After leaving Airlie Beach with some amazing memories and hangovers to match, we headed off for the talked about 1770. This is where 'Captain' Cook (he wasn't a captain apparently) first landed and 'discovered' Australia (he ran aground). It was a tiny little place, but absolutely beautiful with gorgeous beaches. The good news was, there were no jellyfish here. The bad news was, there were plenty of stonefish. Only stayed here for a beer and for lunch and then we headed to Bundaberg for the famous (in Oz anyway) rum.
Bundaberg was a nice little place. Not much to do except rum. So off we went to the rum distillery. The tour was good, but at the end you got to try 2 full sized drinks. The triple distilled rum was amazing though and we got a bit carried away with taking pictures of us and the giant rum bottle. Blame it on the rum.
We then found a cool little place to free camp for the night in Bargara. We had a BBQ and some 'goon' and settled down for the night. Just then 2 coppers came along and moved us. So we stayed in a park by the river and had the worst nights sleep ever.
We were only gonna stay in Bundaberg for 1 night but then Nat read about the Mon Repos turtle sanctuary and suggested going there. Couldn't get in on the first night, so booked the 2nd night instead.
This is probably the most rewarding experience of the trip so far (hope you agree Nat!).
So the turtle sanctuary is basically where big Loggerhead and Green turtles come up to the shore, lay their eggs and then bugger off again leaving the eggs burried in the sand. The Sanctuary then move the eggs into a hatchery, where they are kept an eye on till they, well, hatch.
We didn't manage to see the big turtles cos it was the wrong time of year, but we did go to the hatchery. Whilst there we saw 3 different clutches of baby turtles dig their little way out of the nests. The guides picked the turtles up and put them in a pen until all of the babies from the nest made their way out.
Then we had to make a line all the way down to the beach and those with torches stood in the middle and put their torches on (Keith had the torch). The turtles were then set free at the top of the beach and followed the torch lights down (over Keith's feet) to the ocean where they were washed away by the waves. Wow. It was amazing, like being in a real live David Attenborough documentary.
Most people then left but we then went back to the nests and watched the guide sort through the egg shells, looking for dead turtles and unhatched eggs. He found another 22 live baby turtles at the bottom of the nest as they'd been buried too deep...doh, so we saved them too. yay!