15 things to do in Bundaberg (Australia)

The city of Bundaberg is nestled among sugar cane fields off the coast of southeast Queensland.

Sugar has been Bundaberg’s lifeblood since the 1870s, but in reality, Bundy may be best known for being a sugar by-product.

If you didn’t already know, this is the rum capital of Australia, with Bundaberg rums sold all over the world.

The subtropical climate has allowed a variety of other crops to flourish, many of which are made into soft drinks like ginger beer, produced by another local giant, Bundaberg Brewing Beverages.

As you’d expect at this latitude, Bundaberg’s Botanic Gardens is special, but it’s also full of attractions, a memorial to locally-born aviator Bert Hinkler who broke the rules in the 1920s and ’30s. Museum.

1. Bundaberg Rum Distillery

Bundaberg Rum Distillery

Since 1888, the Bundaberg Distilling Company has been using waste molasses left over from molasses production as a raw material.

The world-renowned brand has won dozens of awards in its era and is now part of Diageo.

In 2016, the distillery unveiled its new $8.5 million visitor center, which immerses you in the storied history of Bundaberg rum and serves as the starting point for tours of the distillery.

Experience a multi-sensory museum where you can stand in Bondi’s 75,000-litre barrel inside a retired bond shop.

Then on the tour, you’ll visit a 21st century winery with an expert guide.

For an extra fee, you can even try mixing your own rum.

The store is an essential part of the experience, selling the entire range of Bundaberg rums, as well as rum sauces, jams and fudge.

2. Bundaberg Botanical Gardens

Bundaberg Botanical Garden

Bundaberg’s economy is still built on subtropical crops, making a trip to the botanical garden a must-do.

Navigated by boardwalks and paths, this lush and intricately landscaped environment spreads out over nearly 30 hectares and supports more than 110 species of birds.

About 10,000 trees and shrubs grow here in areas and sub-gardens such as the Australian Rainforest, Rare Orchards, Prehistoric Gardens, Fern Gardens, Bamboo Forests, Japanese and Chinese Gardens, Bromeliad Gardens, Palm Groves and Bundaberg Gardens Pilot Burt Hinkler (more on that next). Children will also be thrilled with the journey of the two-kilometre narrow gauge Australian Sugar Cane Railway.

Indulge in a dessert or meal at Cafe 1928, which also sells duck feed from the nearby lake.

3. Hinkler Aviation Hall

Hinkler Aviation Hall

Bundaberg-born pilot Bert Hinkler (1892-1933) amassed many feats in his short life, becoming the first person to fly solo from England to Australia and completing the first A solo flight across the South Atlantic.

In 2008, the multi-million dollar Hinkler Aviation Hall opened in the Botanic Gardens, with a remarkable design reminiscent of a biplane wing.

Inside, you can learn more about Burt’s amazing achievements and sit in the cockpit of a replica Avro Baby, the exact same one he flew from Sydney to Bundaberg in 1921. There are also gliding simulators, planes and personal artifacts from Bert’s life and his home, Mon Repos, which was preserved from demolition in 1983 and moved to the gardens from Southampton, England.

4. Mon Repos Turtle Encounter

Mon Repos Turtle Encounter

Every year from November to January, the South Pacific’s largest population of loggerhead sea turtles migrate to the nearby beach of Mon Repos to nest.

Then from January to March, the hatchlings trudge from the nest to the ocean on their own.

Witness this heartwarming but menacing cycle through the Mon Repos Turtle Centre.

There, with interactive displays and a new immersive theater, you can learn about the biology of loggerhead turtles and their perilous journey to reproduce.

If you’re here in high season, you can take part in a nighttime turtle encounter and watch the turtles or their pups cross the beach.

5. Bundaberg Barrel

Bundaberg Barrel

Bundaberg is a place far off the coast of Australia, except for rum, which has a lot to do with Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, founded in 1960. Mostly known for its ginger beer, Bundaberg produces a variety of other fruit or root-based soft drinks such as sarsaparilla and lemon, lime and bitters.

Take a self-guided tour of the automated factory at the Bundaberg Barrel, watching the ideas brewed before your eyes and the bottles unzipping along the production line.

You’ll see warehouse robots moving boxes, with lots of buttons to push and levers to pull.

Finally, you’ll taste the brand’s 18 different flavors and receive a six-pack of your choice to take home.

6. Knoll Lookout

hill lookout

The area around Bundaberg is relatively low-lying, save for this volcanic relic, a short drive east of the CBD on the way to Bargara.

For a long time, Bundaberg Hill was used as a navigation aid, including by cartographer Matthew Flinders, who led the second circumnavigation of the world at the turn of the 19th century.

On land, the knoll is a great place to observe the flat landscape, looking east towards the Pacific Ocean, or back to the sugar cane fields of the Bundaberg Distillery and Mill.

Also to the west is Paddy Island in the Burnett River, where the local Taliberang Aboriginal people were massacred in the 1850s.

An extensive Aboriginal art mural by Hummock recounts the event.

7. Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street

As we can see now, Bundaberg’s CBD came together in the last decades of the 19th century.

Much of the buildings from the early years are intact, especially on the main thoroughfare, Bourbon Street, which has more than its fair share of independent shops, hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes.

Heading east from Bath Park, it’s also very pretty, thanks in large part to heritage-listed weeping fig trees planted in 1888 and the 1920s.

As for listed buildings, note the Commercial Bank (191-193) built in 1891, the Neoclassical Bundaberg School of Art (184) built in 1889 and the Italian Bundaberg Post Office (155) built in 1891 ).

8. Alexandra Park Zoo

Alexandra Park Zoo

Alexandra Park by the river was given a zoo in 1911, and it remains a prized free facility in the city.

Alexandra Park Zoo is fully accredited and provides humane enclosures and conditions for species such as emus, wallabies, dingoes, quolls, cotton-top marmosets and a variety of snakes, lizards and Australian parrots.

One animal you may have never seen is the white-throated snapping turtle, which is only found in central Queensland river systems.

9. Baldwin Marsh Environmental Park

Baldwin Marsh Environmental Park

A block or two from the Bundaberg CBD, you’ll suddenly venture across a boardwalk surrounded by hundreds of waterbirds.

Baldwin Swamp Environmental Park preserves wetlands, grasslands, eucalyptus, rainforest and vine forests.

Being so close to the city center, the bird population is impressive, and it’s not uncommon to see over 50 species within a short walk.

In addition to the myriad of waterfowl, you may encounter quails, fairy wrens, rainbow bee-eaters, and dollarbirds, while raptors like bazas and goshawks nest in the park.

10. Woodgate Beach

Woodgate Beach

All you need to do for a day trip is the town of Woodgate Beach not far to the southeast.

The beach in question is 16 kilometers long and is surrounded by former pineapple plantations, sand dunes, and the Melaleuca swamps and cabbage palms of Burrum Coast National Park.

The Southern Great Barrier Reef and finger-shaped Fraser Island ensure that the waves at Woodgate Beach are nothing but ripples.

Nature rules here: kangaroos roam the beach, dolphins frolic in the waves, and you might spot a turtle nesting in the sand.

Between April and November, you might even see humpback whales rushing out of the water.

Around 300 bird species have been seen in Burrum Coast National Park, and a special bird skin walk has been set up to help you catch a glimpse.

11. Fairymead House Sugar History Museum

Fairymead House Sugar History Museum

In this stately plantation, you can learn about the background of the Bundaberg sugar industry, which has continued to flourish to this day.

Built in the 1890s by the Young family of sugar cane pioneers, the property has been restored and relocated to a picturesque setting next to the Botanic Gardens.

On a self-guided tour, you can visit Indian bungalow buildings and learn about the pioneering sugar-making family that laid the foundations of the modern Bundaberg.

There is detailed information on sugar production, from cane to crystal, and the important role played by the South Sea Islander community.

Outside, the landscaped front garden is filled with tropical plants, and you can find some peace in the tranquil Japanese garden.

12. Bagara


More convenient than Woodgate Beach, Bargara’s seaside community is up to 15 minutes from Bundaberg’s CBD.

Awaiting you here is a tropical getaway, palm trees swaying on the foreshore, and a string of stunning beaches.

These are surrounded by a six-kilometre esplanade with views of the Coral Sea and the Southern Great Barrier Reef.

A family favorite is The Basin, a sheltered swimming area at the northern end of Kelly Beach.

The material used in the basin is local dark volcanic rock from ancient lava flows, locked in a calm, clear pool at high tide.

13. Alexandra Park

Overlooking the Burnett River from Alexandra Park

After visiting the zoo, you can stroll around the rest of the park, which sits on the Burnett River and has a number of naturally shaded coastal trails.

Alexandra Park has been here since the late 1870s and has some monuments that have stood the test of time.

Near the river is an elaborate bandstand, built in 1911, along with three colonial guns believed to have been purchased in the 1860s and placed here in the 1910s.

As you’d expect, Alexandra Park has many mature trees, including several historic figs, and next to that bandstand is a well-equipped children’s playground.

14. Kalki Moon Distilling and Brewing Company


Since you’re in the rum capital of Australia, you might want to squeeze in another distillery on your trip.

The boutique small batch Kalki Moon is a new factory established in 2017 and produces a wide range of gins and liqueurs (chocolate, chocolate mint, pink gin). As of this writing in mid-2020, rum is almost ready for release.

Winery tours are completely free and run every 30 minutes, giving you an insight into every step of the production.

There’s also a cellar door (tasting room) where you can buy the collection at a discount, as well as branded glassware and even soap made from the gin plant from the distillation process.

15. Tinaberries

linden raspberry

Another of the many fruits that grow well in the red soils of the Bundaberg area is strawberries, and if you find yourself here between June and October, remember to put Tinaberries on your radar.

Just minutes from the shores of Bundaberg, this farm specializes in the glossy, cone-shaped camarosa variety.

You can buy fresh, juicy strawberries at the farm store in packaged plates (250g), small baskets (500g) or packs (750g). If you come in September, you will be able to head out to the fields to pick your own.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Bundaberg, Australia
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