Hervey Bay – 0 Whales, 1 Camel and Dozens of Kangaroos

October 30, 2017

Going to Hervey Bay for whale watching

Located just a couple of hours’ drive north of Noosa, Hervey Bay is one of the best places in Australia for whale watching. Since whale watching has been on my travel bucket list for years now, naturally I jumped at the chance to do it now that we’re in the area.

Like all other things we plan for this trip, I tried to reserve a whale watching tour for us very last minute: on Sunday for the following day. And I found out that the whale watching season in Hervey Bay officially ended exactly on that Sunday and most companies stopped having whale watching tours already. But luckily we found one that was still going out on Monday, so we happily booked with them.

Then we got up very early on Monday morning to drive from Noosa to Hervey Bay and make it in time for our 11 o’clock cruise… Only to get a call from the whale watching company when we had almost arrived, telling us that they are cancelling today’s tour due to strong winds. And today is the last day of the season for them, so they can either give us our money back or book us on a tour at the start of the next season, in July 2018… So of course we took the money, but no whale watching for us today :( We asked around if any other companies were still going out, but nobody was. Major disappointment for me.

Plan B: Visiting a Wildlife Sanctuary

So now we had a whole day to spend in Hervey Bay, a city where whale watching tours are really the only interesting thing to do. Luckily we got a good tip from a local: about an hour’s drive from Hervey Bay, there is the non-profit Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary, which you can visit for a very low price. They rescue wounded wild animals, help them recover, and then release them into the wild again.

So we decided to go there. The big attraction for us were the many kangaroos (of which we had seen only a few wild ones in Australia so far and only from a distance) and emus. Luckily we arrived just before the feeding time for the kangaroos and emus, and could even feed them ourselves. We really loved the experience – it was so exciting to be able to interact with the animals directly and close up. The kangaroos were not shy at all in coming to us to get the food out of our hands, and sometimes they even grabbed our hands with their front paws and did not let us go while there was still food in our palms.

Another funny experience was feeding the one camel that lives in the sanctuary. Initially he didn’t show any interest in the food, but, after we threw an apple into the fenced area where he was, he came to us to take more apples out of our hands.

There were a few other animals around, but we felt like we had a special bond just with the kangaroos and the camel. Of course, that bond was through food, but love always goes through the stomach, doesn’t it? :D

Highs and Lows


  • Of course, feeding the kangaroos, emus and the camel, and chatting with their caretakers about the animals, their names and their distinct personalities. People who work at the sanctuary do so as volunteers, and you can see how much they care about the animals.
  • Seeing how a day can turn from a major disappointment (not being able to go whale watching) to a lovely and unexpected experience. Plans don’t always work out and sometimes that’s a good thing.


  • Of course, finding out that our whale watching tour was cancelled. I was prepared to not see any whales (since it’s end of season and sightings are getting rarer), but I was not prepared to not even be given the chance to. My first reaction was to be angry with myself for not having planned to go whale watching a bit earlier in the season, and I promised myself I will get better at planning in the future. Let’s see for how long that lasts.

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