Bundaberg is famous for its rum and soft drinks. So when you plan a visit to Bundaberg, it is hard to skip the distillery and the brewery. They’re actually great experiences. But there are many other things to do in Bundaberg that will please nature lovers. We’ve spent a few days exploring Bundaberg, the Wide Bay and North Burnett region, and here are our favourite spots to visit in or near Bundaberg.
The numbers refer to the map at the bottom of the article.
1. Bird watching at Bundaberg Botanical Garden
Our visit to Bundaberg Botanical Garden was a fantastic surprise. We love bird watching so we spent a lot more time than planned in the garden to watch spatulas and egrets build their nests.
2. See turtles at Mon Repos beach
Mon Repos Beach is particularly worth visiting during the turtle nesting and hatchling season (November – February). Visits to the beach to see them are very controlled to avoid having a negative impact on the turtle population. Hence, you need to book a tour with a ranger. Make sure you book a long time in advance, as spots are limited, and it’s one of the most popular things to do in Bundaberg!
3. Scuba dive or snorkel at Barolin Rocks
I was very surprised by the shore dives we did near Bundaberg. Barolin Rocks dive site was particularly easy to access. The corals there are not comparable to the Great Barrier Reef, but there was quite a lot to see.
4. Visit the Great Barrier Reef at Lady Musgrave Island
When in Bundaberg, you have the opportunity to join a day trip tour to Lady Musgrave Island. When you see how much it costs to go there, you may wonder if a trip to Lady Musgrave Island is worth it. We were impressed by our dive on the outer reef and had a nice snorkelling session in the lagoon. If you’ve never been to the Great Barrier Reef, it’s a good opportunity to seize.
5. Walking along the esplanade in Bargara
Bargara is a nice laid-back town near the beach, only a few minutes away from Bundaberg. It’s perfect to have a stroll on the beach and then relax at a café. It will take about three hours to walk all the way to Burnett Heads (11 km). It’s lovely to cycle too.
6. Walk on the beach at Elliott Heads and Burnett Heads
The mouth of the Elliott River at Elliott Heads is ideal for swimming in calm waters, while the ocean can provide good surf opportunities. You’ll often see kitesurfers at Elliott Heads. The nearby sand island, Dr May Island, is often closed for visitors to protect migratory birds nesting there.
7. Enjoy the Burnett River
You can explore the Burnett River on a 2.5-hour cruise from the city of Bundaberg. It’s a good opportunity to learn more about the region. To admire the river for a bit longer, you can also have a nice seafood lunch at Grunske’s by the River.
8. Climb Mount Walsh
It takes about 1hr15 to drive from Bundaberg to Mount Walsh National Park. The three-hour summit walk is steep and not for everyone. But if you like hiking and challenges, you’ll have fun climbing Mount Walsh, and the view at the top is rewarding. Make sure you come prepared with enough water if you do it on a hot day.
9. Swim at Utopia Rock Pools
Utopia Rock Pools are also in Mount Walsh National Park, but not in the same section as Mount Walsh summit walk. It takes about 1hr40 minutes to drive there from Bundaberg. Then, it’s a short 30-minute walk down to the pools.
10. Scuba dive the HMAS Tobruk
The HMAS Tobruk wreck is a deep dive (30 metres) suitable for Advanced Open Water certified divers. The wreck was sunk on purpose to create a scuba diving site so it is easy to penetrate and explore.
11. Visit Hervey Bay
There are a lot of things to do in Hervey Bay, and it is a destination itself rather than a day trip from Bundaberg. But if your time is limited and you’re looking for things to do in the region, you may want to consider whale watching in Hervey Bay (in winter), scuba diving or birdwatching from the Urangan Pier.
12. Explore the North Burnett Region
The North Burnett region is off the beaten path. If you want to discover something different to the coast, you’ll be interested in going inland to visit some national parks near Bundaberg. However, they’re a bit too far to be done as a day trip. It takes 2hrs50 to drive to Cania Gorge National Park (12) or Auburn River National Park (13).
What are your favourite things to do near Bundaberg? Share your experience in the comments below!
Where are these things to do near Bundaberg?
Bundaberg is about five hours north of Brisbane, in the Wide Bay region.