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Bundaberg, The Burnett & Bargara

  • May 13, 2020
  • By 50 Shades
  • 8 Comments
Bundaberg, The Burnett & Bargara

We were on the homeward trail and discovered that the brakes on our caravan were in need of repair so we decided to stop in Bundaberg for a few days. The region of Bundaberg is 375 kilometres north of Brisbane in Queensland and comprises the major city of Bundaberg, with the small towns of Gin Gin to the south west and Childers to the south; and the coastal villages of Elliott Heads, Coral Cove, Innes Park, Bargara, Burnett Heads and Moore Park to the east.

It is here that the Great Barrier Reef begins with coral reefs fringing the rocky shorelines and the two ladies of the reef, Lady Elliott and Lady Musgrave Islands. It is also the breeding ground for the Loggerhead Turtle at Mon Repos beach, the largest Turtle Rookery in the South Pacific. I knew I was going to enjoy this region!

Bundaberg Sugar Mill

Bundaberg Sugar Mill

Bundaberg

Bundaberg is a modern sprawling city situated on the Burnett River, with a district population of 112,000 people, and is affectionately called ‘Bundy’. It is famous for sugar and rum, as in the great Aussie spirit called Bundaberg Rum. Not surprisingly the surrounding area produces a significant percentage of Queensland’s sugar crop. A drive out to one of the coastal villages will treat you to a mosaic of green fields which change as the sugar cane matures and then gets harvested.

Bundaberg Cane Fields

Bundaberg Cane Fields & Orchards

The fresh local produce in and around Bundaberg is a food lover’s delight. The surrounding rich red volcanic soils are a national food basket with over 16,000 hectares of vegetables, fruit and nuts. This local produce is the inspiration for some of Bundaberg’s best menus at some of the finest restaurants in town. You can also purchase the fresh produce from farm gate stalls or at the Shalom Markets held in town every Sunday.

Bundaberg, The Burnett & Bargara

The Old Bundy Tavern

Things To Do In Bundaberg

Ten things to do and see in Bundaberg are:

  1. Celebrate the wonders of aviation innovation, spirit and adventure at the Hinkler Hall of Aviation.
  2. Learn about the Bundaberg sugar industry and the pioneer sugar families at the Fairymead House Sugar Museum.
  3. Enjoy a leisurely river cruise down the Burnett River from Bundaberg to the Port Marina.

    Burnett River, Bundaberg

    Burnett River, Bundaberg

  4. Experience all the Great Barrier Reef has to offer on a day trip to Lady Musgrave Island.
  5. Take the tour of the Bundaberg Rum Distillery and partake in the rum tasting afterwards.

    Bundaberg Rum Distillery

    Bundaberg Rum Distillery

  6. Ride on an authentic coal fired steam cane train at the Botanic Gardens.
  7. Take a country drive out to the National Trust town of Childers set atop rolling hills of red soil and green fields.
  8. Visit Schmeider’s Cooperage Complex and watch how Bundy kegs are made.

    Bundy Keg Coopery

    Bundy Keg Cooperage

  9. Amble through Alexandra Park with its Victorian era band rotunda and visit the free zoo.
  10. Take in the Mon Repos Visitor Centre and learn about the largest Loggerhead Turtle rookery on the East Coast of Australia.

    Mon Repos Turtle Centre

    Mon Repos Turtle Centre

Bundaberg Beaches

Spread out along the coast, only 15 kilometres from Bundaberg, is a succession of beaches where tourists and locals go to relax and unwind, from Moore Park in the north to Woodgate in the south.

Moore Park is on the northern side of the Burnett River and is 21 kilometres from the city of Bundaberg. There are no high-rise buildings or traffic lights, it is just a laid-back seaside village with 16 kilometres of sandy beach perfect for surfing, swimming, walking or fishing.

Moore Park Beach

Moore Park Beach

On the northern end of the beach there is access to take your 4WD along the 10 kilometres stretch of beach as far as the mouth of the Kolan River. Behind the caravan park in town there is a man-made island on a coastal lagoon, called Bicentennial Lagoon, which is literally bursting with birdlife.

Sunrise at Moore Park Beach

Sunrise at Moore Park Beach

Burnett Heads is where the river flows out to sea with the old Burnett Heads Lighthouse built in 1873, standing testament to a bygone era. Just upstream is the Port of Bundaberg with wharves and an imposing sugar terminal. If you are a boating enthusiast there are boat marinas at both Burnett Heads and at Port of Bundaberg.

Burnett Heads Lighthouse

Burnett Heads Lighthouse

You can walk or cycle all the way from Burnett Heads to Kellys Beach in Bargara along the Coral Coast Pathways and take in the lovely coastal scenery along the way.

Bargara is the largest beach town in the region and is very popular with tourists, boasting fine surfing beaches at Kellys and Nielson Park beaches. Enjoy a family picnic of barbecue along the Esplanade with plenty of playgrounds and picnic tables.

Bargara

Bargara

Nearby is The Hummock, an extinct volcanic cone which is the district’s highest point, that offers 360 degree views of the area. It has a nature boardwalk which meanders through the last vestiges of the original Woongarra Scrub.

Neilsons Beach, Bargara

Neilsons Beach, Bargara

Mon Repos – Turtle Beach is well known as the largest and most accessible Turtle rookery in mainland Australia. The area is a conservation park designed to protect the turtles so access to the beach is limited during the nesting season. There are guided walks each night from November to late March to watch the Turtles nest.

Bundaberg, The Barnett & Bargara

Mon Repos Beach Image Credit: Bundabergnow.com

At other times through the year Mon Repos is a popular swimming and sailing beach. At the southern end of the beach the estuary of Coachhouse Creeks drains a tidal mangrove community, and a variety of wildlife can be seen in this area.

Where To Stay In Bundaberg

We stayed at Moore Park Beach Holiday Park during our visit to Bundaberg, that is surrounded by the ocean on one side and a lagoon and park on the other side. The caravan sites here were large and grassy with some shady trees and it is pet friendly. Straight across the road from the caravan park there is a Bowls Club that offers meals.

Bundaberg, The Burnett & Bargara

Moore Park Lagoon & Parklands

There are caravan parks located at Elliot Heads, Burnett Heads Lighthouse, Miara and at two at Bargara.

Lady Elliot & Lady Musgrave Islands

Lady Elliot Island is the only coral island on the reef with an airstrip and is just a 25 minute scenic flight from Bundaberg.  There is accommodation at the resort varying from beachfront suites to tent cabins where you can stay for a few days or longer. Activities include reef walking, snorkelling, scuba diving, Turtle tours, historical and night walks along with reef education.

Lady Elliot Island

Lady Elliot Island Image Credit: Queensland.com

Lady Musgrave Island can be reached by day cruise available from the Town of Seventeen Seventy and is completely ‘untouched’. The only accommodation option is camping and you need to bring along your own water, food, etc. The island has a navigable lagoon and there is plenty of marine life under the water to discover.

Lady Musgrave Island

Lady Musgrave Island Image Credit: Australiantraveller.com

Divers are well catered for with dive facilities on both islands and specialized dive boats. Diving is not confined to the islands as there are dive sites just offshore at the Beaufort Bomber wreck, artificial reef and Evans Patch.

The Bundaberg region gives you a great taste of Queensland’s lifestyle. It was not only the delicious fresh farm produce, or the coral reefs fringing the rocky shorelines, or the beach resort town of Bargara, or the nesting Loggerhead Turtles at Mon Repos, that made it extremely appealing. But it was a total all-round, enjoyable holiday experience.

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By 50 Shades, May 13, 2020 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

8 Comments
  • jo
    September 15, 2014

    Have only ever driven through Bunderberg so it’s lovely to hear about all the different things to do. Would love to visit the two nearby islands.

    • Kathy
      September 15, 2014

      Yes me too, so it was interesting to stay a few days and explore the area and see what it had to offer. Although I didn’t personally go out to the islands, I have heard that they are both beautiful.

  • travellingbag
    September 15, 2014

    I’ve never been to Brisbane or Bundaberg – there’s still so much of Australia to see :-)

    • Kathy
      September 15, 2014

      There is so much of it to see, but I feel like I have seen so much of it now after our six months travelling around. Then again, we didn’t venture inland too much!

  • Pinky Poinker
    September 15, 2014

    To me Bundaberg is the epitome of Queensland. Being the home of Bundy Rum certainly helps. Love your sunrise photo :)

    • Kathy
      September 15, 2014

      We did the Bundy Rum Distillery tour as it is my hubby’s favourite drink. We got to taste two different types of rum afterwards, which went straight to my head! I loved Bundy and the sunrise at Moore Park Beach was sensational.

  • Rae Hilhorst
    September 16, 2014

    You have taught me so much, I was only thinking rum xxx

    • Kathy
      September 16, 2014

      Well the rum is still a big part of Bundaberg and it seems to dominate the skyline. However it does have a spectacular river and coastline as well.

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