive to capture its full semicircle in one photo.

imag4090All the other days involved a trip to the beach, usually in the morning before it became too hot as the heat continues to gather in the afternoons. I was delighted to see this couple making excellent use of their rollators, taking some exercise on the beach. There did seem to be a profusion of electric wheelchairs, some perhaps not very necessary as obesity would only worsen without exercise! The ultimate was a little terrier in a front basket with an umbrella over it to shelter from the sun but also sporting a pair of sunglasses and a head visor! Unlike its owner who had no hat or shade, very much frowned upon in this country of skin cancer awareness (dermatology ‘clinics’ present on every high street). The wild life, as opposed to the bonkers-life, continued to prove interesting. Roger spotted a turtle from Urangan pier and we both enjoyed watching the dolphins frolic by the end of the harbour wall on an evening walk. 

imag4105Low tide was around lunchtime and we became fascinated by the activity between the tide marks at this time. Legions and legions of soldier crabs amassed across the sand, resolutely marching, at some pace, towards the water. Weirdly they seemed a little reluctant to advance onwards into what we assumed to be their natural habitat but then they walked forward, not sideways, so may have acquired some additional peculiarities. As the sea advanced they would scurry back towards the land but eventually burrowing their little marble sized bodies into the sand by the hundred. We had some fun herding them around as a single amorphous mass, listening to the clatter and chatter of their tiny legs until they had all managed to seclude themselves into what must be an almost complete sub-terrainian layer, a few inches below the sandy surface.

imag4106What, amongst other things, had been surprising about them was there didn’t appear to be a predator despite the huge numbers freely available to anything with wings. There were plenty of potential candidates, including sea eagles, but presumably there was insufficient meat or too much shell to be appetising. The bird life looked very exotic to our northern European eyes. These ‘big dippers’, seemingly a cross between a swan and an oyster catcher, appeared to be regarded with the same level of indifference as a (Canadian) goose or (mallard) duck would at home.imag4109 The only attention, other than ours, this received was from a dog. We have been mesmerised by the beautiful parrots all over this country, their brilliant colours proving how ‘natural’ tones don’t have to be based on beige! The ‘Charlie’ birds also make a glorious splash with their bright yellow splashes on an otherwise white body. It is just surprising that they are called ‘sulphur crested’ cockatiels as that has such connotations of a nasty smell. We also came across the Aussie versions of herons (smaller than ours) and pelicans which appeared to be the marina sentries.

We are now beginning our journey home but are lucky enough to have a little interlude at Sunshine Coast as we head south to Brisbane. We met a lovely lady, Sue, on the clinic at Genine’s and she has invited us to stay with her on our way past. We had struck up our initial conversation when we found out that she is the manager of one of the few camel dairies in Australia so we are going to meet her camels, without any histrionics!

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2 Responses to 23. Hervey Bay

  1. Nicky says:

    Pleased u have enjoyed ur hols. Enjoy ur trip home and looking forward to seeing u soon. Nxx

  2. Tim says:

    A well earned rest. What fantastic colours in your photos, it looks a true paradise even with the electric scooters. You can now fill up on camel cheese which will no doubt make you great company on your flight home.

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