If you’re in Australia and looking to discover an absolutely stunning remote tropical island paradise that’s very easy to access yet relatively unknown – look no further than Pelican Banks in Hervey Bay, Queensland.
Most people only know Hervey Bay as the humpback whale watching capital of the world, or the gateway to the iconic Fraser Island (K’Gari) – the world’s largest sand island. But Hervey Bay also has a little known paradise just a few kilometres away known as Pelican Banks! Pelican Banks is really the hidden jewel of the Fraser Coast.
Pelican Banks is an incredibly beautiful small sand island and is really a highlight in the Hervey Bay area! It’s an absolute must visit when in the area and has some of the whitest sand ever!
Known as Buallum Nyia in the Butchulla language (the Butchulla people are the Traditional Owners of K’gari and First Nationals People), this white cay surrounded by turquoise waters honestly looks like a paradise island in Fiji or The Maldives.
With the silica white sands and crystal clear waters, when you’re here you really get the feeling of being completely isolated on a remote desert island despite being just a few kilometres from Hervey Bay! Pelican Banks is absolutely dreamy and is the Fraser Coast’s answer to The Whitsundays.
It’s so stunning that I can’t believe more people don’t know about it! It took until my third time in Hervey Bay to even hear about this beautiful sand island – and it took a lot of Google searching to find it!
Why Is It Called Pelican Banks?
Pelican Banks is aptly named as pelicans often come to the banks here. You’ll be more likely to spot a big colony of cormorant birds here on one corner of the island as they call this place home.
The birds usually don’t bother you or make any noise – they keep themselves to themselves. Except that sometimes you may however sometimes get a funny smell from the birds on the island – it is their island after all! That didn’t put us off though – Pelican Banks is absolutely stunning and by far one of the most idyllic islands I have ever been on!
How To Get To Pelican Banks
Pelican Banks is easily accessible by boat from Hervey Bay, which is located 3.5 hours drive north of Brisbane.
Pelican Banks lies just under 10km north-east of the Great Sandy Straits Marina in Urangan, Hervey Bay. You can find the location on Google maps here.
Of course you can get to Pelican Banks with your own boat (it’s just past Big Woody Island and Round Island, heading towards K’gari), but the great thing is that several of the local tour companies offer visits to Pelican Banks as part of their day trip tours so it is very easily accessible!
Beware if you visit with your own boat – it isn’t called the Great Sandy Straits for nothing! The marine park is full of shallow sand banks and you may have to navigate in narrow and shallow passages at low tide.
Tours That Go To Pelican Banks
The Turtle Discovery Tour with Hervey Bay Eco Marine Tours visits Pelican Banks as well as a couple other islands in the area.
You can also visit Pelican Banks by jetski with Fraser Coast Jetski tours. Ride a jetski out to Pelican Banks and relax on the beach before heading back to the marina.
Alternatively you can hire a boat and skipper yourself and head across with Fraser Island Boat Charters and spend the day there.
What To Do At Pelican Banks
Despite being a tiny sandy island with no amenities – you could definitely keep yourself entertained here for a few hours. Go for a swim in the crystal clear waters, relax on the sand, read a book or whatever takes your fancy. The water surrounding Pelican Banks is shallow, very clear and fairly calm, so it’s a great place for children to paddle and makes a great family day out.
Bring a paddle board, volleyball or go fishing if that’s what you fancy!
Pelican Banks is perfect for couples for a romantic getaway, families (the kids will love the water here!) and groups of friends that just want to sit and relax.
As Pelican Banks is close to the mainland, you can get data coverage on most Australian phone providers.
What To Bring To Pelican Banks
Pelican Banks is basically just a sandy island with a tiny bit of grass on it – so remember to pack everything you need! Whilst it is very close to the mainland, it is an isolated place so make sure you bring everything you need.
A towel, reef-friendly suncream, sunglasses, a water bottle, some snacks, swimming costume, plus a camera of course!
Pelican Banks is an absolute highlight of the Fraser Coast area and is a must-visit when you are in the area!