How to Have a Turtley Awesome Time in the Bundaberg Region - Mark Fitz

How to Have a Turtley Awesome Time in the Bundaberg Region!

Swimming with the turtles at Lady Elliot Island

It's a pretty special time of the year in Bundaberg with turtles nesting and hatching every night along the shores of the Southern Great Barrier Reef. If you'd like to experience this amazing natural phenomenon first hand then these are the places to go and activities to do:

Mon Repos Nightly Turtle Tour

Every night between November to March you can participate in guided Ranger encounters at Mon Repos beach. The Rangers take small groups down one by one to the beach to witness the adult turtles nesting or baby turtles hatching. It's a beautiful experience to watch them lay their eggs and also see the babies running down the beach and swimming out to sea.

TIP: Make sure you book ahead as these tours are extremely popular and don't forget to bring along your camera and a torch!

Lady Elliot Island

Just a short 20 minute flight from Bundaberg airport lies the idyllic Lady Elliot Island. Lady Elliot is one of my all time favourite places to get up close with turtles and you can easily spend hours swimming with them. The turtles here are the friendliest I've ever encountered and will happily follow you around the lagoon. During nesting and hatching season it's well worth signing up for a nightly Turtle Trek and one of the knowledgable staff will take you on a guided tour to observe the turtles.

TIP: Some of the turtles can often come into lay or hatch around sunrise so get up early for an opportunity to see them in action!

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Lady Musgrave Island

Hop aboard the luxurious catamaran "Main Event" and head out on a day trip to Lady Musgrave Island. My first ever up close encounter with a turtle was right here at Lady Musgrave! I've been back 5 times since and every time I've been lucky enough to swim with several of them. The best place to see turtles here is at one of the coral bommies or "cleaning stations" where the turtles come in to relax and let the cleaner fish remove parasites from their shells.

TIP: A guided tour of the island is also included in the day trip so don't miss this. It's a great little walk and you never know what you'll see swimming in the shallows. On my most recent trip we saw 6 baby black tip reef sharks!

Other Activities

Bundaberg Rum Distillery Tour

You can't do a trip to Bundaberg without visiting the famous Bundy Rum factory! The tour takes you around the distillery where you learn about the history of this iconic brand and see up close the processes involved in making their famous rum. The tour then finishes with a tasting session where you can sample their finest drops.

I must admit I wasn't a huge fan of rum before this tour but after sampling a couple of their different rums I've now bought 2 bottles - a Bundaberg Master Distillers Collection Small Batch Rum which goes very nicely with ginger beer and a Bundaberg Tropics Mango & Passionfruit which is extremely refreshing with lemonade!

Segue Bundy Tour

For a fantastic way to see the Bargara coastline jump aboard a Segue Bundy Tour. After a short training session in the park where you get familiar with your segue you then follow your friendly tour guide Matt along the coastal trail.

I'd never ridden one of these before but I picked it up in no time. The beauty of these little devices is that they are self balancing so it's very hard to fall off!

Segue Bundy offer a couple of different tours, a Turtle Trail Eco Tour to Mon Repos Conservation Park and also a Sunset and Tapas Tour. We followed the Sunset and Tapas trail along to the golf club and the views along this stretch of the coast are stunning. To top it all off you can then have a tasty tapas plate and watch the sunset with a drink, the perfect way to end the day!

The Bundaberg region has left a lasting impression on me over this last week and this trip will go down as one of my all time favourites. There are few places in the world where you can get so close to such a huge amount of marine life and when you combine that with beautiful islands, crystal clear waters, fantastic beaches and terrific coastal trails, you've got yourself the perfect nature lovers holiday.

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