A Guide to the Best Vegan Food Spots in Hervey Bay, Australia
This is a straightforward summary of my explorations of plant-based dining options in this beautiful coastal town. Ok, let’s make sure we’re on the same page. I love Hervey Bay. It’s cute, quiet, and the weather is pretty much mint year-round. The ocean’s in your backyard, and the whales come to play from July to October (that’s why I was here!). But, I won’t lie - the food scene leaves something to be desired, especially for the vegans. Since I was living there for three months, I wasn’t about to sit at home and cook the same ole same ole every night - I wanted to eat out, too! I was able to do a fair bit of exploring in my quest to both satiate my stomach and stay committed to my environmental morals. This post is meant to save any vegan or omnivorous veggie-lovers some grief the next time they visit the Fraser Coast!
1) The Front Room - Torquay
It goes without saying - the Front Room wins the award for best vegan food. And that’s not just because it’s the only plant-based cafe in Hervey Bay. I reckon if you plopped the cafe in the middle of Portland, Oregon (hippie central), it would do just as well and hold it’s own amongst the big boys! The menu is diverse (and even satisfied the meat-loving captain I worked with), with options to satisfy the smoothie-bowl lovers, the burger aficionados (ugh, that breakfast tofu burger is to die for), the salad enthusiasts, and really…anyone. Try it out! The acai bowls are gorgeous. The coffee is primo. The location is nice, chill. I’ve spent a fair few mornings blogging (no free wifi, but it adds to the charm). Try their vegan cakes with your coconut milk mermaid lattes, too!
2) Enzo’s on the Beach - Scarness
While not a plant-based cafe by any means, the team at Enzo’s is happy to tweak recipes to suit your needs. They often have a vegan dish on special; I’ve been surprised with some zucchini slices and other veggie-based delights here. Plus, you can’t beat the location right on the beach, especially when the tide is high and the water is basically lapping at the legs of your table (slight exaggeration, but it is a perfect spot for sundowners).
3) Nana’s Pantry - Pialba
Oh, Nana’s. This place was a lifesaver for my roommates and I. Really the only bulk food store in the Bay, it was perfect for stocking up on pantry goods in BYO packaging. From the staples like brown rice and oats to more creative needs like coconut sugar and chickpea flour, Nana’s was a welcome find for a household looking to reduce our plastic consumption and up our organic cooking game. It’s the perfect place to stop in for some vegan snacks as well (get the dried mango or vegan baked cakes). If you haven’t gone bulk-food shopping before, never fear. It’s easier than you think! Bring some tupperware or reusable containers of varying sizes, some canvas bags, and the ladies will help you out. Such a friendly team! Also, be sure to check out the Vegan Cashew Cheese from my friend over at Soul Satisfaction, based on the Sunshine Coast. It’s to die for, and Nana’s is the only place that stocks up on it in Hervey Bay!
4) Aquavue - Torquay
I think of this as a less-dolled up Enzo’s. It has a similar, stellar beachfront location, but is a bit more chill. The owner just opened up the Vue Bar right on the premises, so you can drink whatever you fancy. They have vegan-labeled items on the menu that are pretty inventive, like the Vegan Smash, with avocado, pine nut vegan cheese, balsamic glaze, and mushrooms or the Vegan Chickpea Pancakes. It’s well worth a visit for your morning coffee or evening cocktails. Some colleagues and I attended the grand-opening celebration of the Vue Bar, and the delightful chefs prepared my friend and I a vegan platter upon request with no issues at all. They are very accommodating.
5) Go Natural Foods - Torquay
This is not a cafe, but a health food store that knocks it out of the park. You can certainly expect high prices here, but the selection of vegan cheeses, mayo, yoghurts, and other delights that are hard to come by in normal supermarkets makes it worth it. They have a small bulk section as well (and apparently will be building this up as time goes on) so it’s good for the plastic-free initiative as well!
7) The Dock - Urangan Boat Harbour
A classic. I frequented this place quite a bit during my time in Hervey Bay, as they had special “crew nights” for those working in the whalewatching industry every Wednesday. They have a few vegan items, and many of the vegetarian listings can be tweaked to fit the bill as long as they have a V* next to the name (usually it means dropping the feta). The Ratatouille Stack is particularly satisfying, oozing with crumbed eggplant, pumpkin, zucchini, tomato, capsicum, and caramelized onion. If chips are your thing, they probably have the best in town - just make sure to ask for them without parmesan shavings if you’re concerned! I highly recommend the Pepperjack Shiraz…good for a wind-down after a long day on the water ;)
6) India Gate - Scarness
This is not a vegan Indian restaurant, but by default, a lot of Indian food is cooked plant-based. The dahls and curries here are DELIGHTFUL, with plenty of variety for the meat eaters as well. The roti and naan is chewy and freshly baked. I went here with a friend of mine who seems to be a self-proclaimed Indian food expert and he said this was some of the best dahl he’s tasted outside of India. Plus, free corkage! Bring your own wine and make an evening of it. Just do me a favor (and the planet) and don’t do take-away unless you bring your own tupperware!
Now, Go Eat!
So there you have it - my favorite vegan food dining and shopping options in Hervey Bay. There’s plenty of other restaurants that can probably cater to you if you don’t like any of these options, but really - give them a try! Hervey Bay has some hidden gems, just let me do the digging for you. Happy eating, veggo’s!