In Bundaberg, at the entrance to the Southern Great Barrier Reef, a miracle takes place nightly on the shores of Mon Repos beach. This is the place where more than half of the entire concentration of nesting loggerhead turtles in the Southern Hemisphere come to lay their eggs. These big mamma turtles were born on this very beach, some as long as 80 years ago.
They too hatched from a nest of roughly 100 siblings and scrambled for the ocean, surviving a journey around the world and the one-in-1000 odds of living through to maturity. Now these ancient mariners are back, using the earth’s magnetic field as an internal GPS to find their way to their birthplace and repeat the cycle of life.
This is the miracle of Mon Repos as told by ranger Cathy Gatley – one of the many passionate people who are fighting to protect this enchanting yet endangered species. Their research and conservation work, combined with education and tourism programs that throw this miracle open to travellers, have seen loggerhead numbers increase significantly since the program began in the late 1960s.
Want to witness a miracle?
Ranger-guided encounters operate seven nights a week from November to late March at Mon Repos, 15 minutes east of Bundaberg on the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Nesting turtles can be viewed after dark from November to January while turtle hatchlings can be viewed at night from January to March.