Before we started on our trip around Australia I heard about the Mon Repos Turtle Centre, where you can go to watch sea turtles laying eggs on the beach. That sounds absolutely magical! It made my list of things we had to see on our trip. I was so glad we ended up nearby and could visit. Mon Repos is near Bundaberg, and we stayed in nearby Elliott Heads. Unfortunately for us, it was the wrong time of year to see the turtles but the centre is still open for viewing. The centre was unstaffed because it was winter when we visited. But the building was open and there are heaps of displays to peruse. Look how big they are! Do you see the eggs down under the sand? And look how little the babies are! They hatch from the eggs under the sand and crawl to the sea, a harrowing journey. Males never return to land. Females will return to the same beach to lay their eggs. The same beach. How incredible is that? At Mon Repos you can see the adults laying their eggs early in the season. If you come later in the season you can see the babies crawling out of the sand. They take you out to the beach in small groups. There are no guarantees as to what you might see on a given night since the turtles don’t hatch on cue. 🙂 On this side of the turtle they have little hatchlings in the sand. Lots to learn about turtles. If I remember correctly, five different types of sea turtles can be found in Australia. They had info on each type, even skeletons and bones to look at. The centre was gorgeous. We have been to all kinds of museums now, this one is well cared for. And it’s amazing that it’s open all year round and free. I don’t know if they tag all of the turtles that come in to lay eggs, but they have tagged many of them. I read a story that one of the rangers tagged groups of babies when he first started at the centre and it was 27 years before one of them returned to lay eggs. The survival rate is only 1 in 1000 for those little baby turtles. Turtle soup. That sounds so wrong, but it was real. Though it was the wrong time of year for seeing the turtles, you could still walk down to the beach via the boardwalks. Straight ahead were heaps of black rocks. Not exactly turtle friendly. But just up the beach looks perfect. Just imagine you’re out for an evening stroll and suddenly a huge sea turtle comes lumbering out of the water. Wow. The kids explored and played and explored and didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to leave either! The beach behind the rocks was made up of lovely shells. We had a great time examining them all. We are (seriously) already planning a trip back up here just to see the turtles.