For a small period of time over summer we share the beaches of “Sunrise at 1770” with flat back and green marine turtles but most significantly the endangered loggerhead turtle nests here as well.
The Red Rocks beach rookery is recognised as central for the ongoing loggerheads survival and to live alongside this rookery is a special privilege. Such a special privilege, the planning approval for Sunrise was conditional on their being no detrimental effects or interference to the nesting turtles and the rookery. This resulted in solutions such as Sunrise installing low emission lighting, limited access routes onto the beach to prevent dune erosion and a commitment to a black sky policy in the nesting season.
Ongoing monitoring is conducted by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) to ensure we meet our turtle conservation condition.
It is all our responsibility to ensure we and our guests have an understanding of the appropriate activities and conservation practises to be observed in the nesting season so we can continue to enjoy the beaches with our neighbours the turtle.
There are a number of simple rules recommended by the QPWS that should be followed if you are planning to be on the beaches after dark during the nesting and hatching period between November and March.
Remember that turtles are totally protected, and it is an offence under State and Commonwealth legislation to:
handle or interferer with turtles, their eggs and the nesting cycle.
Turtles are easily disturbed particularly by lights, noise and movement, especially when leaving the water, crossing the beach and while digging the nest. If they are continually disturbed they will not return to nest.
Do not use torches on the beach as this will scare turtles away and disorientate any emergent hatchlings.
Walk on the waterline so you will not be silhouetted against the skyline and so you can see emerging turtles early.
If you are luckily enough to encounter a turtle leaving the water or nesting• Wait quietly, sitting well back until she has started laying eggs. (This is after she has spent quiet some time digging her egg chamber characterized by lots of sand being thrown around).
Wait until she is laying before shining lights on her. Avoid shining light directly into the turtle’s eyes.
Avoid excess noise and movement.
Never touch the turtle, hatchlings or eggs.
If you encounter hatchlings turn off your lights as this attracts them away from the sea and increases hatchling mortality. It is essential that hatchlings find their own way to the sea in order that they imprint the location in their memory, so that one day they may return to nest as an adult.