Things To Do In Bundaberg With Kids
There are so many things to do with kids in Bundaberg, from beautiful places, to fun activities. Only five hours’ drive north from Brisbane, Bundaberg can be easily reached within a day. Along the way, there are many places you can stop for a break or even stay for a night or two. These are our recommendations –
Rest stop idea 1: Hervey Bay
If you are wanting to break up the journey to Bundaberg with an overnight stay, Hervey Bay is an easy 3 and a half hours’ drive north of Brisbane and has a caravan park near the beach or a range of apartment options by the water to set up camp for one night or more. Whilst in Hervey Bay, check out the fantastic free water park called the WetSide that sits at the Pialba end of the esplanade overlooking the ocean. The kids can play in water jets for hours whilst you plan the next stage of your trip and enjoy a cuppa from the cafe.
Rest stop idea 2: Childers
If it’s just a pit stop you need on the way to the Bundaberg Region, the town of Childers is a great option for families. On the way into town there is a sign directing you down a country road to a small batch ice creamery called Mammino Gourmet Ice Cream. Family owned and situated on a Macadamia Farm, the ice creamery produces loads of flavours (our kids’ favourite was ‘red dirt’ – a combination of Jaffa and macadamias inspired by the local soil). On the way into Childers there is also the peanut van where you can stock up with sweet and savoury local nuts (road snacks anyone?). Childers welcomes you with a lovely wide street, a relaxed vibe and beautiful Colonial buildings. There is great coffee at Laneway Espresso on the Main Street – a great lunch spot that’s perfect for refueling before driving on to Bundy. From Childers it is a leisurely 40 minutes to one hour drive on to the Bundaberg Region.
Things to do in the Bundaberg Region for families
Once in Bundaberg, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches and places to stay. There is the gorgeous Woodgate Beach, a 16 km stretch of sand with a caravan park and holiday houses for rent. Further on (about 14 min drive from Bundaberg) is the beautiful seaside town of Bargara that has two caravan parks, apartments along the water front, and a cafe precinct on the water with a la carte, pub food and fish and chip options. If you prefer to self cater, there is a full sized supermarket on the way into Bargara, and, if alfresco is your thing, there are lovely barbecues, sheltered tables and a children’s playground on the esplanade with uninterrupted views of the sea.
Once settled in your accommodation, there is a range of amazing activities for adults and kids alike in the Bundaberg Region, including patrolled beaches and gentle surf, snorkelling straight from the shore, and you can even book day trips to the nearby islands.
Family activities at the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens
The Bundaberg Botanic Gardens is a tranquil oasis with a number of attractions. There are shady play areas and a lovely lagoon with a cafe, a railway museum and the sugar mill tour. The highlight is the Hinkler Museum and house, which pays homage to Bert Hinkler, a local boy born in 1892 whose achievements included flying solo from England to Australia and the first solo flight across the Atlantic in 1931. The museum includes many interactive exhibits, including glider and flight simulators, video footage and the opportunity to try your hand at the ‘Hinkler two step’ to 1930’s music.
Bundaberg Rum Distillery- Forget the rum and focus on the science!
If you have a thirst to quench after all that activity, there are plenty of opportunities to acquaint yourself with the various brewed drinks Bundaberg has to offer. Tours are available for both Bundaberg soft drinks (free ginger beer kids?) and the Bundaberg Rum Distillery. Whilst initially unsure about kids on a distillery tour, they can be fascinated by the science (think yeast fermentation, time to ‘cooper’ or make the barrels, and the history of why rum started)….. and it is great to experience a local icon. If you are keen on the distillery tours, they can be booked online in advance at www.bundabergrum.com.au/tours so you are sure to get a spot.
BRAG – Bundaberg’s Regional Art Gallery with activities for kids
An unexpected gem in Bundaberg is the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery (BRAG). A funky exterior facelift to an old colonial building makes its mark on the outside and it is a joy to walk around on the inside. When we visited there were gems from local artists on display and a travelling photographic exhibition on loan from the National Gallery. The kind and helpful staff advised that this exhibition was only travelling to 5 regional galleries, of which BRAG was one, which demonstrates a vibrant arts scene in Bundaberg. The gallery also has play spaces for little ones to entertain themselves and create.
What is Mon Repos?
Mon Repos is a Conservation Park (including beach) that contains a very important turtle rookery with the biggest group of nesting turtles on the East Coast of Australia. It is less that 10 minutes from Bagara. Mon Repos (French for ‘my rest’) was named after the holiday house that once stood nearby and that was built and named by a local sugar merchant.
The beach is home to the Mon Repos Turtle Centre, managed by National Parks and Wildlife. Every year, from November to March, Green and Loggerhead Turtles lay their eggs and, when ready, the turtle hatchlings return to the sea. Mon Repos Turtle Encounters – guided tours to watch nesting and hatching turtles – begin around 7pm at night as you wait for rangers to take you down to the beach. In low light, and if you are lucky, you will see a mother turtle digging her nest to bury her eggs and then watch as she returns to the sea (generally taking place from November to January). From January to March, the eggs begin to hatch and the baby turtles (hatchlings) make their journey down the sand to return to the sea. We were fortunate to see both nesting mothers and hatchlings when we visited in January, and it was an amazing experience for all the family.
Just take a look at this incredible video produced by Visit Queensland to get an idea of the memories you could take home from Mon Repos –
When you return to to Turtle Centre, you can buy a certificate with the details of the turtle you saw (for a small sum) and a memento of an experience of a lifetime. If you are thinking of visiting the turtles I would recommend booking ahead, as there is a set number of spots each night. After meeting at the centre, you are sorted into groups to go down to the beach in order of your booking date, which means if you book earlier you are up for an earlier evening. You can click here to book your Turtle Encounter, or to find out more.
Returning to Brisbane
After experiencing the natural wonder of the turtles and all of the attractions on offer in and around Bundaberg, you will be all set for your return journey to Brisbane. If you are driving straight through, a pit stop at the Tramcars Bakery in Gympie for a well made coffee and a grass fed beef pie or toasted sandwich will revive you for the final stretch and is a worthy diversion.
Special thanks to our guest writer Tiffany for this personal guide to the Bundaberg Region for families. This post is not sponsored in any way. All opinions stated are those of the writer.