Guides

6 Queensland Beaches Where You’re Almost Certain To Spot Baby Turtles Hatching

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Coming at you with a very important PSA: it is currently baby turtle season. Yes, the cutest baby animals around, in my opinion, are starting to hatch and return the the ocean around Queensland.

While the official turtle spotting season starts in November, that’s when thousands of mama turtles make their way onto the beaches to lay their eggs. From January to March, those little bros are making their debut into the world.

Turtles have been spotted all along the coast, but there are six main places for baby turtle watching (and obviously if you go, please keep your distance and be respectful).

#1 Heron Island

 

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In the 1920s this island off the coast of Gladstone was a turtle soup cannery. Since then, it’s a highly protected green zone on the Great Barrier Reef which provides a haven for baby turtles — thank god.

There’s a luxe resort on the island, and it’s literally in the middle of the southern Great Barrier Reef, so you walk off the beach and into the marine life.

#2 Lady Musgrave Island

 

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This (very large) coral cay is home to 1,200 animal species, including turtles during hatching season. It’s located off shore near  Gladstone, Bundaberg and the Town of 1770, in a protected lagoon that provides protection for the turtles, as well as the other marine “Great 8” creatures — clownfish, giant clams, manta rays, Maori wrasse, Potato cod, sharks and whales.

A max of 40 people are allowed to stay on the island at any one time, and you can get truly wild by pitching your own tent and staying the night. Or opt for a day tour.

#3 Lady Elliot Island

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It might be known as home of the manta rays, but during the season, Lady Elliot Island houses many mama and then baby turtles.

Thanks to the efforts of a few conservationists and the eco lodge that currently stands there, this once destroyed coral cay has been brought back to life and ever achieved 100 percent sustainability. Oh, plus, the only way in or out is by taking a seaplane from BundabergHervey BayBrisbane or the Gold Coast — if that’s not adventure I don’t know what is.

#4 Fitzroy Island

If you prefer staying a little closer to the mainland, Fitzroy Island just off the coast of Cairns is the perfect place to find baby turtles. They even have a turtle hospital which can give you an short and informative behind-the-scenes tour.

Two main walking trails around the island give you some amazing ocean views, especially when you make it to the top of its steep mountain. It’s also home to the famous Nudey Beach (that no, isn’t a nudist beach).

#5 Green Island

In the same general area, you have Green Island. Here you can expect untouched rainforest, perfect beaches and the surrounding reef is so close that you can snorkel directly off the sand. Which is probably why the turtles love it.

The water surrounding this island is so damn clear, you’d still be able to watch the baby turtle‘s journey once it ventures into the ocean. Cuuuute. Just like Fitzroy, it makes for the perfect day trip from Cairns, but both island also have a resort so you can spend a little longer.

#6 Mon Repos

 

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Saving the best for last here, because Mon Repos is one of the most famous turtle-spotting destinations in the state. You will need to book in your viewing time slot with the Turtle Centre, both for Covid reasons and conservation reasons.

You’ll really want to join one of their expert-led tours that run between November and March. They’ll get you a good look at the turtles, without disturbing them, and while teaching you everything you could want to know about these endangered marine creatures. It’s also literally the only way you’ll be allowed down to the beach during turtle season.

(Lead Image: Provided / Tourism and Events Queensland)