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Bundaberg - Where The Reef Begins
bundaberg qld title=Celebrate the birth of rum and sugar with a trip to the Queensland town of Bundaberg! This city is an essential place to visit for those wanting a literal taste of Australian culture and heritage. Situated a short, and quite pretty five-hour drive north of the state capital, Brisbane, Bundaberg is part of the Coral Coast and Country and marks the beginning of the Great Barrier Reef. It enjoys an idyllic position on the banks of the Burnett River, offering a wealth of fun, exciting and relaxing things to do that will be fun for the whole family.

No matter how many times you visit this city, you will continue to discover more new and exciting things to do. One favourite that never seems to get old among the tourists is a visit to the local rum distillery. This attraction will take you through the processes of how rum is made, distributed, and of course, drunk. Visitors can take guided tours of the distillery and the free taste tests at the end are an added bonus. Tours can also be taken of Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, the home of Bundaberg Ginger Beer! This activity is sure to please the whole family, while also broadening your understanding of one of Australia's most famous icons.The Bundaberg Barrel right out the front of the distillery makes it easy to find and impossible to miss.

The central hub of Bundaberg can be found in its main strip, which goes by the name of Bourbong Street. This is the main hub of the town and is home to an intriguing fountain that depicts another central aspect of the Bundaberg lifestyle; the sugarcane industry. This monumental structure captures the very essence of what Bundaberg is founded on, symbolising the importance that local farming holds within the community.

Culture and history are also prevalent here and can be enjoyed in a variety of different ways. The Bundaberg Arts Centre hosts a vast variety of changing exhibitions, that allows visitors to enjoy the many facets of local art, as well as many nationally acclaimed pieces. Just around the corner from the gallery you will find the Moncrieff Theatre, a traditional theatre that plays recently released movies, live stage shows and local theatre productions. A visit here will allow you to enjoy a true theatre experience, while still enjoying the perks of comfort and style. Bundaberg also hosts an annual Multicultural Festival, each year in late August, giving you the chance to experience and taste the cuisines of many different cultures, all while absorbing the stunning river views.

For an even deeper insight into Bundy's history, be sure to pay a visit to the local Botanical Gardens. These gardens are now home to the original dwelling of Australia's Aviation pioneer, Bert Hinkler. Take a tour of Hinkler House and the Hinkler House Memorial Museum, where you will be taken on a journey back in time, discovering some of the original machinery that was used in Australia's first aviation attempts. Take a stroll through the gardens and you will discover a natural beauty that is unsurpassed. Take the kids on the vintage steam train, which will take you around the entirety of the gardens, allowing you to soak up this natural beauty in a way you may not have thought possible. Fairymead House and the Japanese Garden are als worth the trek, so be sure to check these out too!

As mentioned previously, Bundaberg also marks the beginning of the Great Barrier Reef. This is most evident if you take the short drive in your car rental east of town to the seaside township of Bargara. Nestled between Neilson's and Kelly's Beaches, this settlement has a modern and fresh atmosphere, with a strong touristy feel. Dine at one of the alfresco cafes, sophisticated restaurant's or get some fish and chips to eat right on the beachfront. Spend the afternoon splashing about in the cool, calming waters, catch up on a spot of fishing or simply relax while watching the waves crashing down on the sand and the windsurfers take on the wild sea breezes.

Heading back into town, be sure to take the turn-off to Mon Repos. This beach is home to the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland. You may even be lucky enough, if you are visiting between November and March, to get a glimpse of these majestic animals coming up to the beach to lay their eggs. Having experienced this amazing sight before, I can guarantee that if you are lucky enough to do the same, you will never forget it!

Just a little further on from the turn-off to Mon Repos, you will come across Bundaberg's only hill, The Hummock. This prehistoric (and inactive) volcano boasts several lookout points which offer 360 degree views of Bundaberg and surrounding areas. Scan your eyes across stunning coastline and endless cane field, which seem to stretch on forever!

Bundaberg offers an apparent endless array of activities that the whole family are sure to enjoy. As a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Bundaberg encompasses a delightful blend of coast and country and is ideal for that driving holiday you have been longing to take!

Christine Barton

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