Discovery Parks Hervey Bay review: Family accommodation

If you’re looking for family accommodation near Fraser Island, consider the Hervey Bay Discovery Parks camping, caravan and cabin site.

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Quick verdict:

With its great location, facilities, family activities and layout, the Hervey Bay Discovery Parks accommodation is one of the better holiday parks I've come across. There's far more to like than dislike here, and I'd happily stay again in the future.

Discovery Parks Hervey Bay

  • Where: 20 Fraser St, Torquay, Queensland 4655
  • When: April 2022
  • Room type: Deluxe/Superior 2-bedroom cabin
  • Guests: 2 adults and 3 kids
  • Cost: $30 to $230 a night
  • Hotel star rating: NA

My review, in short:

  • My star rating: ★★★★1/2
  • Cost: Depending on when you go, you can get this cabin for under $200 per night, which is good value.
  • Location: Excellent! A short walk from one of the world's best beaches, as well as playgrounds, shops and pubs.
  • Facilities: Packed with things to do for the kids, with modern and functional camp kitchen and toilet block. Wi-Fi didn't work.
  • Check-in/out process: A breeze, staff were great throughout the stay.
  • The room: A great view, spacious living area, kitchen and bathroom. Bedrooms a bit cramped and air-con placement not ideal.
  • Food: The in-room dining was delicious and above expectations.
  • Facilities: Efficient and functional, with very communal feel. Tight parking at some cabins, and a water hazard for toddlers.

There are 2 reasons to visit Hervey Bay as a family. Situated in Queensland, around 3 to 4 hours north of Brisbane, it's a picturesque destination with plenty to do if you love water activities and stunning sunsets. But it's also the gateway to Fraser Island. A place where many Aussie travellers stop to stock up and get one last dingo-free sleep before they hit the beaches of the world's biggest sand island.

Ahead of Easter 2022, I made the drive from Sydney up to Fraser Island, and stopped off for a couple of nights with the family in Hervey Bay. We chose to stay at the Discovery Parks Hervey Bay caravan, camping and cabin accommodation. We're a G'Day Parks Rewards member, having had a number of enjoyable stays in Discovery Parks locations around the country.

But how did this Hervey Bay caravan park stack up?

Discovery Parks Hervey Bay Review 6

Cost

As with most Discovery Parks, the Hervey Bay location has a range of different accommodation options. You've got powered and unpowered sites for camping and caravans. You've got ensuite sites as well. You've then got a few different tiers of cabins. As a family of 5 about to go on a 10-day camping trip to Fraser, I wasn't keen to pack up and pack down the tent for just a few nights. So, we stayed in a Deluxe/Superior 2-bedroom cabin.

Price wise the cabins range between $150 and $230 a night, depending on the season and whether you're a G'Day member. Our cabin was just under $200 per night in Easter school holidays. That's a good price in my opinion. Nightly rates for powered sites with ensuites (around $70) and powered sites (around $60) are also solid. Unpowered sites are available, but are not showing rates at the time of writing, possibly due to maintenance.

Discovery Parks Hervey Bay Review 7

Location

The Discovery Parks Hervey Bay is sweetly located a short 5-minute stroll to the main strip at Torquay. This is the suburb central to the vast Hervey Bay. You'll not only find a great kid's playground, but a wharf to fish from, excellent swimming, a pub, plenty of places to eat, get a massage and shop. This includes the EAT café run by My Kitchen Rules winners Dan and Steph, which I can personally vouch for. Check out the hotcakes in the photo below!

Discovery Parks Hervey Bay Review 8

It's fair to say that the Hervey Bay Discovery Park isn't walking distance from the main attractions of Hervey Bay. Namely the WetSide Water Park, botanical gardens and Urangan Wharf. But it's a small drive. You'll also find nearby the malls with supermarkets and big shops like Bunnings and Dan Murphys.

The Discovery Parks Hervey Bay site is off the main road and we had no disturbance from outside traffic noise. That said, residential buildings are close. Indeed, the entire park is neatly packed into a rectangular shape, backing onto homes. We didn't encounter any issues with neighbours, but obviously, there's a risk there of potential noise given they're not governed by Discovery Park rules.

Discovery Parks Hervey Bay Review 1

Site map

I was impressed by how efficiently designed the Hervey Bay Discovery Parks site is. It feels like every space has been utilised to its fullest extent. I'm not going to go into the layout too much as I do a full tour in the video embedded above. It shows what a thousand words couldn't. But this isn't one of those sprawling caravan and camping sites that spill out all over the place. It's very much inward facing. The main facilities are centralised, with sites and cabins neatly placed around it in a manner that feels deliberate and functional.

The result is one of the more communal caravan parks I've been in. Yes, it was school holidays when I was there, but rather than each group being islands unto themselves, it felt like one commune and was a richer experience as a result. Especially for the kids.

If there was to be any criticism, it would be that the main office is situated outside the locked gate, so you need a key to get to it. Annoying when you are sending the kids out to get supplies or food to feed the fish. Speaking of which, there is a central lagoon that isn't fenced. If you have very young mobile children, this could be a cause for anxiety.

With my kids (aged 6, 8 and 10) I wasn't too worried and enjoyed how it improved the view and provided turtles, carp, birds and eels for the kids to feed.

It's worth noting that tent camping sites that don't have a concrete slab in the middle of them aren't that plentiful. They may make up 10-15% of the stay options, so beware if you have a large tent.

Discovery Parks Hervey Bay Review 2

Facilities

If you're looking for family accommodation in Hervey Bay, the Discovery Parks' facilities are a huge bonus. Again, I encourage you to watch the video for a walkthrough. But you can expect 2 pools, 1 on each side of the site. A smaller, cooler pool near the entrance provides some relief, while a bigger, warmer pool with seating in the site's centre offers plenty of fun for people of all ages.

The usual playground and jumping pillow can be found, as can a games room (ping pong, lolly machines, air hockey) and a TV room, which plays kids movies in the early evening. You can rent buggies and kayaks. I was also impressed by the inclusion of a full-size tennis court, which the kids used for all kinds of sports.

Staying as we did during the school holidays, there was a run of activities on every day for the kids to engage in. Face painting, crafts and that kind of thing. As well as other little treats to enjoy, such as food trucks and live bands playing near the lagoon. The latter was really lovely and a great memory for my family.

For campers and those in caravans, you'll find a great main camp kitchen, which even has a TV showing the footy, as well as isolated barbeques to use. There are 2 big toilet blocks as well and a laundry. (Although the dryer ate our $2 without working – grrrr!)

The only let-down was the Wi-Fi. Free Wi-Fi access is included with your booking, but we couldn't get it to work. This is becoming a common issue in stays. Connecting to Wi-Fi is supposed to see a webpage pop up through which you can log in to activate the connection, but the webpage never pops up.

Discovery Parks Hervey Bay Review 4

Hervey Bay Discovery Parks cabin review

There's a range of cabins available, but my commentary will relate to the Deluxe 2-bedroom cabin. Despite saying Deluxe on the cabin's sign, it's worth noting on the park's site it refers to this cabin as Superior. I suspect this is because a run of very new looking Deluxe Safari Tent options are now available.

As for my cabin, upon arrival I was happy to see the decent sized balcony at the front, with a table and chairs that overlooked the scenic lagoon. Parking next to the cabin was tight, however, and I was glad I didn't have to back a trailer into the narrow space beside it. So, if you're travelling with something hitched on the back, it might be an idea to flag that upon booking as other cabins had easier carpark access.

The 2-bedroom cabin has a great living space at the front. It's spacious and laid-out in such a way that it fits a nice couch with a clear view to the TV (with free-to-air channels). The dining table, which too frequently in these cabins sits between the couch and the TV, gets its own space off to the side. There's a good-sized kitchen with plenty of bench space, a full-size fridge, a stove and a microwave.

The bathroom is also a good size, including a large shower that had great flow and a nice tall head. At 6' 4", when I fit in a shower it's a big win!

Discovery Parks Hervey Bay Review 3

Rooms

The master bedroom has enough space to fit a wardrobe and even a second TV. There's a bit of space on either side of the bed, but not a lot of room for bags on the ground and definitely not for a cot. The Deluxe Safari Tent looked like a better fit for cots. The bed was comfy, although not firm if that's more to your liking.

The second room features a single bed and a bunk bed. It's a tight fit in here, with little space for bags. There is a fan in this room, but the tight confines will still ensure it could be a hot sleep when 3 people are in residence on a humid night. For my 3 small kids, it was all fine on mild 20-degree nights in April.

There is an air-con, at least, but it's one of the cabin's fail points. The outlet is positioned at the very front of the cabin, so in order to cool the bedrooms at the back you need to have it on with plenty of flow. The problem is that the outside box is positioned right next to the main bedroom's window. In the case of my cabin, it made a lot of rattling sounds, to the point where I had to turn it off to sleep.

This may not be a consistent issue with other cabins and a fault with that specific unit as the sound was unusual. But either way, placing the box next to the bedroom, as opposed to the bathroom or somewhere (anywhere?) else, is a design fail in my opinion.

Discovery Parks Hervey Bay Review 5

Verdict on Hervey Bay Discovery Parks caravan site

The Discovery Parks Hervey Bay caravan, camping and cabin site is one of the better family stays I've come across on the road. I loved the design of the park and how communal it made it feel, as well as the effort that's gone into providing activities for the kids. The lagoon going through the middle and the tennis court also give it a flair we don't usually see from these holiday parks. And as locations go, it was hard to fault.

One thing I did pick up on was the Discovery Parks' manager. He came out and shook my hand when we arrived for check-in and outside that I never needed to get back in contact with him. However, I spotted him at one point early in the morning doing gardening and picking up rubbish. Then saw him late one night checking in on the activities and seeing how things were going. Seeing him that hands-on said to me that the staff and management of the park were active, engaged and held a high standard.

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