Bundaberg

Bundaberg Rum Distillery, Courtesy of Tourism Queensland

Population 71000

Bundaberg, the southernmost access point to the Great Barrier Reef, is proud of its parks and gardens, vineyards, breweries and scenic walks. Even more recognisable is its world-famous amber spirit, Bundaberg Rum. Fields of towering sugarcane border the town and nearby Burnett River, and when burned in harvest season (July to November) give the area a smoky haze. As the sugar industry was being developed in the 1880s and Australian labour costs were rising, South Sea Islanders were placed under ‘contract’ to work on the cane fields as a cheap alternative. In fact, the majority of these labourers had been lured from their island homes onto boats under the pretence of trading goods. In 1901, when Australia’s Commonwealth Government was established, the Kanakas (as the labourers were known) were allowed to return home. A Kanaka-built basalt stone wall can still be seen near Bargara, a short distance north-east of town.

Bundaberg proudly claims the aviator Bert Hinkler as one of its own. In 1928 Hinkler was the first to successfully fly from England to Australia on a voyage that took just over 15 days.

Visitor Information

271 Bourbong St; (07) 4153 8888

www.bundabergregion.org

Nearby national parks

  • Great Sandy National Park

    Great Sandy National Park encompasses World Heritage–listed Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world; nearby Woody Island;...more

  • Cania Gorge National Park

    Cania Gorge, a dramatic landscape of gullies, caves and spectacular 70-metre-high sandstone cliffs, is the centrepiece of this national park...more

  • Noosa National Park

    The natural delights of Noosa National Park include spectacular coastal scenery, wildlife and wildflowers. Rocky headlands protect quiet...more

Nearby towns

  • Childers

    Childers is a picturesque National Trust town south of Bundaberg, part of the state's sugarcane belt. With leafy streets and a lovely...more

  • Gin Gin

    Some of Queensland's oldest cattle properties surround this pastoral town south-west of Bundaberg. The district is known as 'Wild Scotchman...more

  • Hervey Bay

    Hervey (pronounced 'Harvey') Bay is a natural bay located 290 kilometres north of Brisbane between Maryborough and Bundaberg. The...more

In Town

Botanical Gardens In this picturesque setting stand many buildings from Bundaberg’s past. Hinkler House Memorial Museum, inside Bert Hinkler’s relocated Southampton home, is a tribute to him and to aviation history. Fairymead House Sugar Museum, a restored plantation home, recalls the town's early years of sugar production, and the nearby Historical Museum chronicles the general history of the area. To see more of the grounds, take the restored Sugarcane Railway around the lakes, which runs every Sun (also Wed on school holidays); Mt Perry Rd.

Bundaberg Rum Distillery: learn about the distillation process first-hand; tours daily; Avenue St.

Schmeider’s Cooperage and Craft Centre: demonstrations of barrel making and glass-blowing, and sales of local crafts and handmade crystal jewellery; Alexandra St.

Arts Centre: 3 galleries devoted to local and visiting art exhibitions; cnr Barolin and Quay sts.

Baldwin Swamp Conservation Park: stroll along boardwalks and pathways through waterlily lagoons, abundant birdlife and native fauna; Steindl St.

Tropical Wines: taste unique wines made from local fruit; Mt Perry Rd.

Alexandra Park and Zoo: historic band rotunda, spacious picnic lawns, cactus garden, zoo (free admission); riverbank, Quay St.

Whaling Wall: a 7-storey-high whale mural by Robert Wyland; Bourbong St.

Heritage city walk: self-guide walking tour of 12 significant sites and buildings; starts at School of Arts Building, Bourbong St.

Bundaberg Barrel: giant barrel building houses Bundaberg Brewed Drinks. With interactive tours, holographic 3-D adventure and free sampling; Bargara Rd.

Nearby

Mon Repos Conservation Park This park contains the largest and most accessible mainland loggerhead turtle rookery in eastern Australia. Between Nov and Mar these giant sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. Hatchlings leave their nests for the sea from mid-Jan to late Mar. Access to the park is restricted during these times – guided night tours depart from the park information centre for viewing turtles up-close. When turtles are not hatching, snorkelling and exploring rockpools are popular activities; (07) 4159 1652; 15 km NE.

Burrum Coast National Park Split into 2 sections, this national park offers a variety of landscapes and activities. The northern Kinkuna section is relatively undeveloped. The vegetation along the beach is rugged and spectacular, and birdwatching in the wallum heath is a highlight. Access is via Palm Beach Road; 14 km SW; 4WD and sand-driving experience are necessary. The southern Woodgate section is more people-friendly, featuring boardwalks and established tracks that allow visitors to see abundant wildlife from every vantage. Access is via Woodgate, a small town with a magnificent ocean beach; (07) 4131 1600; 57 km S.

Lady Elliot Island A small coral cay with 19 major dive sites, bird rookeries, turtle-nesting site and whale-watching opportunities. Low-key resort (maximum 140 people), ranging from budget to island suites. Air access to Lady Elliot from Hinkler Airport. Contact visitor centre for details; 92 km NE.

Hummock Lookout: panoramic view of Bundaberg, cane fields and coast; 7 km NE.

Meadowvale Nature Park: rainforest and walkway to Splitters Creek; 10 km W.

Sharon Nature Park: rainforest, native fauna and walkway to Burnett River; 12 km SW.

Bargara: coastal town with a popular surf beach and year-round fishing on man-made reef. Turtles often nest at nearby Neilson Park, Kelly’s and Rifle Range beaches; 13 km NE.

Fishing spots: area renowned for its wide variety of fishing. Excellent spots at Burnett Heads (15 km NE), Elliott Heads (18 km SE) and Moore Park (21 km NW).

Mystery craters: 35 small craters in sandstone slab. Their origin causes much debate, but confirmed to be over 25 million years old; 25 km SW.

Littabella National Park: lagoons and billabongs surrounded by tea tree forest. Many sand tracks for the 4WD enthusiast can be found at nearby Norval Park Beach; (07) 4131 1600; 38 km NW.

Lady Musgrave Island: excellent spot for snorkelling, fishing and camping. Sea access from Bundaberg Port; 107 km N.

Fishing spots near town

Lake Monduran 52 km

Lake Monduran is near Gin Gin, a four-hour drive north of Brisbane on the Bruce Highway. Although it appears narrow, it has a surface area of 53 sq km and a holding capacity of 585 900 ML of water, which is about 1.6... Find out more


Lake Lenthall 63 km

Anyone who has read about the barramundi boom in Queensland’s impoundments will know about lakes like Awoonga, Faust and Callide. But there are many, less- known waters that also offer excellent fishing, and one of... Find out more


Hervey Bay 74 km

Hervey Bay and Fraser Island are inseparably linked to each other and to fishing. Variety and quality of species is a true measure of a fishing destination and here you can catch longtails (northern bluefin tuna),... Find out more


Eco-friendly activities around town

Dolphin tours around Hervey Bay 71 km

All year-round Blue Dolphin Marine Tours runs eco-tours to see the two species of dolphin in the area – the bottlenose, and the rare Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin. You have a 95 per cent chance of seeing the... Find out more


Campsites around town

Kinkuna camping area (bush camping) 30 km

Take your pick from 40 sandy sites behind the beach foredunes in the Kinkuna section. There are no facilities but open fires are allowed (except when fire bans apply). Bring drinking water. Note: the Woodgate–Palm... Find out more


Burrum Point camping area 43 km

Whether you prefer swimming at the beach or boating on a river, you’re blessed with the choice of both at Burrum Coast National Park. The sandy camping area is just a short walk from the beach at Burrum Point, and... Find out more


Mouth of Baffle Creek camping area 50 km

Visitors to this park can camp behind the dunes, 2 km south of the beach access point. There are no facilities and it is recommended for self-sufficient campers only: bring everything. Beware of marine stingers... Find out more


Lake Monduran Holiday Park 50 km

A fantastic spot for big barramundi fishing, Lake Monduran is 20 km north-west of Gin Gin and 4.5 km east of the Bruce Hwy. The campground, on Claude Wharton Dr, has free wireless internet, laundry facilities, a kiosk,... Find out more


Mitchell Creek camping area 57 km

Fantastic for fishing and wildlife-watching, the campground is accessible by 4WD or boat along Rules Beach; check tides and entry points before proceeding to the beach. There are no facilities so you’ll need to... Find out more


Wongi camping area 66 km

Chill down with a dip in the beautiful waterholes at Wongi, but note that fishing is not allowed and jumping or diving is not recommended. There is conventional vehicle access and plenty of space for caravans, motorhomes... Find out more


Wreck Rock camping area 72 km

This small campsite behind the frontal dunes at the south-eastern end of Deepwater National Park has 14 sites for a maximum of 6 people each. It provides excellent beachfront camping with sand and woodchip surfaces and... Find out more


Middle Rock camping area (bush camping) 75 km

At the north-eastern side of Deepwater National Park, this sand and woodchip bush camp has undefined sites behind the foredunes and is accessible only by 4WD. There are no facilities provided and you need to take a... Find out more


Jeffries Beach camping area (boat-based camping) 79 km

This bush campground with no facilities is the only camping area on Woody Island. You’ll find Jeffries Beach on the south-east side of the island, about 5 min south of the gas shed. Experienced sea kayakers... Find out more


Workmans Beach Campsite 82 km

Just a short stroll to the unpatrolled surf beach, this campground is 1 km from the Agnes township and across the road from a skatepark. There are cold-water beach showers and free gas BBQs. Signposted access is off... Find out more


Caravan parks around town

BIG4 Cane Village Holiday Park 4 km

This is a very good quality park on the western approach to the city, in a convenient location for an overnight stay and excellent for a longer visit. The Sugarland shopping centre is close by. Bookings are required in... Find out more


Glenlodge Caravan Village 5 km

This owner-operated park is 6 km south of the town centre and easily accessible, ideal for an overnight stay or as a base for a few days exploring the region. It has very good amenities. Bookings are required in peak... Find out more


Bargara Beach Caravan Park 13 km

This large, quality beachside tourist park is in a popular holiday destination. Snorkelling, diving and fishing are popular in the surrounding waters. Bargara is a small coastal community not far from Bundaberg. The Mon... Find out more


Woodgate Beach Tourist Park 35 km

In the centre of a small beachfront community and just across the road from a wonderful beach, this is a convenient and popular park with a relaxing coffee shop. Bookings are required in peak periods and a minimum-length... Find out more


Lake Monduran Holiday Park 50 km

Lake Monduran is a stocked impoundment, very popular with anglers; a fishing permit, available at the kiosk, is required. The park has good facilities and is a great place for an overnight stay, easily accessible from... Find out more


Burrum River Caravan Park 56 km

In a quiet location on the banks of the Burrum River, on the south side of Howard, and less than 1 km from the Bruce Highway this is an ideal park for a quiet rest away from the traffic and the beach bustle. There are... Find out more


Fraser Lodge Holiday Park 71 km

Explore Hervey Bay, go whale-watching or relax and enjoy the pool, barbecues, and the ducks in the lake or have a game of tennis at this great park. Set in a quiet street, it is just a short walk to the beach and close... Find out more


Happy Wanderer Village Caravan Park 71 km

With more ensuite sites than anything else, this is a large quality park with plenty of shade and excellent facilities to make your Hervey Bay holiday something to remember. It is not far to the waters edge and the boat... Find out more


Harbour View Caravan Park 74 km

Hervey Bay is a major tourist destination and this owner-operated waterfront park is close to the large marina complex where the whale-watching cruises depart during the season. This is a good park with basic facilities,... Find out more


Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Reef Gateway Motor Inn

There is much to see on short drives in and around Bundaberg, and this centrally located property, part of the Best Western chain, is a good base from which to explore. Start the day with a swim in the pool and end it at... Find out more


Grand Mercure Bargara Apartments

The Mercure name guarantees good value and quality, and when this property opened in 2008 it put Bargara in the international travel league thanks to the company’s worldwide connections. All apartments have large... Find out more


Kacy’s Bargara Beach Motel

You would choose this motel just for its location, right across from the seaside Esplanade where locals walk their dogs and stop for a chat under shady trees. It is also in the middle of the town’s small but lively... Find out more


Kelly’s Beach Resort

The accommodation here is villa-style and self-contained, but the charm lies in the resort’s gardens, two pools, tennis court, sauna and spa, and the fact it’s only one block, a short walk, to the beach.... Find out more


Eco-friendly places to stay around town

Emeraldene Inn and Eco-Lodge, Hervey Bay 68 km

The 14 hotel-style rooms here, including two disabled rooms, have solar hot water and an envirocycle treatment system so that all sewage and greywater is treated and reused on site. The lodge has a solid environmental... Find out more


Kingfisher Bay Resort, Fraser Island 91 km

With 1000 beds, and a choice of pools, restaurants and bars, this is the largest accommodation place mentioned in this book, but it has a longstanding reputation as being a positive role model for large ecotourism... Find out more


Rest areas around town

Sharon rest area 11 km

T/O to Bundaberg

Just off the road among shady trees 34km east of the highway or 15km west of Bundaberg.


Wallum rest area 24 km

T/O to Bundaberg

Just off the road among shady trees 18km north-east of the highway or 28km south-west of Bundaberg.


Apple Tree Creek rest area 41 km

At Apple Tree Creek

Just off the highway under shady trees. On the south side of town.


Gin Gin rest area 42 km

2km N of Gin Gin (R) or 97km S of Miriam Vale (L)

Well off the highway under shady trees.


Wongi camping area 66 km

T/O 36km N of Tiaro (L) or 42km S of Childers (R)

Secluded bush setting 10km (unsealed) west of the highway in Wongi State Forest.


Granite Creek rest area 74 km

63km N of Gin Gin (R) or 36km S of Miriam Vale (L)

Well off the highway among some large trees.


Petrie rest area 97 km

T/O 1km N of Tiaro (L) or 81km S of Childers (R)

Small secluded area 1km west of the highway on a riverbank.


Tiaro camping area 98 km

At Tiaro

Just off the highway via Inman St. Facilities at adjacent town park.


What's on around town

Shalom College Markets: local crafts; Fitzgerald St; every Sun.

PCYC Markets: Maryborough St; 2nd Sun each month.

Big House Piano: music at Fairymead House; 1st Sun each month. 

Aussie Country Muster: music and entertainment; May.

Bundaberg Show: Jun.

Wide Bay International Air Show: Aug. 

Multicultural Food and Wine Festival: Aug.

Bundy in Bloom Festival: spring festival and parade; Sept.

Arts Festival: Oct.

Bundy Thunde

r: power-boat spectacular; Nov.

Port2Port Yacht Rally: Nov.

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