A destination that’s quaint, relaxed, easy on the pocket and not far from the full range of glitzy amenities
WORDS & IMAGES GREG CARTAN
Sometimes a park ‘with the works’ is the way to go. Choice of pools, waterslides, onsite shops and restaurant, huge camp kitchens, ensuites, and just around the corner from boutiques, cafés, and other entertainments. But sometimes, I just want to chill, not do much, and soak up the slowness and quietness. These places are getting harder to find, especially in the coastal corridors. ‘Civilisation’ is cutting a relentless path. But not just yet at Burram Heads.
About 40 minutes north of Hervey Bay (which has everything), is the little town (almost a village) of Burram Heads. A compact place but it’s got an adequate assortment of shops including a reasonable-size supermarket, post office, fish and chips, the inevitable gift shop, fishing/hardware supplies, fuel, hairdresser, pharmacy, butcher and bakery. And if you need something ‘extra’ then amble up to Bundaberg or down to Hervey bay. Simple.
Feel like a night out? Just ring up the local pub or bowls club and they come and pick you up! How about that. The food is good basic tucker and plenty of it. The local take-away is not too bad either; they’ll even cook your own fish for you
(if you’ve had a good day). It’s all friendly, local.
Things to do
Most people come here for the fishing I suspect. You’ll see small tinnies rolled down the Beachfront Caravan Park ramp by hand, heaps of bigger boats heading out most days, and many scattered hopefuls along the pathway following the rock wall. The pelicans are usually kept busy at the cleaning benches. If you can’t talk fishing it’s a bit like not being an Aussie Rules fan in Adelaide – lonely. But wait, there’s more: bike riding, canoeing, swimming, golfing, and the walk along the river is quite stunning. If that’s too active, then book in for a river cruise or hop in the car and cruise around the countryside. There are some interesting towns within a reasonable distance, including Toogoom (there’s a nice restaurant), Howard (visit Brookyn House), and Childers (a classified National Trust town).
There are two caravan parks both pretty much in the centre of town. Both a long way from the high-end parks of big name locations (say Sunshine Coast or Cairns), but that’s part of the reason to go there.
The Burram Heads Beachfront Caravan Park is right on the river and next door to the small shopping centre. It is fairly basic (claiming a 3.5 star rating) but I think that adds to its charm. There are a few prime sites right on the river (book well ahead or be very lucky) with the remaining stretching down and across the main road (true!), scattered among the trees. Sites are pretty tight too but the facilities are excellent – all the usuals (free barbecues, laundry, small camp kitchen, shower block) and they are very clean and tidy. No pets. This is a friendly and relaxed ‘shorts, thongs and Bunnings straw hat’ type of place. No theme parks here. Off-season prices range from $44 beachfront, $33 on the flats and $28 unpowered.
The Hillcrest Holliday Park is just a little further down the road from the shops, but closer to the boat ramp. This is also a pretty tidy park, with the usual 3.5-star-style facilities but also has a pool and a small kids’ play area. Sites are a little bigger and there are some good shady sections. It looks over the newly constructed boat ramp (which is massive). An off-season powered site will set you back $30 and $50 in peak times.
So there you have it
We’re not quite taking a step back in time at Burram Heads but it is a very different ambience to the ‘civilisation’ just down the road at Hervey Bay. But you do get a sense that the pace is picking up. I don’t reckon it will be too long before a set of traffic lights pop up. Maybe the best thing about this place is that it is very easy to do very little. My prime exertion for the day is to wander down to the bakery at about 11 o’clock for a coffee and a nibble – the fishing can wait.
To help with your planning
Burram Heads Beachfront Caravan Park 07 4129 5138 https://www.beachfronttouristparks.com.au/our-parks/burrum-heads-caravan-park
The Hillcrest Holliday Park 07 4129 5179 http://www.burrumheadshillcrestholidaypark.com/
General information https://www.visitfrasercoast.com/destinations/burrum-heads