AS the wind catches the sail, I dip my feet into the water and lie back on the canvas of our catamaran, looking up into the blue sky.
We glide through the water past white beaches lightly populated with backpackers and people from all walks of life enjoying what Hervey Bay has to offer.
Although it’s peaceful cruising through the water, I’m itching to try one of the aquavue jet skis that line the beach.
I don a lifejacket and size up the latest Yamaha craft on offer.
I leave a wake behind me as I carve up the water.
Our guide takes us for a cruise around Hervey Bay, past the pier and explains some history on the area.
After a long action-packed day at aquavue, we head back to the Ramada Hervey Bay.
My introduction to Hervey Bay – the sleeping giant of adventure holidaying just a couple of hours north of the Sunshine Coast – was complete.
Adventure holidaying, you say?
Who would have thought the once sleepy town – where young families and grandparents stereotypically loved to holiday – could appeal to adrenaline junkies.
But more of that later. The luxury part of the trip was about to begin.
Located in the vibrant end of town, the Marina Precinct, the Ramada has 90 luxury rooms showcasing its centrepiece pool, which lights up at night in a spectacular blue glow.
It’s dinner time. After all the fun we had under the sun, it’s time for some mouth-watering food.
Overlooking the pool is Hervey’s, which possesses the perfect dining ambience – combining the gourmet dishes you would expect, in a laid-back atmosphere.
Fish seems the natural choice, the area being in one Australia’s best fishing spots, so the grilled barramundi catches my eye.
I didn’t regret my choice.
I decide to indulge in a few drinks. The Hervey Bay night life is close as I venture out on the town.
Feeling a little worse for wear for our 6am start the next day, my stomach tells me to pass on the fruit and take the buffet breakfast option, with lashings of bacon, eggs, and hash browns. I load up willingly.
It’s time to head off to Fraser Island for the day. The Fraser Explorer Tours bus picks us up at the front of our hotel. I make a beeline for a nice comfy chair and call “shotgun” for the window seat.
We cruise over on the barge.
Central Station is the first stop where we learn about the local history and walk along the boardwalk which looks over the magical Wanggoolba Creek.
Back on the bus, next on the “to-do list” is the Maheno wreck, Eli Creek and a hearty buffet lunch.
Having ventured to Fraser before, I know the highlight of my day is going to be the visit to Lake McKenzie.
Soon enough, we arrive, and I walk down the beach. The water looks as blue as I remember.
The white sand as amazing as ever.
Lake McKenzie is something you have to experience to know how beautiful it really is.
It is a perched lake, which means it has only rainwater, no groundwater. It’s not fed by streams and doesn’t flow to the ocean.
The sand is so pure, it acts as a filter to keep the water clean. Over the previous few thousand years, organic matter has fallen from the rainforest canopy and combined with the sand to form an impervious seal, which makes the lake dependant on rainfall to keep it fresh and crystal clean.
The beach is lined with the finest-looking backpackers. Not much English is being spoken but I can guess plenty of superlatives are being uttered about the lake in their native languages.
I would like to stay here forever but it’s time to head back to the Ramada to enjoy another great dinner at Hervey’s. There’s no better way to finish off a perfect day than with a cold beer and a great feed.
My visit to Hervey Bay made me realise the town now easily caters for all ages, and is no longer simply the gateway to seasonal whale watching. The town can provide a fun-filled action weekend in itself.
Even this 20-something had a great time and I’ll be back.