There are many wonderful things about living in Queensland. We have an amazing climate, a laidback approach to life and access to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, right on our doorstep. One particularly magical event we’re blessed to have occur is the turtle season, which takes place annually in the Southern Great Barrier Reef and Bundaberg Region from mid November to late March.
Each year, Bundaberg and Bargara come alive with the excitement of turtle season. These gentle, intelligent and intriguing sea creatures journey tens of thousands of kilometres to return to the area they were born for nesting. Given their survival rate to breeding maturity, 30 years of age, is around 1 in 1000, each turtle to nest on our Queensland beaches is a blessing.
Making the journey to Mon Repos beach to witness this miracle for ourselves is easy. If flying up to Bundaberg isn’t an option, you can pack up the car and make the 4 hour road trip north from Brisbane, with plenty of great accomodation options available for all budgets.
The Turtle Centre at Mon Repos beach is home to a team of dedicated rangers and volunteers who make it their mission to protect the turtles, ensure their nesting season goes smoothly and educate visitors. Mon Repos is Australia’s only ranger lead experience, which means it’s the best place to watch turtles laying clutches of eggs or seeing scores of adorable hatchlings make their break to the water.
A visit to the centre gives children the unique opportunity to learn a great deal about the life cycle of turtles, the factors impacting their lifespan and breeding and to have a whole lot of fun seeing them up close. It’s a chance for them to get away from computers, games, phones and tablets and get back to nature and our Queensland roots.
Nearby, Lady Elliot Island offers the chance to get close to turtles in their natural habitat while experiencing the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Go snorkelling, spot a shipwreck and countless brightly coloured fish then take a walk on the reef at low tide, learning first-hand about the different creatures who call this area home. The Eco Resort here has a passionate team of marine biologists and rangers who work tirelessly to educate visitors and study the turtles who call this section of the reef home.
For big and little kids alike, it’s also a unique opportunity to swim with the turtles. There’s something hypnotising about the effortless, elegant way they glide through the perfect clear water and it will give you a newfound appreciation for them.
Visitors can stay on Lady Elliot Island or make the day trip over to the island, while opting to stay in Bundaberg or Bargara instead. While you’re in town, take a tour of the Bundaberg Rum Distillery, have a seafood dinner at sunset at Grunske’s By The River and enjoy an absolutely unforgettable meal at Indulge Bistro & Cafe. Be sure to have at least one breakfast at Indulge, though you’ll probably want to go back for more.
With so many daily distractions it’s easy to forget just how simple, peaceful and beautiful life in regional Queensland can be. A trip up to the Bundaberg region, exploring the Southern Great Barrier Reef and witnessing the turtle season at Mon Repos are the perfect way to get back to our country Queensland heritage and reconnect with the great outdoors.