Hervey Bay on song for another bumper whale season

THE whale watching capital of the world, Hervey Bay, is open for business and delivering another bumper season with close encounters and the visitor experience of a lifetime.

Fraser Coast is undoubtedly Australia’s Home of the Humpbacks where the natural shape and calm protected waters of Hervey Bay offer a natural playground for thousands of the majestic creatures and the best up-close and personal whale watching encounters in the world.

This year an estimated 22,000 humpback whales have migrated from Antarctica to the warm northern waters to breed.

The humpbacks are now on their return journey and will be making their annual migration stop-over in Hervey Bay until early November. The proud new parents and the cutest calves on earth are making a temporary home in the tranquil marine environment of the Great Sandy Straits, creating a wonderland of intimate and interactive whale activity.

Hervey Bay’s world renowned whale fleet is famous for providing visitors with soul-stirring, intimate encounters with the gentle giants.

Get on board with one of these leading operators for a whale experience to live long in the memory.

Blue Dolphin has exclusive full day whale encounters including limited passenger numbers for great viewing; eight hours touring on board the luxury eco-friendly vessel; morning, afternoon tea and quality buffet lunch with free drink. If the conditions are right, passengers can immerse themselves with the whales in the water on the boat’s purpose-built platform. Passengers benefit from a highly educated crew with more than 30 years’ experience in marine animal behaviour.

Hervey Bay Whale Watch Quick Cat II has a full day Whales and Fraser Island experience including light breakfast, morning tea and hop off at Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island for lunch. Quick Cat ll offers four levels of viewing decks and full wheelchair access around the entire vessel. Underwater cameras and hydrophones add to the interactive experience, but for that once in a lifetime experience, Hervey Bay Whale Watch also offer a swim with whales experience that is not to be missed.

Whalesong are whale and dolphin specialists at Hervey Bay providing an ideal way to explore the pristine waterways and diverse wildlife between Fraser Island and the Fraser Coast. Discounted rates for teenagers (up to 18) makes for an affordable day out on the water, while fresh local produce prepared onboard will delight the tastebuds. Whalesong can also assist you with exploring Fraser Island while you’re here.

Freedom III is a family owned and operated business which offers longer days on the water and small to medium passenger numbers to provide a relaxed experience. Rated number one on TripAdvisor, it is clearly a popular choice, and with the delightful menu on offer including homemade morning tea, buffet lunch fresh fruit and cheese platter, it’s no wonder people keep going back for more.

Spirit of Hervey Bay is the largest and fastest whale watch vessel in Hervey Bay, offering the biggest underwater viewing room in the fleet and a hydrophone to listen to the whales. The Spirit has a range of well-priced tours complete with courtesy transfers, souvenir whale DVD and more. Five levels of viewing decks means you can catch the whales’ antics from every angle.

Tasman Venture offers multi-lingual guides, advanced eco certification, free onboard Wi-Fi and an immersive platform allowing guests to get closer to the humpbacks than ever. Tasman Venture is also the only operator permitted to access the North West Coast of Fraser Island, taking visitors to pristine, isolated locations.


Whale fact:

Hervey Bay has also recently become one of the first places in the world nominated to go through the process of being recognised as a Whale Heritage Site. The program by the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) recognises the importance of whales to a region and promotes sustainable tourism and the protection of the natural environment.

Book now:

For bookings and further information on the Fraser Coast and some great season deals visit: whalesherveybay.com.au.

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Airlie Beach Kombis add a touch of magical nostalgia

TAKING you right back to the 1960s, Airlie Beach Kombis is a specialised transport provider giving you that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring a touch of magical nostalgia to your special occasion.

Airlie Beach Kombis is a super cool new Whitsunday service which offers groups of up to seven the opportunity to have a fun drive down memory lane and embrace some authentic vintage beach culture.

The chauffeur driven 1963 ‘splitty’ Kombi is a classy two-toned cream and white duco with gleaming chrome and can transport small groups in style to weddings, parties, graduations and formals, shopping tours, progressive dinners and more.

Create memorable photographic opportunities and turn some heads as you travel around Airlie Beach, Shute Harbour and Proserpine in this vintage vehicle everyone loves and remembers from a by-gone era.

Sit back in her decadent cream upholstery, crank up the Beach Boys on the stereo, open the sunroof and safari windows and enjoy kombisthe smiles on the faces of everyone you see. Kombi cruising doesn’t get any better than this.

Owner Greg McKinnon from BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort says, “I saw this classic beauty on my travels and thought how perfectly it fitted into the whole Whitsunday theme. No matter your age, everyone loves a Kombi and it is an iconic symbol of happiness, freedom, youth, travel and just cruising around. Our aim is to bring a little ray of sunshine to town and an extra level of enjoyment for people organising a special occasion.”

You can find Airlie Beach Kombis on Facebook and Instagram, more information at www.airliebeachkombis.com.au or call 07 4948 5444 to book the retro ride of your life.

Love sparkles after 60 years

IF THERE is a short-cut to happiness, Len and Shirley Shaw of Maryborough found it when they met at a dance more than half a century ago.

Diamond anniversary

Len and Shirley Shaw celebrate their Diamond wedding anniversary.

One dance – the Twilight Waltz – was all it took to set the scene for 60 years of marriage that produced three daughters, 15 grandchildren and by the end of this year, 18 great-grandchildren.

Len and Shirley were married at St Paul’s Church of England (now Anglican Church) in Maryborough on June 16, 1956.

Celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary at B & B On Sunrise in Tinana on June 18, the couple agreed their secret to a long marriage was simply to “be happy”.

“We don’t have any arguments,” Len said. “If it looks like there’s an argument brewing, I go down to the dam and come back an hour later.”

Shirley (nee Birt) said: “I watch The Bold and the Beautiful on TV. He hates that so I watch it and he goes outside.”

Their recipe for compatibility works for them.

“It’s been easy sailing,” Shirley said. “We’ve had ordinary life, nothing special really. We’ve only been on one trip, a Fairstar cruise. Otherwise, we’ve just worked and raised the kids.”

However, the glint in Len’s eyes and Shirley’s cheeky smile suggests their story is anything but ordinary.

“Len had an AJS motorbike that we often rode to Hervey Bay,” Shirley continues.

“In those days you never wore a helmet. We were coming home from Gympie one night and we were just outside Tiaro.

“I’m on the back asleep on his shoulder and we woke to the sound of gravel scratching the bike as we were headed for the bush.

“Luckily we woke up in time. We were both asleep with no helmets on and we survived.”

Len, a typical Aussie larrikin, was sacked from his first job at Reid’s Bacon Factory after an altercation with his boss.

“It end up that he had a rowing team and he wanted another man so I rowed in his crew. There was no animosity,” he said.

Len grew up in Maryborough’s flood area of the Pocket, the son of a blacksmith whose shop was located opposite the Carlton Hotel on the east side of Bazaar Street.

“I used to ride a horse to drive the cows down every morning before school and bring them back past Reid’s Bacon Factory in the afternoon to do the milking.

Diamond Anniversary

Son-in-law Jeffrey Cunningham shares highlights of Len & Shirley’s 60 years together.

“One day the boss’s son pulled me up and asked if I wanted a job. I was only 13 so my old man rang the headmaster to see if I could leave school.”

Len laughs: “The headmaster said ‘For Christ sake, take him the hell out of here!'”

That was the first of many jobs from the bacon factory to sugar and meat factories, driving trucks and owning a bread run. He was even Hervey Bay’s first Mr Whippy!

“I was Mr Whippy when it first came to town,” Len said. “I had the Hervey Bay run and I’d pull up and there’d be kids coming from everywhere.

“I also sold insurance for three months but hated it – if you couldn’t eat it I didn’t want to sell it!”

Len said: “We were never rich with money but we felt rich having such a beautiful family.”

Most of them were among the 50 people who gathered to celebrate Len and Shirley’s special milestone.

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