The Best of Australia’s Nature Coast
Australia’s Nature Coast should be high on the itinerary list for any potential visitor to Oz. Situated in Queensland to the north of Brisbane, this beautiful and lesser visited part of the continent’s East Coast takes in such diverse natural phenomena such as Noosa Everglades, the whales of Hervey Bay and the adventure paradise that is Fraser Island – the world’s largest sand island.
There are so many amazing places to visit in Australia but for those who are looking to get close to nature and enjoy the outdoors on a memorable holiday, the Nature Coast is very much the place to be. Uncover the best of Australia’s Nature Coast with these unmissable spots.
1. Whale Watching in Hervey Bay
The east coast of Australia plays home to a cornucopia of great tourist destinations. It’s a world class area for tourists, nature lovers and sightseers alike but that means any particular location must really stand out in order to attract tourists. Hervey Bay is one of those places. The starting point for a trip to the inimitable Fraser Island, Hervey Bay is a fantastic destination in its own right, but benefits from being easy to tag onto other trips.
Its fairly calm and quiet beaches, protected by the jagged cliffs which form the region’s bays, make a change from the Gold Coast further south along Australia’s eastern seaboard but that makes the wildlife in the area stand out. As such, this is one of the prime spots for whale watching, where boats travel out on the serene waters between the bay and the deceptively large Fraser Island. From mid-July to mid-November, humpback whales are found more often than not and tours out onto the open waters, guided by experienced experts, are the best way to maximise your chances of seeing these majestic creatures.
2. Fraser Island Tours
Fraser Island is arguably one of the most famous island attractions off the Australian east coast. Its incredible natural beauty and its seemingly inaccessible wild side make it one of the best adventures to experience in Australia. Fraser Island tours are a great way to see and feel this majestic place: this huge island deserves an organized itinerary put in place in advance to really make the most of what it has to offer. With so much in terms of beaches, lakes and other natural marvels as well as a stunning array of fauna, booking a tour to take you through the best sights comes highly recommended.
Even getting to Fraser Island is somewhat of an adventure, located off the coast between Rainbow Beach and Hervey Bay, 300 km north of Brisbane. Fraser is 123 km long and 22 km wide, making it the largest sand island in the world, and the sights and thrills that greet you when you arrive are totally worth the journey.
75 Mile Beach
The ferries to Fraser Island from Rainbow Beach or Inskip Point arrive at the southern end of 75 Mile Beach, the longest sandy beach in the world. It extends right from the south to the north of the island along its east coast. It is possible to drive the length of it to the Champagne Pools in the north, passing through or close to most of the other attractions of the island, including the Maheno Shipwreck, Eli Creek and more.
However, this isn’t a place to simply relax – 75 mile beach is where off-road adventure begins with 4WD vehicles departing the ferry to take their eager passengers to the playground of sand dune driving. Keep your yes open as you whiz along 75 mile beach, seeing if you can spot the many sharks and whales that call Fraser Island’s waters home.
Indian Head is located at the north end of Fraser Island. This great rocky advance in the ocean owes its name to Captain Cook who first discovered the island in 1770. The view from the island is really worth a look in itself and from here the observation of many marine animals is a favourite pastime. Turtle and stingray populations are present on the beaches and in the shallow waters, whilst further out whales and dolphins roam.
Eli Creek is where the fun really begins! Reaching the sea, this freshwater river starts inland, a few hundred meters from the beach. A wooden footbridge allows visitors to walk along the creek and its impressively transparent water underneath for stunning photo opportunities. Or, choose to swim or even float along the creek in a rubber dinghy.
Lake McKenzie is a true slice of paradise, an oasis time forgot located in the middle of Fraser island. Here’s where you’ll find beaches of fine white silica sand and clear turquoise waters. Access to Lake McKenzie is best achieved by 4WD vehicle, whether you choose to hire your own or take an organised tour. At the end of a trail about 20 kilometres inland, this picturesque place is well worth the effort.
Another lake worth seeing on Fraser Island is Lake Wabby. Here there are no turquoise waters like those of Lake McKenzie but the sights are just as spectacular. Water here has a greenish hue and the lake is surrounded on three sides by forested areas whilst the fourth is an incredible sandy beach! Access is again for the adventurous – a hike through the forest before landing on the huge sand dune that acts as the beach and leads down to the lake.
Get the most out of Fraser Island with our 3 Day Oz Explorer.
3. Things to do in Noosa
Back on Australia’s mainland, the mix of beaches and forests of Fraser are replicated as soon you step back onto dry land at Rainbow Beach. Further to the south, crossing the Toolara State Forest and Great Sandy National Park lies the area of Noosa – another incredible place to make time for during your Nature Coast holiday. Noosa County is a relatively large area and extends inland, but arguably the main points of interest are concentrated in Noosa Heads and Noosaville, in the south and on the coast.
Include the very best of Noosa, Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island on our 8 Day Small Group Tour.
Noosaville is the most important city in the region, featuring beautiful beaches and dreamy coastline. Noosa, though, is perhaps more famous for its waves than its sands. Surfers abound here, and the sight of people walking their dogs on their longboards, isn’t at all uncommon!
Strictly speaking, Noosa is not really a city but rather an agglomeration of cities, parks and beaches that form a kind of county. Associated with the region of Caloundra and Maroochydore County, it forms the northern part of what is called the Sunshine Coast, a wilder region than its similarly famous sister to the south, the Gold Coast.
Noosa Main Beach & Noosa Heads
Noosa Main Beach, as the name suggests, is the city’s central beach, a popular spot that is monitored by the coast guard so a great place to swim in the sea. As popular as Noosa Main Beach is, however, there are a multitude of other beaches in the area that visitors should take notice of. Oz has no shortage of beaches, after all! Many of them in the region are populated by people making the most of ocean activities and the stunning natural areas – from surfing and sunbathing to windsurfing and scuba-diving, there’s plenty to do.
Visit Noosa National Park
Whilst in the area, Noosa National Park, to the south of the city, is absolutely essential to visit: a beautifully landscaped park where you’ll find morel heavenly beaches. Again, though, this isn’t about kicking back and relaxing on the shore only, although you can enjoy plenty of that on the Nature Coast. Instead, make time for all the stunning local wildlife and beautiful walks the area has to offer. Spend hours hiking and taking in the sights, rewarding yourself with a spot of sunbathing or a swim at the end of your endeavours. Tea Tree Beach is a great spot to add to your plans and the swimming in Alexandria Bay is heavenly.
Noosa Everglades Tours
Away from the beaches, take one day to explore the Noosa Everglades – a hidden gem to be found in Noosa’s crown. Noosa Everglades are a unique geographical ecosystem where very special fauna and flora is found. Find this intriguing area situated just 35 minutes north of the city of Noosaville or a short drive from Brisbane or Rainbow Beach. Discover a range of wildlife species in a unique setting and take the perfect chance to get away from the bustle of the city for a while.
An organised tour is by far the easiest way to see all that’s on offer in the Nossa Everglades. Different options are available, of course: make the easy boat cruise on the river or combine it with a canoe or kayak trip if you’re feeling adventurous or up for getting closer to nature. This is one of the most popular ways to see the Everglades, allowing visitors to take in the beauty of the setting and see the vast array of birds flying overhead.
Take a cruise up Noosa River in the morning, absorbing the spectacular surrounds and sounds of the jungle-like landscape. After lunch, travel back down the river by canoe to get that little bit closer! It’s certainly possible to do a half-day tour, or a full day trip but if the thought of spending the night camping in the Everglades excites you more than the idea of relaxing on a sun lounger then don’t be afraid to take an overnight option too.
If you only have a day to spare, book the Noosa Everglades Cruise Day Tour.
The entire length of the East Coast of Australia is full of amazing natural wonders but for those looking to escape the crowd drawing Whitsundays or the buzzing cities of the Gold Coast, the Nature Coast is simply paradise. This is the ideal location for visitors looking to take in Australia’s natural wildlife, pristine blue waters and beaches, and of course the world’s largest sand island, Fraser. Come for adventure and tranquility, for immersion and new experiences that you won’t find anywhere else.
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