Located a short drive away from Bundaberg, Bargara isn’t one of the famous coastal towns of Australia’s East Coast. It makes it a lot more peaceful than popular destinations. During our week in the Bundaberg region, we chose to stay on the coast. It sounded more attractive than staying in the city. Indeed, there are many things to do in Bargara to please nature lovers.
Bargara is ideally located in the middle of the Woongarra Coast, which runs from Elliot Head to Burnett Head. Many visitors come to the region to catch a boat to Lady Musgrave Island but don’t explore the coast further. But it’s actually an amazing Queensland holiday destination! This article focuses on Bargara and the Woongarra Coast. If you’re looking for things to do in the bigger region, check out this article about things to do near Bundaberg for nature lovers.
Things to do in Bargara for nature lovers
1. Walking and cycling paths
The Turtle Trail goes along the coast from Kellys Beach to Burnett Head Harbour. It’s about 8-kilometre long one-way and ideal for cycling. It’s a bit long for walking but can stop at Bargara for a coffee to have a break.
If you don’t have a bike, you may be able to hire one from Bargara Beach Caravan Park.
2. Kellys Beach Reserve
The Reserve is very small, so don’t get high expectations from your visit. However, we were happy to spot a few birds, including spatulas. It’s worth a small detour if you’re already walking in the area. If you want to see more birds, head back to the city and visit Bundaberg Botanic Gardens.
Kellys Beach is reputed for surfing and Bargara Beach has a nice vibe with all the cafes and restaurants nearby.
Things to do on the Woongarra Coast for nature lovers
4. Walk the Coral Coast pathway
The Coral Coast pathway in Coral Cove goes from Innes Park reserve to Barolin Rocks. It offers lovely coastal views that will change a lot with the tide. The path is about two kilometres long, but it may take you more than half an hour if you stop as many times as we did to take photos. Plus, if you go down closer to the water on Barolin Rocks, you will find beautiful rock pools where it is very tempting to chill and refresh before heading back. It’s also a good spot for snorkelling (see below).
5. Scuba diving or snorkelling
I was stunned to find a few spots with corals on the Woongarra Coast, like Barolin Rocks, Burkitt’s Reef and Hoffman Rocks. They are part of a protected marine zone and host a lot of marine life.
The easiest spot (and the most popular) for snorkelling is Barolin Rocks. It will require walking on rocks, but you are rewarded by beautiful rock pools that are easy entry and exit points. If you go there at high tide, it should be easier to access, and you have a higher chance of having better visibility.
Many corals and schools of fish are between two to five meters deep, so you can see a lot while snorkelling. However, we chose to scuba dive as I find it more relaxing and we can see everything from closer. There are dive shops in Bargara and Bundaberg where you can organise training or equipment to scuba dive. You can learn more about our experience underwater at Barolin Rocks here.
You may want to contact the local dive shop to ask for the best site to dive according to the weather conditions that day. They have scuba diving equipment you can hire if you need it and also regularly organise guided tours.
Do you find scuba diving scary? I know the feeling. I have now done more than 200 dives, so I’ve shared my experience about overcoming my fear of scuba diving in this article; I hope it can help!
6. Mon Repos Turtle Centre
If you are visiting the region during the turtle season (from November to March), you don’t want to miss Mon Repos Turtle Centre. It’s the most reputed thing to do in Bargara and on the Woongarra Coast. You’ll have an excellent opportunity to visit the beach at night with a ranger to see turtles nesting (early in the season) or hatchlings (later in the season). The most common visitors are the endangered loggerhead turtles, but they occasionally see hatchbacks and green turtles.
It is worth visiting Mon Repos Turtle Centre even outside the turtle season. Not only will you learn many things about turtles, but you will also learn about their environment and small things you can do as a visitor in the region to help the conservation of this endangered species.
Responsible travel tip: Turtles need dark beaches. Reducing the light you use outside will help turtles find the best beach and hatchlings find their way to the ocean. Read more about what you can do to “cut the glow” here.
7. Elliott Head
We loved watching the colours changing with the tide at Elliott Head. The mouth of the river joins the ocean, creating interesting shapes in the sand and attracting birds. When conditions are right, Elliott Head can become very busy with jetskis, windsurf and swimmers.
Where to stay in Bargara and the Woongara Coast
We chose to stay at Kellys Beach Resort*. The eco-resort is ideally located two-minute away from the beach and in a lovely green setting. I loved our noisy, colourful neighbours who would sit on a branch when we ate breakfast on the terrace.
You can also find many beachfront accommodations in Bargara*.
Have you visited Bargara and the Woongarra Coast? Share your experience in the comments below!
Where is Bargara and the Woongarra Coast?
Bargara is a coastal town near Bundaberg, about 4.5 hrs north of Brisbane.