Although we tend to go to the beach for our not-often-enough walks, sometimes we go to other places. That might be because it’s high tide and what remains of the beach is hard to walk on, or it might just be too hot for comfort. Or we might just want a change.
One alternative is the walking/cycling path that extends all the way from Point Vernon to the pier. It’s about eleven km, running between the esplanade and the sea. Along its length the track can be surrounded by parks and gardens, it passes by a few caravan parks, beach front parking and cafes, and swathes of natural vegetation for wildlife. The path can get a bit busy, though, with cyclists, runners, and mobility scooters sneaking up on you from behind. Cyclists are supposed to ring their bell, although many, especially the younger hoons, don’t – but those silent mobility scooter drivers seem to think they’re obvious even if they’re behind you, so we tend to walk in single file, with many a glance over the shoulder.
Fortunately, the council has built a boardwalk through the wider parts of the nature reserve, which has been fenced off to prevent people taking shortcuts to the beach. It’s open to walkers and mobility scooters – but not bikes. It’s a lovely walk under the trees and it connects with the main walk track, as well as tracks down to the beach.
It’s important for people to understand that wildlife was here before them. It’s their beach, their trees, their sea as much as ours. It’s a lovely walk under the trees. You’re in a different world. Here and there visitors can sit down and gaze at the ocean. Information posters have been erected so people can learn a little about the area’s wildlife, and an earlier settler or two. Sometimes the sea can be glimpsed between the trunks of trees and although the road is quite close by, it’s hardly visible/hearable. If you’re lucky you might see a lizard scurrying around in the scrub and you’ll certainly hear birds. The Brahmani kites have a nest in here somewhere, although I’ve never seen it.
Walking along the board walk you’ll see glimpses of the ocean or you’ll cross tracks leading to the beach. They’re fenced off to protect the scrub, which is actually very fragile. It’s important, too, to protect the sand dunes from erosion.
Past both ends of the boardwalk a visitor will find parks and restaurants. One park in the middle of the boardwalk is directly opposite one of the Bay’s top fish and chipperies (Madigan’s). It’s a popular place to buy your fish ‘n chips and consume same under the trees. It’s a popular hang out for the ibises, too, which are always ready to help clean up the leftovers.
Where the boardwalk finishes you can walk further on paved paths up to Torquay and Aquavue, a beachfront venue offering breakfast, lunch, coffee and fun things to do like hire a jet ski. There’s seating inside but there’s also a deck with a great view of the sea.
We wandered up further past the tennis court and into yet another park area offering undercover barbecues and seating, and a lovely view of the Bay.
With the water at about half tide, we elected to walk back to the car along the beach. I love the beach, especially in the depths of winter :). The temperature was around 22 degrees C. Lovely.
Hervey Bay isn’t actually a place – it’s the bay. The town is a collection of little villages – Pialba, Scarness, Torquay, and Urangan – which have merged into the present town.