Tinaroo Dam is one of the most popular attractions on the Far North Queensland Tablelands. This means when it comes to fishing, it is best to avoid Tinaroo during holiday season as the place is usually so packed with tourists from all over Australia there is no chance of quiet fishing enjoyment.
Off-season however is another matter. This beautiful dam is desolate with the occasional camper or fisher spread out. It is possible to turn up at the much loved Kauri Creek campground at Tinaroo and find it completely empty! There are BBQ plates at the Kauri Creek Day Area and for the hungry fisher, this means a hot meal before returning to fishing.
Many species of fish including the sought after barramundi can be caught in the Tinaroo Dam, along with redclaw and freshwater mussels. There is nothing quite like cheese and chilli grilled mussels on the BBQ while camping! There is a recipe here which tells you how to cook freshwater mussels.
If you are planning on fishing at Tinaroo, it is best to make a day trip out of it especially if you are expecting to travel there from Cairns. 4WD vehicles will enjoy the dirt Danbulla Road with its bumps and craters.
Non 4WD vehicles are seen on this road all the time, but it is slower going for them.
Fishing is not the only thing Tinaroo Dam offers. There is camping, firepits, BBQ's, toilets, boating, swimming, jetskiing, 4WD roads and walking trails into the forest. We spotted heaps of wildlife out at Tinaroo by driving slowly on the roads and approaching sites slowly. We saw a goanna and a bearded water dragon basking on the road, countless scrub turkeys, a couple roos and lots of pretty coloured birds. There were also curlews at our fishing spot. If you are looking for a family outing, try Tinaroo. Unfortunately, pets are not permitted, so your dogs will have to stay at home.
Coming up from the Gillies Ranges from the coast, you can reach Tinaroo via the Boar Pocket Road connecting to the Danbulla Forest Drive on your right. If you are going via the Kuranda Ranges and Mareeba, you can find turn-offs to Tinaroo via Main Street in Tolga which takes you to Kairi and then onto Tinaroo from there.