There’s more to Bundaberg than Rum

Bundaberg, or ‘Bundy’, as it is known colloquially, is a popular stop for working holiday makers based on the east coast. This is because of the abundant local fruit-picking opportunities to secure that essential 3 months rural work to apply for a visa to stay in Australia for a second year. But its not all farmers and fruit.

Bundaberg Rum

Bundaberg, not surprisingly, is the home of Bundaberg Rum, a dark rum made from molasses which are a by-product of sugar production, which is big business locally. The distinctive branding includes a polar bear, apparently indicating Bundaberg rum’s ability to ward off the winter chill. How much of a winter chill subtropical Bundaberg actually experiences is debatable, but i have it on good authority that that is what the polar bear is about. Tours are available at the rum distillery and there is a shop selling all sorts of other products which are only available here, such as rum fudge and coffee-flavoured rum liqueur.

Ginger Beer

I think Bundaberg is the only place i have ever seen a building disguised as an enormous half barrel! This is the Bundaberg Barrel and home of Bundaberg Ginger Beer, which is made by a different company from the Bundaberg Rum. A visit includes an interactive tour and product sampling.

Mon Repos

On the coast near Bundaberg, Mon Repos is a conservation area popular with nesting marine turtles. Loggerhead, green, flatback and leatherback turtles all nest here and during breeding season it is possible to take guided tours at night, to watch the turtles nest and if you are lucky some new turtles hatch. We were lucky enough to see one turtle dig her nest, lay her eggs into it and then cover it up, another nest hatch (introducing us to this little fella pictured here, he is only minutes old) and yet another turtle making a beeline for right where we were standing. It is an amazing experience to be part of but wrap up warm because without the Aussie sun, the wide open beach can get a bit blustery and feel cooler than you would expect. Read more about seeing turtles at Mon Repos here.

Newly hatched turtle at Mon Repos, Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia

Great Barrier Reef

Bundaberg is known as the ‘Southern Gateway’ to the Great Barrier Reef, with Lady Elliot and Lady Musgrave lying not far offshore. Lady Elliot is the first island of the chain and hosts an eco resort and has daily flights from Bundaberg. Lady Musgrave is popular for camping and has regular ferry services from the nearby town of 1770.

Lady Musgrave Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australiare

The Hummock

Bundaberg is a flattish area but there is an interruption to the landscape provided by the hummock, which is the remnant of a volcano. The presence of a (now extinct)  volcano explains the fertility of the land and its suitability for farming. It is possible to drive to the top of the hummock, from where there is a great lookout offering views over vast fields of sugar cane and to the ocean.

The Hummock lookout, Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia

The Town of 1770

Taking just over an hour to drive to, 1770 is a small seaside settlement and an easy day trip from Bundaberg,. It is the site of Captain Cook’s second landing on Australia’s East coast and his first landing in Queensland. Although there is a small permanent population, the area very much has the feel of a holiday village. It is a great place to take advantage of fishing, surfing and other water activities. Incidentally, don’t be confused by locals referring to a place called ‘Round Hill’. The name was changed to 1770 in 1970.

Bundaberg Museums

If all this isn’t enough, Bundaberg also has a few museums including the Hinkler Hall of aviation, which is dedicated to aviator Bert Hinkler who was the first man to fly solo from England to Australia and hailed from Bundaberg. There are also the Bundaberg Railway museum and the Fairymead House Sugar Museum.


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