Bundaberg prides itself as the Southern Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. The city lies near the southern end of the reef in proximity to Lady Elliot and Lady Musgrave Islands. Though it is seen as a regional centre, Bundaberg has become a popular weekend and holiday/vacation destination for Brisbane residents, and consequently the city has developed facilities and attractions to cater for them.
Where is it?: Queensland: Burnett/Fraser Coast. Bundaberg is 366 km north of Brisbane, 14 km from the mouth of the Burnett River.
Plan And Book
Natural features: Burnett River; Bunker Group; Lady Elliot Island; Lady Musgrave Island National Park; The Hummock (a low-lying volcanic remnant); Burrum Coast National Park (23 100 ha, Palm Beach; Burnett Heads, Oaks Beach; Baraga Beach; Kellys Beach; Theodolite Creek; Gregory and Burrum Rivers); Barubbra Island Environmental Park; Mouth of Baffle Creek Environmental Park
Built features: Bundaberg Rum Distillery; Tropical Winery; Bundaberg Ginger Beer Factory; Avocado Grove; Boyd's Antiquatorium.
Heritage features: pioneer aviator Bert Hinkler's House; Commercial Bank building (1891); Post Office; School of Arts building (1889); Christ Church; The Water Tower; St John's Lutheran Church (features texts from The Bible in huge letters); Schmeider's Cooperage and Craft Centre; The Botanical Gardens and the Museum.
June: Bundaberg Regional Show
June: Gayndah orange Festival
July: Childers Festival of Cultures
August (biennial); Wide Bay Australia International Airshow
November: Wide Bay Australia Bundy Thunder Power Boat Spectacular
November: Bundaberg Gemfair
With a population of just over 50,000, Bundaberg lies on the Burnett River, approximately 385 kilometres north of the Queensland capital of Brisbane. Bundaberg is a major centre within Queensland's Wide Bay-Burnett region. The combined population of Bundaberg and surrounding Burnett Shire is about 74,000. Bundaberg is projected to have a population of 92,000 by 2016.
The city's name is thought to be an artificial combination of bunda, the Kabi Aboriginal word denoting important man and the German suffix berg indicating mountain. The city is colloquially known as "Bundy". The local Aboriginal group is the Gurang Gurang (goo-rang goo-rang) people. Bundaberg has sister city agreements with Nanning, China and Settsu City, Japan.
Subtropical Bundaberg is dependent to a large extent on the local sugar industry. Extensive sugar cane fields extend throughout the district, and value-adding operations such as the milling and refinement of sugar and its packaging and distribution are located around the city. A bulk terminal for the exportation of sugar is located on the coast east of Bundaberg. Another of the city's better-known exports is Bundaberg Rum, which is made from the sugar cane by-product molasses. Bundaberg is also home to beverage producer Bundaberg Brewed Drinks.
The Bundaberg Rum Distillery is one of the iconic businesses of Bundaberg. It was the brainchild of seven Queenslanders who realised there's got to be a better use for the burgeoning sugar industry than making cake. The Distillery is established in 1888 with an initial production team of only five men. Rum was already popular in Australia thanks to the First Fleet, but from what we hear, it tasted pretty bad, unlike Bundy's rum which is a favourite the world over.
Enjoy guided historical tours of the Distillery, Barrel House and Bottling Plant giving you a greater appreciation for this world famous spirit, and an understanding for why it s such a highly regarded drink. Distillery Tours are run on the hour every hour from 10 am to 3 pm Monday - Friday and 10 am to 2 pm Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays. Visitors on the tour must be over 18. Ph (07) 4131 2999.
Discover the secrets of Bundaberg Ginger Beer with a variety of hands-on activities at the home of ginger beer. Take an amazing journey through the True Brew Experience Tour. Use the interactive touch screens to see what happens to the humble ginger root as it s mushed, crushed, brewed and fermented to make Australia's finest ginger beer. Location: 147 Bargara Road, Bundaberg East. Ph (07) 4154 5480.
A great way to spend a day in the Bundaberg Region is in the sub-tropical surrounds of the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens. Located on Mt Perry Road on the city s northern outskirts, the Botanic Gardens sprawl over 27 hectares of land and feature a variety of 10,000 trees and shrubs. A magnificent lake, creating a habitat attracting up to 114 species of birds, is centrepiece of the Botanic Gardens, while a wedding chapel, shaded picnic areas, themed boardwalks, Japanese gardens and children s playground enhance the appeal of one of Bundaberg s favourite lifestyle precincts.
The Hinkler Hall of Aviation is themed around the adventures and achievements of local pioneer solo aviator Bert Hinkler, providing visitors with a fascinating insight into early aviation, and the contribution made by local pioneers. Explore various interpretive exhibits, flight simulator, five replica aircraft, the Globe Theatre and the meticulously restored Hinkler House and Fairymead House.
The Hinkler Hall of Aviation also features a retail outlet, exhibition gallery, artifact preservation and restoration workshops and adjoining cafe. They cater for organised tours. Location: Bundaberg Botanic Gardens. Ph (07) 4130 4400.
The Bundaberg and District Historical Museum displays a comprehensive local history collection, while an archival and photographic collection is available to researchers of cultural heritage. Copies of photos may be ordered from the museum. Open 7 days - 10.00am to 4.00pm. Location: Bundaberg Botanic Gardens, 6 Mount Perry Road. Ph (07) 4152 0101.
The relocated and restored Fairymead House overlooks the Botanic Gardens with the splendor of a bygone era. Built in 1890, this grand local homestead houses local sugar industry memorabilia, exploring the development of the local sugar industry from its earliest days. In March 2010 Fairymead House was incorporated into operations of the Bundaberg Regional Council as an exhibit of the Hinkler Hall of Aviation. Open Sunday to Friday - 10.30am to 12 noon, Closed Saturdays. Location: Thornhill Street, Bundaberg Botanic Gardens. Ph (07) 4130 4400
Operated by a dedicated group of volunteers from the Bundaberg Steam Tramway Preservation Society, the Australian Sugarcane Railway provides great coal-fired steam loco rides for the family. Sit back and relax as you enjoy a steam-powered journey through the gardens and twice around a kilometre of 610cm gauge track. The fleet consists of the steam locos "Old Germany", built in Germany in 1914; "Invicta", a English Fowler built in 1911; "No3" Bundaberg Foundry 1952 and "No 1" Bundaberg Foundry 1950. Location: Bundaberg Botanic Gardens. Ph (07) 4152 6609
The Bundy Belle
Relax and enjoy a 2.5 hour cruise exploring the lower reaches of the Burnett River aboard the fully restored classic river ferry, Bundy Belle. Cruises include full commentary on the river's colourful history along with complimentary tea and coffee. More information: Burnett River Cruises, 11E Petersen St, Bundaberg East. Ph 0427 099 009.
The zoo is managed by the Bundaberg Regional Council and run by professional, proud keepers providing high levels of care to the animals. Not the largest of zoos, but what the zoo lacks in size, it makes up for in the high standards it sets itself. The local council have invested in quality state of the art enclosures, both indoor and spacious outdoor, and obtained a variety of native animals. Animals include various birds, snakes, monkeys, dingoes, quolls, wallabies and emus. The zoo is outdoors so bring a hat, sunscreen, and comfortable footwear. Free entry.
Location: Alexandra Park, Quay St, Bundaberg. Ph (07) 4153 8888
A popular venue with great exhibitions featuring both international and local themes, the latter including local talent from schools that you can ne purchased. The displays change regularly. Location: 1 Barolin Street, Bundaberg. Ph (07) 4130 470.
Visitors to Bundaberg can enjoy beachcombing and dolphin spotting from the pristine shores of Bargara and The Coral Coast, just a short 15 minute drive from the city centre. Mon Repos Turtle Rookery (14km east) celebrates and preserves Australia s most significant mainland turtle-nesting beach. The majesty and uniqueness of the Great Barrier Reef can be experienced at the coral cays of Lady Elliot Island and Lady Musgrave Island, or the Fitzroy Reef Lagoon and the magnificent fringing reefs of the Woongarra Marine Park right on the shoreline of the Coral Coast.
Bundaberg offers close access to a number of seaside villages, stretching from Buxton and Woodgate Beach in the south, through to Coral Cove, Innes Park, Elliott Heads, Bargara, Burnett Heads, Moore Park and Burrum Coast National Park, featuring long sandy stretches of beach with safe swimming year round.
Mon Repos Conservation Park
Mon Repos Conservation Park is the largest loggerhead turtle rookery in the South Pacific, Loggerhead, Flatback and Green turtles come ashore from November to March. Nightly tours commence in November each year. 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. Some 6-8 weeks later the tiny hatchlings may be seen emerging from their sandy nests to head towards the sea. The sex of baby turtles is determined by the temperature of their nests.
The Mon Repos Visitor Centre has been set up to help you understand and appreciate turtle biology - take the time to look at the displays and browse through the shop. Ranger shows and videos are presented in the outdoor amphitheatre (weather permitting). Seasonal tours from November to March - Weather Permitting; books are essential. Mon Repos is a 14km drive from Bundaberg or just five minutes drive north from Bargara. Ph 1300 722 099.
If diving on the Great Barrier Reef is on your holiday agenda but you don t have the time or motivation to travel all the way to the Whitsundays or Cairns, Lady Elliot is the prefect destination for you. It is also one of only six island resorts on the Great Barrier Reef (the Whitsundays are not on the reef, but coastal islands) and one of only three with flight access. Not only that, it is one of the few coral cays where you can fly straight in and land on the water right on the reef, a big advantage to maximise time in the water. It's no wonder this area attracts its untouched gardens of coral divers from all over the world. Snorkelling and beginner dive options are also available for the less-experienced who want to see the Great Barrier Reef at close range.
Lady Elliot is 46 nautical miles north-east of Bundaberg. Day Trips/Tours to Lady Elliot Island offer a great opportunity for domestic or international visitors with limited time to explore the phenomena of Australia s Great Barrier Reef.
Burrum Coast National Park (23 100 ha) is an undeveloped wilderness area suited to those interested in bushwalking, nature photography and birdwatching. It has spectacular wildflower displays in the spring and early summer. Good National Parks and Wildlife brochures and maps are available. Access by conventional vehicle is very limited and a 4WD is recommended. Visitors need a four-wheel-drive vehicle to access camping areas. The Woodgate section, can be reached from Childers or Bundaberg (see below).
56 km south east of Bundaberg is the seaside resort of Woodgate, a typical retirement village which is also a popular holiday resort for people wanting to 'get away from it all'. It has a caravan park and other accommodation, petrol and a kiosk, its flat 18-km beach is ideal for fishing and sailing.
The Woodgate Section of Burrum Coast National Park extends from the town south to the Burrum River estuary. Access to the Burrum Point campground is 4WD only, although there is an 800-metre circuit boardwalk through a teatree swamp which departs from Acacia St (off Sixth Avenue) in Woodgate. Those wanting to see more can take the 5.2-km Banksia Track which starts from the same spot. It pases from the swamp to Livistonia palm forest, to open forest and on to a wallum heath plain decorated by wildflowers from August to October.
Access to the rest of the Woodgate section is via Walkers Point Rd which can be approached via Twelfth Avenue in the town of Woodgate. Burrum Point campground is located along a side track which runs off Walker Point Rd. It sits behind the beach and is a popular relaxing getaway, with fishing opportunities around the nearby river estuary.
The Bundaberg Hummock, also referred to as The Hummock, is an extinct volcano remnant situated in the locality of Qunaba east of Bundaberg. Its official (but rarely used) name is Sloping Hummock. The summit of the hill holds both a memorial to Bundaberg-born aviator Bert Hinkler and the heritage listed Sir Anthony's Rest, a dry-stone rubble platform, constructed by South Sea Islanders during the visit of the Governor of Queensland, Sir Anthony Musgrave, to Bundaberg in 1888. In 1930, the Bundaberg branch of the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) acquired the land at the top of the Hummock in order to create a park for motoring tourists to enjoy the views. Location: Turners Way, Qunaba.
Burnett Heads is nestled along the Coral Coast and is most readily identifiable by the two historic lighthouses that dot its coastline. The notable is its historic timber lighthouse, the Old Burnett Heads Light, dating from 1873. The structure, originally sited on South Head (the southern entrance to the Burnett River), was replaced by a modern structure in 1971. In recognition of its lighthouses, Burnett Heads stages the annual Lighthouse Festival on the last Saturday in October. Oaks Beach is a 200 metre long stretch of beach safe for surfing and swimming with many choosing to fish off the rocks and groyne at The Oaks which are the best places to reach deep water.
Located 15 km south east of Bundaberg at the mouth of the Elliott River, Elliott Heads is a popular recreation area, offering both surf and stillwater areas for swimming, fishing, sailboarding and jet skiing. A large foreshore reserve contains a beachfront caravan park and the Elliott Heads Surf Life Saving Club, and a large kiosk overlooking the mouth. There are three small beaches at the heads. The main beach is a relatively safe beach close inshore at mid to high tide. However, be very careful at low tide and near the river mouth. Be careful swimming in the river as the river channel is deep and contains strong tidal currents, plus there are shifting holes and shoals out on the sand flats, even in front of the surf lifesaving club. Elliott Heads is a very popular fishing spot owing to the deep river entrance. Most people fish from boats or from the river channel or groynes at high tide. The best surf over the river mouth shoals.
The locality is surrounded by small crop and sugarcane farms. Barolin House, constructed as a summer residence by a family with a grazing property near Gin Gin is a distinctive local landmark. The beach is patrolled from September to May but relatively safe to swim at other times and there is heaps of parking for anyone towing a caravan or boat.
Bargara Beach is located 15 kilometres east of Bundaberg and likes to boast having a climate similar to Hawaii, with beautiful beaches and friendly locals. Baraga is part of the string of holiday settlements that fringe the Bundaberg coast from Burnett Head south to Elliott Heads. Bargara Beach (1502) is located immediately east of the town centre and is backed by a beachfront road, with good beach access and parking.
Bargara Beach and Kellys Beach are relatively safe for swimming under normal conditions. However, care must be taken on all beaches near the rocks and especially if swimming in the tidal pools on a rising tide. Higher waves also induce rips against the groynes and rocks on all the beaches. The safest and best locations are at the two patrolled beaches, with best conditions at mid to high tide. Nielsen Park and Bargara have well laid-out and maintained beaches and reserves, ideally suited to daytrippers and visitors in the caravan park. Kellys Beach is more given over to residential and holiday homes, with a beachfront resort and a caravan park at the northern end.
Located on the banks of the Kolan River and near the ocean 45 kilometres north of Bundaberg's city centre, Miara is a popular weekend destination and holiday spot with secluded beaches, bush and parklands, and a family friendly fishing village atmosphere. Miara is ideal for the angler seeking a tranquil and relaxed holiday getaway, with plenty to keep the rest of the family entertained including a playground, kiosk and barbecue hut. Miara Holiday Park provides holiday accommodation. Nearby Yandaran Creek is a popular creek for chasing mangrove jacks, cod and prawns. With plenty of snags and rocky sections, it lends itself well to both lure-casting and bait fishing.
The Mouth of Kolan River Conservation Park lies on the opposite bank of the Kolan River at the river mouth. The park features beautiful mangrove-fringed estuaries and long sandy beaches. You can camp on a small island accessible only by boat, picnic in the shade by the water s edge and go boating, fishing or birdwatching. For beach based recreation, visitors can drive onto the beach from Moore Park and travel north approximately 1km to where the river now flows through to the ocean.
An ideal location for a relaxed family escape, Moore Park boasts almost 20 kilometres of golden sandy beach. It is bordered on the north by the Kolan River, on the south by the suburbs of Moorland and Welcome Creek, and on the east by Fairymead. The very northern end of the beach is used for four-wheel driving, the southern end is a popular bathing area with seasonal patrols by the Moore Park Surf Lifesaving Club. The beach is also a nesting site for sea turtles including loggerhead sea turtles in summer months. The locality's Holiday Park features self-contained ensuite cabins, grassy sites with some beachfront ones, 2 amenities blocks, pool, kiosk, adjacent playgrounds and BBQ area.
Agnes Water is the most northerly surfing beach in Queensland. The beaches around here range from small secluded coves and inlets to the broad expanse of Bustard Bay and Agnes Beach itself, all with clean white sand interspersed by rocky headlands. Agnes Water, and its close neighbour - the town of 1770 - are surrounded by National Parks and hinterland beauty, they enjoy unspoilt serenity, pristine coral reefs and magnificent panoramic views up and down kilometres of beautiful beach fronting onto the Coral Sea. Agnes Water is 60 kms north of Bundaberg.
For many years, a little corner of paradise called 1770 has been Queensland's best kept secret. The people who live there, along with those who visit there religiously every holiday season, would love to keep it that way. 1770 Headland has the distinction of being one of the few places on the East Coast of Australia, or indeed, in the whole of Australia, where you can see the sun rise and set over water in the same location.
Bundaberg was founded by timbergetters John and Gavin Steuart and Lachlan Tripp in 1867. The first farmers in the area arrived soon after. Timber was the first established industry in Bundaberg. In 1868, a sawmill was erected on the Burnett River, downstream from the Steuart and Watson holdings. The city was surveyed, laid out and named Bundaberg in 1870. Experimental sugar cane growing in the district followed and a successful industry grew. The early sugar industry in Bundaberg was supported by Kanaka labour. Bundaberg was gazetted a town in 1902 and a city in 1913. Bundaberg was the location of a health-related disaster in 1928, when 12 children died shortly after receiving injections of diphtheria vaccine.