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Hervey Bay

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The slogan for Hervey Bay is "Whale Watching Capital of the World". It is also one of Australia's best holiday destinations. Hervey Bay is located 300km north of Brisbane and 37km east of the city of Maryborough. The city is a connected series of villages which include Pialba, Scarness, Torquay, Urangan, and Point Vernon. Outer lying villages include Toogoom, Burrum Heads, River Heads, Howard, Torbanlea, and Booral. It is famous nationally and internationally for being the playground of the Humpback Whale. However, its attractions are plentiful: it is the most popular access point to Fraser Island; there is over 60km of coastline; the waters are calm safe and sheltered; fishing is popular; and it enjoys a wonderful climate averaging 22 degrees in Winter and 29 degrees in Summer. The current population is around 40,000 but it is rapidly expanding and is one of the fastest growing cities in Australia.

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Hervey Bay is ideally situated for any range of activities including diving, coral viewing, water sports, fishing, whale watching, touring Fraser Island, or scenic flights. Among its attractions is Vic Hislops White Death Shark Show. Humpback whale watching in Hervey Bay has become extremely popular in recent years and thousands visit to view the whales in the bay between August and October. To celebrate the return of the whales each year, the city stages a two week Whale Festival in August.

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The Humpback Whales are the most common whales in Australian waters. They make an annual migration from Antarctic waters to north-east Australia in the winter months. Calves are born in the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef. On the return trip southwards, many of these whales stop at Platypus Bay (part of the Hervey Bay Marine Park) where they can be found playing in the warm, shallow, sheltered waters. Humpback Whales feed on krill, straining their food through a series of plates on their upper jaws. They present no danger to humans but there are laws which control how close boats and swimmers are permitted to get, however, the whales are oblivious to these laws and have a very curious personality.

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Hervey Bay was named by Captain Cook, after English sailor and womaniser, Augustus John Hervey. The first European to set foot in Hervey Bay was Matthew Flinders in 1799 and there is a memorial to him in Dayman Park, Urangan. It was originally part of a cattle station in the 1850's and the first permanent white settler, Boyle Martin, arrived in 1863. Scandinavian settlers moved into the area in the 1870's, giving it the name of Aarlborg for a short time. The area was mainly used for dairy farming at this time. Sugar was planted in the 1880's and kanaka's were brought from South Pacific islands to work the plantations. Modern tourism to the area started in the 1950's and the growing popularity of the area meant Hervey Bay was proclaimed a city in 1984. Today, another major source of income and business for the city is commercial fishing and a highlight is the annual Seafood Festival.

Hervey Bay's neighbouring cities are Maryborough and Bundaberg. Maryborough is located 37km west and is also known as the Heritage city. It contains many early historical buildings which are becoming an increasing tourist industry. Bundaberg, north of Hervey Bay, is most famous for being the home of Bundaberg Rum. During certain times of the year, it is also popular for the viewing of turtles laying their eggs and hatching.

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Maryborough: Heritage City

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