Whatever brings you to Bundaberg, be it the rum, the sunshine or the wildlife, there are plenty of reasons to stay for a while, writes Natascha Mirosch.
Snorkel the Reef
Experience the Southern Great Barrier Reef with a day trip from Bundaberg Port Marina to Lady Musgrave Island, a pristine coral cay with a protected lagoon that’s home to schools of reef fish, manta rays and turtles, making it ideal for snorkelling.
Take a food tour
Tour guide Suzie Clarke leads a variety of food tours around this rich agricultural area, focusing on farms, producers and their bounty – from strawberries to sweet potatoes and limes to lettuces. Meet the farmers and enjoy morning or afternoon tea at one of their properties.
Turtle watch at Mon Repos
Join a ranger-escorted night-time excursion to watch the magnificent loggerhead, flatback and green turtles laying their eggs in nests that they dig in the dunes (November to January). January to March is hatching season, when the baby turtles break out and head for the sea.
Visit the Hinkler Hall of Aviation
Aviation enthusiasts will enjoy this interactive museum, a tribute to local aviator and inventor Bert Hinkler, the first person to fly solo from England to Australia. As well as a historical interactive exhibit, there are six replicas of Hinkler’s aircraft.
Take a segue ride
A novel way to see the beautiful Bargara coastline is on a segue. There are two guided tours offered: one around Mon Repos Conservation Park, the other a 10-kilometre round trip that finishes with drinks and tapas at sunset.
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In a town with a distillery that produces around 300,000 litres of rum each week, coopers are a necessity rather than oddity. You can catch one of them in action at Schmeiders Cooperage where you can even have your own cask made to order.
Learn the basics, or, if you’re an advanced paddler, hone your stand-up paddleboarding skills. Lesson locations vary according to the tide and weather conditions but are held on the patrolled Kellys, Mon Repos or Elliott Heads beaches.
Eat and drink at Winterfeast
Now in its second year, Winterfeast runs over 10 days in July and celebrates the region’s produce with long lunches and markets, wine and food tours, farm visits, picnics and more.
Cruise the Burnett River
Pick up some fresh prawns and a cold beer from the seafood market at Grunske’s By The River, then climb aboard the Bundy Belle, a restored classic river ferry. River tours are 2½ hours long with accompanying commentary on the river’s colourful history.
Tour the “big barrel”
Take an interactive tour of the “big barrel” – a building in the shape of, yes, a big barrel – followed by a tasting of the Bundaberg Brewed Drinks range. All of the 17 brewed soft drinks are made with natural herbs and spices, including the well-loved ginger beer and the divisive sarsaparilla.
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