It might be most famous for its rum, but there’s so much more to Bundaberg. This region marks the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef and is dotted with historic coastal towns, coral cays and some of the most important turtle breeding sites in the world.
A coral cay at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, Lady Elliot Island is a marine sanctuary for more than 1,200 marine species. Swim with the giant manta rays that feed close to the island year-round or see green, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles nesting on the beaches between November and March. Underwater visibility is more than 20m and you can snorkel straight off the beach or dive at one of the many sites close by the island shore.
Lady Elliot Island has its own airstrip with regular flights from Brisbane (90 minutes), Hervey Bay (40 minutes) and Bundaberg (30 minutes).
The family-friendly beachside town of Bargara is a little slice of the tropics just north of Bundaberg. Nearby is the Mon Repos Conservation Park, site of the largest population of nesting turtles in eastern mainland Australia. See turtles hatch on the beach from February – March, walk the Turtle Trail, visit the Turtle Centre and join a ranger for a night-time Turtle Encounter from November – January.
Bargara and Mon Repos are a 15-minute drive from Bundaberg.