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I’ve discovered that some places are worthy of a second visit. This is what brought me back to the seaside town of Bargara on the Southern Great Barrier Reef on the Coral Coast. However this time around, instead of just a day trip, we spent a whole week here seeing the best of Bargara.
Situated 13 kilometres east of the city of Bundaberg, Bargara is 384 kilometres north of Brisbane in Queensland. It is a seaside holiday resort town that has a lovely laid-back relaxed vibe. It is surrounded by rich volcanic soiled farmlands that mainly grow sugar cane and a variety of other produce.
It is not only most famous for having the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles at Mon Repos Beach on the eastern Australian mainland. But it also boasts the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific region.
We stayed at the Bargara Beach Caravan Park located at the northern end of town opposite the Surf Club, Nielson Beach and the extensive parklands. It’s a large sprawling park with lots of shady trees and grassy areas to camp. This pet friendly caravan park is in the ideal position to enjoy a beach holiday and is close enough to walk or cycle into town.
There are plenty of other accommodation options in Bargara, including hotels, holiday units, Airbnbs and holiday homes. Book your Bargara Accommodation HERE.
There were two places that absolutely stood out in Bargara. Sandhills Sports Club for dinner and The Windmill Cafe for breakfast and coffee. The Sports Club has an incredible menu and both meals I had here I enjoyed immensely. You can’t beat the $9.95 senior specials on a Wednesday night.
The Windmill Cafe, that is actually housed in a timber windmill, is surrounded by a lovely outdoor garden area. It is super dog friendly with water bowls and even treats give to your furry friends.
The other eateries that came highly recommended were The Journey Cafe for the health conscious and the Red Chilli Thai Restaurant in town. Otherwise there is the bistro at the Golf Club and Bargara Lakes Tavern.
For a decadent treat drive out to nearby Tinaberries Strawberry Farm and try their homemade icecream and farm fresh strawberries.
Our daily routine was to walk along the pathway along the beachfront into town for a coffee past Nielsons Beach, The Basin to Kelly Beach. The pathway is nice and wide and smooth with a timber bridge across a small creek and through coastal vegetation of casuarinas and pandanus trees in a couple of sections.
My husband set off on his bicycle one morning to the north along the Bargara to Burnett Heads pathway. This pathway takes you through the environmental park to Mon Repos Beach and traces the shoreline along Oak Beach to Burnett Heads.
For bushwalking enthusiasts there is a great walk at Barolin Nature Reserve. The nature reserve comprises of a large area (over 300 hectares) of natural bush, grassy plains, wetlands and 4 kilometres of paths located near Bargara.
There are several beaches scattered across the 5 kilometre stretch known as the Bargara Esplanade. Depending on whether you want a beach for surfing, swimming or somewhere sheltered that is ideal for children, there are plenty on offer.
Our favourite beach was right in front of the Caravan Park where we stayed at Neilsons Beach. From north to south Bargara beaches include:
As we were visiting Bargara in the middle of winter it was a little cool for swimming and surfing. So we spent most days taking a look around the area. Some suggested things to do and see around Bargara include:
Burnett Heads – only a short 11 kilometres driving distance north of Bargara, Burnett Heads is where the Burnett River enters the ocean. Here you can check out the Burnett Heads Lighthouse built in 1873, the Bundaberg Port, throw a line in the river, relax in the extensive parklands or swim at the beach.
Mon Repos Turtle Centre – just north of Bargara the Mon Repos Turtle Centre is a must see. On the particular day we went here it was closed to visitors, however we were able to walk on the scenic boardwalks through the rainforest to the beach.
Turtle nesting season is from November to March. During this time you’re able to take a nighttime turtle encounter to witness the hatchings emerging from the nests on the beach. At other times of the year visit the Turtle Centre where you will learn all about these extraordinary animals and the conservation and research programs that are protecting the turtles.
Elliott Heads – a big favourite of mine was the drive out to the seaside village of Elliott Heads through the cane fields. This town is located on the Elliott River and has its own island created at low tide, called Dr Mays island. This island is a sanctuary for rare birds that visit from Siberia and Alaska. You can walk out here at low tide, but not actually on the island itself.
The town has a great Caravan Park situated right on the beachfront, beautiful parklands and a cafe. There are also a couple of beach options here to suit everyone, and of course the sandy shores of the Elliott River.
Amandine Lavender Farm – on the way out to Elliott Heads we stopped at the Lavender Farm. There are extensive fields of beautiful lavender, a stately Queenslander house, lovely gardens and a charming little cottage that is the shop. The shop sells an exclusive range of lavender products and gifts. You won’t come away empty handed!
Tinaberries Strawberry Farm – also on the road out to Elliott Heads is the strawberry farm where you can pick your own strawberries in Spring. You can wander around the family owned farm and farm outbuildings, enjoy farm fresh strawberries or try their own fruit-filled homemade ice-cream. It was delicious!
Understandably there is plenty more to do and see in the city of Bundaberg. For more information read my previous blog Bundaberg, The Burnett & Bargara.
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.