Green Turtle, Lady Elliot Island, Bundaberg, QLD
A rare colony of nesting turtles is just one of the captivating natural attractions near Bundaberg, a four hour drive north of Brisbane. This historic sugar cane city is also the southernmost gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, fringed by coral cays as well as 140km of pristine white beaches. Go diving and snorkelling on Lady Musgrave Island and Lady Elliot Islands and swim and fish from coastal national parks. Bundaberg also offers lots more traditional city drawcards, including museums, heritage buildings and lush botanic gardens.
It's a short drive from Bundaberg to Mon Repos Conservation Park, home to the largest concentration of nesting sea turtles on the east Australian mainland. Between November and March, you can join a nightly tour to see green, flatback and the endangered loggerhead turtles nest and hatch on the small beach. Mid-November to February is the best time to see female turtles laying eggs, while hatchlings usually begin to leave their nests from mid-January. In January you may glimpse both nesting adults and their newly-hatched babies, crawling to shore for their first swim.