Loved-up loggerheads are preparing for the nesting season, signalling the start of spring in Queensland.
With turtle time fast approaching, Tourism Queensland is encouraging Aussies to book ahead to secure a spot for the upcoming season.
Tourism Queensland Acting CEO Leanne Coddington said the Mon Repos Conservation Park, located just outside Bundaberg attracted almost 30,000 visitors last season.
“Mon Repos supports the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on Australia’s east coast, is a fertility hot spot and a conservation success story,” she said.
“The turtle rookery is also one of the largest for loggerhead turtles in the South Pacific, with visitors witnessing hundreds of turtles laying eggs last season.
“A trip to see the turtles is more than just a lesson in the ‘birds and the bees’, it’s one of Queensland’s most popular edu-tourism experiences.”
Edu-tourism is a term used to describe a visitor experience that is both entertaining and educational and is an increasing global trend.
Loggerhead sea turtles typically lay around 130 eggs per clutch, returning every two weeks to nest and laying up to four clutches per season.
Data collected by the Mon Repos Rangers indicates female loggerheads are the most frequent visitors to Mon Repos shores.
Female turtles opting to nest at Mon Repos between November and January each year have produced predominantly female hatchlings for the last 12 years, a result of the sub-tropical conditions and heat of the sand which determines the sex of the turtle hatchlings.
Successful nesting at Mon Repos is critical for the future of tourism in the region.
These ancient sea creatures, with their inbuilt GPS, travel tens of thousands of kilometres before returning to the area they were born when they’re ready to nest - a ‘natal homing’ natural phenomenon.
General Manager of Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism, Rick Matkowski, said visitors to Mon Repos could get within inches of the giant females, which could reach a metre in length and weigh up to 100 kilograms.
“Bundaberg’s beaches are awaiting the ladies’ annual arrival and we want Queenslanders and visitors from around the world to share in this must-see experience,” he said.
“Tickets for the upcoming season, which begins on November 10, are now on sale.”
Nightly ranger-guided Turtle Encounters run seven nights a week and cost $10.55 for adults and $5.55 for children (five to 14 years).