Mon Repos is where all the action takes place each year. First, the Mumma loggerhead turtles nest from November till January, where they lay their eggs. Then, depending on the temperature of where the eggs are laid, be it in the warm sun or shade, baby loggerhead turtles will hatch around January, six to ten weeks after nesting.
So, suppose you’d like to learn more about turtle conservation, take a tour, and create some wildlife memories of your own. In that case, this blog will delight not only your wild side but also establish a newfound appreciation for the life of the loggerhead turtle. And at Kellys, we can arrange your tour, so ask us to book for you.
From January through to March, the loggerheads hatch out of their eggs and enthusiastically navigate their way to the surface of the egg chamber and into a new world. As they take their first little flipper steps onto Mon Repos beach, they are often greeted by a Ranger and eager tour goers keen to see them make their way to the ocean for their first taste of freedom.
Image Credit: Tourism Events Queensland
The Baby Turtles Journey
The swimming frenzy begins as the baby turtles make their way with vigour towards the sounds of the ocean. As the hatchlings emerge from the sand and look for the lowest natural light on the horizon, this guides them to the water’s edge (artificial lights mask the natural horizons and cause disorientation). For two to three days, the baby turtles do not eat. Instead, they are fueled by the yolk from inside their egg that energises their newly birthed life. From there, they swim towards the East Australian current, where they float to NSW, down to New Zealand, and then embark across the waters to Peru and Chile, floating most of the way.
They then stay across the globe for around 15-16 years at their feeding ground, which will be their temporary home, and where they reach sexual maturity.
Fact – Females do not breed every year. Instead, they may return every two or three years (depending on how far away their feeding ground is – some may stay away for longer). During this next phase of their turtle life, they spend the intervening years building up fat stores at their feeding ground until they are ready to begin their subsequent breeding migration, returning to Mon Repos to breed at the young age of approximately 29 years.
Why Mon Repos?
Mon Repos endeavours to conserve the life of turtles, not just loggerhead turtles. Each turtle season, they distribute pamphlets reminding locals about light exposure and to be aware of our beautiful wildlife that call Bundaberg their home. But why is Mon Repos so special? Because it supports the largest concentration of the endangered loggerhead turtle species on the eastern Australian mainland due to its sheltered bay and low erosion point, with an 80% success rate of hatchlings emerging.
Apart from predators, baby turtles’ threats are small plastics caused by humans that they think are food. When ingested, this can kill them.
Image Credit: Tourism Events Queensland
The Total Mon Repos Experience
Given its name Mon Repos, meaning “My Rest”, in 1884 by Augustus Purling Barton, a pioneer in the Qld sugar industry, locals can attest to the calm and restorative nature of Mon Repos. So it is no wonder that the turtles choose to nest along the pristine and sheltered ocean headland.
And when you visit Mon Repos, you won’t be disappointed. Visit day or night to experience the interactive turtle display, where you’ll also find a cafe for snacks and drinks. Turtle tours and encounters are experienced via groups, where all ticket holders arrive simultaneously, are placed into groups, and then taken down to the beach when the turtles arrive.
Be mindful that turtles arrive on “turtle time”; therefore, Mon Repos reminds people to be patient while waiting, suggesting to bring a book and a card deck. Kids and adults also have the opportunity to partake in activities in the turtle centre while waiting. Also, please remember to be environmentally friendly. Bring a reusable water bottle, and reusable coffee cup, plus please remember eco-safe insect repellent.
When you are asked to join the Ranger on the beach, the trek can be up to 1.6km long and in natural light over uneven surfaces. So beachgoers are asked to be physically capable of walking in these conditions. Therefore, if you love the moonlight, that will be your guiding light as you traverse the beach. And please listen closely to the instructions given by the Rangers.
Here’s an exciting part. You may be lucky enough to work alongside the Rangers as the hatchlings make their way to the water.
For weather, turtle tours will continue even in the rain. So bring a rain jacket. Umbrellas are NOT allowed on the beach.
If you try to see the turtles alone, which is not recommended, the entire beach is closed to the public from 6 pm to 6 am nightly from October 15th – April 30th. So the best way to experience nesting and hatching turtles is by purchasing a Turtle Encounter tour with a qualified and experienced Ranger.
How Can Kellys help you see the Turtles?
At Kellys Beach Resort Bargara, we are all about helping you explore our beautiful region. And as such, we have designed packages to tickle your fancy and entice your wild side. So if you are ready to book a turtle experience, click on the packages listed above, and we’ll take care of the rest. Just enjoy your stay and create lasting memories. Kellys are here to help. Ask us how.