Hervey Bay is a city in the state of Queensland, Australia. The city is situated approximately 290 kilometres (180 mi) or 3½ hours' highway drive north of the state capital, Brisbane. It is a natural bay between the Queensland mainland and nearby Fraser Island. The local economy relies on tourism which is based primarily around whale watching in Platypus Bay to the North, access to Fraser Island, accessible recreational fishing and boating and the natural north facing, calm beaches with wide undeveloped foreshore zones.
The indigenous Butchulla people are the traditional residents of Hervey Bay. The first recorded European sighting of Hervey Bay was made by James Cook while carrying out his running survey of the east coast of Australia, on the 22 May 1770. "By noon Cook's ship was in a position a little over half-way across the opening of Hervey Bay heading for Bundaberg. When Cook first discovered Hervey Bay, he did not realize that Fraser Island was a separate part of land to Australia, Cook did not travel far enough south due to the shallow depths of the waters in the Bay. Cook named the bay "Hervey's Bay" after Augustus John Hervey (1724–1779), later Third Earl of Bristol, a naval officer who became a Lord of the Admiralty the year Endeavour returned".
Hervey Bay began as a dispersed community spread over numerous small, seaside villages. As the area grew, these communities amalgamated and became suburbs of the new city. The current city includes Dundowran, Dundowran Beach, Eli Waters, Kawungan, Nikenbah, Pialba, Point Vernon, Scarness, Takura, Torquay, Urangan, Urraween, Walligan and Wondunna.
Hervey Bay is the whale watching capital of Australia, with humpback whales migrating along the coast between April and October every year. Researchers at the Oceania Project conducted a 14-year study which found the bay was an important social hub for humpback whales. Whale number have increased from about 2,000 in 1992, to around 7,000 in 2005. Hervey Bay is the resting place for Humpback whales, Mum's and Calves, they come to the Bay to rest and build up energy for their long travels back to Antarctica. The Adults come to play, socialise and there have been heat runs observed in the Bay. The Humpback Whales are known to be very relaxed in the company of the whale watching vessels.
Torquay is a suburb in Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia, located 294 kilometres (183 mi) north of Brisbane. Torquay is one of five beachside suburbs in Hervey Bay that is made up of primarily residential homes with some tourist accommodation in apartment buildings.