Bundaberg ( see Google Map here ) is a small town in far north of Queensland about 3 or 4 hours above the Sunshine Coast. The wakeboard scene up there is small but very dedicated and the people who ride are passionate for their board sports.
Up north on a road less travelled, you will find some of Australia's more remote locations for wakeboarding.
Anyone Know the Way to Bundaberg?
With everyone else in the office flat out working on their table tennis skills and preparing for the Melbourne cup, I was voted without any say, to be sent up north with the blow flies and the crocks to check out the wakeboard demo to be held during the huge go fast boat race called ‘Bundy Thunder’ at Sandy Point on the Burnett River, just out of Bundaberg.
The drive to 'Bundy' (Bundaberg) from the Sunshine Coast is about 4 hours and we had a demo to showcase by lunch.
Having slept in, rushing around in a semi daze sleepy haze it’s amazing what the brain thinks of as being important to pack while still trying to wake up. In the midst of packing 11 pairs of board shorts, 2 pairs of socks and 1 tee shirt the sound of an impatient horn started blowing downstairs out in the street, the boys were here and I had to leave pronto.
Throwing all the unnecessary gear in the back I clambered onto the back seat of Sam Schefe’s Pimping Ford Explorer truck and plonked myself down next to Brad Prust and Matty Wilkings. With Danny Jordin in the captains chair and the ‘Go Wake’ 210 in close tow we powered out onto the highway amongst a few comments of “gee we are always waiting for you Bower”.
There was a little morning drizzle that reflected the mood in the car, as an early morning start on a Saturday never really agrees with anyone. After twisting and turning around the roads of Bli Bli and Coolum we made it to the highway without to much drama.
We had all settled in for the ride to Bundaberg we had been rolling up the highway from the Sunshine Coast for a good 10 minutes when Danny turns to the rest of the car and puts the question to us all. “Does anyone know how to get to Bundaberg?”
Well you know it’s going to be a good trip when you have a 210 Nautique in tow, a car full of sleepy wakeboarders and the captain asking how to get to where we need to be in under 4 hours. We were off to a flying start.
Arriving in Bundaberg, it was clear that we were in the country, we were receiving some curious looks from every car that past and there was an overload of trucks, tattoos and mullets roaming freely around the streets.
Yep Bundy Thunder had to be close by and it was, just follow the ‘Bundy Thunder’ signs and the dirty utes that were driving around.
As we drove through the entrance gates the Bundy Thunder lived up to its name in more ways then one. Over the roar of the av gas guzzling engines that screamed these boats around the track at 200mph the Thunder in the clouds began to rumble in unison.
Not much could dampen the spirit of both us, and the event organisers let alone an electrical storm that was brewing overhead. The crowds that lined the shore had kind of dwindled somewhat because the weather looked ready to change but most were still in high ‘Bundy’ spirits (get it? Bundy spirits -Bundaburg Rum -) haha) and wanted to see some stacks.
So in 2 foot chop and a steady headwind Schefey and Wilkings got out there and gave it their best. As the conditions were a little hash a lot of falls where taking place and that’s exactly what the crowd wanted and every stack got a louder cheer. Not long into the demo the heavens above opened their floodgates and the rain poured down heavily in its full tropical glory that sent the masses scattering.
The lack of daylight savings means those who live in Queensland have to deal with the sun at a ridiculous hour every morning during summer
A young ripper by the name of Derek had offered us a place to sleep the previous night and his home backed right onto the river. The sun stirring the household wasn’t such a bad thing because upon awakening the realisation of sun shinning meant it was a glorious day and everyone piled out the back into Derek’s back yard to take in the full beauty of the Burnett River.
Glass water and the trees reflections are what greeted us all for as far as the eye could see and not a cloud in the sky. It was plain to see that today was going to be a beautiful day for anyone on or around the water.
Going Doubles and Jumping over each other to the Crowds Delight
This race, Bundaberg's Bundy Thunder, was a big deal and with prize money up for grabs the anticipation in the air could be cut with a knife for these go fast boats and you could feel the excitement all around you.
The buzz even rubbed off on us wakeboarders and we couldn’t wait to get out on the flat glassy water on Sandy Point.
The boys got out on the water and did what they do best with Matty Wilkings and Sam Scheffe going doubles and jumping over each other for the crowds delight. Watching from the commentary box I wasn’t sure who they were trying to impress the most, the crowd or all the promo girls who had piled in the Nautique to watch the action close up.
Brad Prust was up next and opted to show his skills on the wake skate with some stylish big spins, and shuvits behind the Sea Do jet ski that was on display. After everyone had finished their rides the jet ski continued on with a demo whilst the boys prepared to head up river for some free riding.
Unfortunately the jet ski driver wasn’t aware of any water way rules and thought it would be amusing for the crowd to see the wakeboarders get wet and went about spraying the boat at high speed, soaking every person and thing in the boat including a very expensive 20D Canon camera.
Fortunately most wakeboarders don’t like conflict and the camera, although took a few hours of cleaning and drying, was ok in the end and the focus for that afternoon was all about the free riding
Derek, whose house we stayed at the previous night had also come out with one of his mates and not being used to the massive wake ended up smashing themselves on the water with some big raleys and tantrums but all in good fun and no shortage of laughs.
Three Wheel Boat Trailer
With two demos down, a good Saturday night out on the town and an afternoon of free wakeboard riding in the Bundy sun on beautiful water it had to be said that the weekend was going well.
No one was looking forward the drive home not because it would take four hours but because none of us wanted to leave. The locals were hospitable and the water was fresh and flat, we didn’t want to leave such a picturesque place. Alas finally the boat was pulled in and the car packed ready for the haul back to the Sunny Coast.
Normally on a drive home after the days riding it is customary for all occupants bar the driver of the vehicle to sleep undisturbed until you reach your destination.
In this instance every single one of us were on such a buzz from having a great time in Bundaberg that we couldn’t sleep, that and for some reason the truck behind us kept flashing his lights at us and honking non stop for 5 minutes before overtaking. We couldn’t figure out if we were driving slowly or if he just liked the boat on the back
The final pit stop before home was where realisation of the trucks behaviour set in as we walked out of the service station arms full of fantastically healthy drinks and munchies our jaws dropped when Danny Jordin pointed out we had lost a wheel off the trailer.
All through it though. shone some pretty big smiles, which shows you that no matter where you are or what part of Australia you are in when you are wakeboarding with mates it’s always good times.
How to Get To Bundaberg
Bundaberg City in Queensland, Australia services the sugar industry and is gateway to the southern part of the Australian Great Barrier Reef.
Easily accessable by plane, train or car.
Once in Bundaberg and 5 minutes west out of town is Sandy Point, on the picturesque Burnett River located between two weirs. There you will find the local ski club and the only boat ramp in the area. Sandy Hook Boat Ramp ( Google Map - click on HYBRID for a better view).
Where to Stay in Bundaberg
Like with most cities, there are many hotels and motels suitable for all budgets around Bundaberg.
Search for more local accommodation here: