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Hervey Bay POPULATION: 45,000 approximately GENERAL INFORMATION: Hervey Bay is one of Queensland's best natural holiday destinations offering convenient access to World Heritage listed Fraser Island - the largest sand island in the world, and Lady Elliot Island - the first coral cay on the Great Barrier Reef. Long sandy beaches and colourful communities such as Burrum Heads, Howard, Toogoom and Torbanlea fringe its safe sheltered waters. From August to October the region has become famous as the playground of the majestic humpback whales on their return to the Antartic. Hervey Bay is preferred for its calm and safe whale watching conditions, where the whales put on a spectacular display for their admirers. Celebrating the return of the humpback whales each year, Hervey Bay stages a Whale festival for two weeks in August. An aquatic carnival, including an illuminated procession of floats, and the Blessing of the Fleet are highlights of this fun filled week. Hervey Bay boasts an aquatic environment which features coral and artificial reefs all teeming with abundant marine life. Boating and fishing enthusiasts will find the estuary, beach, jetty or reef and game fishing, and a variety of water sports including diving, water and jet skiing, wind surfing and snorkelling. Alternatively, simply enjoy a bicycle ride along the picturesque foreshore, visiting places such as the Botanical Gardens or the Urangan Boat harbour, or one of the many restaurants and cafes situated along the Esplanade. DISTANCE FROM BRISBANE (State Capital): 295 kilometres Approximately 4 hours by road or 40 minutes by air.