The upcoming Bundaberg Region turtle season is officially being celebrated with Mon Repos Turtle Encounter sessions going on sale from today.
Held from November to March each year, the experience is operated by the expert guides of the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers and the volunteers who return year after year to assist in the conservation of the endangered loggerhead turtles.
The beach at Mon Repos supports the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland and has the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific region.
At this globally significant site, visitors learn all about these extraordinary animals and the conservation and research programs that are protecting them.
Holiday makers are also making their way to the region to visit the Southern Great Barrier Reef for an immersive, underwater turtle encounter around the coral cays of Lady Elliot Island and Lady Musgrave Island.
Daily departures to the islands are offered by Bundaberg operators Lady Musgrave Experience and Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort for day trips and overnight stays.
The pristine coral reefs off the islands are home to giant marine life including turtles and manta rays, and overnight guests on the islands will be able to engage with guided turtle nesting and hatching activities under the supervision of trained island staff, including marine biologists and Master Reef Guides.
“While Bundaberg is known worldwide as the home of Australia’s favourite rum and ginger beer, it’s also unassumingly the start of the Great Barrier Reef and home to Australia’s most exciting marine life experiences,” Katherine Reid, Chief Executive Officer at Bundaberg Tourism, said.
“The region is earning international recognition as a significant eco-tourism destination which offers experiences that are restorative for the soul and that give back to the environment in which they are taking place.”
Katherine said the community and visitors were the guardians of the nesting mother turtles, as they return to the place of their own birth and the circle of life starts once again.
“Our guests feel this sense of responsibility on our reef experiences as well, witnessing the vibrancy of the marine life that thrives in the pristine coral and swimming with curious turtles alongside our Master Reef Guides and marine biologists,” she said.
“As we come to the end of another challenging year, our tourism industry is looking forward to another wonderful turtle season this summer as the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and our world-renowned island operators of Lady Musgrave Experience and Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort deliver these nature-based encounters to Queensland and Australian visitors.”
Nicole Murnane, Acting Ranger in Charge, Mon Repos for Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, said the turtle encounter was a unique experience and an opportunity for the rangers to connect with visitors to share with them the importance of turtle conservation.
“The conservation experience has been carefully created to build understanding and appreciation of the life cycle of the turtle, to manage turtle watching, and ensure successful breeding for the survival of this endangered species,” she said.
“When we see the look of awe on the visitors' faces as they take part in the turtle encounters, it makes our non-stop efforts to conserve the area worthwhile.”
Tickets are limited this season to comply with the park’s COVID-safe plan, so holiday makers are encouraged to get in quick to secure a booking or may consider a day-visit to the Mon Repos Turtle Centre to learn from the rangers in the brand-new interactive facility or a reef trip to swim with turtles around the islands.
Mon Repos Turtle Encounter tickets are on sale from Wednesday 1 September, and a full range of island day trips and overnight accommodation options are available year round, all through the Bundaberg Region Visitor Information Centres or online at www.bundabergregion.org/turtles.