07 Aug The Best Day Trip In Hervey Bay
From the title of this post, you might be a bit sceptical. But seriously, this was one of the best day trips not just in Hervey Bay, but one of the best and most fun I’ve done in all of my adventures so far.
My girlfriend and I drove North from Kingscliff on Friday night to get a weekend away in Hervey Bay with our tour being on Sunday. Staying at Ramada Resort was really lovely and well priced with the restaurant downstairs serving really nice food. The day Saturday was spent walking around town as well as along Urangan pier which stretches out an impressive 1.1km into the Bay and makes for a nice walk, especially if you enjoy photographing bird life. An honourable mention was dinner and drinks at Enzo’s On The Beach for sunset views, enjoyable share plates for dinner and a few cocktails 🙂
You may have noticed I got through this part really quickly. That’s because I’m SO EXCITED TO SHARE THE NEXT BIT!!
A 7am pickup time meant we had a lot of time out on the water with Tasman Venture for their Remote Fraser Island tour but when we got out there, it didn’t take long until we caught our first glimpse of whales on the way to the first location which was Wathumba Creek for some snorkelling and kayaking on the aqua blue water. After arriving, the guests all split up into three groups to take on each activity as well as get taken across to shore on ‘Sealegs’ which is a boat that can drive up onto the beach – a fun thing to do in itself! Conditions were absolutely perfect with blue skies, sunshine & crystal clear water. I got to take the camera under the water and grab a few shots of the clarity and colour. If you’re a fan of perfect blue water and white sand, I think this is your paradise.
As you can see, the images tell the story better than I do! You can also see me getting a standard dorky tourist photo 😂 which I wouldn’t normally share publicly but come on, how cool is the view here?? Photo worthy, right?
Anyway, after we’d been playing and snorkelling for a while, it was time to jump back on the boat for lunch (which is included as well as morning and afternoon tea) and do some whale watching. We found a small pod after about 5-10 minutes cruising which had a few tail slaps but mostly blowing their nose and covering those of us on the bow in whale boogers. Just kidding haha. Over the radio the skipper heard from another boat there was an active pod South of us which is the way we would eventually be heading. Taking off and spotting the pod, it only took a few minutes for them to become intrigued by us and swim over to the boat. This is where the action really kicked off…and we got covered in whale boogers…
This was a pod of three fully-grown whales circling and diving under us. They would tail slap, fin slap, do a couple of little spy hops and sneeze on us. The most important thing they were doing was staying near us and not presenting any hostile or aggressive behaviour. With them diving under us, I leaned over the side of the boat with the camera in a housing just shooting, probably a few hundred frames. Thanks to Mark for holding my wetsuit so I didn’t fall off, high five 🖐 man. After around 10-15 minutes of the whales being ‘sticky’ as the crew called it, we got the okay to actually jump in with them!!! By that point, my girlfriend asked if I was going in when she looked over and saw I had already ripped my wetsuit on and was just about to jump in. Silly question, right?? 😂
Being the first in, I snuck around to one side with my feet pressed firmly up against the boat, the rope we were given to hold on to in my left hand and the camera ready to go in my right. It only took a couple of minutes and the whales noticed we were sharing their space in the water. They did back off a little with this new element of people around them but as they got comfortable seeing we were in the water and of no harm, they become comfortable again making at least five passes around and under us. As they made a last pass, they were incredibly close which you can see in the image at the top or the first one below. Being that close meant it was time to jump back in the boat but the images from that encounter are just too much for words I think. The whole experience of being so close and interacting with these beautiful animals is just incredible and one that I would say has to be experienced to truly be believed.
All of these images were shot at 10mm on the Fujifilm X-T2 as well which should hopefully give you a perspective on their size.
Jumping back on the boat, everyone was on an absolute high, without any special brownies. The adrenaline of having whales so close and just being with them took the boat to a level of happiness that brings joy to everyone. I know that sounds a bit cheesy but it’s the only way I can describe it.
Even just writing this, I can feel that energy and excitement coming back that I’m almost repeating myself and not really sure how else to describe how amazing the experience was. I really hope this selection of images do them justice.
Next we moved on to a spot called Bowarrady Creek where we got ready to hike up a white sand dune. The saying ‘one step forward, two steps back’ was very applicable here. Although, the view from the top made the short walk really worth it. Looking back over the Western Side of Fraser Island with white sand, blue water and still on a high from the whale swim, the view (and climb) took our breath away. From the top, we then got a bit of education about this location and the island which was very interesting. Rachel (one of the crew) took photos of the groups and couples from the top, but I’m not sharing that one on here.
The freshwater creek you can see in the image is Bowarrady Creek that comes from underground reservoirs. You can drink it, although it tastes a little like liquid sand. From down the bottom, we were also presented with another photo opportunity in that a Whistling Kite was soaring around us and landed in a tree close enough for me to use a 200mm lens and capture a few flattering images.
Our trip, and subsequently this post, came to an end. There were so many photo opportunities throughout the day I think I nearly filled a 32gb SD card which for me is saying something. It was such a variety of things that there is something for everyone. Plenty of wildlife to photograph and the location stands out from the crowd. Getting to see the Western side of Fraser Island is something not a lot of people get to do but I would HIGHLY recommend the Remote Fraser Island Tour with Tasman Venture.
Thanks for reading! Here’s one more image to leave you with. I would love to read your thoughts if you would like to leave me a comment 🙂
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