Bumper crowds have been experiencing the wonders of turtle nesting season in Bundaberg, despite the region’s devastations a year ago.
More than 20,000 visitors have witnessed turtle hatchlings emerge from over 300 laid nests at Bundaberg’s Mon Repos Conservation Park with visitors encouraged to join in before the season ends.
Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism General Manager Rick Matkowski says the turtle season was back stronger than ever and was playing a vital role in the region’s recovery from last year’s ex-tropical cyclone Oswald.
“Over the next six to eight weeks, thousands of turtle hatchlings will make their way from their Mon Repos nests to the ocean providing a memorable experience for our visitors, young and old,” Mr Matkowski says.
Katherine Mergard from Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism says the season is going well so far and is on track for a strong year, despite suffering from flooding and cyclone damage in 2013.
“It’s really reassuring to see all the turtles returning to nest and for tourists to follow…more people leave with a greater appreciation of conservation and the environment and that’s a great result,” she says.
Mergard says it’s an event for the whole family, with nightly ranger and volunteer guided tours to experience the turtle encounters in a controlled and informative environment.
“It’s definitely one for the bucket list,” she says.
The Queensland minister for tourism, major events, small business and the Commonwealth Games Jann Stuckey says February and March are a terrific time for visitors to see the turtle hatchlings dash into the waters of the Coral Sea to begin their life journey on the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
“There is no better place in Australia to experience this remarkable natural encounter than in Bundaberg, home to the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on Australia’s east coast occurring at Mon Repos,” Stuckey says.
The turtle hatching season at Bundaberg’s Mon Repos Conservation Park occurs every year from January to March, with this year’s season expected to officially end on 23 March.
Mergard says there are plenty of things to see and do while in Bundaberg.
Here are three ideas to get you started:
1- The Bundaberg Rum distillery tour or the Bundaberg Ginger Beer factory might quench your thirst.
2- There is plenty of amazing food and local produce, with local farms for strawberries, macadamia nuts, sugar cane and avocados.
3- The Hinkler Hall of Aviation is dedicated to pioneer Australian aviator and inventor Bert Hinkler and is an attraction and aviation adventure experience.