I'm a writer and consultant living in Brisbane who loves travel in Australia, Asia, the Pacific and elsewhere.
Published October 15th 2013
Great fishing, friendly dolphins
Tin Can Bay
You know you're in a fishing town when the streets are named after fish. Bream, cod, emperor, whiting, marlin, sweetlip, dory – they're all here in Tin Can Bay. If only its founders were as imaginative in naming the town. It should have been Haven Point or Tranquillity Bay. Famous for dolphins (not technically fish, but a street is named after these marine visitors), Tin Can Bay has many attractions for families and fishermen.
Fishing on Snapper Creek from jetty at our rental house
Tin Can Bay is a pretty coastal village and trawler fishing port of 2,000 residents 219 kilometres or 2.5 half hours' drive north of Brisbane. Fraser Island, the world's largest sand island, is a short boat trip away.
Beachfront parks, playgrounds, walking and cycling tracks provide plenty of activities for families. Kids love exploring the beach, scampering after tiny crabs and flying kites. A public swimming pool along the Esplanade is set among parkland with picnic shelters.
Early risers or those who don't mind waiting in long lines can feed wild dolphins supervised by rangers near the public boat ramp at Norman Point from around 8am daily. This is one of the few places around Australia tourists can do this. Purchase fish for $5 to feed these clever beauties and you can have a close up encounter with nature you won't forget. Crowds may be smaller at quieter times of year outside school holidays or long weekends.
Mucking about in boats - kayaking on Snapper Creek
Kayaking along the calm forest-lined creek bank is bliss, with plentiful birdlife including pelicans and cormorants. Paddling near the boat ramp though, an over-zealous ranger warns us back as we float 15 metres from the dolphins. Strange since tourists wade in to feed them. Perhaps she fears our paddles would play havoc with the friendly creatures?
Holiday rental houses along the Esplanade boast private jetties onto Snapper Creek. It's a joy for keen anglers, adults and kids, to fish day or night from their own backyard, or set off into the Great Sandy Strait from their pontoon. Hopefully they return home triumphant with a great catch. If you don't own a boat be friendly to the neighbours and they may invite you on theirs.
A warning for boaties. Allow for the tidal ebb and flow when mooring as the big gap between low and high tides means boats tied to timber jetties could sink or be damaged.
At around $1,200 a week during peak holidays, these houses aren't budget accommodation but ours catered for two families. Decor needed updating and the kitchen was less than convenient. However its location, space, jetty and pool table were brilliant. We'll seek out another place along Snapper Creek next time.
Real estate agents and websites list plentiful holiday accommodation. Budget holidaymakers are well catered for with caravan and camping facilities and backpackers.
Tin Can Bay has a good sized marina which also has villa accommodation options.
Tin Can Bay Country Club has an 18 hole golf course and bowling green, with a restaurant popular during holidays, so book ahead. See here for details.
Tin Can Bay Sleepy Lagoon Hotel in Bream Street serves great steaks and seafood and provides accommodation including backpackers. See here for information and bookings.
The town has an IGA, small shopping centre and cafes. Woolworths at Cooloola Cove is 15 minutes away.
Nearby Rainbow Beach. Image by Bmulatiningsih from Wikimedia Commons
If you can bear to leave before your holiday ends, a day trip to the surf at Rainbow Beach 30 minutes' drive away, or to the regional towns of Maryborough or Gympie, will show you more of this well worth visiting region.