Local rum, pristine islands and the
Great Barrier Reef without the crowds
While the reef is a world-famous attraction, it’s the quiet atmosphere and lack of crowds that stand out when you base yourself in Bundaberg. Not far from the city, boats leave for stunning Lady Elliot Island, which is a haven for large numbers of loggerhead turtles. Undeveloped and pristine, Lady Musgrave Island is ideal for lagoon snorkelling and scuba diving.
The waters around these beautiful islands are home to an abundance of marine life, including manta rays, dolphins and migrating whales.
On the mainland, travel past Bundaberg’s signature sugar cane fields to reach Bargara, a relaxed coastal town featuring gorgeous palm-backed beaches – without the usual scores of tourists. Along with the region’s islands, Bargara is a magnet for turtles, both green sea and loggerheads, who nest on the beach during hatching season each year. The Mon Repos Conservation Park protects the turtles, which can be seen scuffling down to the water at night. Sunny days are perfect for a wander along the beachfront esplanade, where you can mix with locals who know the best surf breaks, sheltered swimming spots and walking trails for a peaceful afternoon stroll.
There’s no escaping Bundaberg Rum in this city, but the distillery is not the only way to experience Bundaberg’s best-known export. Head to a local pub and settle back with friends or family while sipping a freshly made rum cocktail or a Bundy and Coke. The kids can try some fizzy, non-alcoholic ginger beer. On Friday evenings, join laid-back locals gathering at the weekly RiverFeast event for delicious street food, craft beer, market stalls and live music by the Burnett River.