“What’s it like living in Hervey Bay?”
That’s a question we have often been asked since moving to Hervey Bay over 10 years ago. Friends, family members and complete strangers want to know what made us pack up and move over 1,000km to a place that many of them had never heard of before we made the move.
The only answer we can give is that it’s a wonderful place to live … but that doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. We certainly don’t look at Hervey Bay through rose-coloured glasses … we know that things could be a lot better.
This place has its fair share of problems and if you’re living in Hervey Bay you can’t avoid them. We know that there are people who have moved here who deeply regret that they ever made the move … but for us the good things about Hervey Bay far outweigh the bad things.
The good points
So what are the good things about Hervey Bay?
The weather …. it’s warm … even when it’s cold Hervey Bay is still warmer than winter in the southern states. Even now … a late afternoon in late April … I’m sitting on the veranda in a pair of shorts.
It can certainly become humid in summer but you get used to that.
House and land prices are far less than in the capital cities. As with real estate in any part of Australia, there are cycles but even when prices are at their peak they’re still cheaper than capital city prices … but there is a catch and I’ll talk about it in a moment.
The beach is so close. Hervey Bay offers families some of the safest swimming conditions that you will find anywhere in Australia and most parts of town are less than 15 minutes drive from the water.
If you’re prepared to pay a little more you can live within walking distance of the beach … or even across the road from the beach.
The amenities are all you could hope for. When you’re living in Hervey Bay you have access to all the usual supermarkets, shops, a multi-screen cinema, first-class sporting facilities, a library and an art gallery as well as some outstanding cafes and restaurants.
In this town you can buy everything from fish and chips to a gourmet meal at a one-hat restaurant and in between you will find Asian, Indian and Italian … including genuine Neapolitan pizzas.
And stretching along the entire 17km of foreshore you will find numerous places to picnic and many of these have free gas BBQs.
The education facilities in Hervey Bay are outstanding too. We have state and private schools that will take a child from kindergarten right through to Year 12 … there’s an outstanding TAFE college and a University too.
Transport in Hervey Bay is good. There are taxis, hire cars and a comprehensive system of bus routes and services.
There are regular Qantas flights to and from Brisbane, Virgin flies in from Sydney every day and there’s a regular bus connection to Maryborough West where you can catch the train north or south of here.
The roads are reasonable … and getting better … and it takes about 3.5 hours to drive to Brisbane.
The bad points
As I said earlier, we don’t look at Hervey Bay through rose-coloured glasses. There are some not so good points about living in Hervey Bay and you do need to think about them before you move here.
Council rates are high and growing even higher. We have a council rates that will almost take your breath away so check them before you rush in to buy property here. While most residents understand that there is a cost to living here we seem to be unable to convince the Council to live within its means. So the rates continue to rise no matter who we elect.
Rental properties tend to be scarce and there are always plenty of people lining up for any that become available. On the other hand there are often long-term rentals available.
The weather can be both good and bad here and if you’re living in Hervey Bay then you need to be prepared to face the occasional tropical cyclone and at other times … especially in the wet season … the roads around Hervey Bay can be cut for several days by flood waters.
Work is hard to find in Hervey Bay. Unfortunately we have a very high unemployment rate here in Hervey Bay but if you’re in a position to create your own job … or bring your job with you … then you’ll be fine but if you’re relying others for a job then you may struggle to find work.
Living in Hervey Bay is not for everyone but if you can make the good points outweigh the bad then Hervey Bay can be a great place to live and we wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
There’s nothing quite like the rather smug feeling we tend to get as we watch the tourists and campers leave Hervey Bay. They’re leaving but we get to live here 🙂