Experience turtle conservation in Bundaberg

Each year marine turtles congregate along the Queensland coastline to nest, providing an opportunity for people to not only witness the event but do so in a way that helps provide education in conserving these endangered animals.

The beach at Mon Repos, on Bundaberg’s coastline, supports the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland and has the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific region.  At this globally significant site, visitors learn all about these extraordinary animals and the conservation and research programs that are protecting them.

The Mon Repos Turtle Encounter, held from November to March each year, is operated by the expert guides of the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers and the volunteers who return year after year to assist in the conservation of the endangered loggerhead turtles. Tickets for the 2020/21 Mon Repos Turtle Encounter go on sale today, Wednesday 1 September.

The Ranger Tour. Image: Tourism Events Queensland (TEQ)

A visit to the Mon Repos Turtle Centre allows you to discover the Turtle Tales immersive theatre and interactive display experiences; and have a Turtle Encounters like very few others in the world. The park is culturally significant for the four identified First Nations groups—Taribelang Bunda, Gooreng Gooreng, Gurang, and Byellee peoples.

Still standing today, is a heritage-listed basalt stone wall built around 1884 by South Sea Islanders as they cleared rocks to prepare the land for sugarcane crops. The park’s natural features include dune plant communities, Woongarra rainforest scrub remnants, mangroves, a tidal lagoon and rock pools.

Beyond the beaches of Mon Repos, exploring the Southern Great Barrier Reef offers an immersive, underwater turtle encounter around the coral cays of Lady Elliot Island and Lady Musgrave Island. Daily departures to the islands are offered by Bundaberg operators Lady Musgrave Experience and Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort for day trips and overnight stays. 

Mon Repos Turtle Encounter. Image: Tourism Events Queensland (TEQ)

The pristine coral reefs off the islands are home to giant marine life including turtles and manta rays, and overnight guests on the islands will be able to engage with guided turtle nesting and hatching activities under the supervision of trained island staff, including marine biologists and Master Reef Guides.

Chief Executive Officer at Bundaberg Tourism, Katherine Reid said “While Bundaberg is known worldwide as the home of Australia’s favourite rum and ginger beer, it’s also unassumingly the start of the Great Barrier Reef and home to Australia’s most exciting marine life experiences.”

“The region is earning international recognition as a significant eco-tourism destination which offers experiences that are restorative for the soul and that give back to the environment in which they are taking place. The community and our guests are the guardians of the nesting mother turtles, as they return to the place of their own birth and the circle of life starts once again.”

Katherine Reid

Acting Ranger in Charge, Mon Repos for Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Nicole Murnane, said the turtle encounter was a unique experience and an opportunity for the Rangers to connect with visitors to share with them the importance of turtle conservation.

“The conservation experience has been carefully created to build understanding and appreciation of the life cycle of the turtle, to manage turtle watching, and ensure successful breeding for the survival of this endangered species.”

Nicole Murnane
Mon Repos Turtle Centre – Queensland Parks Ranger Cathy Gatley. Image: Paul Beutel

Tickets are limited this season so you have to get in quick to secure a booking or maybe consider a day-visit to the Mon Repos Turtle Centre to learn from the rangers in the brand-new interactive facility or a reef trip to swim with turtles around the islands.

Mon Repos Turtle Encounter tickets are on sale from Wednesday 1 September, and a full range of island day trips and overnight accommodation options are available year-round, all through the Bundaberg Region Visitor Information Centres or online at www.bundabergregion.org/turtles.

A turtle laying eggs. Image: Tourism Events Queensland (TEQ)

Feature Image: Tourism Events Queensland (TEQ)

Kate Webster is a world traveller, ocean lover and conservation warrior who is determined to make every moment count for not only herself but the world around her. This has inspired Kate to translate those moments and share them through her storytelling. A dedicated David Attenborough and Jane Goodall fan, Kate has delved into the world of wildlife and conservation travel to bring awareness.