Bundaberg - General Info

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Description:

Bundaberg is situated at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, approximately 235NM north of Brisbane and 500NM south of Townsville and is a convenient port of entry for yachts coming from Vanuatu (1000NM) and New Caledonia (800NM).

Bundaberg Port lies at the mouth of the Burnett River and is one of the safest and most accessible port entrances in Queensland.

It is a great location for exploring the southern islands of the Great Barrier Reef and the World Heritage listed Fraser Island, famous for long sandy beaches and Australia’s native dog – the dingo.

The city of Bundaberg lies 9NM upstream and was first settled in the 1860s.  Early industries included timber cutting and maize (corn) production but sugar cane is now the region’s major industry.  It is the home of the Bundaberg Rum distillery, established in 1888 when seven Bundaberg locals decided to take the by-product from the sugar industry and open up a rum distillery.

Bundaberg Port Marina, which lies 1NM from the river entrance, is the only marina in the area although there are areas of the river where it is possible to anchor.  The commercial port of Bundaberg lies 5.6NM from the mouth of the Burnett River with sugar being the main export commodity.

Cruiser Highlights:

Cruiser-friendly Customs and Quarantine officers; boatyard with 75 ton lift and comprehensive repair facilities; hardstand; experienced and skilled tradesmen and staff or DIY; good provisioning; marine supplies;; active sailing community; excellent local cruising; wide range of cultural, historical and natural tourism options including whale watching; wreck diving and tours of the world renowned Bunadaberg Rum distillery.

Entrance Notes or Cautions:

  • Bundaberg Port Marina, situated one nautical mile from the entrance of the Burnett River, is an official Port of Entry and offers all weather, all tides, deep water access.
  • Entrance to the river is straightforward with the channels clearly marked.
  • Navigation alerts and notices to mariners are available on the Port of Bundaberg website. For details on approaches to the Burnett River and the shipping channels, see the Port of Bundaberg instructions for small craft.
  • Bundaberg City is about eight nautical miles upriver. Journeying upriver is not recommended as there are areas of shallow water to negotiate.  Once clearance is complete discuss this further with the marina.
  • The Burnett River can rise significantly (3m+) in heavy rains. Choosing where to anchor your boat is important and a good caretaker should be considered if leaving the boat.

Position: 

24° 45 ′ 622″S, 152°23 ′042″E

(Waypoint for the middle, outer entrance to the Burnett River)

Last updated:  January 2023

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Bundaberg was last updated 8 months ago.

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  1. December 22, 2019 at 1:14 AM
    campbellhair says:

    Spot on for the information re- International Clearance:
    If you are an international visitor entering Australia through this port, Australian Customs MUST be notified at least 96 hours before your arrival. Large fines can be imposed if the correct notice is not given.
    When vessels are approximately 10 nautical miles out from the Port of Bundaberg, they should call VMR 488 (Volunteer Marine Rescue Bundaberg) on VHF Channel 81. Except you must include that all vessels must have their radios on international and not on US as they will not be able to contact VMR488 if they are still on US.
    Cheers from Cam H

  2. November 3, 2019 at 8:53 PM
    john-sanderson says:

    We stayed in the Bundaberg marina for 2 years from 2016 to 2018 leaving our boat Baringo on the hard standing during the Australian summer. It was excellent. Very helpful staff and good repair work done while on the hard. Facilities were good and very clean. They organise all the formalities on arrival. There is a good restaurant in the marina and fresh fish can be bought directly from the fishing company next door. Highly recommended.
    s/v Baringo
    more information at http://www.yachtbaringo.com

  3. August 15, 2014 at 7:07 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Posted on behalf of Pauline Davis:

    As is always the case it is the people who provide the services and operate the machinery that makes or break a marina. We came into Bundaberg in October 2013 in our Bruce Roberts 53 with a daunting job list involving everything from respraying the top sides, through mechanical work, canvas repair, sanding timber toe rails and galvanizing the anchor chain.

    On the hardstand there is no restriction on doing your own work or if you prefer all the necessary skills are readily available. We have lifted and worked on our boat in numerous yards in a whole variety of countries all over the world but never before have we received such skilled, helpful and friendly service right from the management through to the operatives on the ground. The marina is to be complimented on their service, they deserve to do well.

  4. December 6, 2013 at 3:24 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Posted on behalf of Gunnar Eriksson of SY Kahiba

    Returning to Australia after a 9 1/2 year circumnavigation we were not looking forward to the alleged complications and expense clearing into Australia (Bundaberg). Nothing could have been further from the truth; we were attended to by very courteous and friendly officials, all done on board in about 1/2 hour and the total cost $330.

    Needing groceries the marina then called the manager at the supermarket in nearby Burnett Heads who picked us up in his van, took us to his shop and after finished shopping took us back to the boat via the local liquor store to pick up some beer, how is that for Aussie hospitality! Can thoroughly recommend Bundaberg as a port of entry.