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Hervey Bay Area

Hervey Bay and surrounding towns like Childers, Maryborough are one of Queensland's best natural holiday destinations offering the world's closest whale watching encounters with humpback whales as well as easy access to World Heritage Lister Fraser Island, which is the the world's largest sand island and Lady Elliot Island, the first coral cay on World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef. Lots of stuff is going on here during most of the year - swimming, diving, sailing, water sports and fishing. Dotted along the Hervey Bay Esplanade are cosmopolitan cafes, shops, picnic areas, playgrounds, piers and a vibrant marina. According to travel guides you can experience kayaking, yachting, diving, surfing, jet skiing – and everything is just one phone call away. Several agencies scattered around the Esplanade are ready to arrange anything you want to participate in during your stay in the Hervey Bay area.

Getting there is probably no piece of cake, since there are just a few direct flights from Brisbane and Sydney to Hervey Bay, but according to my sources the flights are on the increase, and there are plans to enlarge the local airport to be able to accommodate large planes. The most commonly used route is by rental car from Brisbane on the Gold Coast Highway heading north. One should calculate a 5 hour drive on an accident ridden road. Thanks to Australian authorities you are constantly reminded of your destiny if you speed, if you don’t take coffee breaks or if you drink and drive: Large signs along the road side remind you that these things will inevitably lead to your death – so be careful. Another interesting feature is the signs that will actually keep you awake: Road quiz! You get a question, and one kilometer further down the road – there is the answer. Another couple of kilometers – another question. Gas stations offer free cups of coffee, and there are at least ten fruit stands on the way offering lychees, mangos, cherries and strawberries. So the drive is actually worth it – if you take the necessary precautions.

You can also get to Maryborough or Bundaberg by train, two departures from Brisbane a day. Not especially cheap if you choose to travel business class, but actually a very nice way to see the shifting landscapes of the gold Coast and parts of the Fraser Coast.

The reason I have visited the area three times is because my dad lives there. Of course, he’s an attraction in himself with his Australian wife, living in the most beautiful house right in the middle of a bird sanctuary. Really, there are so many wild exotic birds to see right from his terrace, that he would consider charging entrance fees from tourists who want the real bird experience. The point is, from their terrace you can feed all kinds of birds, and some of them are now getting so domesticated that they take food out of your hand. The kookaburras for instance actually jump on to the table, make a lot of sounds to draw our attention, and voluptuously devour the pre-cut meat that we give them. During my stay there, the parents of four kooka babies kept coming several times a day to get food. After we left, the kids also showed up on their terrace.

If the kookaburras are not there, butcher birds come begging for food, and lots of rainbow lorikeets enjoy the humps of seed that are hung from the ceiling. I sat there for hours just observing these beautiful birds, feeding them, getting closer to them. From their terrace there is a fantastic view to a green forest, my dad’s garden where wild turkeys have a feast every time bananas or grapefruits are ready to be harvested. My stepmum lost all of her large, juicy grapefruits to greedy turkeys, just one day before she decided to harvest them. These turkeys had actually devoured everything inside the peel, which they left hanging on the branches. And they ate every single grapefruit.

Anyway, the garden is great, but I never set foot there. My dad has observed the Australian brown snake there on a couple of occasions, and this guy is one of the most poisonous snakes in the world! So, thanks but no thanks. No gardening.

Hervey Bay is a very popular area, and lots of people want to move and settle in this town. And I must say, I’m not surprised. The climate beats most places, and there are long, desolate sandy beaches for everyone to enjoy, lots of stores and local markets – and of course the long Esplanade, situated along the Fraser Coast with bars, restaurants, shops and everything you need. There are of course large malls and situated along the roads, and since I love checking out the merchandise they have to offer in different countries this is a place I can really have a blast!

The main attractions to me is actually situated I Childers, an hour drive to the north of Hervey Bay. There is a large bird sanctuary, where you actually walk inside a large enclosure with hundreds of parrots and other birds from around the world. You actually get to meet them, to pet them and to touch them, and if you touch them too much you also get bitten by some of them. There was a lot of blood on my clothes after this day. But it is a fantastic place. First of all at the entrance – there is a large enclosure with tame parrots.

Some of them utter certain words, and they are all eager to get close to humans. Stick your finger in – and they bite. That’s what parrots do. After you pay a small entrance fee you enter the large enclosure in which most of the exotic birds roam freely. Do not be surprised if a couple of them land on your shoulders. There are a couple of emus and some kangaroos that you can visit there as well.

Another theme park is the reptile park, also in the vicinity of Childers.

A snake guy is the owner. He actually comes from East Africa, and he sure knows how to handle snakes. There is a snake show where you get to see him handle the world’s top five most poisonous snakes.

After the snake show he plays around with a large and very nasty crocodile. They have lots of toads, lizards and tortoises on display as well. If you need to pet something they even have an enclosure of domesticated kangaroos.

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