Get the fam in the car, you’re off to Bundy! - Bundaberg Region
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Get the fam in the car, you’re off to Bundy!

Guest Blogger Bio Jess Marsellos

Big city traffic, daily grind, kids need to defrag and spend less time in front of the screen and get out in nature? Look no further, pack up the fam complete with lots of road trip snacks and audiobooks, hop in the car and get road tripping with your favourite playlist 4 hours away to Bundaberg. You will feel like you have flown hours to reach this natural adventure paradise where great local food, wonderful weather, smog-free skies and extensive nature experiences will help your family make memories to last forever. 

Whether it’s apartments, family-style resorts or campgrounds and cabins you seek, there are many options in the Bundaberg region - both in town and down by the seaside at Bargara. You can check out our family friendly accommodation guide here. Many of the recommended activities are based in and around Bundaberg and Bargara so they are a good place to base yourself for the next few days. 

Day 1: Bike rides, turtle spotting and a side of pub lunch

Kick off your morning with a coffee and light breakfast at The Beach Mill Cafe Neilson Park and head off on a bike riding adventure. You can hire bikes from across the road at the Big 4 Breeze Bargara Holiday Park or BYO. If bikes aren’t your thing and your kids are of age, Neuron Scooters are available for a quick scoot along the Bargara Esplanade. You can also walk the turtle trail, it’s a fairly extensive track so just pick part of it if you have little ones whose legs get tired after what feels like 5 metres! 

Take a bike ride along the turtle trail through Mon Repos lush bush sounds, to the roaring track of the ocean as you discover all of the sights and sounds of this gorgeous part of Bundaberg’s coast. Stop off at the ultimate picnic tables as you go with packed snacks and lunch or make it all the way to in Burnett Heads for a spot of hearty pub lunch. They have a great kid's menu with drink and ice cream included for $12.  Make sure you pit stop at both Oaks Beach, Burnett Heads and Mon Repos as there are lots of soft corals and sea life to spot amongst the rock pools. 

On the way back be sure to stop in at the Mon Repos Turtle Centre - even if you haven’t booked in for a turtle tour at night, you can still visit the interactive information centre Turtle Tales between the hours of 9-12 daily. There are three different session times and you do need to book ahead. You will be able to explore the biology of marine turtles in a self-guided immersive experience taking in interpretive displays, observe migration routes via satellite tracking data, learn about turtle research and discover what threats turtles face. In the theatrette, learn more about Mon Repos and follow the life of a turtle.

Make your way back to your accommodation and then hunt down the freshest, most delicious, locally caught seafood for dinner at Grunskes By The River Seafood Market and Restaurant. If dining in is not your style, then you can buy fresh at the market and take home to cook your way. Either way - you won’t regret it. Look out for “locally caught” on their labels for the best and freshest fare. 

Day 2: Coffee at Oodies, aviation pioneers and baby animals

Pop into Oodies Cafe and start your day with a delicious breakfast (good kids menu with pancakes, bacon and eggs and all the little things kids love) and good, strong Tim Adams coffee. Lots of local art up on these walls and cosy vibes to start your morning just right. 

Head to the Botanic Gardens  for a play in the nature-themed and inspired playground, lots of great climbing equipment for the older kids and different areas to explore including puzzles, mazes and sand play. Step back in time as you don your glad rags and head to the art deco era of Bert Hinkler at the Hinkler Hall of Aviation. A purpose-built museum dedicated to the life and times of Bert Hinkler, an aviation pioneer from the 1920’s. It’s a fun morning out with interactive displays, flight simulations and even the Hinkler Quick Step which is a fun four-step dance. 

When you have finished up, grab one of the kids activity trail booklets from the front desk (there are two available, one for younger kids and one for 5-11 years) and take a pencil and become a budding horticulturalist as you learn lots about plant names, types and interesting facts around the Botanic Gardens. There are 20 stops on the trail, all marked via signage, and you can do the lot, or just a few - it’s up to you. 

From the gardens, you can head out to Splitters Farm for an afternoon of baby animal petting and self-guided farm exploration. It’s a working farm and, in addition to its rescued barnyard animals, is also home to native Australian animals including wallabies, platypus, barramundi, prehistoric lung fish and boasts over 150 documented species of Australian bird life.

If you have time and can squeeze it in, no trip is complete without a stop in at the Bundaberg Brewed Drinks Barrel. Discover Australia’s favourite brew through the self-guided tour of the senses and see how the world-famous ginger beer is craft brewed. Take your tastings seriously and be sure to fill up your mixed six pack with your new favs! (We LOVE the sweet Peach!).

By now you would have worked up a huge appetite and dinner will be calling. Ballistic Bargara is open Wednesday to Saturday and has some delicious pizzas loaded with toppings and easy share options, while the kids can choose to drink one of their new favourite Bundaberg Brewed Drink flavour, mum and dad can check out the range of locally brewed beverages like Reef Pale, Hawaiian Haze and Watermelon Gose. 

Day 3: Stand up paddle board at sunrise, snorkel and find the mermaid lagoon

After rustling up a huge appetite, grab some brunch at The Windmill - they have an all-day breakfast menu and a specialised menu for the little folks in the family including mini pancakes, soldiers and a dippy egg and lots of other kiddie favourites. They are open from 7am so no matter how early the youngest in your family rises, you can get them fed and off for the day's adventures.

Following filling your bellies, head to Elliott Heads, there is an amazing path that connects the beach all along the coastline, so if the bikes are packed you can take another ride around this part and stop off along the way to check out the many rock pools that dot this section of coast - look out for Submarine Lookout. 

Elliott Heads is also home to the famed “mermaid lagoon” which is only accessible via very low tide, so if the tide is right, head along the beach from the entry directly across from Dr May’s Island and find a pool of soft corals and reef fish within reach. You can have a little dip with the fishy friends or just observe from above. There is plenty to explore, see and do here, with vast expanses of soft white sand and a swimmable beach to explore.

Next stop - Barolin Rocks (best explored when it’s very calm with minimal wind for best visibility). With the Southern Great Barrier Reef just a stones throw away from our coastline, we're blessed to have a pristine reef within reach thriving with marine creatures and warm toned corals, that can be found just off the shore at at this local snorkeler havens. As this is an unpatrolled area, we recommend adding this to your itinerary if you're travelling with kids that are older than 10 and confident strong swimmers. If this sounds like your typical family adventure, pack your snorkels or goggles and explore this gorgeous part of the coastline with soft corals, reef fish and other marine visitors such as nudibranch, turtles and even the odd Dugong that have been know to frequenti this part of the Woongarra Marine Park. 

A trip to Elliott Heads is not complete without stopping by Tinaberries. During strawberry season you can grab some fresh strawberries from the farm gate or pick your own and the season runs June through to October. But never fear - even when strawberries aren’t in season, scrumptious ice cream is! You can still visit the farm and indulge in some of the best ice cream around. Flavours like blueberry, dragonfruit and lime, strawberry and passionfruit are blended fresh and served amongst a squeaking windmill, rustic sheds and the resident pooches and chooks. 

Day 4: Head home via macadamia wonderland, see some venomous and amazing animals and visit historic Childers

Oh no! Your adventures have come to an end, but never fear - the road trip home will not be complete without ticking these fun spots off your checklist. Head by Macadamias Australia  on Goodwood Road and grab a light bite and some coffee at The Orchard Table. You can indulge in a self-guided tour of this multi-generational, sustainable macadamia farm, the kids can run around the rows of macadamia trees just outside the cafe and even try their hand at cracking a few on the stations provided. These single origin macadamias taste like no other and with samples on offer like lemon myrtle, honey, salted, Belgian milk and dark chocolate coated you will have trouble choosing which packs to take on your road trip home (and whether they last the trip will be decided). 

Once you are loaded up with nutty goodness, continue along Goodwood Road and stop by Snakes Down Under Reptile Park and Zoo where crocodiles, some of Australia’s most venomous snakes, komodo dragon, meerkats, lizards, monitors, koalas, kangaroos, emus and even radiated tortoises from Madagascar will keep the family entertained for hours. There are various demonstrations and shows throughout the day and entry is super reasonable for a whole family.

If you are after a spot of shopping and food before hitting the road again, the Childers main street is like taking a step back in time. The Paragon Theatre harks back to the art deco era and has amazing ice cream by locally famous Mammino Gourmet Ice Cream, little bites to eat and 10/10 coffee for your much needed caffeine fix. You can even feast your eyes on curated art at Childers Arts Space or check out Clockwork and Curiosities with an interesting selection of vintage toys, trinkets, gifts and edible goodies. 

Travel safe and thanks for visiting -  we can’t wait to see you back in the Bundaberg region again!

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Wednesday, 24 July 2024

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