Rockstars of the Reef - Bundaberg Region
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Rockstars of the Reef

With huge numbers of travellers seeking to travel more lightly and mindfully now more than ever, we thought it was a great time to introduce you to our Rockstars of the Reef. Think of this as your guide to who’s who in the world of restoration and regeneration on the Southern Great Barrier Reef! These champions are tirelessly working to ensure the health and vitality of this natural wonder, and their efforts make them the unsung heroes, and we like to think the coolest conservation crew ever.

MASTER REEF GUIDES

If the Great Barrier Reef was The Marvel Cinematic Universe, these guys are the Guardians of the Galaxy. There are currently 102 wave splashing warriors lacing the Queensland coastline, interpreting and translating the science spiel for us normal folk and offering transformative experiences that educate and inspire travellers to roll up their sleeves, and play their part in their everyday eco efforts.

These highly trained and passionate individuals serve as ambassadors for the reef, leading immersive tours and providing valuable insights into the fragile ecosystem. With their extensive knowledge and commitment to sustainable practices, Master Reef Guides play a crucial role in ensuring visitors leave with a deeper understanding of the reef's importance and the need to protect it. Even the very first Master Reef Guide is a certified Southern Great Barrier Reef legend, LEI’s Peter Gash!

The best way to keep ahoy of all the latest MRG content? Head on over to Instagram and give them a follow – www.instagram.com/masterreefguides

 LADY ELLIOT ISLAND ECO RESORT

Nestled on the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort stands as a beacon of sustainability, shining a light on how tourism and conservation can coexist harmoniously (a light that shines just as bright as the 150 year old lighthouse used to).

This eco-conscious resort goes beyond providing guests with a fab experience; it actively contributes to reef conservation, through initiative’s such as:

  • Citizen Science Projects, and working with research teams like Leaf to Reef and Project Manta.
    • Just in October, they recorded the newest species on the Great Barrier Reef with the Leaf to Reef Team, the Lady Elliot Shrimp Goby (Tomiyamichthyes elliotensis)
  • Island Restoration Program
    • Since launching the large scale revegetation program in 2018, the island has seen a 125% increase in turtle habitat at the main nesting beach! How rad!
  • Partnering with GreenFleet to offset 100% of carbon emissions from flights to and from the Island.
    • These funds are used to plant trees at Barolin Nature Reserve in Bargara, which just so happens to be home to the largest population of nesting loggerhead turtles in the South Pacific at Mon Repos. These trees create a great big green bushy barrier to stop light misguiding the teeny tiny hatchlings that hatch on the shoreline.
  • Heck, these legends are even turning the sun into drinking water!

 MONSOON AQUATICS

Tucked away in the Port of Bundaberg, under the roof of an unassuming shed, filled with psychedelic, Australia’s Largest Coral Farm, Monsoon Aquatics is making a splash in the reef restoration world.

A vital force in coral restoration, specializing in the propagation of resilient coral species, Daniel Kimberley is spearheading his mission to ‘’share the wonder and beauty of the coral reef with the world, so it can be enjoyed, understood and valued’’. Harvesting coral by hand, 2 divers at a time, the team are fragging from sections of the ocean from WA across the NT, all the way down to our little slice of paradise. The area they’re covering is equivalent to the size of 27,000 Sydney Harbours, so it’s unlikely they’ll tap into the same place twice, and by the time they did, it will be replenished and ready! Sheesh, no wonder their Registered Reef Guardians!     

Currently breeding coral by propagation (just like taking cuttings from your garden) the team have dived into trialling coral spawning with an aim to induce it out of the ocean on a commercial scale – once cracked this will reduce the need for coral to be collected from the wild!

In addition to this, the aquaculture facility are also working with a number of Universities across the country for projects such as exploring nutritional supplements to boost coral resilience, and replenishing sea grass levels for the dugongs.

The team at Monsoon Aquatics are now sharing their shed with the public, on behind the scene tours of the Coral Farm, check it out here - https://www.bundabergregion.org/tours/monsoon-aquatics#

 MON REPOS TURTLE ENCOUNTER

Mon Repos Turtle Centre is a critical player in the game of sea turtle conservation! This shoreline sanctuary serves as a nesting site for loggerhead turtles (the largest concentration in the South Pacific may we add!), and through their research and protection efforts, they are ensuring the survival of these incredible creatures.

From November to March, the magic of Turtle Season is shared with visitors through the breathtaking Nightly Turtle Encounters, and throughout the rest of the year, the centre offers guided walks, talks and a whole bevvy of educational programs to captivate and inspire those that walk through the doors.

There’s a delicate balance that must be maintained for the survival of these awe-inspiring creatures for future generations, and the Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service Rangers to an incredible job of sharing that story and it’s importance with visitors.

 LADY MUSGRAVE EXPERIENCE 

Welcome to Lady Musgrave Experience, where adventure meets sustainability!

Exemplifying eco-tourism at it’s finest, Lady Musgrave Experience prioritizes and pioneers environmental education and sustainability at every touchpoint. Letting the beauty of the Southern Great Barrier Reef, and the passion of their rad shipmates leave a lasting impression on visitors, as they wave goodbye to the crystal clear lagoon waters, taking with them a sense of responsibility to care for this incredible yet fragile eco system after seeing it through their own eyes.

Through immersive weekenders with Traditional Owners, Taribelang Bunda, where you learn how they care for the land and sea and feast on native flavours under the stars, to transformative Marine Bio for the Day add-ons, where your little one can spend the day buddied up with real life marine bios and learning all about the creatures that call these waters home – the team at Lady Musgrave Experience have got eco-tourism down pat! Oh and did we mention their luxe accommodation is completely wind and solar powered, and zero impact on the reef?

 SEA TURTLE ALLIANCE

A volunteer-based group of turtle-y awesome humans, all with the same aim of protecting the sea turtles that call the Woongarra Coast their crib.

Through their collaborative efforts and holistic approach to research, advocacy, and community engagement, the Sea Turtle Alliance are working to create a more resilient environment for these iconic marine species. From lobbying for increased vegetation on the nesting beaches, to putting their teachers hat on and teacher the risks of light pollution to kids in local schools – this united front live and breathe the ethos ‘together we can all make a difference’.

 

GIDARJIL’S INDIGENOUS LAND & SEA RANGERS

With a connection to the land as deep as the ocean, Gidarjil's Indigenous Land & Sea Rangers combine traditional ecological knowledge with modern conservation practices to protect the fragile ecosystems of the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Roaming from the Burrum River in the South, to Agnes Waters in the North, these coastline crusaders play a crucial role in preserving the cultural and natural heritage of the region. Through their initiatives, they not only contribute to the health of the reef but also promote the importance of indigenous perspectives in conservation. 

Working with the Department of Environment and Science, the Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers manage, monitor and conserve many threatened species, like dugong and marine turtles, complete in-shore coral surveys, and complete monitoring on seagrass, mangroves and water quality! In between all of that they also find time to host community marine debris clean-up events too – how deadly!

 

These Rockstars of the Reef are the driving force behind the preservation and regeneration of the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Their dedication, innovation, and collaborative spirit serve as an inspiration to travellers seeking a meaningful and sustainable holiday.

Whether you're exploring the sun-kissed waters alongside a Master Reef Guide, staying at an eco-friendly resort, or supporting local conservation initiatives, you become part of a collective effort to ensure the Southern Great Barrier Reef remains a vibrant and thriving destination for generations to come.

RECONNECT ON THE REEF
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Thursday, 22 February 2024

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