How to plan the ultimate getaway on the Southern Great Barrier Reef - Bundaberg Region
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Bundaberg Region Blog

Get the inside scoop on what the Bundaberg region has to offer

How to plan the ultimate getaway on the Southern Great Barrier Reef

Situated on the picturesque coast of Queensland, at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef and just north of Brisbane is where your perfect next escape begins. The Bundaberg region offers an abundance of affordable attractions for those seeking a memorable getaway. From secluded islands, pristine beaches, world-class drinks and paddock-to-plate experiences, this holiday destintion has something for everyone, even if you're on a budget.

WHY VISIT THE SOUTHERN GREAT BARRIER REEF

When Sir David Attenborough describes an experience as "unforgettable and revelatory," you can trust it's truly remarkable.

The renowned biologist himself regards his first dive on the Great Barrier Reef as "the single most revelatory moment" of his life. This sentiment becomes clear once you have the chance to explore the Reef firsthand.

Stretching 2,600km along Queensland's coast, the Great Barrier Reef is a sight to behold from both above and below the waters surface. With the northern tip beginning just off Cairns, the Great Barrier Reef continues all the way south, reaching just off the coast of Bundaberg, where two southern coral cays, Lady Musgrave and Lady Elliot Island act as the gateway to your Southern Great Barrier Reef escape. With Bundaberg located just north of Brisbane, you can experience a tansformative reef experience closer than you might have imagined. Have we convinced you yet? 

Offering a distinctive experience, here on the Southern Great Barrier Reef we're all about the blissful moments where wide open spaces are infinite and you can experience life set at your own pace without the crowds. From less-explored reefs and intricate coral formations unique to our southern waters, here you can enjoy an adventure filled holiday where great care and epic encounters begin. 

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WHAT TO DO

Explore the Beauty of Lady Elliot Island
Escape to the pristine wonderland of Lady Elliot Island, a haven for nature-loving couples and families alike. This coral cay is situated at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, renowned as the home of the Manta Ray boasting crystal-clear waters teeming with vibrant marine life. Discover the underwater wonders of this thriving eco-system, snorkelling alongside majestic manta rays and curious turtles in the coral filled lagoon, or explore the outer reef with a guided diving safari. From glass bottom boat tours and guided lagoon walks with a Master Reef Guide, learn all there is to know about the intricacies of the reef and what we can do to help preserve and protect it for generations to come. As an advanced Eco Tourism Accredited operator, you'll find the island's custodians dedicated to restoring the reef through every touchpoint of this Eco Resort. Choose to spend the day or stay overnight relaxing among the tranquillity of this idyllic paradise on the Southern Great Barrier Reef.

HOT TIP: Don't miss Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort's unmissable holiday deal these holidays! Splash into savings with their day trip special here! Be sure to check availability and T&C's on booking.

Macadamias Australia Visitor Experience
Home to more than 25% of the nations fresh fruit and vege, come discover where great taste begins in Bundaberg, Southern Great Barrier Reef. From iconic tipples born from our rich fertile soil, to feeding the nation year-round, it’s no surprise you’ll find a tapestry of bountiful flavours set to surprise and delight your taste buds.As Australia’s food bowl, you’ll be greeted by rows upon rows of produce with macadamia nut trees and sweet potato crops a popular sight, giving away our claim as the nations capital for both. And you’ll find most of what is grown from our backyard already on your plate, stocked on supermarket shelves or perhaps nestled in your pantry as an entertainer’s snack. As our passionate producers work hard to feed the nation year-round, come experience a deeper connection to where your food comes from with an immersive paddock-to-plate experience at Macadamias Australia.  

Venture on a journey into the heart of this generational farming family’s story where their dedication, lifelong commitment to each other, and the environment has shaped a legacy that transcends generations. More than a tour, this genuine tree-to-table visitor experience shares the resilient tales of the Steinhardt family founders, Ron and Marion, who have since passed on their legacy, empowering their children to build and share this with their children, the community and visitors to the region. 

With a commitment that goes beyond farming, uncover their story at your own pace with a self-guided tour of the centre before joining a guided orchard tour, that will take you through the original macadamia orchard and educate you about the importance of caring from the ground up. This immersive Orchard Tour offers a down-to-earth experience, providing insights into the region's fertile lands, cultural heritage, and commitment to quality. After learning all there is to know about these native nuts, discover a range of nutty combinations that might just become your new favourite snack with a tasting. 

Before you leave, soak up some sunshine among the tranquil surrounds and grab yourself a Macadamia-infused Latte from the on-site cafe, kick back, and soak in the genuine charm of Macadamias Australia, leaving with more than just a taste of the land's authenticity lingering on your palate and a deeper appreciation for what’s on your plate. 

HOT TIP: Experience a unique VIP picnic after a guided orchard tour of Macadamias Australia with this unmissable holiday offer. Only available for purchase until March 31st 2024, if you're planning on travelling to our slice of paradise between April-October 2024, don't miss adding this bespoke experience to your itinerary! To book or find out more info, click here
 


Discover The Home of Australia’s Favourite Brew!
In the heart of Bundaberg lies The Bundaberg Barrel, home to one of the regions most renowned brands, Bundaberg Brewed Drinks – you likely know them for their staple premium brew, Bundaberg Ginger Beer. An icon in-itself, The Bundaberg Barrel is more than a destination; it's a celebration of craftsmanship, family, and the indelible taste of tradition. A must-visit when in region.

Family owned for more than 55years, come immerse yourself in the raw history of this Australian home-grown business who continue to perfect their craftsman brewing process in Bundaberg daily, using local ingredients and time-honoured family recipes; because if it’s worth brewing, it’s worth brewing well! 

Immerse yourself in their family passion and learn the ins and out of what goes into The Great Australian Brew. Enjoy exploring this family-favourite with a self-guided journey through the Gallery learning about the art of crafting and bottling their craft-brewed range, including the iconic Bundaberg Ginger Beer. You’ll find the whole family will enjoy playing ‘guess the flavour’ with the Smellography Station where you will have fun guessing the real ingredients that make these Brews oh-so famous. 

Once you’ve sharpened your sense of smell, test your taste buds and book an informative guided Tasting, sampling all 14 flavour-filled Brews before finally settling on your favourite! Book The Bundaberg Barrel Experience here.


Mon Repos Turtle Encounter
An unassuming stretch of sand, that comes alive for 6 months of the year, as home to the largest population of nesting loggerhead turtles in the South Pacific, Mon Repos sure is something special. But what’s even more special is the marine turtle research, protection and education the Queensland Parks & Wildlife Rangers do year-round. 

Visit the Mon Repos Turtle Centre during turtle season from November – March to see the awe-inspiring moments a mama turtle crawls ashore to lay her nest, or the goosebump inducing eruption of 120 hatchlings making their dash to the ocean on a ranger-guided Mon Repos Nightly Turtle Encounter tour. (Bookings are essential so secure your spot here). During the rest of the year, you can explore the immersive Turtle Tales, watch an inspirational movie in the mini theatre, savour wattle seed scones in the Milbi Café and gaze at the local First Nations artwork that adorns the walls.
 


Visit the home of Australia’s Favourite Spirit
For couples who appreciate master blends, a visit to the Bundaberg Rum Distillery is a must. Immerse yourselves in the rich history and heritage of one of Australia's iconic spirits. Embark on a guided tour to learn about the rum-making process, from the aging of barrels to the art of blending. Conclude the tour with a tasting session, where you can savour a selection of premium top-shelf rums. For the true Rum connoisseurs out there, consider booking a Blend Your Own Experience and come home with two bottled of your very own signature blend.


Discover Lady Musgrave Island

Set sail on an unforgettable day out exploring the abundant wonders of Lady Musgrave Island with Lady Musgrave Experience. As you board the state-of-the-art luxury Catamaran, anticipation fills the air, and a sense of excitement builds. The friendly and knowledgeable crew welcomes you with warm smiles, ready to guide you on a journey to one of the Southern Great Barrier Reef's most breathtaking destinations.

Set on 3000 acres of living reef with a protected lagoon, making it a perfect spot for snorkelling and diving, with day trips and overnight accommodation on the 3-level pontoon, you'll arrive in paradise within a 2.5hr journey departing from Bundaberg Port Marina. Teeming with bird life above the water, and giant marine life below the water, you can swim with the turtles, dive alongside the manta rays all year round.



Sun, Sand, and Fun along the Coral Coast
Unwind and soak up the sun at one of our pristine coastal havens along the Coral Coast. Just a short distance from Bundaberg you'll find Bargara Beach, Nielson Beach, Elliott Heads, Woodgate Beach and more dotted along our coastline. With golden sands, gentle waves, and picnic spots aplenty, we recommend you add beach hopping to the must-do list. Take a refreshing swim, build sandcastles, or enjoy a game of beach cricket. Pack a snorkel and head to The Basin where this protected swimming area provides a fantastic opportunity for kids to explore marine life and learn to snorkel. Plus, with free parking and facilities available, our secluded beaches offers a perfect day out.


Taribelang Bunda Cultural Tours
Immerse yourselves in the captivating traditions and wisdom of the Taribelang Bunda people, and let Bundaberg’s only cultural tour, Taribelang Bunda Cultural Tours weave a tapestry of cultural exploration and connection during your getaway. Led by knowledgeable local guides, these tours provide an opportunity to deepen your understanding of the traditional customs, stories, and connections to the land of the Taribelang Bunda people, the traditional custodians of the region. As you embark on this immersive experience, you will be immersed in the timeless traditions and wisdom of the Aboriginal culture, creating cherished memories and fostering a deeper appreciation for Bundaberg's Indigenous heritage.


WHERE TO EAT, SIP & SWIRL

Cafe Culture with The Mills
Do it like a local and soak up a morning feed at one of the delicious cafe's owned by passionate foodie family the Cauruana's, starting with the original jewel of The Mill portfolio,The Windmill Cafe in Bargara. Be enchanted by this bespoke cafe nestled within the charming surrounds of a blue dutch windmill and tranquil gardens. Here you'll find a nourishing menu championing a love for local produce with their shelves donned by two proud 2019 & 2021 awards for best catering services in Queensland. So pull up a seat and try their delicious rain-water filtered coffee before diving your fork into their famous Dragonfruit Bowl.

Looking for something on the go after taking a dip at Nielson's Beach? Introducing sister cafe and kiosk, The Beach Mill. This little hole-in-the-wall gem will provide that oh-so good caffeine fix and a refined menu to satisfy those breaky or brunch bites. If you're travelling with the fam then head on over to The Garden Mill, just a few blocks away and let the kids soak up their open surrounds and cute animals that are essential to this circular economy cafe, you can enjoy a delicious feed for the whole family knowing the scraps from your plate go back into feeding the cute four-legged kids that call the cafe home. 
 

Savour Culinary Delights at Water Street Kitchen
Satisfy your taste buds with a visit to the renowned Water Street Kitchen, a culinary gem in the heart of Bundaberg. This stylish and contemporary restaurant offers a delightful fusion of flavors, showcasing the region's fresh and locally sourced ingredients. From mouth-watering gourmet dishes and indulgent desserts, the menu caters to every palate. The restaurant's warm and inviting ambiance, coupled with exceptional service, creates an unforgettable dining experience for discerning food enthusiasts.


Kalki Moon Distilling
If your drink of choice is a G&T, Kalki Moon Distilling is the place for you. Family owned and distilled, meet the husband, wife, mum, dad, son and daughter combo along with their passionate extended gin family, who are taking the world by storm with their premium gin, vodka, liqueurs and cane spirits. Inspired by our regions beauty and agriculture history, Kalki Moon aspires to give back to the region feeding the nation, with it's own quality spirit range using locally sourced australian ingredients. Using a unique combination of botanicals, come experience the process behind their success with a tour throughout the craft distillery and sample the range.


Plate to Farm Gate
Take a trip with some loose change to some of these locations and sample some of the best, freshest produce straight from the farm. Grab a strawberry ice-cream and punnets of the juiciest red jewels at Tinaberries and Bargara Berries, lettuce, ginger and herbs at the Lettuce Patch, gourmet goodies, and delectable tomatoes at One Little Farm and other fresh delights at Alloway Farm Market. Or, if you want to hunt down a trail of your own pick one of our tantalising farm-gate maps here.

 

WHERE TO STAY

With a range of hotel, motel, camping and glamping accommodation across the region, your options for where to rest your head are endless.

If you're seeking a coastal getaway where the beach is just a short walk from your door, choose to stay along our regions pristine Coral Coast and soak up the regions lifestyle capital, Bargara or venture a little further along the coastline to Burnett Heads or Elliott Heads where river meets reef. If you're seeking a home-away-from-home where local cafes, historical buildings and boutique shops are all within reach, Bundaberg's bustling CBD has you covered and offers convenience at its best with local attractions just a short drive away.

 

FOR THE EVENT LOVERS!

From foodie feasts hero-ing the salt of the earth farmers feeding the nation and pouring their all into producing the perfect crop, to fist pumping music festivals, where you make lifelong friends in the crowd and sing almost as loud as the headliners.​ Passionate locals bringing regional communities together for family fun days to transformational experiences, connecting with culture, in spectacular bucket list surrounds, leaving a better person kind of events.

  • Combining coral with culture, the team behind Lady Musgrave Experience and Taribelang Bunda Cultural Tours have come together to create one of the most unique events on the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Djagun Bunda Land, Sea, People, Journey. Visit Lady Musgrave Experience to find more information to book.
  • Whilst Melbourne may have the event that stops the nation, we have the event that stops the Bruce Highway! Childers Festival is a celebration of all things uniquely Childers, from the spectacle of Cane Field Fires, to behind the curtains peeks at the heritage listed Paragon Theatre and even Italian long luncheons in the hinterland’s wineries. When: Thursday 25 July – Sunday 28 July.
  • If your love language is a plate piled high, or the way to your heart is a home cooked meal, then Taste Bundaberg Festival is sure to get your mouth watering with 10-days full of delicious events. When: Friday 30 August – Sunday 8 September.
  • Another stellar festival from the legends of Lighthouse Presents, after a jam-packed 2023 event, this year Lighthouse Country promises to be bigger and better than ever. When: Saturday 4 May.
  • Arts, Culture and County combined, in the town the turtles call home Milbi Festival treats you to an immersive 10-days of events celebrating all things turtle and our connection to Country. When: 25 October – 3 November

 

This content has been written by the passionate holiday specialists of Bundaberg Tourism in partnership with Bundaberg Regional Council with assistance provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA). 

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Tuesday, 28 May 2024

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