As the southernmost gateway to the World-Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, this historic ‘sugar cane city’ is filled with cultural pleasures, fringed by coral cays and edged with over 140 kilometres of sandy white beaches. Here are seven great reasons to visit Bundaberg.
#1 – Eat
If you’re a foodie visiting Bundaberg then you’re in for a treat. Every Friday from 4 pm to 10 pm, the city hosts RiverFeast, a unique music, food and shopping venue set alongside the banks of the beautiful Burnett River. Gorge yourself on tasty eats, sip on a revolving menu of craft beers, and if you’re in town on July 6 why not head on down for their zesty Chilli and Lime Fiesta!
From avocados to zucchinis and everything in between, Bundaberg and the North Burnett region is also the perfect location for you to feast your way through an A to Z of local produce. Renowned for its paddock-to-plate pork and beef, this area also welcomes local trawlers who meander their way up the Burnett River with their daily hauls of freshly caught seafood.
The region’s rich red soil and year-round growing conditions also guarantee a bountiful harvest of fresh produce as well. If you’re on the road, prepare to be delayed as you visit roadside stalls overflowing with macadamias, citrus, pumpkins, tomatoes, pineapples, strawberries and finger limes (just to name a few!)
#2 – Drink
Bundaberg’s biggest claim to fame is probably Bundaberg Rum, and you won’t have to travel far before you spot an iconic polar bear plastered across billboards and bumper stickers. Experience a self-guided tour of the Bundaberg Rum Museum, or truly immerse yourself in the rich history of this dark spirit with a journey into the distillery’s operational heart. Learn the art of blending with the help of Blend Your Own Rum guides, then pour it, cap it, label it and enjoy your own personalised version!
Perhaps not as famous as Bundy Rum, but if you’re looking for things to do in Bundaberg, visit the Bundaberg Barrel for a sample of the area’s non-alcoholic brewed beverages. Experience the True Brew Experience Tour, get involved in a number of interactive activities, then sit back and enjoy free product tastings of their fourteen delicious flavours, including the company’s famous Bundaberg Ginger Beer.
#3 – Explore
If you love artsy activities, then head to the vividly purple exterior of the Bundaberg Regional Arts Gallery where you can peruse two vibrant gallery spaces that are dedicated to providing innovative cultural experiences in the region. Located in the heart of the city, it boasts a year-round program of exhibitions as well as workshops, artists’ talks and educational programs.
Are you a history buff looking for reasons to visit Bundaberg? Then you’ll love the Hinkler Hall of Aviation. This is a chronicle of the life of Bert Hinkler, who made the first-ever solo flight between England and Australia in 1928. Featuring a flight simulator, multimedia exhibits and original artefacts, the highlight is probably the original version of one of the five key aircraft associated with this explorer’s aviation history.
#4 – Discover
If you’ve never seen a turtle in real life then a visit to the Mon Repos Regional Park is a must-do. Home to one of the largest concentrations of nesting sea turtles on the eastern Australian mainland, here you can discover one of the most ancient life cycles in the animal kingdom. While you’re there, learn more about the research and conservations programs taking place at the centre, and experience an up-close-and-personal encounter with some of these extraordinary creatures.
Or take advantage of the beautiful balmy weather when visiting Bundaberg with a lazy picnic in picturesque Alexandra Park. Nestled on the banks of the meandering Burnett River, it’s home to a variety of birds, kangaroos and dingoes, and there’s also a small petting zoo here for the littlies.
#5 – View
If you fancy a bit of a lake view, don’t miss the Botanic Gardens, which covers 27 hectares of land featuring over 10,000 trees and 114 species of birds. There are a variety of activities to enjoy in the precinct including traipsing the themed boardwalks, viewing the Japanese gardens, and discovering the delights of the Bundaberg Railway Museum and the Bundaberg & District Historical Museum.
After some Instagram-worthy photos when visiting Bundaberg? Then head to Bargara’s low-lying volcanic remnant known as The Hummock Lookout. Great vistas of the ocean are visible to the east, while to the west soak up the never-ending landscape of sugar fields encircling this sub-tropical city.
#6 – Splash
There are a variety of Bundaberg tourist activities that suit those that love the water, including in the 14 hectares of coral cay that make up Lady Musgrave Island. Set on over 1200 hectares of living reef, its protected lagoon is perfect for snorkelers and divers alike.
Or catch a flight to Lady Elliot Island, a coral cay located on the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef and one of the world’s top diving and snorkelling sites. Boasting crystal clear water year-round, it’s the ideal destination for viewing amazing wildlife including dolphins, turtles, humpback whales and giant manta rays.
Prefer a local splash? Take the quick drive to the tiny beach hamlet of Bagara where you can enjoy some great snorkelling off Barolin Rocks. Beginner divers are also well catered for here, with an ocean filled with sealife like rays, turtles and reef fish. It’s also one of the only dive sites in Queensland where the elusive dugong has been spotted. Flipper-up!
#7 – Shop
Set the alarm early on a Saturday morning and be prepared to channel your inner shopaholic with a visit to Bundaberg’s bustling Lana’s Farmers Markets. Open from 7 am until 1 pm, here you’ll find an abundance of fresh produce, great coffee and an array of vintage jewellery, unique memorabilia, eclectic homewares and divine handcrafted knits.