December 9, 2019

Top 10 things to discover in Bundaberg

This post was hosted by The Bundaberg Region.

I have a bucket list and it is quite large…one of those things on that bucket list was to see the endangered Loggerhead turtles at Mon Repos. I can happily report that I can now tick that off my bucket list!

This really was a life changer and something the kids and I will cherish forever. On top of our Turtle Encounter at Mon Repos, we really soaked in everything Bargara and the Bundaberg region has to offer. Let me tell you about all the hot spots, must visits and bucket list tickers you’ll need to know before you take the fabulous journey to Bundaberg! 

The Bundaberg Region is overflowing with culture, fresh produce, delicious food, beautiful scenery and beautiful people – you really feel welcome and part of the ‘family’ in the Bundaberg Region.

Check out my ‘higlight reel’ video to give you a quick idea of the amazing things we did and read ahead for all of my hot hints and tips!

About the Mon Repos Turtle Centre

Your first stop before seeing the majestic Loggerhead turtles laying their eggs (or seeing the little hatchlings arrive in January) is the Mon Repos Turtle Centre. The centre itself has recently undergone a multi-million dollar re-build and we were lucky enough to be one of the first to experience it. 

It is a beautiful space that is state of the art and very interactive. A great place for children (and adults) to learn all about the marine turtles and the conservation and research programs that are protecting them. 

The centre promotes education through fun interaction.

The kids were fascinated by the Turtle projections gliding over the floor and across the walls. Simply stunning!

Kids can learn all about the lifecycle of these beautiful creatures and the struggles they face being endangered. My son swears he doesn’t want any of us to use plastic anymore and I agree. It is the number one killer of these amazing turtles. To see them in their natural habitat makes you realise the toll humans are taking with global warming. Our generation of children are so aware of this and by giving them this type of experience, can only make them more conscious and compassionate.

Touch screens are the perfect way for our generation of tech-savvy kids to take in every ounce of information.

  

There’s even play areas for kids to play with kinetic sand and turtle ‘eggs’. This truly is a hands on experience that every child must tick of their bucket list!

There’s a cafe that serves coffee, cake and light refreshments and a gift shop that stocks adorable keepsakes.

The beaches are patrolled by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Rangers and volunteers who alert the centre when turtles arrive on the beach to lay. We were so excited when they called our group to head down to the beach!

When we arrived there was a giant Loggerhead Turtle Mumma who was already laying her eggs! We got to see it up close and it was simply mesmerising! The Ranger explained to us what we were witnessing and answered any questions that we had.

Speechless!

Words can not explain how magical it is to watch what’s been happening for thousands of years happen before your very eyes. You simply have to go to get that feeling.

Turtle season runs from early November until late March every year. To book your amazing adventure at Mon Repos and/or to learn more, head here for all of the details.

One thing you simply must do is take in a Lady Musgrave Experience. This was such a highlight for us. How often do you get to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef with Green Sea Turtles! Arrrrggh!

On the morning of our departure we were lucky enough to have a breakfast basket from the amazing Windmill Cafe. The croissants are handmade by their French pastry chef. They were divine. The note was a lovely touch too! Nawww.

This is the premier catamaran that we boarded from Burnett Heads to start our journey. It’s 3 levels, 27 metres high, super high speed, air conditioned and most importantly fitted with the nicest crew you can ask for. Now I have to give credit where credit is due and 17 year old Kat deserves all the credit in the world. She was so attentive with us, loved the open seas and was super fantastic with the kids.

Here she is! She made you feel so welcome and she was so knowledgeable. If you book a Lady Musgrave Experience trip and you see her a) you’re very lucky and in for a treat and b) please give her a big hug or high five from us.

Can we please acknowledge how beautiful the water is whilst we’re here? Wow!

When we arrived at Lady Musgrave, we were the first group to snorkel – yes!

We geared up in our wetsuits (which is an option you can choose), donned our snorkel equipment and hit the azure waters. As soon as we put out faces in the water it was turtle city. They were everywhere, gliding past us, diving down and even enjoying the cleaning stations. There were thousands of colourful fish and we were honestly in heaven.

The photo captures all of the feels.

I was a bit excited too.

Look at this beauty. It really is such a beautiful experience being one with these creatures in their natural habitat. My kids will never forget this experience…and neither will I.

The next thing on the itinerary was a trip over the reef on the glass bottomed boat. Our guide Phil was full of information and was very funny to boot.

The first thing we see? Well of course, another Turtle! Just gliding along underneath us. We saw more fish and plenty of coral too.

The glass bottomed boat took us over to Lady Musgrave Island which is pretty much untouched. There were thousands of Black Noddy Birds nesting all along the trees – pretty spectacular to see.

We were taken on a guided tour on the island and got to take in all of it’s beauty.

We then got to enjoy gourmet catering before our journey home. This was an experience to remember!

Places to visit

Head to the Hinkler Hall of Aviation to discover the story of aviation extraordinaire and local celebrity Bert Hinkler. There’s plenty of interactive displays, a movie theatre (in the shape of a giant globe) and even some glider simulators. What’s not to love?

The kids thought the glider simulation was awesome – the could steer and fly above Mon Repos and get the feel of what it might have been like for Bert Hinkler all of those years ago.

This is the very cool globe theatre. The kids got to watch the life story of Bert Hinkler – it really gave them a fond respect of the brains and bravery that he displayed. Plus, they’ve never had the opportunity to watch a movie inside a giant globe before, so, there’s that!

Of course there’s an option to pretend to actually be Bert Hinkler and ‘fly’ in his amazing plane.

Right across from the Hinkler Hall of Aviation is an amazing park where the kids spent a good time playing and having fun. I must say, Bundaberg really has some amazing parks for the kids. Super state of the art. This particular park even had a swing I had never seen before – it was built to fit a toddler and a baby at the same time. Where was that 8 years ago? Brilliant!

There’s beautiful Botanic Gardens here too that are full of beautiful flora and fauna – there’s even turtles (of course), ducks and a beautiful Chinese garden. There’s also a steam locomotive that drives around the park on Sundays. There are so many fun things for the kids which are super affordable for parents. Everyone wins.

Choo Choo!

Another place to visit is Kelly’s Beach. It’s just beautiful! There’s a little spot called ‘The Basin’ where which is a calm rockpool just north of Kelly’s Beach. We took the kids there and packed their goggles and snorkels. It’s a great place to help them practice their snorkelling skills. There are thousands of fish there too would you believe. We took a little bit of bread which attracted the fish. They were swirling all around our legs – the kids thought this was pretty darn cool.

The park next to Kelly’s Beach is amazing too. Again, there are so many new parks in this area…and my kids soaked them all up!

Look how cool the park cafe is. I ordered up a healthy plate of Worm Spagetti and an Ice Cream Spider of course! If you want some ‘real’ food though, there’s plenty of BBQ facilities and covered eating areas – all of which have stunning views of the beach.

While we’re on the park train, there’s yet another amazing park on the Esplanade at Bargara, aptly named ‘Turtle Park’.

The kids thought this park was Turtle-ly awesome.

Plenty of interactive activities including some water play too. This really is the city of awesome parks.

When you’re in this beautiful region, you have to visit the Snakes Downunder Reptile Park and Zoo.  It’s a fun and affordable day out which displays over 45 species and sub species of Australian Reptiles, Amphibians and Marsupials.

We were lucky to experience an adorable Meerkat encounter. I’ve always loved these adorable creatures as have the kids, so when they had the opportunity to have them sit on their laps, they of course went for it!

Oh they are the cutest! Bookings are essential for this experience so if you’re thinking of giving it a go – make sure you jump on the website here to book. There’s a fantastic snake show that will get your blood pumping too. Only in Australia.

Where to stay

We stayed at the beautiful C Bargara Resort which has spectacular views of the beach – it’s literally right across the road. It’s completely self contained which is great with kids if you want to cook basic meals instead of going out to dinner, but if you did however want to head out, the C Bargara Resort is a few minutes walk to plenty of cafes, restaurants and shops.

The rooms are large, modern and super clean.

The living areas are very spacious  – great for spreading out! The balconies are also huge and don’t get me started on the pool! It’s just spectacular.

We took our special blow up Seahorse ‘Daisy’ which was perfect to float on in the gorgeous pool.

Where to eat

There are so many great options in the The Bundaberg Region to get something yummy. I’m always looking for somewhere that the kids will enjoy and I found plenty!

We enjoyed breakfast (twice) at the Windmill Cafe.

It is a quaint little cafe in the shape of a Windmill. The kids thought this was pretty awesome! The beautiful gardens that surround the cafe make for a tranquil dining experience and there’s even a play area for the kids which includes a swing.

The Cafe is owned and run by husband and wife duo Joey and Kirsty. We had the opportunity to chat with Joey who was so welcoming. He proudly told us all about the Bargara region and gave us some local hot tips (which I’ll share with you). His passion for the region and his cafe is second to none. Everything on the menu (except for the cheese) is locally sourced. Farmers were dropping off boxes of  fresh produce as we dined. 

The food tasted as beautiful as it looked and with a large menu filled with healthy and delicious  options, you really can’t make a wrong choice.

I loved enjoying a cup of tea with my daughter in the lovely gardens. Such beautiful surrounds.

A special congratulations to Joey and Kirsty who just took out Gold in the Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services Category too. So well deserved! 

We enjoyed lunch at HSG at the Gardens at Branyan where we met the lovely Executive Chef Dion Taylor. He was so welcoming and lovely and was really passionate about the space. The HSG at the Gardens offers High Teas, Baby Showers, Corporate Events, Fundraisers, weddings and of course casual dining experiences. There’s so much space and loads of grassed areas for the kids to run around. The food was a delight. If you’re in town, I would definitely recommend a visit.

This was my green salad with red onion, pickles, local gourmet tomatoes, micro greens and shaved parmesan. Yum!

This Sand Crab Turkish with house made Gaufrettes is also on the menu. 

Another great place to grab a bite is Kelly’s Beach Resort Restaurant. It has a very relaxed and casual dining atmosphere which really makes you feel like you’re on holiday. There’s a  kids games room and loads of Seafood options on the menu. I love that they support over 13 local growers and suppliers too.

The garlic prawns were delicious.

You can’t beat a good surf and turf am I right!

When we left, we were gifted these beautiful hand painted rocks which I thought was so lovely. It seems to be quite a theme in Bargara too. There were handprinted rocks left all around the area. The idea is that you take the rocks and place them somewhere that you travel too. When we left C Bargara Resort  we were encouraged to take a few of these special beauties back to the Sunshine Coast to leave around which is exactly what we did. I have put together a round up of beautiful rock painting ideas at the bottom of this post too. 

Another foodie option is Alowishus in Bundaberg Central. It’s a true local hotspot that’s family friendly and tucked away in a very trendy alleyway. They even make their own gelato in store.

The food range is full of colour and flavour and in true Bundaberg form,  filled with local produce.

If you’re looking for an amazing coffee made from Sacred Beans Coffee, then you have to visit Alowishus…it’s delicious!

Another delicious food stop is Grunskes by the River. The views alone are definitely worth the stop – looking over the beautiful Burnett River, you’re going to crave the freshness of the locally caught Seafood that Grunskes by the River offers.

 

The kids loved watching all the boats coming and going.

Look at the array of food on offer. We certainly made the most of it!

Someone was super happy!

If you’ve always wanted to pose with a giant prawn, this place has you covered too 😉

We really enjoyed the atmosphere and delicious food at Grunskes by the River. They’re also based in Bundaberg Central – a must visit when you’re in the region!

Another place to visit (I told you there was plenty of options), is Rick’s at Bargara Bar & Restaurant & Bar located 5 minutes walk from the C Bargara Resort and has a fabulous atmosphere. It’s right on the beach and has the option of breezy alfresco dining or contemporary indoor dining. 

The view on our walk there was beautiful. Time for a quick snap of my lovelies.

I think judging from these photos – it’s safe to say the food was a big hit at Rick’s ;). We loved the live music which really entertained the kids too. The adults may or may not have had a sneaky (and very delicious) cocktail. Rick’s at Bargara Bar & Restaurant & Bar comes highly recommended by me.

Another cool place we checked out (which I also highly recommend), is Insane Caffeine. It’s was on the way home for us at Childers and man is it cool! It’s so quirky and ‘hipster’ with plenty of areas for photo opportunities (which is always a winner for me).

The mural you see here was painted by the owner’s daughter – isn’t it fab!. The cafe has an awesome collection of repurposed items from Singer Sewing Machines. It’s actually owned by a local farmer so you know the food is farm fresh.

The food was delish. This was my Pumpkin, Pear and Blue Cheese Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Dressing. Yum! This place is a real feast for the eyes and tummy. The food in The Bundaberg Region is so fresh and just divine!

We really enjoyed our time in the Bundaberg Region and will definitely be back. There are so many amazing things to do in the one place. I’d love to come back and watch the baby turtles hatching and making their way to the sea…added to the bucket list 😉

Oh and if you’re looking for a boredom buster for the kids in the car – you can download this FREE Car Bingo game! Download the FREE Printables here.

Also here’s some cool rock decorating ideas!

You can see the few that were from Bargara! The green turtle on the bottom right, the cluster of rocks from Kelly’s Beach Resort and the two at the top right and left of box. There’s some other adorable designs I found on the net too. If you want to, paint on some rocks, pop your post code on the back, leave them somewhere where someone will take them and hopefully someone will post an image of them one day! I love this idea – spreading joy in the smallest of ways really ‘rocks’.

I hope you enjoyed my post on Bundaberg, if you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in comments and I’ll get back to you!

Jenni x

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