WetSide Water Park, Hervey Bay

WetSide blitzes 2019 attendances

By Jocelyn Watts

Hervey Bay’s WetSide Water Park has blitzed its 2019 attendance figures with tens of thousands of people visiting the top-rating venue in 2020 despite closing for six months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.   

Mayor George Seymour said that as well as surpassing figures from previous years between January and March, residents and visitors also made up for lost time after the venue reopened in September.

“New statistics show the total number of attendances at WetSide from September 2020 to December 2020 was 71,804, up 5270 from 66,534 for the same period in 2019,” Cr Seymour said.  

“The waterslides have been a real hit again with 9297 slide passes being sold between September 2020 and December 2020, whereas 8918 sold during the same period in 2019, a difference of 379.

“Between September 2019 and March 2020 when pandemic restrictions closed the venue, WetSide attracted 122,142 visitors, with 15,269 buying tickets for the slides.

“In December 2019, statistics showed 24,000 people had bought water slide tickets since the additional attraction opened at WetSide prior to Christmas in 2017.”

WetSide blitzes attendance figures

Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour at WetSide Water Park in Hervey Bay, Queensland.

Cr Seymour said WetSide was a fantastic place to keep cool and have fun with something for everyone.

“In addition to the slides, there is the water play arena, TotSide for under 5s play and a Fountain Light Show on Saturday nights that is a sight to behold.”

Cr Seymour said WetSide regularly received excellent reviews on tourism websites and magazines.

“WetSide gained global attention in recent years and is currently the top-ranked water park in all of Australia:

Cr Seymour said WetSide and its waterslides were all part of the Fraser Coast Regional Council’s plan to build better communities, maintain our unique lifestyle and grow our local economy.

Funds raised by waterslide rides help to offset the running costs for WetSide, which is free to use.

WetSide is open 7 days from 10 am to 5 pm during school holidays with more information available at

WetSide blitzes attendance figures

Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour tries out a waterslide at WetSide Water Park.

Fraser Coast’s other aquatic centres also booming

Visitor numbers at Fraser Coast Regional Council’s other aquatic centres are also increasing with swim school enrolments booming in Hervey Bay and Maryborough.

The aquatic centres had over 24,782 teacher/student interactions over 10 weeks in Term Four.

This equates to over 12,000 hours of teaching children how to feel confident and safe in the water.

Most Fraser Coast children have visited one of Council’s aquatic centres for squad sessions, school break-ups, swimming carnivals and WetSide over Term Four.

WetSide visits throughout the school holidays increased 40 per cent from this time last year. 

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Discover Café Balaena, Urangan

Want to dine with a difference?
Try the Wagyu Beef at Café Balaena

Choosing Cafe Balaena at Urangan, Hervey Bay, to catch up with long-time friends Peter and Yvonne in March 2020, gave me unexpected opportunity to dine with a difference.

Dancing Dean’ was in fine form doing a knees-up routine as he sang Happy Birthday to three different customers throughout the evening. 

I had visited Cafe Balaena six or seven years ago when my youngest son Terry was a chef there. Peter and Yvonne had also eaten there on many occasions. 

So we were all familiar with the restaurant’s quality cuisine and stunning views over the marina but seeing owner Dean Major dancing was new to us.

Reviewers get on board through Tripadvisor

Turns out Dean is well known for his enthusiastic routines, attracting positive comments on Tripadvisor.

Dirk W from Mermaid Beach wrote: “The man obviously loves his job and is good at it.”

LeanneP168 wrote: “The owner is fantastic. He is very hands-on…. love his enthusiasm.”

Menu with a difference

Regarding the menu, another reviewer said there were some very strange combinations.

I wouldn’t say ‘strange’ as the word implies ‘weird’ but there were some selections that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. 

One such choice was Wagyu Beef and Caramelised Onion Pie.

It was made of rich and juicy wagyu beef chunks marinated in red wine, then enfolded in a homemade herb gravy with caramelised onion and garlic with Balaena green salad, chips and a mango and pawpaw chutney.

However, we weren’t overly adventurous that night and all ordered the Caribbean Chicken Breast (pictured above).

This was made of grilled chicken breast with Australian grown avocado, silky smooth hollandaise and camembert cheese on a bed of mixed potato mash.

All meals were brought to the table in good time and were well presented.

All round, we enjoyed a terrific night out, dining in a brilliant water-side atmosphere with delicious food and great company.

Want to know more about Wagyu and Kobe beef? 

Joonas Jokiniemi from – a site where he shares information related to barbecue and healthy cooking – has written an article about Wagyu and Kobe beef. The guide explains:

  • What is Wagyu beef and the related rating system?
  • What is Kobe beef and what makes it so famous?
  • Where can you find real Wagyu and Kobe?
  • How to cook it

To read, visit

More of his articles worth checking out include: 


Bay Central Tavern

Trendy pub food at Bay Central Tavern

If you’re looking for a trendy pub meal in Hervey Bay, the Bay Central Tavern on Boat Harbour Drive is worth a visit.

My family and I have been keen to check out Hervey Bay’s eating places while visiting the city over the past year and a half. Previously we’d dinned out mainly in Maryborough because that was where I lived until November 2019.

Since then I’ve moved to Eli Waters at Hervey Bay, the other major city that makes up the Fraser Coast, so now we have many more eating places from which to choose. 

Joining my two new friends, Jane and Margaret, at the Bay Central Tavern for lunch on Thursday, I loved the Thai Fried Noodles I ordered and the ladies gave me glowing reports of their choices so I knew my family would be keen to try out the tavern.

Thai Fried Noodles

Thai Fried Noodles.

Saturday night would be somewhat busier than Thursday though.

The staffer who took my booking said that with country-rock band Eight Second Ride performing as part of their Goes Country Tour, management was expecting a full house but she could squeeze us in anyway.

After catching the tavern’s courtesy bus there, we found our booking had mistakenly been made for Sunday night. To the staff’s credit, they soon found a table for us in the bistro rather than on the deck where we were meant to be seated.

The error was a blessing in disguise.  It was much quieter in the bistro than sitting near Rocky the mechanical bull as wannabe rodeo riders tested their inner cowboys!

While one person at our table ordered a 200-gram Graziers Eye Fillet with pepper sauce, chips and salad, I ordered Macadamia Barramundi (fresh barramundi with macadamia crust) served with smashed chats, hollandaise sauce and coriander, tomato, avocado and rocket salad. See featured picture. 

Grazier Eye Fillet with Pepper Sauce, Chips and Salad.

Graziers Eye Fillet

The eye fillet was quickly devoured with the comment that it was deliciously tender and full of flavour but the pepper sauce could have been hotter.

My Macadamia Barramundi, smashed chats and salad were all delicious and well presented.

The adults each enjoyed a glass of Wirra Wirra Mrs Wigley Rosé and finished our dinner by sharing a Brandy Snap Basket served with fruit salad and whipped cream. 




Will we make the tavern our Local?

Are we likely to eat again at Bay Central Tavern? Definitely!

The service was spot on – everyone from the courtesy bus driver to the waitress was pleasant, helpful and welcoming.  The only improvement we can suggest is to boost the salad that goes with the Graziers Eye Fillet.  

Perhaps we would choose a quieter night to visit but that’s our preference.

It was plain to see a lot of people loved the busy atmosphere, lapping up the live music and entertainment that kept the popular venue pumping throughout the evening.

We’ve also been told the massive outdoor screen is immensely popular on State of Origin nights and when other big sports and entertainment events are playing.

Bay Central Tavern is at Stockland Hervey Bay Shopping Centre,155 Boat Harbour Drive, Pialba QLD 4655, (07) 4124 4111,

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