Bundaberg is a city in Queensland, Australia with 71,000 people not including the surrounding areas. The city is on the Burnett River, a little under 400 kilometres north of the state capital, Brisbane and 12 kilometres inland from the coast. the time zone is UTC+10.
Bundaberg is closely associated with the sugar cane industry. The area is surrounded by sugar cane fields, and the small railway lines used to transport the harvested cane to the mills. The closeness to the sugar cane mills is the reason for the siting of the rum, ginger beer, and sugar industries associated with Bundaberg.
The town itself is around 12km from the ocean and the ocean beaches, along the river. Bourbong street is the main street (originally named Bourbon Street, but historically misspelled). Parts are the main street are also known as the Isis Highway.
The town of Bargara is one of the beachside suburbs of Bundaberg. They are home to many modern apartments, accommodation, and resorts with ocean views. They are close to Bundaberg but have a very different feel to the town centre. They have small shopping and restaurant strips of their own, and an esplanade with barbecues and picnic tables.
The Burnett River flows through and divides the town. It is crossed by two road bridges and a railway bridge.
Tourism is an important industry in Queensland, and Bundaberg is called the 'Southern Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef'. The city is situated near the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef near to Lady Elliot Island and Lady Musgrave Island. The nearby town of Bargara is a popular holiday and retirement destination.
The Mon Repos turtle rookery is situated on the coast a little east of Bundaberg. The northern bank of the Burnett River between the Don Tallon and Burnett bridges is home to a colony of flying foxes.
Nearby beaches are popular with both tourists and locals. Moore Park, north of the city, boasts 20 km of golden sandy beach. Beaches on the southern side of the Burnett River are (from north to south) Oaks Beach, Mon Repos, Nielsen Park, Bargara Beach, Kellys Beach, Innes Park and Elliott Heads.
Cania Gorge National Park, Deepwater National Park, Eurimbula National Park and Kinkuna National Park, located in the Bundaberg region are popular with campers and bush-lovers and offer some great sightseeing and fishing.
Tours of the famous Bundaberg Rum distillery and attractions at the Botanic Gardens are also popular with tourists. The Mystery Craters, 35 un-explained water-filled holes in the ground, discovered in 1971 at South Kolan, are also a tourist attraction.
Opened in December 2008, the Hinkler Hall of Aviation is an historical aviation tourist attraction that celebrates pioneer solo aviator Bert Hinkler. It includes an exhibition hall, featuring multi-media exhibits, a flight simulator, a theatre, five aircraft and the historic Hinkler House.
Bundaberg has two cinemas. The Reading Cinemas are on Johanna Dr, and the Moncrieff Theatre is on Bourbong St. The Moncrieff Theatre also has live musical and theatrical performances.
The Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery (BRAG) is a large multi-purpose visual arts facility located at Barolin Street Corner Quay Street in Bundaberg City. The gallery showcases exhibitions drawn from local, state, national and international artists, and includes a gift shop, artist-in-residence apartment, workshop areas and an art resource library (The Green Room).
Other interesting things to see and do
- The Bundaberg Barrel is the home of Bundaberg Ginger Beer (and other brewed soft drinks). There is a shop and tasting (free to access), and an interactive museum display at a small cost. The museum can take an hour or so, with some interactive computer exibits, some historical information, and a small "hologramatic" presentation humorously telling the story of brewed soft drinks (end the evil Johann Jacob Schweppe who inserted bubbles into soft drink, rather than brewing them!).
- Bundaberg Rum Distillery. Where the amber fluid has been produced since 1888. There are two tours; The intereactive Bundy Story' uses touch panels and visual displays to show 120 years of rum making. The Bondstore Experience adds a guided tour around the distillery where you can see, smell and taste the product being made. Covered footwear required. Tours run on the hour Mon - Fri 10AM-3PM, 10AM-2PM, Sat / Sun and public holidays. Tours $15-25; Family: $62.50; Children under 3 free.
- The Hinkler House Memorial Museum, located in the Botanic gardens, was originally the house of Bert Hinkler, a pioneer aviator born in Bundaberg who, in 1928, became the first person to fly solo from England to Australia, and, in 1931, the first person to fly solo across the South Atlantic. The house was originally located on the Thornhill Estate, Sholing, in Southampton, England, and was rescued from destruction in 1983. It was dismantled and shipped brick by brick to Bundaberg and reconstructed. Open daily, 10.00 am to 4.00 pm (9.30 am to 4.30 pm during Queensland School Holidays). Closed on Christmas day, Good Friday and ANZAC day (April 25, until 1 pm). The design and furnishings of the house are not particularly remarkable. Exhibits mostly consist of newspaper cutouts and photos.
- Also in the Botanic Gardens is a restored steam train which runs Sundays and public holidays. Rides cost a nominal fee and do two laps of the Botanic Gardens pond. The engine is a restored steam cane train.
- Turtles return each year around December to Mon Repos to lay their eggs at night. In around February, and in December you can see the little hatchlings struggle their way into the ocean against the waves. The beach is part of a National Park, and you must be accompanied by a ranger to see the turtles. Laying and hatching is at night.
- Tropical Fish at the Basin, Bargara. Tropical fish can be seen at the Basin, and the southern end of The Esplanade. It is possible to take bread and feed them. There is no admission charge, bring your own snorkel and mask.
- Mystery Craters are about 20km from Bundaberg on the road to Gin Gin. The craters themselves are set in an area that resembles a large suburban backyard. There are around 30 craters, between a few centimetres and a few metre radius. There is an old machinery shed containing old dusty lawn mowers. For some reason there is a 3 metre tall dinosaur statue. There is a fee for admission.
Bundaberg has a subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters. The climate is the most equable of any Australian town or city and ranked 5th on a worldwide comparison.
Temperature for Bundaberg Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year Average high °C 30.3 30.0 29.3 27.5 24.8 22.4 22.0 23.2 25.2 27.1 28.7 30.1 26.7 Average low °C 21.3 21.2 20.0 17.4 13.9 11.3 9.9 10.7 13.4 16.5 18.8 20.6 16.3 Source: Bureau of Meteorology
Bundaberg is serviced by several Queensland Rail passenger trains, including the Tilt Train and is approximately four and a half hours north of Brisbane by rail. The closed North Bundaberg railway station formerly served the Mount Perry railway line and is now a museum.
Bundaberg is also served by Bundaberg Airport, with flights to Brisbane and Lady Elliot Island. The city is home to the Jabiru Aircraft Company, which designs and manufactures a range of small civil utility aircraft.
Bundaberg Port is located 20 kilometres northeast of the city, at the mouth of the Burnett River. The port is a destination for ships from Australia and overseas. It is mainly used for shipping raw sugar and other goods related to that industry such as Bundaberg Rum.
Bundaberg is served by three hospitals. One public hospital, Bundaberg Base Hospital on Bourbong St, and two private hospitals, Friendly Society Private Hospital & the Mater Hospital.