Queensland is home to many different species of turtles, found on island beaches in the Great Barrier Reef, right down to the beautiful Bundaberg region and beyond. From the Loggerhead turtle who love the coral reefs, bays and estuaries, right through to the Green Turtle who prefer reefs that are rich with seaweed and inshore seagrass pastures – each turtle is unique.
We’ve listed our Queensland turtle hotspots, so you can tick a few of your list on your next getaway to the region.
Mon Respos Turtle Centre
Located in the state of Queensland, in the vibrant region of Bundaberg, you’ll find the Mon Repos Turtle Centre. Here, you’ll learn everything about marine turtles and the amazing conversation research and programs that play a critical role in the survival of the significant loggerhead turtle, an endangered species.
For an experience of a lifetime, head to Mon Repos Turtle Centre between November to March and witness these incredible turtles nesting and hatching on the beach at night. Better yet, the Mon Repos Turtle Centre has just reopened after an exciting redevelopment. To book your tickets, visit bundabergregion.org
Image source: https://www.queensland.com
Lady Musgrave Island
Welcome to Lady Musgrave Island, the 2nd largest island in the Great Barrier Reef chain. The Great Barrier Reef and surrounding marine parks are some of the most pristine environments in the world that provides an important ecosystem for our Aussie turtles. If you visit the island between October and March, this is the prime time, with hundreds of turtles visiting the island each week.
Whether it’s scuba diving, snorkelling or a relaxed reef tour, the team at Lady Musgrave Experience will take you on a once in a lifetime experience that you’ll never forget. To find out more, visit ladymusgraveexperience.com.au
Where to stay
While there is no resort on the island, there is plenty of accommodation in and around the Bundaberg region. NRMA Woodgate Beach Holiday Park is under a 1-hour drive from the Mon Repos Turtle Centre, and offers plenty of accommodation options to choose from, including cosy cabins and villas, and powered and unpowered caravan and camping sites.
Great Keppel Island
If you’re passing through Yeppoon, make sure you pencil in a day visiting Great Keppel Island. Boasting incredible beaches and an abundance of wildlife, the island is ultimately one of the most stunning places to visit in the Great Barrier Reef. And you guessed it – the white sandy beaches of Great Keppel Island are home to thousands of adorable Flatback turtles.
Ferry transfers from the Capricorn Coast to Great Keppel Island are available daily, or if you’d prefer something more unique, take the Adventure Cruise ran by Freedom Fast Cats, and enjoy a day of cruising, snorkelling, boomnetting, witnessing an underground world with the glass bottom boat tour and so much more.
Where to stay
Explore the Capricorn Coast and the magnificent Great Keppel Island and book in your Yeppoon accommodation at NRMA Capricorn Yeppoon Holiday Park. Accommodation options include two and three-bedroom villas, studios and powered and unpowered sites for caravan and camping.
Fitzroy Island – Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre
Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre on Fitzroy Island is a non-profit organisation run by an incredible group of volunteers who are dedicated to the rehabilitation of sick and injured turtles. A number of these are seriously threatened by a diverse range of natural and human-induced factors.
The organisation relies on donations from supporters and volunteers, which is why NRMA Parks and Resorts sponsor a number of turtles inside Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre before they’re realised back into the wild. Currently, we’re sponsoring Kara, the friendly green sea turtle. Kara was found in mud near Four-Mile Beach in Port Douglas, covered in barnacles and unable to swim. She is now on the mend at Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre and we look forward to supporting Kara over her recovery.
Visit the patients inside the centre and book a Turtle Tour. Tours run daily from 1.00pm and run for approximately 45 minutes in duration. Just take note that you need to physically be on the island to book the tour. We recommend taking the Fitzroy Flyer ride, which will get you from Cairns to Fitzroy Island and back daily.
Where to stay
As the closest caravan park to the Cairns city centre, NRMA Cairns Holiday Park offers a wide range of accommodation options for the backpacker, grey nomad and the seasoned caravanner. Book your stay now.
Protecting our turtles
Turtles hold a special place in our hearts, having lived in our oceans for millions of years. Unfortunately, our turtle species are experiencing serious threats to their survival due to pollution, climate change and many other factors, with some species already classed as endangered. It’s important that we recognise these threats and educate ourselves and others on how we can protect these incredible creatures. Remember that rubbish you throw away can find its way to the sea, where turtles can mistake things such as plastic bags for jellyfish. Plastic swallowed by mistake can cause blockages of the stomach and intestines of marine animals such as turtles. To learn more about what you can do, talk to the volunteers at your nearest turtle rehabilitation centre, or visit enviorment.des.qld.gov.au