While visiting Australia, we stayed a few days around Hervey Bay and discovered the nearby marine park with Hervey Bay Eco Marine Tours. Let us tell you everything about our amazing day out with them! If you have any questions or want to know more about our experiences, feel free to post a comment or contact us!
Hervey Bay, Australia
Travelling alongside the coast of New South Wales and Queensland, you see an amazing part of Australia: beaches, cliffs, wildlife, … But sometimes you really need to go out on the sea to appreciate its beauty! We actually wanted to visit the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsundays, but bad cyclone weather made us stay away from the region. Another reason to come back to Australia. So we went to Hervey Bay, a place known mostly for whale watching. Every Australian winter, Humpback whales swim in huge numbers into the bay. We, however, visited Hervey Bay in the summer, but even then it is still a great place to stop by and to get on a boat to explore the sea and its marine life.
Hervey Bay lies just below the Great Barrier Reef, but still has some nice snorkelling spots and islands to discover. And it has turtles and dolphins, something the kids wanted to see for a long time! Of course, there are lots of tour companies, but in our search for our perfect tour, we mainly focused on the eco aspect. The marine life is very fragile, especially in these waters. Putting the environment and the ecological aspect on top of the priority list makes a huge difference and is so important to maintain the beauty of these waters.
Hervey Bay Eco Marine Tours
After some research, we came across Hervey Bay Eco Marine Tours, a local small tour company led by Jacqui and Wil. They have 1 boat, Milbi, which is a glass-bottom boat, one of the biggest in Australia. The boat has a very low impact on the environment and offers a calm and steady trip in the waters, ideal for anyone who easily gets sick on the sea. They specialise in wildlife spotting and teaching the tourists more on the local aboriginal culture. Every tour is accompanied by a local guide, who has lots of great stories and wisdom on nature and the Butchulla culture, the local indigenous tribe.
Let’s start our trip
We had to check-in at the Hervey Bay harbour, easily reachable by car. Their office is located in shop 6 at the Great Sandy Straits Marina, right in the centre of the harbour. First, we got our snorkel gear with fins which was already a highlight for the kids! Swimming with fins looked so adventures to them for a while but they didn’t have a chance yet to try it. So two kids were happy. After the whole group was ready, we went over to the Milbi and all found a spot, ready for our trip.
From the moment we sailed out the harbour, Wil gave us information on our trip today and we got introduced to our local guide. While going to our snorkel spot, they told us a lot about the marine park, its wildlife and the original local tribe, the Butchulla people. And our guide played some music on his didgeridoo. In the meanwhile, the kids tried to see something through the glass bottom, but as Wil explained and they soon found out, you only get to see through the water when the boat lies still. For now, they only saw lots of bubbles ;-).
Snorkelling in the marine park
Once arriving at our snorkel spot, we prepared to go into the water. Masks, snorkels, fins and we were ready! Oh and a nice detail where the floating noodles for the kids, which helped them a lot to enjoy their experience for a little bit longer. It can be quite tiring looking for fish ;-). We got a long time to snorkel and explore sea life. We saw some tropical fish, but no turtles, unfortunately. And someone in our group saw a sea snake and ray, but no luck for us. We have to be honest, the coral isn’t as colourful as it would be in the reef and the marine life not as abundant as we have seen it in Asia. But is still was a very nice experience with some beautiful fish.
Wandering around Weenandin
Back on the boat, we could enjoy delicious tea, some cookies and fruit! Which tasted like heaven after a good swim in the ocean. And there was plenty for everyone, so the kids enjoyed more than one of course :-). After enjoying the views on some little tropical islands, we arrived at Weenandin or Round Island. A beautiful inhabited island where we got time to eat out the wrap for lunch, snorkel and swim a bit and just wander around on this wonderful place.
We ended our time here with a traditional Butchulla welcome dance. A lovely experience which the kids definitely will remember! On our way back, we searched for turtles but were unlucky. It is wildlife, after all, we can’t force them to show up.
How did we like our trip?
Overall, our experiences with Hervey Bay Eco Marine Tours were very good. We had a great day out, saw some beautiful scenery and got to snorkel in these amazing waters. The crew and guide were just fantastic! They were so friendly, interacting with the kids, explaining everything and made this day special. One downside, of course, was that we didn’t get to see any dolphins or turtles. I guess we just had bad luck, as we read that they normally see them almost every time. Like we said before, it is wildlife, so it’s never guaranteed you get to meet them. We’ll just have to come back one day ;-). But the crew and beautiful marine park certainly made our day!