re you planning a trip to Bundaberg soon? Before you go, read this article for the top ten things to do in Bundaberg with detailed information on each activity. Plan your holiday before you get there and spend your time enjoying this countryside town and everything it has to offer.
Top 10 Things to Do in Bundaberg
- Take a guided tour of the iconic Bundaberg Rum Distillery
- Watch the Mon Repos turtles nest and egg hatch on a night tour
- Pack a picnic and head to the beautiful and tranquil Botanical Gardens with its many museums
- Take an old-fashioned ferry ride down the Burnett River with commentary, tea and beautiful scenery
- Learn how ginger beer is made on an interactive tour of Bundaberg Barrel
- Shop for local produce and unique memorabilia at the night markets in Bundaberg
- Admire the old buildings on a walking tour of Bundaberg town centre
- Head to the small beach hamlet of Bargara for good diving and snorkelling at Barolin Rocks or in the Woongarra Marine Park
- Fly to beautiful Lady Elliot Island and dive the Great Barrier Reef
- Dine on delicious local produce at the best Bundaberg restaurants
Bundaberg Distillery Tours
The biggest attraction in Bundaberg and its main claim to fame is the iconic Bundaberg Rum. So if you’re planning a visit to Bundaberg, a visit to the Bundaberg Rum Distillery should be at the top of your list.
Bundaberg Rum is made out of the sugar cane that you will see planted in the surrounding countryside. The famous Bundaberg Rum, a potent and mind-blowing liquor, is bizarrely endorsed by a polar bear but is as iconically Australian as Tim Tams and Vegemite. A tour of the Bundaberg Rum Distillery will allow you to see the vats where the sugary gold is made. There are self-guided tours as well as guided tours of the factory and museum or just of the factory. Tours follow the rum’s production from start to finish; each of the 290 vats on site contains 69,000L of maturing rum. If the heady fumes don’t get you, the free sample at the end of the tour will.
Bundaberg Rum Distillery is located on Avenue Street and is open from 9am to 4pm, weekdays, and till 3pm on weekends. Tours depart every hour from 10am every day.
Bundaberg Turtles at Mon Repos
If you visit Bundaberg between November and February you must allow an evening to visit the Mon Repos Turtle Rookery. Located 15km (9 miles) from Bundaberg, Mon Repos is one of the most significant and accessible natural turtle rookeries in eastern Australia. Nightly tours run from 7pm during the season where you can see loggerhead turtles nesting on Mon Repos Beach or watch the little turtles make their way from their nest to the water.
If you’re interested in visiting the Bundaberg turtles read our Mon Repos turtles article for more information.
Botanical Gardens Bundaberg
If you enjoy the outdoors especially natural beauty, you’ll enjoy visiting the Botanical Gardens in Bundaberg. Located 2km north of the town centre, the Botanical Gardens is a beautiful green oasis of tropical shrubs, towering trees and flowering gardens surrounding a few small lakes. Pack a picnic and spend a few hours or longer relaxing on the grounds of this picturesque garden. You can also visit the three museums located in the Botanical Gardens.
The Hinkler House Museum is the most famous of the three as it is set inside the house of Bundaberg’s most famous son, the aviator Bert Hinkler, who made the first solo flight between England and Australia in 1928. The house was painstakingly relocated from Southampton in 1983. The museum is open from 5:30am to 6:45pm September to April, and 6am to 6:30pm May to August.
If you like antiques, you’ll probably want to visit the Bundaberg & District Historical Museum which has plenty of colonial-era antiques like quaint 1920s handmade quilts. Look for the wedding albums showcasing every Bundy bride since 1974. The museum is open daily from 10am to 4pm.
Last but not the least, the Fairymead House Sugar Museum documents the development of the sugar industry, including some frank displays of the hardships endured by Kanakas (South Sea Islander) in the cane fields. The museum is set in a 1890s Queenslander house at the southern end of the park. It is open daily from 10am to 4pm.
Bundaberg Ginger Beer Tours
Not quite as famous as Bundaberg Rum (probably because it’s non-alcoholic) is Bundaberg Ginger Beer. To see how the ginger is mushed, crushed, brewed and fermented, the Bundaberg Barrel has interactive tours which include a 15-minute holographic movie fronted by a comedic yeast, Doug the fun-gi. Bundaberg Barrel is open from 9am to 4:30pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 3pm on Sunday.
Walking Tour of Bundaberg Town Centre
A walking tour is a great way to see a new place and a walking tour of Bundaberg town centre will allow you to appreciate the old colonial charm of this countryside town. To make your walking tour easier, pick up a copy of A Walking Tour of Bundaberg City Centre from the visitors centre in town before you begin.
The main buildings to look out for is the Bundaberg Arts Centre (crn of Barolin & Quay Sts, admission free, 10am to 5pm, Mon-Fri, 11am to 3pm Sat-Sun) which has a small gallery displaying local and travelling exhibitions, the ornate Union Bank building (Targo St), the post office (crn Bourbong & Barolin Sts) and the School of Arts Building (Bourbong St).
A Ferry Ride Along Burnett River
While in Bundaberg, why not do something different and hop on an old-fashioned ferry that chugs at a pleasant pace to the mouth of the Burnett River. This tour with Bundaberg Ferry Company includes a commentary and morning or afternoon tea, and the scenery includes mangroves, farmland and even the Bundaberg Rum Distillery. The 2 ½-hour tours run at 9:30am and 1:30pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and at 1:30pm on Saturday. The Bundaberg Ferry Company is located at 3 Quay Street.
Diving and Snorkelling in Bargara
For those interested in scuba diving or snorkelling, head to the small beach hamlet of Bargara about 16km east of Bundaberg. Bargara is home to Barolin Rock and the Woongarra Marine Park which has some of the best scuba diving and snorkelling spots in Queensland outside the Great Barrier Reef.
For guided trips or diving courses, consider Bundaberg Aqua Scuba (Shop 1, 66 Targo St) and 3D Adventures (66 Targo St) which offer shore dives as well as four-day, PADI open-water diving courses.
For experienced divers, you can also dive at Lady Musgrave Island with Dive Musgrave (239 Bourbong St) which offers three-day trips to Lady Musgrave and the Bunker group of islands.
Day Trip to Lady Elliot Island from Bundaberg
Bundaberg is the best location from where to take a trip to Lady Elliot Island. Whether you want to visit the island for the day or stay overnight or for a few days, you can organise your trip from Bundaberg.
If you want to visit Lady Elliot Island you must organise your trip with Lady Elliot Island Resort. A day trip includes flying to Lady Elliot Island with at least five hours on the Great Barrier Reef, a glass-bottomed boat or snorkel tour, lunch and use of the resort’s facilities.
See our Lady Elliot Island page for more information.
Best Bundaberg Restaurants
If you’re like me you’ll want to try out the best restaurants in town in order to taste and enjoy the local cuisine of any new place you visit. There are a couple of restaurants in this countryside town that will surprise you with the quality of its dishes – Les Chefs and Spinnaker Restaurant & Bar. They come highly recommended by the local so advance bookings are necessary to avoid disappointment.
Les Chefs Bundaberg
Dine here only if you’re a carnivore as this upmarket, intimate restaurant features the best of the meat world with dishes including duck, veal, seafood, chicken and beef. The cuisine is global so you have a wide selection to choose – Nepalese, Mexican, French, Indian and more. This restaurant is a local favourite so book in advance to avoid disappointment. Les Chefs is open for lunch Monday to Friday and for dinner Monday to Saturday. It is located at 238 Bourbong Street.
Spinnaker Restaurant & Bar
If you want a picturesque setting as you dine, this restaurant is the place to go for lunch or dinner. Perched above the Burnett River, this classy restaurant is well-known for its Italian cuisine which includes gourmet tapas selection such as herb-crusted bocconcini as well as the usual Italian fare of pasta, seafood and pizzas. Spinnaker Restaurant & Bar is open for lunch Tuesday to Friday and for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday. It is located at 1A Quay Street.
How to get to Bundaberg?
There are several ways to get to Bundaberg – by air, train and bus. The transport options depends on where you’re coming from so see below for specific Queensland towns.
Hinkler Airport is the main Bundaberg airport which is located about 4km southwest of the town centre on Takalvan Street. The airport serves several flights a day to and from Brisbane.
Bundaberg to Brisbane
There are several ways to travel from Bundaberg to Brisbane and back – by air, train and bus. Below are more details about each transport options from Bundaberg to Brisbane and vice versa.
1. Bundaberg to Brisbane Flights
There are several flights daily from Bundaberg to Brisbane and back with Qantaslink. The flight takes about one hour to/from Brisbane.
2. Bundaberg to Brisbane Train
There are two trains that ply between Bundaberg and Brisbane – Sunlander and the Tilt Train. The Sunlander travels between Brisbane and Cairns stopping at Bundaberg on route. There are three trains a week; the trip takes about seven hours. The Tilt Train goes from Brisbane to Rockhampton stopping at Bundaberg as well. This train leaves daily except Saturday; the trip is shorter at five hours.
3. Bundaberg to Brisbane Bus
Greyhound Australia and Premier Motor Service have daily bus services from Bundaberg to Brisbane and back. The trip takes seven hours to/from Brisbane.
Distance between Brisbane and Bundaberg
Bundaberg is located 363km north of Brisbane.
Hervey Bay to Bundaberg
The only way to get from Hervey Bay to Bundaberg by public transport is by bus. Both Greyhound Australia and Premier Motor Service have a daily bus service to/from Hervey Bay; the bus trip takes about 1 ½ hours.
Distance from Hervey Bay to Bundaberg
Bundaberg is located 119km southeast of Hervey Bay.
Bundaberg to Rockhampton
The only way to get from Bundaberg to Rockhampton and back by public transport is by bus. Both Greyhound Australia and Premier Motor Service have a daily bus service to/from Rockhampton; the bus trip takes about four hours.
Bundaberg to Gladstone
The only way to get from Bundaberg to Gladstone and back by public transport is by bus. Both Greyhound Australia and Premier Motor Service have a daily bus service to/from Gladstone; the bus trip takes about 2 ½ hours.
Tell us what you think. Are you planning a trip to Bundaberg? What are some of the activities that interest you? If you’ve been here before, what did you do and how did you enjoy it?
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