bundaburg bargara turtle encounters
Bundaberg Tourism

Whether you live in the Bundaberg Region or just on holiday, you will know for sure that the area lives up to its hype. It comes with many advantages, especially with being close to spectacular flora and fauna.

In the area, sits the stunning coastal town of Bargara, along with some of the best attraction-filled hotspots right in the southern Great Barrier Reef. There are plenty of things to do, but one thing should always be on your list of things to do. With the turtle season starting, it is surely something you do not want to miss.

An Unforgettable Turtle Encounter

Bargara’s neighbour, Mon Repos in Bundaberg Area, is one of the best places not only in Australia but the whole world when it comes to the finest nature shows. It is where you should be if you want to witness one of the greatest spectacles you could imagine: loggerhead turtles nesting and hatching eggs.

You can experience the turtle encounters through the tours with park rangers guiding every night. The event runs from November until March.

If you visit during the first part of the season, you can watch the mother turtles moving to the shore to lay their eggs. A few months later, you can come back to see them hatching. These little turtles will slowly make their way into the ocean.

Experiencing the guided turtle encounter is easy. You only need to book online or through the phone. The Turtle Express is an alternative for booking where you will be picked up from a specified location and dropped off at Manta in Bargara.

baby turtles hatching bundabergWhat’s So Special with the Turtle Season?

The turtle season begins in early November and ends in late March. Your visit or stay will never be complete in the Bundaberg region if you do not make a stop at the awe-inspiring turtle centre. Did you know it is the only ranger-guided marine turtle encounter on the east coast?

It is not just a tourist or local attraction but a key to turtle conservation research in Australia. Loggerhead turtles are an endangered species as listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The Nature Conservation Act 1992 of Queensland protects the turtles in the state.

Many years ago, these turtles were hunted for meat and eggs, causing them to decrease in number. Laws and regulations were soon imposed, allowing Australians and people around the world to know that these turtles should not be consumed. Worldwide legislation put a stop towards the consumption of the meat and eggs, although many lenient countries do not enforce the regulations properly.

The loggerheads visit the Mon Repos beach frequently. It is your chance to take an unparalleled encounter with a natural wonder, which took several thousands of years to create. Mon Repos Conservation Park Watch highlights how mother turtles lay their eggs, which typically take place anywhere from November to January.

If you want to plan your trip towards the end of the season or around January to March, this is when a pathway to the ocean will be formed. Allowing the baby turtles to begin a dangerous journey. They will strive to survive until adolescence.

How You Can Enjoy the Turtle Encounter

According to sources, only one out of a thousand turtles will be able to make it and reach maturity. With the help of the turtle season, you can witness the start of their journey. While you see these wonders of nature, you can also build memories of your own. There is no doubt that the whole turtle encounter will create memories that will last a lifetime.

Tickets for the Mon Repos Turtle Season are available at the beginning of November. You can only book an on the day ticket until 4 PM, which is available for that particular night. However, there will be times when tickets will no longer be available, which is why you may want to book early or plan your trip further ahead.

In 2019, as with any year, these events attract large numbers of tourists and locals. Seeing the turtles is certainly the biggest reason why, but the Mon Repos Turtle Centre was also recently redeveloped. It can get much busier than the past few years and it is expected to welcome a huge crowd until March. For those who are from another town, it is best to book for the tour before travelling to Bundaberg. The sightseeing and educational tours often book out quickly.

Here are some of the things you can expect while enjoying your time at Mon Repos:

  • After you have booked a ticket, you can start your adventure. However, due to the excitement over the renovation of the centre, you will need to use the shuttle bus as a means of transport. It is the best and recommended way to enter the turtle centre safely.
  • You will have to wait for the shuttle bus to arrive and pick you up just outside the Mon Repos Turtle Centre right at the Council Car Park. It is located at the end of Mon Repos Road. Collecting visitors will take place from 6:30 PM onwards.
  • The turtle centre itself will welcome locals and tourists at 7 PM with the tour lasting until 2 AM. Note that you do not have to pay for the shuttle bus transfer since it is included in the price of your ticket.
  • The ranger-guided encounters operate every night. As announced, it began on the 9th of November and will end on the 22nd of March 2020. The tours are available except on the nights of December 24th and 25th. They will carry on after these dates and will stop again for one day on the 31st of December. They will recommence the next day.
  • Aside from watching the sea turtles go to the shores, nesting is one of the most exciting sights to behold. These nesting turtles arrive anytime at night. The tour guides recommend that the visitors witness the sea creatures after dark, starting from the season-opening until January.

If you will be late, you just might be in luck. Some turtles continue to nest until mid-February.

  • Meanwhile, if you are mostly interested in watching the turtles hatch from their eggs, you will soon see them emerging in early January.
  • Those who want to observe a large concentration of baby turtles should book for a tour in February. During this time, most of the turtles would have already hatched. You can see them moving and making their way slowly towards the waters.

The hatchling tours will go on before March ends. When booking, remember that you should reserve a ticket and buy it before 4 PM. the sales already close after this time. It is imperative that visitors call beforehand to check the availability of the tickets, especially those who will need to travel to Bundaberg.

loggerhead tracks turtle bundabergBooking at the Mon Repos Turtle is possible but only if there are still available tickets. Since the Turtle Encounter is quite popular, it helps to pre-book and pay online before getting to the centre.

Tickets range from the following types:

  • Family: You will need to have a group of a maximum of four people. It is required that everyone is related and that there are two adults and two kids.
  • Concession: Those eligible for card concession can simply show the rangers at the site before checking in. Requirements include a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, Pensioner Concession Card, or Health Care Card, a Department of Veteran’s Affairs DVA Card (gold, white, or orange), and a secondary school ID card with photo.

Just like with any adventure, you should be prepared. Visitors are recommended to bring a light jacket since it can get cold in the location. After all, you will be on the beach during the whole tour. Insect repellents should also be ready and make sure to bring a water bottle. You can find water refill stations in the area.

It is also helpful (but not required) to bring a hand torch. Mon Repos will stay dark, so you may want to be ready with a hand torch as you walk around the area. However, you should be aware that you cannot use the torch while you are on the beach.

You can still see the turtles because the rangers will shine a light on them when they begin to appear. The turtles can take some time to emerge from the beach though. Therefore, you may want to bring some items that could entertain you, such as books and cards.

Since the site has some rocks ad shells, you will need to wear appropriate footwear. Many guests find sandshoes and walking shoes as the best options.

Meanwhile, the conservation park does not allow the following:

  • Pets
  • Smoking
  • Umbrellas
  • Alcohol

During the rainy days, you can take your umbrella with you. However, you cannot bring it to the beach. All umbrellas will remain at the Turtle Centre where you can also freely use yours. The Turtle Encounter is certainly an experience that you will not forget.

If you want to get your turtle encounter adventure underway but need a place to stay, why not check out the Your SuperHost listings, we’re sure one of our managed properties will be able to host your next visit to the region.



Angie Suthers

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