Mon Repos : A magic turtle encounter

July 6, 2023
By Patrick Cros

Let’s immerse in a miraculous spectacle of nature with the Mon Repos Turtle Encounter Tours. Delve into a journey into the life cycle of the endangered loggerhead turtles on the eastern Australian coast, courtesy of a new partnership between Goway Travel & Bundaberg Tourism.

Starting November 2023, an exceptional opportunity has been offered for visitors to secure their place in a ranger-guided tour for the 2023/24 Bundaberg Turtle Tour Season. Accessible via Goway's agent portal, tours are available from 10 November 2023 to 24 March 2024, offering an unparalleled journey into the remarkable world of turtles at Mon Repos.

Situated 14km east of Bundaberg, the natural site rings with celebratory bells at the arrival of the first nesting turtle of the season in November. As the only ranger-guided turtle encounter available on the east coast, this conservation initiative plays a pivotal role in the research and preservation of the endangered loggerhead turtles, supporting the largest population of nesting loggerhead turtles in the South Pacific. A beacon of hope for this majestic species.

A night of unforgettable experience

From November to March, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Park Rangers host night-time Turtle Encounter tours at the Mon Repos Turtle Centre. Visitors are granted a rare chance to witness the breathtaking process of nesting and hatching of marine turtles.

"From November through to January, it is an amazing sight to see these huge creatures heaving their way up the beach to find a safe spot to dig a nest and lay their eggs, explains one of the Park Ranger. And then, some 6-8 weeks later, generally between January to March, you can witness the tiny hatchlings emerging from their sandy nests to scurry down the beach towards the sea". These awe-inspiring moments occur mostly after dark, making the nocturnal tours an experience to treasure. "A turtle’s arrival can’t be predicted—some nights multiple turtles arrive early, sometimes only a few arrive at a time, and some turtles arrive after midnight”.

A commitment to sustainability and conservation

Hosting the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland, Mon Repos has become a thriving hub of turtle conservation. With around 25,000 visitors every season, the guided tours are both an educational experience and a crucial initiative for promoting sustainable tourism. Beach access is managed to ensure minimal disturbance to the nesting sea turtles, for a successful and peaceful coexistence of humans with the animals. The result : a unique opportunity for travelers to experience the unforgettable journey of marine turtles, from the moment they crawl ashore to lay their eggs, to the instant their young hatch and make their brave trek to the sea. A showcase to the indomitable spirit of nature, providing an intimate look at one of the planet's most enduring life cycles.

The Mon Repos Turtle Centre next to the beach is also dedicated to marine turtle research, protection and education. The Centre offers a year-round state-of-the-art experience, with interactive displays, immersive theatre room, outdoor trails, gift shop, café, art gallery and access to the beach. Through interpretive displays, observe migration routes via satellite tracking data, visitors can learn about turtle research and discover what threats turtles face.

Visitors can also venture out to Islands of the Southern Great Barrier Reef like Lady Musgrave Island and Lady Elliot Island and swim with the turtles year-round.
Visitors can also venture out to Islands of the Southern Great Barrier Reef like Lady Musgrave Island and Lady Elliot Island and swim with the turtles year-round.

Images :

  • Paul BEUTEL
  • Lauren BATH
  • Ian MacAusland / Tourism & Events Queensland
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