Tin Can Bay the Jewel of the Cooloola Coast

TIN CAN BAY, Qld – the Jewel of the Cooloola Coast.

Where is Tin Can Bay you may ask yourself? And you might be forgiven for not knowing prior to reading this story. However you absolutely have no idea what you are missing out on by not knowing. The funny part is that you have probably driven right past Tin Can Bay on many occasions, yet not known it was nestled just off the Bruce Highway in Queensland just north of the Sunshine Coast.  Take a turn out towards the ocean when you hit Gympie and from there it is an easy 50km drive, situated out on the Cooloola Coast.

It is a very sleepy little coastal village and home to some of the most stunning scenery and fantastic ocean passage. If you are coming by boat then this is a fantastic spot to anchor down for a few days, as it is very sheltered. The beautiful harbour area is dotted with an array of yachts, fishing boats and houseboats all parked up and relaxing. Tin Can Bay offers sensational fishing, great watersports and an awesome doorway to explore the ocean.  It is one of those places that is super relaxing, quiet and chilled out. Yet it also has a lot to do too.  It is a place for everyone, couples, families, backpackers and singles. People wanting an exciting holiday and too for those who just want to relax.

We stayed at the Tin Cay Bay Tourist Park, which has a great resort pool and spacious grassy sites which is perfect when travelling with kids. The managers are extremely helpful with absolutely nothing being too much trouble – even a blocked grey water pipe – sorry! You can organise all your day tours and get all your maps right from their reception area. The park is home to multiple wildlife, including a huge flock of parrots who come by to see what you might have on offer, every afternoon.

Tin Can Bay has all major services and amenities the only downer was the patchy phone reception, but some would say that is a good thing when on a holiday. They have great little restaurants and plenty of choice when it comes to food, however Seafood is definitely a top priority!

But it is something quite out of the ordinary, which makes Tin Can Bay a stand out destination. It is the wild dolphin feeding which happens every single day of the year. Now this is no normal dolphin feeding attraction, these are wild Indo Pacific Humpback dolphins. Held at the Barnacles Dolphin Centre, located right next door to Barnacles Café, at the Norman Point boat ramp between 7 and 10am every day. Head down there early as these are wild dolphins there are no set times or schedules that they run to – generally they come in between 7-8am. It’s one of the only places in the world where you can feed wild dolphins in their natural habitat especially the Indo Pacific Humpbacks. Mystique and his pal Harmony come ashore to meet and greet you, for just $5 you can get a bucket of fish and stand in the water with them. It is very surreal and very charming. On our particular day we had to wait a few hours for them, they obviously had better things to do! But never fear, Barnacles Café, which is perched on the waterfront right where the dolphins come in, has some of the best food & coffee ever! The biggest ‘Big Breakfast’ you can ever imagine. Once Mystique and Harmony arrive, you are told of their life history, and how Mystiques mother used to bring him in, until she disappeared back in 2004 – presumably she passed away. Now he brings Harmony with him, believed to be a sibling. It is very informative and definitely well worth the wait as well as exciting at being up close and super personal with these amazing mammals.

Aside from Mystique & Harmony Tin Can Bay offers great bushwalks through the native tropical bushland and along the harbour front. It is fully interactive, with plenty of information boards and well sign posted walk ways. There are plenty of great fishing spots either from the wharf, beachfront, estuary, Mary River or take a charter boat out into the sea.

Go put Tin Ca Bay on your bucket list right now. When you are driving up the Bruce Highway next do yourself a favour and take the 30 minute detour out to the coast to visit Tin Can Bay! You will not regret it – that’s a guarantee.

Fast Facts

  • Tin Can Bay is located just off the southern tip of Fraser Island.
  • It is part of the stunning Cooloola National park.
  • The variety of fish that can be caught in the Great Sandy Straits and estuaries is extensive due to the mangrove breeding grounds found through out the straits

Travel Tips

  • Tin Can Bay has phenomenal fishing and crabbing so remember your fishing gear!
  • Give yourself at least 3 days at Tin Can Bay to enjoy it all.
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