Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Mon Repos Conservation Park

Mon Repos Turtle Rookery, near Bundaberg, Queensalnd

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For more than 35 years, scientists have studied turtle biology at Mon Repos, one of the two largest loggerhead turtle nesting sites in the South Pacific. Mon Repos Conservation Park near Bundaberg is the rookery for the largest number of nesting marine turtles on mainland eastern Australia.

Between November and March, visitors to Mon Repos can witness one of Natureís most fascinating spectacles, the annual onshore pilgrimage of sea turtles, which come ashore to lay their eggs, and the subsequent hatching of young sea turtles and their return to the sea.

The parkís other attractions include Woongarra scrub remnants, mangroves, the site of Bert Hinklerís first glider flights, a tidal lagoon, rockpools, and an historic basalt stone wall built by Kanaka labourers brought to Queensland in the late 19th Century to harvest sugar cane.

The offshore waters and the beach are protected in adjacent Woongarra Marine Park.

Exploring Mon Repos

Enjoy this quiet retreat during the off-peak season of winter and spring when access to the park is unrestricted. Walk along the beach or go birdwatching. Explore the rockpools or go snorkelling on the fringing reef.

During the turtle season, thousands of visitors flock to the turtle information centre to watch turtles on guided night tours. The centre opens at 7pm and access to the centre and beach is by ticket only. Fees apply. Audiovisual shows are presented in the amphitheatre, weather permitting.

The best time to see turtles is after dark from mid-November to February. Hatchlings usually leave their nests at night from mid-January until late March. If you visit in January, you might see both nesting turtles and hatchlings.

Visitors should come prepared with warm clothes, rain gear, insect repellent and walking shoes. Small torches are permitted. While time limits apply to beach access, you may have to wait at least two hours before going to the beach. Allow up to six hours for your visit.

Spend time in the visitor centre discovering the special stories of Mon Repos, the sea turtles and nearby Woongarra Marine Park.

Camping is not allowed in the park but a private caravan park adjoins the park. You can also stay nearby at Bargara or Bundaberg.

Walking

A track starting from the information centre lets you explore the park. Wear a hat and sunscreen. Take drinking water.

Accessibility

The Mon Repos Information Centre, toilets, picnic table, boardwalks and the first 600m of the coastal circuit are wheelchair-accessible but there is no special access to the beach.

Getting there

Mon Repos is about four and a half hourís drive north of Brisbane and just 14km or 15 minutes east of Bundaberg.

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                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email: admin@austhrutime.com     Sources & Further reading