Sleepy Lagoon Hotel and Motel, Tin Can Bay

Sleepy Lagoon Hotel and Motel, Tin Can Bay


Posted 2024-05-04 by T. A. Rosefollow
Room after housekeeping - alternative angle

For its spaciousness, proximity to Rainbow Beach, a popular marina, the bay in its various 'moods', and world-class wild dolphin viewing, Tin Can Bay is somewhat of a sickly-sweet combination. Its delightful motel and pub provide a refreshingly interesting yet relaxing stay full of pleasant surprises. The town itself is well worth getting to know for many reasons. Its architecture around Sleepy Lagoon hotel and motel grounds has much charm and character and has such a wonderful range of styles - combined with the gardening of the area, with coconut palms thriving from recent rains is a village that is very easy on the eye.

The bay itself is such a drawcard - it's calming mentally, and viewing its calm waters and listening to the seabirds helps create an effect of deep serenity. For that and that alone Tin Can Bay is worth at least a week of your time. I found a stay at the Sleepy Lagoon Motel was well worth unravelling its mystique and made for a relaxed stay yet my expectations in its tourism product were well met. The motel beside the pub of the same name is a single-floor motel consisting of cabins on maintained gardens which are maintained with attention to detail. The hotel next door has a relaxed ambience, and 'fishing village appeal' yet with delicious meals where you pay a little extra and 'get what you pay for'.

The hotel

The Sleepy Lagoon Pub is very clean inside. The budget accommodation often seen advertised on major booking sites is actually clean and comfortable, superlative value for what you get, and the pub is open quite a large portion of the day, seven days, yet because Tin Can Bay is so quiet and sleepy, the town's main pub sort of follows that effect. Staying in the adjacent motel section, I could easily sleep at night, especially as there was no traffic noise and only a few happy customers coming home from the pub. I realised that people were there with their families, it's got that great open feel to it with lots of space between tables, yet lots of tables, and the dining and alcohol service sections are a bit separate, which is better for attendance of all ages or demographics. That fact makes much sense, as the town caters for many boat enthusiasts; it's like the Noosa surrounding regions' answer to the Gold Coast's Jacob's Well , so to be succinct, it appears as though family life is well respected and catered for, especially as boating and fishing is such a family outing. Note the adjacent pub café is called the Groovy Goat pub café.

Seating at the adjacent Groovy Goat Pub Café

The hotel has a menu and accommodation website presented with stellar images and properly designed pages found at . I realise the reason for its fairly drab exterior is it's difficult to do a paint job because the pub is so often open and is very popular, but don't let it deceive you. I don't drink alcohol but sat in the pub around 5 PM on a rainy Thursday and waited for less than fifteen minutes for my barramundi, chips, and salad with generous serving of tartare sauce. It gave me an opportunity just to see how clean the tables were, how the staff had a friendly, easygoing attitude, and the space and just overall, couldn't fault it. I realised as a non-drinker I found it a surprisingly pleasant place to wait around for my delicious countermeal. I paid 25 dollars for barramundi and chips, but the quality and serving size lived up to the price, and the meal was 23 dollars plus a two-dollar surcharge for takeaway. I paid a similar price elsewhere for meals of similar quality at pubs and high-class fish and chip diners so overall had no complaints. I chose to see it as good value for money because at least the food had proper serving size and flavour.

Below is a photo of what was a to-die-for chilli prawn seafood pizza, I purchased from the Groovy Goat pub café. In Tin Can Bay, it is clearly a lovely ambience for eating seafood, and the pizza had fresh tomato pieces, calamari, fish and prawns (I asked for mild-chilli heat and they agreed and served it subtly and deliciously mild) with that noticeable hollandaise topping. I paid 30 dollars plus a two-dollar takeaway surcharge, so a total of 32 dollars for my order. Even when my order arrived late the chef would let me know in person - so I'd say the pub café had good food and service.

Takeaway seafood and chilli prawn pizza - family size - about 38-centimetre diameter

The motel and the stay

Room after housekeeping

The cabins were my favourite aspect of the stay - for I appreciated how their slanted ceilings were cosy and cooling, as well as the cabin design. I like the surprisingly quiet ambience, the gardens look picturesque, and the staff are good at keeping everything nice and relaxed to help you get lots out of your stay and at your own leisurely pace. The owner is also very knowledgeable about Tin Can Bay tourism. During my week-long stay I hardly did anything and just enjoyed myself and the relaxed pace, just knowing the bay is there lifts my spirits. You can walk to see the bay in less than half a kilometre, and the bay is quite expansive and dotted with little sailboats, it's a unique place and the roads are lovely and spacious. I may as well add that at least the cabins have a separate sink from the bathroom, so a bit of a kitchen yet no stoves, but in saying that the barbeques are proper not just an open plate and other cooking equipment such as electric frypan are loanable for use. The property advertises a pool, but I assume the reference is to the town pool open from September to the last day of May each year. The town looks lush in the rain - while it rained for much of my stay, Tin Can Bay is certainly an aesthetically pleasing place.

The motel is growing as a business venture, so I couldn't believe the deal I got, where I got a cabin with a little kitchen, two beds, a TV, huge wardrobe, two chairs, fire extinguisher inside the room, excellent microwave and mini fridge, sink and crockery, kettle, shower screen, many towels and rails, toiletries, instant coffee, and offered extra milk and/or coffee sachets, six nights for 800 dollars. Had I just booked the full week mid-May I could have got that for 860 or at less than 125 a night. My stay averaged 133 Australian dollars a night, my point being that I felt as though I was getting sound value for money and that wasn't even their optimal rate.

Motel grounds look lush in the rain

Getting to Tin Can Bay from Brisbane

A more concise way to state how to get to Tin Can Bay is from Brisbane, head north on the Bruce Highway until Gympie, and go up Brisbane Road instead of passing the town, from there go up to Red Hill Road, instead of going up Crescent Road where Red Hill Road meets Brisbane Road and Tin Can Bay Road is the second right on Crescent Road, properly signed as it is a major turn-off in that part of Gympie. There is another road from Maryborough to Tin Can Bay Road which can be used for a remoter drive instead of the Bruce Highway if approaching from the north. Finding the Tin Can Bay turn-off can be done through the backstreets of Gympie but it's a bit unnecessary and one can easily lose one's bearings if unfamiliar with the old town and its winding roads.

Instead of driving, I caught a bus and train there, from Roma Street, plus a Polleys Coaches bus from Gympie to Tin Can Bay is in total full fare around 20 Aussie dollars one way. I have linked Polleys Coaches in the links below for your reference. Obviously, the public transport option is not for everyone but still good to know a bit more about it. The Gympie train trip all the way to Gympie leaving Roma Street at 9.29 AM on weekdays is for some reason one of the better train trips in the area, it seems relatively safe and you go past the Glass House Mountains, Pomona and its large spectacular hill, Eumundi, Cooroy, Yandina, the attractive Noosa village of Cooran, although do note the route 760 Tin Can Bay bus from Gympie Sovereign Cinemas runs at 1.20 PM weekdays only once a day in the direction of Tin Can Bay, with return bus requiring a long wait at Gympie. Bussing from Tin Can Bay to Rainbow Beach and getting a Greyhound Coach home is also an option - as the Greyhound and Premier bus services no longer stop in Tin Can Bay, even though they used to.

For a proper image of the bay, despite the rain, I have included a 2018 bay photo from my 2020 WeekendNotes article Cooloola Coast on a Budget . The bay looked similar when it was sunny on the first day of my holiday, but it has been raining ever since. It's more likely to be sunny if you stay in Tin Can Bay.

Tin Can Bay in the year 2018


The motel website is at , and they are contactable on (07) 5488 0653 (you must exclude the 07 prefix if calling from within Queensland) and on email of [email protected]. Disability is catered for here, with some of the units having a few steps up but others are wheelchair accessible .

Barnacles Dolphin Centre online at - a popular reason to visit Tin Can Bay.

Polleys Coaches

Tin Can Bay IGA (a five minute walk from motel/hotel) (for all your grocery needs whilst staying at Sleepy Lagoon Motel).

Pub website at .

Note photos by the author in autumn 2024 and spring 2018.

285127 - 2024-05-04 01:09:31


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