Come explore the beauty of Hervey Bay – from the World Heritage-listed K’gari to whale-watching tours and safe and family friendly beaches.

Discover the Wide Bay on a Croquet Road Trip

Croquet-lover's guide: On a road trip in the Wide Bay area of Queensland.

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LOOKING for a unique way to venture through Queensland’s Wide Bay region during the cooler months of the year (May to August)?

Why not plan a self-drive adventure around the genteel sport with this croquet-lover’s guide? It’s a delightful twist that promises to provide local insights into must-see tourist destinations beyond the glossy brochures.

Whether you’re a croquet novice or a seasoned player, the focus is on fun and exploration. Picture yourself amidst stunning coastal landscapes, where every mallet swing is a step towards uncovering the area’s rich heritage.

Within the Wide Bay region, you will find welcoming croquet communities at Hervey Bay, Maryborough, Bundaberg, and Childers.

This itinerary lets you customise your route based on your preferences, whether you fly or take a train, then hire a car, or drive. It also ensures plenty of time to explore must-visit tourist spots in the stunning Wide Bay region during your winter croquet holiday.

CROQUET: A BRIEF HISTORY
ALICE IN CROQUETLAND

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Road, Rail, Air: Your Gateways to Wide Bay Adventures

  • If you’re driving along the Bruce Highway from the south, your Wide Bay winter holiday begins in Maryborough. You continue to Hervey Bay and then head to Childers and Bundaberg. Conversely, if you’re arriving from the north, your route starts in Bundaberg. Explore the Burnett area before driving south to Maryborough and Hervey Bay.
  • Queensland Rail’s regular services connect you to stations at Maryborough West and/or Bundaberg. At Maryborough West, hop on a Rail Bus that takes you into the heart of the city, where car hire options await. For details, visit Queensland Rail Travel.
  • Hervey Bay Airport has regular Jetstar and Qantas flights connecting Hervey Bay to Brisbane and Sydney. Jetstar is also introducing a Melbourne route starting on June 20, 2024. For details, visit Hervey Bay Airport Airlines.
  • Bundaberg Regional Airport is serviced by Qantaslink, Link Airways, and Bonza Airline. Qantaslink provides 38 weekly services connecting Bundaberg to Brisbane, while Link Airways offers six services per week on the same route. For details, visit Bundaberg Regional Airport.

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The route you choose will vary based on your starting point, while the duration of your stay at each destination will hinge on your croquet schedule and sightseeing preferences. To streamline your trip-planning process, consider using helpful tools like the RACQ Trip Planner online. With its user-friendly interface, RACQ Trip Planner is an ideal starting point among the trip-planning options available.

Read on to learn about the Wide Bay croquet clubs where visitors can enjoy games and discover some highlights of the region’s top attractions.

Heads-up: While we outline an ideal day at each spot, you might consider extending your stay at each location for a richer holiday experience! It’s also advisable to reach out to the croquet clubs in advance to check your visit aligns with their schedule, which may include local, regional, state, and national tournaments.

 

Croquet & Beyond: Discover the Wide Bay’s Best

Hervey Bay

BARREL N VINE: WHERE ITALIAN FOOD MEETS COASTAL VIBES

Venture further: Hervey Bay is the gateway to the World Heritage-listed K’gari (Fraser Island). Join a guided tour or rent a 4WD to explore the world’s largest sand island. Spend the next days exploring the island’s wonders, including Lake McKenzie, Eli Creek, and the Maheno shipwreck. Camping options are available for those seeking an immersive experience in nature. For details, visit K’gari. To book a barge, visit Sealink.

Hervey Bay Whale Festival: Experience unparalleled whale watching from July to October as thousands of humpback whales pause in its tranquil waters during migration. Unlike other stops, these majestic creatures linger, allowing for intimate encounters. The annual Hervey Bay Whale Festival celebrates this unique bond, emphasizing ocean conservation and the region’s diverse marine life. Click the link above for details.

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Maryborough

MARYBOROUGH DINING: OUR BEST FOODIE FINDS

Venture further: The Fraser Coast hinterland offers an escape from the beaten path. Explore historic hotels and towns, including the birthplace of the macadamia nut. At the heart of the southern hinterland lies the Mary River, offering breathtaking scenery, serene picnic spots, and ideal conditions for kayaking, camping, and fishing. Don’t miss Tiaro’s old-fashioned pub fare or for history buffs, a visit to Tiaro and Bauple is a must. Cap off your adventure with a visit to Utopia Rock Pools and the Brooweena Museum and Historical Village.

Festivals: The annual Mary Poppins Festival in June/July celebrates the magic of storytelling. Set in the beautiful Queens Park and heritage streetscapes, reminiscent of the Mary Poppins stories, this event delights people of all ages with Poppins-inspired activities. Meanwhile, the Relish Food & Wine Festival in June offers a culinary adventure in the Portside Precinct and Queen’s Park, featuring local cuisine, celebrity chefs, gourmet tastings, and live music. Visitors can also explore regional wineries and indulge in the finest seasonal produce of the Fraser Coast.

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Bundaberg

Venture further: Explore the eco-paradise of Lady Elliot Island, renowned for its plentiful manta rays, turtles, and pristine coral reefs. Nestled 80 kilometres from Bundaberg, this coral cay offers a wildlife-rich retreat sans spa treatments or phone signals. Dive into an immersive eco-experience focused on snorkelling, scuba diving, and relaxation. You’ll need an airfare to get there, but it’s worth exploring.

Taste Bundaberg Festival: Don’t miss the 10-day culinary extravaganza of the Taste Bundaberg Festival in late August. Indulge in authentic flavours sourced from the region’s bountiful farmlands and pristine coastline, celebrating the dedication of local farmers, distillers, brewers, fishermen, and graziers. With a tasty menu of events to suit every palate, from banquets to barbecues, this festival promises to delight food enthusiasts. For details, visit Taste Bundaberg Festival.

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Childers

Venture further: Embark on a self-drive winery tour where you can sample a variety of wines, learn about the winemaking process, and enjoy the scenic surroundings of the Childers region.

  • Hill of Promise Winery: Visitors are invited to savour handcrafted wines made from locally grown fruit in a charming family-owned vineyard setting.
  • Ohana Winery & Exotic Fruits: This family-owned winery specializes in producing wines from a variety of exotic fruits grown on their property, offering visitors a unique tasting experience.
  • Vintner’s Secret Vineyard: Situated in Childers, Vintner’s Secret Vineyard produces a range of wines from grapes grown on their estate, with a focus on crafting high-quality, handcrafted wines.

Childers Multicultural Festival: This annual event on the last weekend in July celebrates the cultural diversity of the region and typically features live music and performances, market stalls selling arts and crafts, delicious food from around the world, and family-friendly activities. The festival attracts visitors from near and far and is a celebration of community spirit and cultural exchange in Childers. For details visit Childers Multicultural Festival.

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Wrapping up your Croquet-Lover’s Guide to the Wide Bay

As your self-drive adventure through Queensland’s Wide Bay region comes to an end, take a moment to reflect on the memories made and the experiences shared.

From the historic streets of Maryborough, Childers, and Bundaberg to the pristine beaches of Lady Elliot Island, and K’gari, this journey has offered a glimpse into the diverse beauty and rich culture of Australia’s Sunshine State.

And who could forget the delightful detours for croquet games, adding a touch of elegance to your exploration? Until next time, happy travels!

Croquet-lover's Guide: On a road trip in the Wide Bay area of Queensland.

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Where to next?

Don’t miss out on discovering your next destination with Booking.com. With countless amazing deals on accommodation and more, you’re bound to find what you’re searching for. So, why wait? Click the links here to explore BOOKING.COM today and plan your next trip.

 

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A Taste of Italy and the Sea: Barrel n Vine Unveiled

EXPERIENCE the flavours of Italy without leaving Hervey Bay at Barrel n Vine, the city’s newest hotspot for dining delights. On Charlton Esplanade in Torquay, this new restaurant and wine bar blends Italian flavours and seafood in a European-inspired ambience.

The new venue is the creation of Joe and Rachael Nocera who bring a wealth of hospitality experience to the table. Barrel n Vine follows their successful ventures at Ignite by Dockside, Seasar’s Seafood on Bribie Island, and Dock n Dine on the Sunshine Coast.

Next to the Beach Motel, the new restaurant occupies the premises previously tenanted by various establishments, including Playa Concha, Seaside Cafe and Restaurant, the Tangy Pickle, and most recently, Soprano’s Restaurant and Bar.

Barrel n Vine - Exterior view

Savouring Coastal Charm at Barrel n Vine on the Esplanade in Torquay.

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A Taste of Tradition at Hervey Bay’s New Dining Spot

During our Monday evening visit, the restaurant buzzed with activity, having already successfully established itself as a favourite among locals and tourists. The welcoming staff greeted us with a friendly smile, and “Poppa Bear,” a family patriarch, kindly shared anecdotes about the restaurant’s history.

As we entered the modern interior furnished with elegant black dining tables and chairs, our attention was captured by the vintage black and white photographs gracing the walls. Among them were fascinating scenes such as a Venetian canal, an Italian kitchen, and a vintage car winding through an alpine road. We speculated that the latter photograph might have been captured in the northern regions of Italy, known for their picturesque alpine landscapes and scenic routes.

Classic hits from Fleetwood Mac, Rod Stewart, and Olivia Newton-John enhanced the nostalgic tone, giving the ambience a comforting familiarity. This playlist added warmth and relaxation to the atmosphere, making for an inviting experience.

Perusing the menu, we were enticed by the diverse array of offerings, showcasing the best of Italian cuisine, seafood, and drinks. The selection of cocktails, including the Mediterranean Margarita and Lemoncello Spritz, promised a delightful start to our dining experience.

One highlight that caught our attention was the Seafood Plate for 2, featuring a combination of Black Garlic Bug, Saltwater Barramundi, Calamari Fritti, and more, accompanied by house-made Tartare and Boozy Seafood Sauce. The option to elevate the experience with Gin & Shiraz Salmon Caviar intrigued us further.

As we delved deeper into the menu, we discovered a tempting variety of dishes, ranging from traditional Italian pizzas to sumptuous seafood delights. The Prawn Fritti and Porchetta stood out as must-try options. Additionally, the Coconut Chilli Crab Linguini sounded like an irresistible fusion of flavours, offering a unique twist on a classic pasta dish. With options like Diavola Pizza, Rib Fillet Steak, and Tiramisu rounding out the menu, there was something to satisfy every craving.

Our Culinary Journey at Barrel n Vine

We decided on Chicken Milanese and Veal Scaloppine AI Funghi for our main courses. The Chicken Milanese offered a delightful twist on the classic schnitzel, originating from northern Italy. It was perfectly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The Veal Scaloppine AI Funghi, a timeless Italian favourite, featured tender veal smothered in a creamy mushroom sauce that was rich and indulgent.

As we perused Barrel n Vine’s wine and beverage list, we were impressed by the extensive selection. After much deliberation, we settled on glasses of Pino Grigio Delle Venezie Capitolo 06 from Veneto, Italy, and a refreshing Kaapzicht Pinotage Rose from South Africa. Both wines proved to be excellent companions to our meals, enhancing the flavours of our dishes.

To conclude our Italian culinary adventure at Barrel n Vine, we couldn’t resist indulging in dessert. We opted for the velvety smoothness of Panna Cotta, topped with luscious honey and passionfruit. Each spoonful was a perfect blend of sweetness and creaminess, providing a satisfying finale to our meal.

As we savoured the last bites, we reflected on the exceptional dining experience we had enjoyed and looked forward to our next visit to this culinary gem in Hervey Bay. For anyone seeking a trip down memory lane paired with exquisite cuisine and wines, this new restaurant is an unmissable destination.

Barrel n Vine in Hervey Bay is open Thursday to Monday for dinner, and Friday to Sunday for lunch.

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Barrel n Vine - a collage of photos

If you go:

Barrel n Vine
Italian | Seafood | Wine Bar
473 Charlton Esplanade
Hervey Bay, QLD,
Australia.
P: +61 (07) 4334 0892
W: barrelnvine.com.au

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If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy reading:

A Croquet-lover’s Guide to Exploring the Wide Bay

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Where to next?

Don’t miss out on discovering your next destination with Booking.com. With countless amazing deals on accommodation and more, you’re bound to find what you’re searching for. So, why wait? Click the links here to explore BOOKING.COM today and plan your next trip.

 

***Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet and Booking.com. When you make purchases through links on the website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.***

Learn how to optimise your whale-watching voyage

Are you looking to go whale-watching? You’re not alone! Every year, more and more tourists flock to Australia’s east coast in search of majestic humpback whales.

But, before you make the trip down to your desired destination, it’s important to understand the migration system of these creatures first.

Knowing when they are most likely to be around will help ensure that your experience is memorable; after all, who wouldn’t want to witness something so awe-inspiring?

In this blog post, we’ll take a deep dive into humpback migrations – what they mean, where they go, and why choosing the right time is so important for getting the most out of your next whale-watching voyage.

Humpbacks - whale watching

Humpback whale in Hervey Bay, Qld.

Explore the world of humpbacks with Drs Wally & Trish Franklin

Humpback whales are fascinating creatures, and Dr Wally Franklin, renowned marine scientist and Oceania Project co-founder, can attest to that.

Dr Wally and his late wife, Dr Trish Franklin, dedicated over three decades to studying these majestic creatures. Dr Trish focused on understanding their behaviour, while Dr Wally delved into statistics and scientific data.

The principal behaviors of humpback whales were based on breeding and feeding, Dr Wally said.

humpbacks - Dr Wally Franklin

Dr Wally Franklin. Photo: Contributed.

The evolution of modern whales began about 50 million years ago, when a significant increase in global temperatures forced a particular land mammal back into the ocean to keep cool.

All modern whales evolved from that creature. Humpback whales, for instance, evolved to their present form between 12 and 23 million years ago. They belong to the Baleen species of whales and dolphins, one of two. The other is Toothed whales, which we’re not covering in this article.

Dr Wally said that unlike most animals, humpback whales, which can live up to 100 years, don’t usually feel the weight of their bodies. They have neutral buoyancy in the ocean, experiencing weight only when they breach out of the water and return with a splash.

When it comes to reproduction, female humpbacks give birth every two years and don’t experience menopause. Some females, like Nala, a beloved whale in Hervey Bay, have been producing calves for over 35 to 40 years. On average, humpbacks have a calf every other year.

Humpbacks breed in tropical waters within the Great Barrier Reef and then migrate south to their feeding areas along the coast of Antarctica where the warm waters bring nutrients to the surface, creating a feast for humpbacks in the form of phytoplankton and the small creature that feeds on those grasses–Antarctic Krill.

Humpbacks’ lives are governed by their annual migration between breeding and feeding grounds.

In particular, the humpback whales in Eastern Australia travel together throughout this migration. Normally, humpbacks travel in small groups or pods, with two whales or a single whale being the most common.

However, in Hervey Bay, larger groups tend to form because of the aggregation of whales in that area. These larger groups are largely focused on caring for and socialising the calves and young whales.

Understanding their migration patterns is key to understanding their behavior.

Humpbacks - whale watching

Humpback whale in Hervey Bay, Qld.

How does the humpback’s social organisation differ from ours?

There is a significant difference between the social organistion of humpback whales and humans, Dr Wally said.

Dr Trish completed a piece of work based on 361 whales, in which she documented sighting histories ranging from two to 25 years, that showed the migration was dominated by two groups of mature females.

First, there’s a group of mature females who lead the migration early. These females are either pregnant or taking a break from caring for their calves. They leave the breeding area first, usually in August and September, and they are accompanied by a young cohort of whales. These young whales are between one and six years old.

So, during the early part of the migration, these mature females travel and socialise with the immature whales. They all leave Hervey Bay by the end of August.

The next group to arrive in Hervey Bay was the mature females with new calves. They don’t start coming into the Bay until early September because it’s the peak breeding month up in the Barrier Reef and the mothers keep the calves up there until they are strong enough and developed enough to begin the migration south. By the time the females bring their calves into Hervey Bay, they are already a few months old. So, these mature females are at the back end of the migration.

There are also three groups of mature males mixed in with the females. There are mature males without lactating females, mature males with lactating females, and males of unknown maturity without lactating females.

The calves are sighted in Hervey Bay in September and October.

Dr Trish discovered these calves return as yearlings in August of the following year. As they grow older, they begin to join the migration later each year until they reach the age of six, when they become socially and sexually mature. By the age of seven, they start mirroring what the adult whales do.

Isn’t that incredible? Humpback whales have such an interesting social structure, and it’s so different from what we experience as humans.

Humpbacks - whale watching

Humpback whale in Hervey Bay, Qld.

Witness the matriarchal society of humpback whales

The social structure of humpback whales was like a single organism dominated by mature females, Dr Wally said.

In areas like Hervey Bay, there are actually three females for every male, making it a matriarchal society.

But here’s a really interesting part. Mature males and young males tend to stick together during the migration, both during the northern migration to the breeding area and during the southern migration back.

Dr Wally said this was discovered back in the 1960s by a scientist named Dr Bill Dawbin. It turns out the structure of the migration reported by Dr Trish, was a mirror image of what Dr Dawbin reported more than 60 years earlier. So over time, the social structure of humpback whales and migration has remained consistent.

Now, let’s talk about the mature females.

Unlike the males who stay in the central part of the migration, the females actually change their position depending on their reproductive status. The first group of mature females to leave are either pregnant or resting. They head from the breeding area in the Great Barrier Reef down to Antarctica, where they stay for a long six months. They are the last to return to the reef to give birth. Once they have their calves, they’re the last to leave.

When they embark on their journey with their little ones, they are the first to turn around upon reaching Antarctica. So, these mature females with calves only spend three months in Antarctica, while those preparing their bodies for new calves spend a full six months.

It’s interesting how their migration depends on their maturation status.

Humpbacks - whale watching

Humpback whale in Hervey Bay, Qld.

Female humpbacks usually remain unmarked: learn why!

Another discovery made by Dr Trish is the behavior of humpback whales in groups.

There is a particular group known as the competitive group, believed to be a group of males vying for a single female. Dr Trish noticed something fascinating: the males in these groups exhibited strong agonistic behavior towards each other, which resulted in horizontal and lateral marks on the males’ bodies, but the female participating in the group remained unmarked.

This led Trish to identify non-agonistic social groups consisting mostly of young whales. These groups interacted with each other as they developed socially and also interacted with mature females. In Hervey Bay, these non-agonistic groups are present before the arrival of mature females with calves, who primarily interact with mature males who are seeking mating opportunities.

Dr Wally said the social organisation of humpback whales was comparable to nomadic indigenous groups in Australia. It lacks the traditional family structure found in our modern societies.

In fact, there is no evidence to suggest that humpback whales form family groupings, as do dolphins, orca whales, and humans. However, the bond between mother and calf humpbacks is well-documented.

Calves stay with their mothers for a full year, learning important skills such as how to feed on the Krill in Antarctica, and bringing them back to the point of origin so they complete a cycle of migration in their early life.

By the time the mothers get back with the calves towards Hervey Bay again, the calves are separated from their mothers and join the young cohort. Then it appears all the females are involved in looking after the whole of that young cohort.

It’s truly remarkable how humpback whales navigate their annual migration cycle, ensuring their calves thrive in their early life.

Have an unforgettable encounter with humpback whales

Whale-watching is an incredible experience that allows you to become enveloped in the fascinating world of these majestic creatures.

Specific steps can be taken to make your voyage even more memorable, from picking the perfect tour and time of day, to properly preparing yourself beforehand so that you can make the most out of your experience.

Through strategic planning and some luck, you will be rewarded with a thrilling and unique encounter with humpback whales. Who knows? Maybe you’ll have one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments when a whale swims by only a few metres away from you.

Now if that doesn’t sound like an unforgettable experience worth having, we just don’t know what does.

Be sure to check out The Oceania Project website at https://www.oceania.org.au/ for more fascinating information on humpback whales before embarking on your journey.

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Humpbacks - whale watching

Whale watching in Hervey Bay, Qld.

Photos by Jocelyn Watts, Hervey Bay, 2014.

Q & A

Q: Where’s the best spot for whale watching in Queensland?
A: Hervey Bay is the ultimate place to witness whales in Queensland. It’s even considered the world’s first official Whale Heritage site, setting the standard for whale watching everywhere. However, humpback whales can be seen right along the Australian east coast from Antarctica to the Great Barrier Reef.

Q: When is the perfect time for whale watching?
A: Humpback whales migrate to Queensland between June and November. In the early part of the season, they travel north to the shallow waters of the Great Barrier Reef to give birth to their calves. Towards the end of the season, they bring their calves back to Antarctica. So, their return journey is when you’re most likely to see the calves.

Q: Do whales breach in the shallow waters of Hervey Bay?
A: Absolutely! Mothers use the shallow waters of Hervey Bay to teach their calves essential skills they’ll need in the deep and cold waters of Antarctica, so, in the latter part of the season, you’re likely to see mothers teaching their calves to breach.

Q: When is the best time of day to see humpback whales?
A: Humpback whales are most active in the morning and late afternoon, so those are the ideal times to catch them in action.

Q: What can I expect to see on a whale watch tour?
A: Whether from the coast or a whale-watching boat, you’ll be amazed by their impressive displays, like blowing, breaching, and tail-slapping. Sometimes, the whales may even come close to the boats and swim around them. While the boats maintain a safe distance, the whales might just come by to say hello!

See Vimeo film for examples of tail-slapping at  https://vimeo.com/106634103  and breaching in Hervey Bay at  https://vimeo.com/59781809

Hear whale tales at Creating Waves

To hear Dr Wally Franklin talk about how citizen scientists have contributed to the Happy Whale recognition system and what you can do to help, register to attend the Creating Waves event at UniSC Fraser Coast Campus, Main Lecture Hall (Building B), Thursday, August 3, 6pm to 8pm. For more details, follow this link to the Hervey Bay Whale Festival post.

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If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy reading:

A Croquet-lover’s Guide to Exploring the Wide Bay

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Where to next?

Don’t miss out on discovering your next destination with Booking.com. With countless amazing deals on accommodation and more, you’re bound to find what you’re searching for. So, why wait? Click the links here to explore BOOKING.COM today and plan your next trip.

 

***Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet and Booking.com. When you make purchases through links on the website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.***

Celebrate the visiting humpback whales in style

It’s just weeks from the 2023 Whale Watching season and the Fraser Coast is ready to celebrate!

Each year from July to October thousands of Humpback whales journey into the sheltered waters between Hervey Bay and K’gari where they stop and play for up to two weeks at a time, taking a well-earned break on their annual journey from the south.

To honour these amazing mammals and welcome them back to our shores, Fraser Coast Tourism and Events present the 2023 Hervey Bay Whale Festival.

“This year, we reached out to the community on social media to gather valuable feedback to help create a fun-filled program for the 2023 event,” events manager Chelsea Larner Simpson said.

“As a result, we have changed some site locations and broken the festival into individual events and precincts, offering different opportunities to event attendees, with the main collaboration of the Whale Festival from Friday, August 4 to Sunday, August 6.”

 

Humpback whales - underwater view

Be blessed this year: enjoy a unique festival experience

Showcasing many loved and traditional elements of the yearly festival, this year’s event celebrates the exciting return of The Blessing of the Fleet.

On hiatus last year, the Blessing returns to Hervey Bay’s Marina on Saturday, July 15 to coincide with the official launch of the Hervey Bay Whale season.

A family fun Marina Party, The Blessing event showcases Hervey Bay’s whale-watching fleet in the hub of Fraser Coast’s Marine Mecca.

Festival goers can enjoy a range of fun-filled activities suitable for all ages, from food stalls to live music, a live jet-pack performance, and concluding with the traditional procession of the Whale Fleet to celebrate the Humpback whales’ return.

“Fraser Coast Tourism and Events is pleased to bring the Blessing of the Fleet back to the Fraser Coast,” Ms Larner Simpson said.

“The centuries-old tradition is believed to have originated in Mediterranean fishing communities to ensure a safe and prosperous season for all vessels, and we certainly wish our local tourism operators a safe and prosperous year.”

Hear whale tales at Creating Waves

On Thursday, August 3, festival-goers can join us for a night of personal tales hosted by UniSC with the academic favourite Creating Waves event.

Meet local and international researchers and learn about recent Humpback whale discoveries as they migrate past our shores.

Traditional Butchulla owners explain the importance of the whales and how Whale Song lines connect First Nations along the entire east coast of Australia.

Learn how citizen scientists have contributed to the Happy Whale recognition system, which is now extending throughout oceans of the world, sending feedback about whales who have visited our shores.

FIND OUT WHEN AND WHERE TO SPOT HUMPBACK WHALES

Swing under the stars with The Rock n’ Roll Boys

On Friday, August 4 at Urangan’s Pier Park from 4pm to 8pm, FCTE introduces The Twilight Swing, a new addition to the festival this year.

An evening of dance and song with local headlining act The Rock n’ Roll Boys, guests are encouraged to come on down and enjoy the live music under the stars and perhaps try their feet at a quick swing dance.

Discover marine wonders at the City Park Discovery Pod

The Whale Festival’s main event, The Community Parade and Family Carnival, will be on Saturday, August 5 at two separate locations.

The City Park Discovery Pod will be held at City Park from 2pm to 5.30pm on the Saturday with live music, sports competitions, art activations, and educational activities.

Visitors can discover the wonders of the marine world by getting up close to ocean life through touch tanks, taking part in community competitions, and making their own lanterns in preparation for the Parade of Lights.

“The parade is a wonderful opportunity to showcase your creativity and contribute to a display of lanterns that will light up Main Street,” Ms Larner Simpson said.

The adjustment of the parade route from City Park to Seafront Oval, has increased the accessibility to participation in the parade for individuals and families.

The Parade of Lights will be led by local Butchulla people, who have been busy creating an illuminated display of marine life including Milbi (Turtle), Yulu (Dolphin), and Yuwangkan (Dugon).

This project has been supported by the Regional Arts Development Fund, a partnership between the Queensland Government and Fraser Coast Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

Explore where sights and sounds come alive

From 5pm to 8.30pm, also on the Saturday, the Funtime Amusement Seafront Spectacular will be at Seafront Oval in Pialba. The community event showcases live music, family entertainment, and amusement rides, and ends with sponsored fireworks.

Paddle out for the humpback whales

On Sunday, August 6, FCTE is concluding the weekend by embracing the magic of Hervey Bay’s calm waters with the iconic Paddle Out for the Whales – an ocean gathering of paddleboards, kayaks, and surfboards followed by music and entertainment.

Participants observe a minute of silence to recognize the importance of the ocean and its marine life including our majestic Humpback whales to the world. It’s hoped, together, we can all make a positive impact to ensure whales continue to thrive for generations to come.

Get more information

For more information on the 2023 Hervey Bay Whale Festival follow @frasercoastevents on Facebook and Instagram and visit the website: https://herveybaywhalefestival.com.au/

The Hervey Bay Whale Festival is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.

 

KEY INFORMATION:

  • SATURDAY JULY 15 – Blessing of the Fleet, Hervey Bay Marina, Saturday, July 15, 4pm to 8pm.
  • THURSDAY AUGUST 3 – Creating Waves, UniSC Fraser Coast Campus, Main Lecture Hall (Building B), Thursday, August 3, 6pm to 8pm.
  • FRIDAY AUGUST 4 – The Twilight Swing, Pier Park in Urangan, Friday, August 4, 4pm to 8pm.
  • SATURDAY AUGUST 5 – City Park Discovery Pod, City Park, Saturday, August 5, 2pm to 5.30pm; Funtime Amusement Seafront Spectacular, Saturday, August 5, 5pm to 8.30pm.
  • SUNDAY AUGUST 6 – Paddle Out for Whales, Torquay Pier, Sunday, August 6, 10am to 1pm

 

The Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Fraser Coast Regional Council.

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Published 17/6/2023
Story contributed by Fraser Coast Regional Council/Fraser Coast Tourism & Events; Photos – Shutterstock
Feature photo @ top: Aerial view of a Humpback Whale with her calf above her.

***

If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy reading:

A Croquet-lover’s Guide to Exploring the Wide Bay

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Stefano Guseli chats about his art and exhibitions

Hervey Bay artist Stefano Guseli has a lot to say about art. In this interview, he chats with Jocelyn Magazine about his unique approach to art-making, the role of intuition in his work, and how he strives for creative spontaneity in his pieces. If you’re curious about what drives an experimental artist like Stefano, be sure to check out this interview!

‘Art is a mirror for the viewer, not a soapbox for the artist’

“Once you have sent a thought, it will not return. Once captured, it will not be let go of. The moment of realisation, the moment of transference, is a shared moment—something to treasure, not to disdain.”

This idea about the transference of thoughts is the basis of Stefano Guseli’s rationale for his art exhibitions in Maryborough, Queensland, later this year and in 2023.

“Perhaps letting go is the most vital part of the puzzle,” the Hervey Bay High School design teacher said.

“Once a ball is thrown, the pitcher has no control over the reaction. It is suspended in mid-air, defying gravity, hurtling, diving, and closing the gap between the two,” he said.

“If it is caught, the moment is not over, but it has just begun.

“Elation or loss may result. Can the pitcher take back the throw? Can the hands of time be wound back? Which is more reasonable? To pitch again or to take back the impossible?”

Stefano uses the metaphor of a ball game to explain how he sees the relationship between his artwork and its viewers.

“I know a lot of artists work to express themselves, but I prefer to make art for the viewer to be immersed in it and to interpret it their way.

“I feel the art I make is more of a mirror for the viewer rather than a mirror for me, so I shy away from interpreting individual artworks for the viewer.

“Basically, I can write anything I want on the plaque next to it in a gallery, but it is the viewer who I want to interpret my work.”

Stefano’s art

While French artists Henri Matisse and Marcel Duchamp, and the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso have influenced Stefano’s method, what he paints comes from 20th-century art history and contemporary movements.

From Bendigo, Victoria, Stefano studied art and design at La Trobe and Griffith universities.

He moved to Queensland about 14 years ago to marry his wife, Kim Guseli; they now live in Hervey Bay with their two loveable Dachshunds Lucia and Dexter.

Stefano has his own backyard “man cave” where his thoughts and ideas come to life as visual art.

“I like to observe the way art has developed over the past 100 years, particularly with the visual experience and installations. They are two very different things.”

“With installations, I’m getting more heavily into the style of the Dadadists, an art group from the First World War. For example, I’ve got a few found objects, such as an old television set, that I’ve incorporated into my artwork.

“But I don’t reconstitute found objects to make them look like something visual for example spoons welded together to look like an animal.

“I class myself as an ‘experimental artist’ because I really don’t know where I’m going with it. All I know is I’m going somewhere with it!”

While most human figures in Stefano’s painting come from his imagination, some are based on real people.

“The ones based on real people are abstracted, so I don’t reveal who they are. It’s more about abstracting the narrative.”

Stefano Guseli - artist and painting

Hervey Bay Artist Stefano Guseli at work in his backyard “man cave”.

Preferred mediums

Stefano’s preferred art medium is acrylic because it dries more quickly and he can work faster, but he also loves oils.

“I love the richer, more vibrant textural qualities of oils, but it has drawbacks.

“One of my oils was so thick it took two months to dry!

“I submitted it to a competition, but the judge disqualified it; not because it was wet, but because it was still too soft in spots.”

Stefano mixes his own colours but sometimes they come straight out of the tubes.

“My artworks are usually pretty bright! I find bright colours, not diluted with black, grey and white, can be very positive.”

Experimental art

As an experimental artist, Stefano looks at the visual aesthetic, the installation, and the conceptual sides of art, pushing those elements together, apart, or moving them around, which is unusual.

“A lot of early experimental artists ended up spearheading methods for future ideas in the arts,” he said.

“If I got onto the bandwagon of a painting to a certain theme, I could see a trajectory in a direction where I could attract a certain type of clientele or a certain type of viewer and I’d keep making that sort of art.

“Some masters did that. They made the artwork that people liked, and that was in demand, so they were cutting edge in the eyes of many collectors.

“Experimental art is not theme-based repetition, at least it should not be in my view.”

Stefano said he also has a passion for book illustrations, which he has done several times in recent years.

“Illustrating is a finished product I can give to the client,” he said.

“It’s a reciprocal arrangement too, making the author happy, the publisher happy, the reader happy, and me happy!”

Competitions

Stefano has only recently begun entering art competitions, so it’s a case of “watch this space”.

“I’m hoping to submit to the Archibald competition,” he said.

“Many of the artists who are successful are known in the painting community, but being an experimental artist it’s not my niche,” he said.

“So, we’ll see how I go over the next few years.

“You do your best work, submit it, see how the judges go with it and then see how the public goes with it.

“Entering competitions is often just an exercise in seeing what reaction you get from viewers and what comments they make.

“That’s really why I’m entering.”

Why create art?

“The choice to create art is about being true to the viewer by making it as an artistic mirror which reflects their interpretation,” Stefano said.

“Why am I making this piece? Am I making it because I do really want to, or am I solely interested in profit?

“Some of the most successful artists, mainly American and British artists, who sell their work for millions of dollars have been accused of being peddlers, but I don’t think they are.

“I think they’re just extremely successful financially.  Money should not be the primary purpose in art making.

“Any artists, even very poor artists, can make art and sell works for money.

“The point is art should be a connection. If money comes in small or large amounts, that is not the primary purpose.”

Where you can see Stefano’s art

If you’re interested in seeing more of Stefano’s work, check out his website at https://www.stefanoguseli.net/

Stefano Guseli - artist and painting

Stefano Guseli, Hervey Bay Artist.

***

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Join the fun of whale watching and citizen science

Attention citizen scientists! Now’s your chance to join the fun of collecting data while out whale watching and helping researchers better understand our world.

Don’t know what citizen science is?

Citizen science is the new way for people to get involved in science and make their own contributions through observations with simple tools like cameras, notebooks or smartphones.

Oceania Project founder Dr Wally Franklin, who spoke at the University of Sunshine Coast’s Creating Waves session in Hervey Bay, has put the call out for everyone with a passion for our natural environment and whale watching to get involved.

You don’t need to have a science degree; just a passion for the natural environment and a willingness to help professional scientists with their research.

There’s nothing more satisfying than knowing that your efforts helped reveal some important information about wildlife behaviour.

Creating Waves was hosted by Fraser Coast Tourism & Events, Hervey Bay Whale Heritage Site Steering Committee and USC as part of the 2022 Hervey Bay Whale Festival.

Guests heard from those who were uniquely connected to Australia’s Humpback Whales, including the Butchulla people.

 

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Whale Watching - Humpback with baby

Humpback Whale with its baby. PHOTO: Shutterstock

Whale watching with Happy Whale

“Here in Hervey Bay, there can be up to 80,000 people a year taking digital cameras onboard whale watching tours, putting them in a prime position to help researchers study these amazing creatures,” Dr Wally said.

“There are great opportunities for citizens to become involved in the science of the whales of eastern Australia, in particular the Humpback Whale.

At Creating Waves, Dr Wally spoke about Happy Whale and its collaboration with the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium, which investigates the status of Humpback Whales.

Happy Whale is an algorithm-based photo-matching platform that engages citizen scientists to help identify marine mammals by matching their photos with actual animals.

Dr Wally said the country that surrounded Hervey Bay waters where the whales came to visit every year had, for many generations, been cared for by the Butchulla people.

“The whales’ habitat is extremely fragile, so the care of the country surrounding it is critically important,” he said.

When Dr Wally and his wife Dr Trish Franklin first came to Hervey Bay over 30 years ago, research revealed Humpback Whales were using the eastern waters of Hervey Bay against K’gari (Fraser Island).

“Although there was some interesting science being done, there was insufficient data to determine who the whales were that were using Hervey Bay and why they were using the area,” Dr Wally said.

“Trish immediately saw the opportunity to address that fundamental question of who are the ones using Hervey Bay and why are they using Hervey Bay.

“To do that, she put in place a long-term study, between 1992 and 2017, based on a search technique called photo identification.

“We did 10 weeks each year out on the Bay, staying out overnight for five nights, six days every week.

“In that period, Trish observed, photographed, and recorded information on pods and individual Humpback Whales.”

Photographing flukes

“From the outset, Trish systematically photographed the underside of whale tails, the flukes,” Dr Wally said.

Whale watching - fluke

Humpback Whale fluke. PHOTO: Shutterstock

“A good example is the fluke of a whale called Nala (known locally as the pride of Hervey Bay), who we’ve been watching for over 30 years.

“She’s a regular visitor to Hervey Bay and has been bringing her calves back here almost every other year.

“Trish also realised that when you were watching a whale, what you see more often than not was the waffle side of the whale and the tail flip.

“The fluke is a fingerprint that could be used as a means of identification.

“It was possible to identify 100% of the individuals, which makes it a very useful means of studying the whales.

“The analysis of all that photography yielded a Hervey Bay Blue catalogue comprising individual whales.

“From those observations, she extracted the life histories of individual whales. She began naming the whales as an aide to memorizing them.

“How we funded the research was to invite people to pay, come and help us with the research.

“The work she did, produced one of the largest photo ID data sets in the Southern Hemisphere.

“In 2012, when she finished the work, it represented about 10% of the population, which was a very adequate sample to begin the studies.

“That data enabled Trish and me to study pod characteristics, social organisation, biology, social behaviour, abundance, population dynamics, and movements.

“So clinical verification turned out to be quite a powerful means of study.”

Female bias is unique to Hervey Bay

Dr Wally said that from all that data, Dr Trish worked out that in Hervey Bay there were three females for every male that visited the area.

“Hervey Bay is a predominantly female area from mid-July through to early November,” he said.

“The Bay is dominated by mature pregnant and lactating females who are bringing their new calves to the Bay.

“Operators of whale-watching tours say the whales absolutely love hugging the boats, which makes Hervey Bay one of the most fantastic whale-watching locations in the world.

“Overall, only a few mature males use the Bay.

“In the northern hemisphere, nobody has recorded female biases with Humpback Whales, so it’s something unique in the southern hemisphere, and very unique to Hervey Bay.”

 

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Whale Watching - Humpback Whale

Humpback Whale. PHOTO: Shutterstock

Why do Humpback Whales use Hervey Bay?

Hervey Bay is a suitable early stopover located just below the predominant whale breeding grounds of the Whitsundays Islands near Mackay and Rockhampton,” Dr Wally said.

“Humpback Whales are born in Australian waters, so they are Australian.

“They go to Antarctica for food and return every year to their home to carry out their ceremonies and sing their songs.

“Hervey Bay’s shallow protected waters against the shoreline of K’gari (Fraser Island) is one of the key things that provide avoidance for the mature females from some males that cause harassment.

“But (the males) are very organized in their harassment, but that’s another subject!

“Hervey Bay waters also provide an opportunity for physical and social development of young whales. The average stay is two weeks.”

Dorsal fins also provide identification

“Dorsal fins are as individual as flukes, although until now, all the work has been done using flukes,” Dr Wally said.

“However, in recent years, advances in the computer processing of images and the development of AI algorithm-matching techniques made it possible to consider incorporating not only flukes, but dorsal fins and lateral bodies as well.

“Such techniques are now web-based and cloud-based and provide means for scientists to match extremely large data sets.

“As Trish explored this system, she came across groups in North America that she started working with, including Happy Whale, which provides long-term secure storage of data.

“These algorithm platforms, which are open-access platforms, mean citizen science is possible on all the whale watch vessels, not only in Hervey Bay, but along the whole east coast of Australia.”

Photo ID extends Bluebell’s records by 11 years

Dr Trish developed an 11-year history between 2003 and 2011 of a whale called Bluebell that showed Bluebell’s dorsal shape and blue patterns hadn’t changed in that time.

“On 7 August 2022, Bluebell was again captured on camera,” Dr Wally said.

“The photo was loaded into Happy Whale that night and almost immediately an email came back matching Dr Trish’s pictures of Bluebell.

“So, one photograph being loaded onto Happy Whale extended the life history of that whale a further 11 years. That’s an amazing step in knowledge and understanding.

“If we have people on the whole of the east coast of Australia, including Hervey Bay, taking pictures of these whales and getting them onto that platform, we can end up with an absolutely incredible data set to work with.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for citizen scientists.”

Baby Humpback Whale. PHOTO: Shutterstock

Be a whale-watching citizen scientist

So, if you’re looking for a fun way to help researchers learn more about whales and their habitats, while also getting some amazing whale watching in, Happy Whale is the perfect citizen science project for you.

Visit their website today to sign up and start collecting data while out whale watching!

 

If you enjoyed this story, you might also like Whales Ahoy! Get Ready to Swim with Whales

FIND OUT WHEN AND WHERE TO SPOT HUMPBACK WHALES

 

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TOP 9 Hervey Bay Whale-Watching Tours

  1. Whalesong Cruises
  2. Tasman Venture Whale-Watching Cruise
  3. Tasman Venture – Remote Fraser Island and Whale Experience
  4. Hervey Bay Ultimate Whale-Watching Cruise
  5. Freedom Whale Watch
  6. Spirit of Hervey Bay
  7. Hervey Bay Dive Centre
  8. Boat Club Adventure Cruises
  9. Blue Dolphin Marine Tours

*Source: Tripadvisor

Whale Watching - Humpback whales

Whale watching at Hervey Bay, Queensland. PHOTOS: Jocelyn Watts

***

If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy reading:

A Croquet-lover’s Guide to Exploring the Wide Bay

***

Where to next?

Don’t miss out on discovering your next destination with Booking.com. With countless amazing deals on accommodation and more, you’re bound to find what you’re searching for. So, why wait? Click the links here to explore BOOKING.COM today and plan your next trip.

 

***Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet and Booking.com. When you make purchases through links on the website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.***

Toogoom RSL opens restored Vietnam shed

A shed destined for the Vietnam war is now basking in the Queensland sun after 45 years in storage at the Wallangarra Army base on the New South Wales border.

The shed that was to be used as a soldiers’ mess hall on the battlefields of Vietnam now stands proudly at the beach-side town of Toogoom located 16km from Hervey Bay.

Toogoom and District RSL Sub Branch president Ken Higgins said the shed was among hundreds manufactured for the Australian Army during the Vietnam conflict that ran between 1962 and 1972.

“These sheds were widely used as food and recreation halls,” the Vietnam veteran said.

“At Nui Dat  we had one the same as this with a veranda at each end. We played darts at one end and at the other, the corporal ran the bar.

“By 1971, Australia was starting to pull out of Vietnam. These sheds were still being manufactured and stockpiled at Wallangarra. Many became surplus.

“We got onto this one through military contacts and just before last Anzac Day (2014) the army built it as an exercise, sending a dozen soldiers, an engineer and a cook up here.”

The Toogoom Community Hall became a small army base where the soldiers showered and ate while camping nearby during the construction period.

Local volunteers painted the building and lined it with the hardwood tongue and groove packing cases in which it came.

“The hardwood timber we put in added to the bracing. It’s so strong that it’s cyclone proof and authorities want to use it as an emergency centre,” Mr Higgins said.

“It’s self-contained and wired for a generator. If the power goes out we just turn the generator on and everything runs as normal.

“So if we do have a disaster such as a flood or a cyclone, people can at least come here, get a meal and be comfortable out of the weather.”

 

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Tribute to the Vietnam war

Officially opened on Sunday, June 14, 2015, the old-but-new shed is a tribute to the Vietnam war.

“The Toogoom sub-branch is proud of its new home,” Mr Higgins said.

“It is expected to be on the proposed Fraser Coast Military Trail from Maryborough to Hervey Bay and Toogoom.

“This is not about talking war; there’s nothing glorious about war. We want to make this a pleasant, enjoyable place to come to and be used by all and sundry. Army base; soldiers’ mess hall; battlefields of Vietnam; Toogooom & District RSL Sub Branch; Hervey Bay; Queensland; Nui Dat;

“Cadets will use it and we plan to run community health programs and have speakers come here to talk about such things as rural fire fighting and first aid.

“Since we got our shed, men’s shelters, sporting clubs and Scouts have been putting them up in other places across Australia.

“It’s amazing that in 2015 as we commemorate 100 years since the Gallipoli landings and 50 years since the middle of the Vietnam war, these sheds built by Lysaght then are now seeing daylight and that company is still one big family.

“It’s a pretty impressive performance. The steel came out of the packing in good nick – there was no rust. Almost everyone who comes in says: ‘Just look how thick that steel is!'”

The Vietnam memorial at Toogoom is expected to be a highlight on the proposed Fraser Coast Military Trail that also takes in Maryborough’s military museum, cenotaph and memorial gates, airport, air raid shelter and Duncan Chapman Memorial as well as the Z Force training ground on Fraser Island.

 

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***

If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy reading:

A Croquet-lover’s Guide to Exploring the Wide Bay

***

Where to next?

Don’t miss out on discovering your next destination with Booking.com. With countless amazing deals on accommodation and more, you’re bound to find what you’re searching for. So, why wait? Click the links here to explore BOOKING.COM today and plan your next trip.

 

***Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet and Booking.com. When you make purchases through links on the website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.***