A cruising area in its own right!
Reviewed Feb 2016
Hervey Bay in Queensland is a wonderful destination to consider when cruising. It is considered by many as a required stopover during the winter cruising season, not only to re-provision and refuel but also a cruising area in its own right with Fraser Island, nearby historical Maryborough and many whales during migration season, something not to be missed.
Hervey Bay makes up part of the Great Sandy Straights which are named for a very good reason. There is are sandbanks everywhere. One must adhere to the navigational channels if you do not wish to embarrass yourself by becoming stranded on one of these sandbanks on a ebbing tide.
The area of Hervey Bay proper has its main marine base located at Urangan. In the boat harbour three separate marinas ply their business, these being the Great Sandy Straights Marina, Boat Club Marina and the Fishermans Wharf Marina. A large fishing fleet as well as a very large whale watching fleet also operate out of the boat harbour. A very large number of recreational trailerable boats launch at the multiple boats ramps with-in the harbour break walls. When entering or leaving the boat harbour a skipper needs to be on his/her toes keeping a watchful eye on the many craft that may be navigating the area. Weekends and school holidays will see water traffic increase significantly. If you do get into trouble VMR Hervey Bay keep a watchful eye on the surrounding waters.
At the entrance to the boat harbour a fast tidal flow can be running across the harbour entrance and one must be very vigilant to ensure you craft is sufficiently powered up when entering or leaving the harbour when the tide in is full flood or ebb as the unwary may end up in a very embarrassing position on the rocks. An excellent fuel dock is available inside the harbour. In close proximity the the marinas are is a boat club, cafes, tavern, Fish Co-op and Ice manufacturer (party, block Ice, bait and LPG gas available). Simple items such as milk and newspapers are only available at the nearby caravan park adjacent the Boat Club.
There is no facility to re-provision for food at the marina. A short taxi ride will get you to a the Urangan Shopping centre with a very good selection of shops with a major supermarket being present. If you go a bit further into the township of Hervey Bay itself there is very large shopping centre that that includes all the major shops such as Coles, Woolworths, K Mart, Aldi, Dan Murphy Etc. There is very little that can't be found or sourced.
While you can get most things repaired at Hervey Bay I have found that it does lack some basic boating outlets. There is no major chandlery in Hervey Bay other than a BCF or RTM which both stock very basic boating items. As an example when servicing my Lewmar winches I found a broken pawl. It could not be sourced in the Hevery Bay area and was required to be posted to me at the marina through the Captains Chandlery at Bundaberg. For cruising yachts don't expect to be able to source a rigger in the area from Tin Can Bay to Bundaberg. The nearest rigger we could source was from Mooloolaba who travels from his base as far as Bundaberg to carry out rig replacements and repairs. Other than this most other boat services can be found in the Bay.
For those wishing to leave their boat at one of Hervey Bay marinas there is a great regional airport that has daily flights to Brisbane and Sydney. The airport is located a short 5 minute taxi ride from the marinas with the flights costs quite reasonable. When cruising the area we have several reference books that we utilise including Cruising the Coral Coast by Alan Lucas, Beacon To Beacon Directory and Robs Passage Planner by Rob Starkey.