Tickets to Turtle Encounter Tours at Mon Repos officially go on sale today, with demand expected to generate bumper tourism for Bundaberg businesses.
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said bookings for the upcoming season would be hotly-contested with more than 16,000 people visiting the Mon Repos Turtle Centre last year to witness 120,000 hatchlings make the mad dash from the beach to the ocean.
“Mon Repos supports the most significant nesting population of loggerhead turtles in the South Pacific,” Minister Scanlon said.
“And those nesting turtles in turn support plenty of good jobs and business for the local community as visitors flock from across Queensland, Australia and overseas.”
Last year alone, 364 turtles came ashore along the Woongarra Coast – 350 loggerheads, 9 flatbacks and five green turtles – with the majority of them at Mon Repos.
Minister Scanlon said the Palaszczuk Government had upgraded the turtle centre to add to the experience and environmental value, with an additional 42 hectares in the surrounding area acquired and protected, and a major award-winning overhaul of the centre in 2020.
“It’s now also almost run entirely off of renewable energy with 446 solar panels powering the popular tourism destination,” she said.
Minister Scanlon said tickets for Turtle Encounter Tours go on sale on September 1 and encouraged people to get in quickly after last year more than 50 per cent of tickets sold out within 24 hours.
Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith urged would-be visitors to get in quick not just for tickets but also accommodation, with the first night of tours starting Monday November 7.
“It really is an experience that captivates people of all ages and the turtles never cease to amaze they emerge from the ocean to lay clutches or scamper to the ocean after hatching,” Mr Smith said.
“Sharing the journey alongside the large female turtles as they emerge from the water, make their way up the beach, and begin to dig their nest, has brought visitors back to Bundaberg time and time again.
“This is an exciting time of year for our region, with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers and 70 local volunteers putting their hand up to showcase this unique experience.”
Bundaberg Tourism CEO, Katherine Reid said Mon Repos Nightly Turtle Encounters drove an estimated 77,000 visitor nights into the Bundaberg Region during the last nesting season.
“While Bundaberg is known worldwide as the home of Australia’s favourite rum and ginger beer, it’s also the start of the Great Barrier Reef and home to Australia’s most exciting marine life experiences,” Ms Reid said.
“The region is earning international recognition as a significant eco-tourism destination offering experiences that are restorative for the soul and that care for the local environment.
“The community and our guests are 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 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 national and international visitors.”
To book a Turtle Encounter Tour visit: https://www.bundabergregion.org/