Mon Repos sea turtle timeline
Turtle nesting season starts
Adult sea turtles begin to come ashore to lay eggs in early November. Nesting season continues until January. Turtles clamber up the beach after dark and are easily disturbed by light, noise and movement. Ranger-led Turtle Encounters on Mon Repos beach are held nightly—bookings must be made through the Bundaberg Visitor Information Centre.
Fact: Mon Repos supports the largest concentration of nesting sea turtles on Australia’s east coast. Loggerhead, flatback, and green turtles nest here—you will see mostly loggerheads.
Nesting season peaks
As the season reaches its peak, around 20 or more turtles come ashore each night at Mon Repos beach. Turtle Encounters runs nightly from 7pm throughout December, except for 24, 25 and 31 December. Ranger guides ensure you enjoy the best possible experience without disturbing the turtles.
Fact: The turtle’s nesting ritual of hauling herself up the beach, digging a nest, laying her 130 or so eggs, covering the nest with sand and clambering back down to the water takes about an hour. Be prepared for a long wait though as turtles can emerge at any time during the night!
Hatching season begins
The first tiny hatchlings break from their eggs, climb up through the sand in a burst of activity and, after about five days, emerge onto the beach in a rush, usually at night. They race down to the water and swim for the relative safety of the open ocean. Artificial lights can disorientate hatchlings hindering their progress. During this month the beach may be busy as adult turtles will still be nesting.
Fact: In about 30 years’ time, hatchlings will return to the general area where they hatched to lay their own eggs, but only about one in 1000 will survive to do so.
Hatching season in full swing
Turtles continue to hatch throughout February. Hatchlings instinctively head towards the lowest natural light—when they leave the nest, they move towards the horizon and the open ocean. This is why they can be disoriented by bright artificial lights—ranger guides will help you watch hatchlings make their ungainly way across the beach without disturbing them.
Fact: ‘Cut the Glow to help turtles go’ is a campaign in Bundaberg to prevent the glow from nearby lights affecting turtles on the beach.
Hatching season ends
This is your last chance for the season to witness one of the true miracles of nature. The last turtle hatchlings take their first steps on their incredible 100 year journey through life.
Fact: Incubation temperature determines the sex of each hatchling—cooler temperatures produce males and warmer temperatures produce females.