Some 13 km east of Bundaberg and 384 km north of Brisbane is the pleasant seaside holiday resort of Bargara. This is a town geared to the tourist trade. The road which runs along the coast - The Esplanade, Miller Street and Woongarra Scenic Drive - is now a near-continuous strip of holiday homes, flats, apartments and motels all built between the beach and the hinterland.
However, while modern Bargara may appear to be no more than a holiday town, to the observant visitor the area offers some fascinating insights into the lives of the South Pacific Kanakas who worked the local canefields.
Things to see
Kanaka Walls and The Basin
The stone walls built by the Kanakas can be seen on Bargara Road near the western edge of town and there are long walls near the road between Bargara and Mon Repos.
Of particular interest is The Basin (at the very southern end of the Esplanade), a sheltered swimming area which was built out of local volcanic rock by Kanaka labour.
Just off the main road between Bargara and Bundaberg is an interesting volcanic outcrop (a remnant of a volcanic cylinder cone) which Matthew Flinders named 'Sloping Hummock'. Over the years it has become known simply as 'The Hummock'. It offers a good view of the surrounding countryside. The ocean can be seen to the east and to the west the sugar cane fields stretch to the city of Bundaberg with the tall smokestacks of the Bundaberg Rum Distillery clearly visible.
Mon Repos Environmental Park
North of Bargara is Mon Repos Environmental Park. Combining a pleasant beach with an interesting tidal lagoon and a substantial Kanaka wall it is well worth a visit. Nesting sea turtles come ashore at night within a few hours of high tide from November through to January to lay their eggs while the hatching turtles usually leave their nests between January and March. The Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service have gone to considerable trouble to protect the environment with boardwalks to the narrow beach and special viewing locations for visitors.
The French title of the area is related to the fact that it was owned by the French Government from 1890-1925 after they laid the first communication cable from Australia to New Caledonia. For further information check out: http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/parks/mon-repos/index.html
For tourism information, see Bargara website.