Premier visits new-look Mon Repos
TENS of thousands of turtle watchers will have an even more enjoyable experience at Mon Repos each year, thanks to a State Government upgrade of the turtle visitor centre ahead of this year's nesting season.
The Mon Repos Turtle Centre has received almost $630,000 in upgrades, with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and National Parks Minister Steven Miles joining locals at a turtle-themed community open day yesterday to celebrate.
Ms Palaszczuk said the funding had been used to improve landscaping, signage and even add a new turtle-shaped roof to the revamped centre.
"The annual pilgrimage of the turtles brings around 30,000 visitors to Mon Repos Turtle Centre each year, and the centre acts as a visitor 'gateway' to other national and marine park experiences in the area, so it's really important we provide a good experience here,' Ms Palaszczuk said.
"The new turtle-shaped roof isn't just stylish, it will provide greater sun, wind and rain protection for visitors as they wait for their turtle tours, or watch ranger presentations year-round.
"These majestic sea turtles will make the trek to the shore to lay their eggs early next month then around January their young will make the perilous journey to the sea. It's an incredible sight."
Dr Miles said Mon Repos supported the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland and had the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific region.
"It's obvious that turtles and their conservation are important issues in this region, and I congratulate turtle conservation group Locals Loving Loggerheads for their revegetation work," Dr Miles said.
"The strategic replanting of coastal hibiscus will block excessive artificial light from the nesting beach which disorients nesting turtles and hatchlings.
"Without the protection of the frontal and secondary dunes by trees and shrubs like banksias, hibiscus and casuarinas, many turtle nests would also be washed into the ocean, drastically reducing the number of hatchlings."
Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson said the centre played a critical role in conservation and education.
"Upgrades to these facilities are important to the local and wider community, and they create amazing experiences like those had at Mon Repos even more enjoyable," Ms Donaldson said.
Mr Saunders said Mon Repos was one of the key tourist attractions for the Wide Bay region.
"Many of the people who come to see the turtles at Mon Repos will travel to other areas in Wide Bay like Maryborough and beyond," he said.
"It's important we continue to support the tourism industry in Wide Bay as one of our key employers."
The Queensland Government is investing over $4 million in three iconic gateway visitor centres - David Fleay Wildlife Park on the Gold Coast, Walkabout Creek at The Gap, and Mon Repos Turtle Centre - to encourage ecotourism and help visitors to connect with nature.
Nightly tours to watch turtle nesting and hatching occur between November and March.