5 Ways To Tick Turtles Off Your Bucket List | Southern Great Barrier Reef

5 Ways To Tick Turtles Off Your Bucket List

Are turtles on your bucket list? Come have a turtle-y awesome encounter on your next holiday to the Southern Great Barrier Reef!

Ranger-Guided Turtle Encounters

Tick ‘turtles’ off your bucket list at the Mon Repos Nightly Turtle Encounter. This ranger-guided experience gives visitors an unrivalled peek behind the curtain into the cycle of life of marine turtles. From November to late-January see mother turtles haul themselves up the beach to nest, then return some 6-8 weeks later (late-January – late-March) to see the hatchlings erupt from the sand and scurry to the sea.

Where can I do this? The Mon Repos Nightly Turtle Encounter is situated at Mon Repos Beach, Bundaberg. Book your encounter here.

Swim with the Turtles

If you haven’t swum alongside these friendly turtles then you are missing out! The islands of the Southern Great Barrier Reef are teeming with loggerhead, flatback, hawksbill and green sea turtles who lazily swim these waters year-round; feeding, mating and nesting. Come spend the day on the reef or book yourself a few nights on an island oasis for a little more time with the turtles.

Where can I swim with the turtles? You can swim with turtles all along the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Day trips are operated by Lady Musgrave Experience, 1770 Reef, Keppel Explorer or Freedom Fast Cats.

Island Encounters

Spend a night or a week calling the islands of the Southern Great Barrier Reef home. Swim with turtles just metres from where you rest your head or see how many you can spot swimming along the surface at sunset with a glass of champagne in hand. From November – March take an evening or early morning stroll around the islands keeping an eye out for nesting mother turtles and adorable hatchlings making their way to the sea. If you spot any turtle activity on the beach remember to stop, stay quiet and observe from a safe space. Please do not touch the turtles (no matter how cute they are), or use torches or flash photography. In some cases, trained rangers may be available to talk you through the experience.

Which islands can I stay the night to see turtles nest and hatch? Turtles can be found all along the islands of the Southern Great Barrier Reef. For the best island experience to witness turtles nesting and hatching, we recommend Lady Elliot Island and Heron Island (stay from November to March each year).

Off-The-Grid Turtle Experiences

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city for an off-the-grid turtle experience. Pack the bare necessities and set up camp on Lady Musgrave Island and North West Island, or enjoy complete luxury at the newly reopened Wilson Island. With no phones and no internet, there is no better way to reconnect with those you love than by immersing yourself in nature. The best part of an off-the-grid turtle experience? There's barely another soul in sight!

What islands are best for going off-grid? Pitch your tent on Lady Musgrave Island and North West Island... or disconnect in pure luxury, glamping on Wilson Island.

Volunteer at the Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre

Got a little bit of wildlife warrior in you? Volunteer your time at the Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre (QITRC). QITRC is the Gladstone Region’s first and only permanent marine turtle rehabilitation facility run by a team of passionate and dedicated wildlife carers, vets, volunteers and other helpers. Skilled in the rehabilitation of injured sea turtles, QITRC plays an integral part in the maintenance of the Southern Great Barrier Reef's eco-system.

How do I help? If you wish to volunteer your time contact the centre here. If you are a little time-poor, you can donate to the centre by contacting them here.

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