There’s a very good reason why tens of thousands of people visit Mon Repos Turtle Centre at this time of year in beautiful Queensland. The turtle nesting season is in full swing! I recently visited with my family and we spotted 6 Loggerhead Turtles making their way up the beach to lay eggs. I think this experience should be on EVERY family’s travel list!
About Mon Repos Turtle Centre
Mon Repos Beach is located 4 hours drive north of Brisbane, a short 5 min drive form the beautiful seaside town of Bargara. Mon Repos is the largest turtle rookery in the South Pacific, with three species returning to the beach they born to lay their own eggs; Green Sea, Loggerhead and Flatback Turtles.
Here you will find a hugely successful conservation program with a state of the art education centre. This is the perfect place to come learn, support and experience this renowned part of paradise in a hands-on way (the BEST way to learn). Thanks to the very knowledgeable rangers (who clearly have a genuine and contagious passion for these turtles) you’ll find yourself learning so much information about this special beach and the endangered turtles who return to lay their precious eggs on it.
We were able to watch two Loggerhead turtles laying their eggs side by side in the sandy dunes. One turtle laid her clutch too close to the tidal ocean so we were invited to help the Rangers relocate her valuable eggs to a safer location higher in the dunes. This was such an incredible experience and one that my family will never forget. The work that the rangers and volunteers are doing to ensure this species survival is truly inspiring and something I hope our next generation can continue to foster.
You can watch two Facebook LIVE videos we streamed below to see some of the action.
This season is extra special as it marks 50 years since Dr Col Limpus launched the Queensland Turtle Conservation Program.
Dr Col Limpus and his family have contributed a lot to this program and are one of the main reasons we’re starting to see the recovery of our endangered Loggerhead turtle numbers.
There is so much history surrounding this protected turtle nesting beach and you can learn all about it in the Mon Repos Turtle Centre. I’m amazed at how professionally and efficiently they run this whole experience. There is literally not a spare moment when you’re not learning. Everything is extremely organised when it comes to the Mon Repos Tours, from the minute you are welcomed into the centre to the moment you leave.
Obviously they can’t control nature and there are no guarantees if, or when the turtles will appear but they have loads of entertaining information sessions to keep your busy whilst you wait. They also have a food van with hot food, tea, coffee and cold refreshments. You have the best chance of seeing nesting Turtles at Mon Repos after dark from Nov to Jan and Turtle hatchlings at night from Jan to March.
I was worried about keeping my kids entertained but I shouldn’t have worried as they have a really interactive kids session and plenty of puzzles and games to play whilst you wait for your group to be called. I found Master 5 started to get sleepy whilst we were watching a documentary in the outside amphitheatre so I found it best to wait inside the education centre where he could play with other kids.
It’s a great idea to book early as the tours do book out during the peak school holidays. As you arrive you will be placed into your group, don’t panic if you don’t score the 1st group as you’ll most likely find the groups leave fairly close together once the turtles start to arrive.
I would suggest you wear long sleeve clothing and a light waterproof jacket, the jacket will be handy if it rains as well as providing protection if there is a cool breeze. There were a few mosquitoes around so I would also suggest you pack insect repellent. You can find more information on what to bring here on there website.
Here’s a little bit more about Mon Repos thanks to Queensland Tourism.
Where we stayed
We stayed at Kelly’s Beach Resort for our one night stay in Bargara. This is a great family friendly resort where we enjoyed spending the afternoon before our turtle encounter at Mon Repos. We stayed in Villa number 9 which had a lovely outdoor deck overlooking their large ponds. Our kids enjoyed riding their scooters to their refreshing kid friendly swimming pools and then across to the local beach (just across the road from the resort).
Our large fully self contained 2 Bedroom Eco Villa had a master bedroom, loft bedroom, Cable TV, DVD/CD player, air conditioning with fans and dining table. It can sleep up to 6 people, with a set of bunk beds on the ground floor. We had a fabulous night’s sleep after our late night adventure at Mon Repos! You can find all their booking information here.
Things to do in Bargara.
We only had a short time to explore Bargrara but we chose to drive along the coastline (spotting some great swimming spots along the way) before visiting the local playground in the late afternoon and enjoying an early dinner at the local fish & chip store. This playground is well worth a visit when in Bargara, it’s actually a GIANT turtle filled with heaps of interactive play zones, including a water play area! A great spot to explore and enjoy the coastal views with many restaurants and shops a close walk away.
Where to next?
We’re already talking about a return trip to Mon Repos in the New Year to hopefully see some of those baby turtles emerging and starting their own journey but in the meantime we’re off to Lady Elliot Island! After experiencing the nesting turtles we’re excited to fly from Bundaberg directly to this coral cay to see what other turtle action we can find…you can read all about that adventure here.
Our adventure was hosted by Tourism and Events Queensland. We’re truly grateful to get the opportunity to showcase such a beautiful part of the world. All of our experiences our non-bias and genuine.
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