Mon Repos is all about turtles, right? Yes and no.
It is home to some of the most amazing turtle experiences on offer, but it also boasts great ‘beachy’ outdoor fun with a dash of intriguing history thrown in.
This year the Mon Repos 2021-22 turtle season will continue to be a little bit different!
Firstly, we will have reduced visitor numbers for the Turtle Centre and Turtle Encounter tours (due to COVID-safety restrictions—no surprises there!). So if you’re travelling in the Bundaberg region, and planning to visit the Turtle Centre, be like a turtle and go with the flow, to make sure your visit is relaxing! For Turtle Encounter tours you’ll need to get in quickly to pre-book your ‘social bubble’ online to guarantee your spot.
Secondly, and this is the fun part, if you can’t do a night tour, you can still experience all things ‘turtle’ by visiting the Turtle Centre during the day. After your centre visit, head down to the beach and see if you can spy some tracks from the night-time reptilian visitors!
And, of course, if you’re not coming to see turtles, no problem! Mon Repos is a great place to simply spend some time in nature with friends and family, and it’s just 15min from Bundaberg. So, if you’re after some ‘green time’, grab your walking shoes and explore the great outdoors in this pint-sized conservation park.
Here are our top picks for discovering all that Mon Repos has to offer.
Turtle Centre fun!
You’ve pre-booked your social bubble in for a centre session, so now you’re ready to explore what the Mon Repos Turtle Centre has to offer.
The Turtle Centre is dedicated to marine turtle research, protection and education. Here the whole family can learn about the special journey turtles and people have taken at Mon Repos.
Spend some time exploring Turtle Tales, the immersive theatre, and the displays. You’ll all learn some ‘gnarly’ turtle facts, find out why turtles are endangered and how they’re being protected… and a selfie with the display turtle is a 'must'!
Turtle time over, it’s time to plan your day. So grab a park brochure with a map, animals and history, and some great ideas on things to do in the park.
Pedal your pushy
If you’re staying in Bargara or Burnett Heads then turn the journey into part of the adventure and swap your four wheels for two. Feel the wind in your hair and smell the fresh sea air as you soak up the coastal views along the 9.4km Turtle trail. Don’t worry, there’s no need for Lycra! The ride is perfect for Sunday afternoon cyclists, families or anyone who hasn't been on a bike for a while 😁
Take your time, you’ll love the many quiet spots along the way where you can stop for a swim or chill out with a picnic. Sections high above the breaking waves provide the perfect vantage point to snap a brag-worthy pic of the coastline. You can ride straight to Mon Repos or do the whole trail first and stop on your way back. So, grab a pushy and discover the Woongarra Coast by pedalling your way to Mon Repos.
No bike? No worries! You can rent a bike at Bargara. Tip: make sure you stop on the headlands and look for whales between late June and early October #epic!
Hit the beach
There are beaches and there are beaches… and Mon Repos is a good ‘un—just ask the turtles! You can relax with a stroll along the golden sands gazing out to sea, or get busy building a sandcastle or flying a kite. Just remember to help protect our turtles—if you are visiting during turtle season flatten your sandcastles when you leave, and please stay off the sand dunes even out of turtle season! Mon Repos beach is closed to public access from 6pm to 6am from 15 October to the end of April for turtle conservation purposes.
If critters are your thing, then get a sneak-peek into the underwater world by combing around the rock pools. Head to the northern end of the beach for the best treasures! Colourful corals, crabs, sea stars and sea cucumbers are just some of our rock pool residents and, best of all, you don’t even have to get wet to meet them. Just remember—look but don’t touch!
Small in size but big in heart
History buffs you’ll love Mon Repos—it may not be our biggest park, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in heart. Time, and the elements, have been kind enough to leave behind some reminders of earlier days—if you know where to look!
Mon Repos is culturally significant for the four identified First Nations groups—Taribelang Bunda, Gooreng Gooreng, Gurang, and Byellee peoples. Today, the remnants of a stone fish trap to the north of Mon Repos tell the story of the ancient gatherings and feasts that took place here.
Over the last 130 years, foreign influence has shaped Mon Repos. In 1893, France chose Mon Repos beach as the connection point for a telegraph cable stretching from New Caledonia to Australia. For 30 years this cable connected Australia to the rest of the world. Today, on extremely low tides, you can at times still see traces of the cable, halfway along the southern end of Mon Repos beach.
The French connection isn’t the only foreign influence in the area. Take a wander down to the South Sea Islander rock wall for an insight into the early sugar industry. There were no electric tools in 1884, so imagine how many Islanders it took, and how hard it was, to hand-build this 1.6km long rock wall.
For a flashback to a time when Australia’s coastline was under threat, take a stroll in the remnant patch of Woongarra scrub along the 4.5km return Mon Repos coastal track. In a flat of basalt rocks, south of Cable House Creek, you’ll find four bunkers built during the battle of the Coral Sea in 1942.
Flying high, well, almost
Bert Hinkler was a legend! Stories of his triumphs and his tragic death have been well-told—from his first solo flight from England to Australia in 1928 to flying across the Southern Atlantic Ocean three years later.
But did you know it all began with his first successful glider flight, right here in Mon Repos? Bert’s glider only climbed to 10m above the sand dunes, but it launched him on a runway to fame. You can see where it all began if you head just a short walk north along the Turtle Trail. How much has changed in over a century—we now have jets, frequent flyer points and test flights into space! Wonder what Bert would have thought of all of that?
Ready to create magical memories?
Take another look at all that Mon Repos has to offer—even if you you’re not visiting the centre!