Majestic and graceful, the turtles that call the Bundaberg Region home, are unlike any other.

Encountering them in their natural habitat will leave you spellbound – from swimming with curious greens on the Southern Great Barrier Reef to witnessing a turtle’s circle of life journey on a ranger- guided Mon Repos Turtle Encounter. Experience natural encounters unlike any other this summer.

Each year from November to March, people travel to Bundaberg to witness a miracle at Mon Repos.

Home to the largest endangered loggerhead turtle rookery in the South Pacific and only ranger-guided turtle encounter on the East Coast, Mon Repos Conservation Park plays a critical role in the lifecycle of endangered sea turtles.

Under the cover of darkness, witness conservation at work as Queensland Parks rangers and researchers protect this precious population who return to the place they were born to nest. Watch as mother turtles haul themselves up sandy dunes to lay their clutches of eggs from November to late-January, and then return some six to eight weeks later to witness baby hatchlings scurry to the sea (late-January to late-March). Only one in 1000 hatchlings survive the odds and follow the magnetic pull back to Mon Repos to lay their own clutches.

Seeing the turtles nest and hatch can cause a severe case of “turtle fever”. The only known cure? More turtles! Put on your snorkel and dive into the effervescent waters of the Southern Great Barrier Reef, just a stone throw away from Bundaberg’s coastline.

Spend a day getting up close and personal with tropical fish, turtles, manta rays and giant marine life among the coral of the secluded Lady Musgrave Island and Lady Elliot Island.

Lady Musgrave Experience departs Bundaberg for day trips by luxury catamaran, headed for the protected lagoon and 3000-acre underwater playground of pristine reef around Lady Musgrave Island. With a new pontoon offering under-water accommodation and extended dive access, take close encounters to a new level and observe life on the reef from a different perspective.

Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort offers both day trips and overnight accommodation options on the world-famous home to the manta ray. Wake up to the sounds of natural flora and fauna with the reef at your door. After snorkelling the reef and capturing selfies with the turtles, marvel at intricate coral patterns in the comfort of a glass-bottom boat. Follow a reef expert on a scenic island tour and enjoy an unforgettable Southern Great Barrier Reef escape.

For more visit: www.bundabergregion.org/turtles

Photo: Tracy Olive