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Tin Can Bay/Tuncanbar is a tranquil destination located 200km north of Brisbane, where the surrounding waterways provide for great boating in a wide variety of weather conditions.

Tin Can Bay/Tuncanbar was originally part of a large timber logging area, which finally ceased operations in 1893, although some milling and dugong catching continued until the end of the century. These days, the sleepy village is a fishing and boating paradise on the Cooloola Coast. The main industry is still fishing, boasting a fishing fleet of prawn and scallop trawlers working out of the marina on a seasonal basis. More recently, part of the fleet are catching spanner crabs for the overseas market.

Tin Can Bay/Tuncanbar is renowned for its visiting wild dolphins. Usually, the dolphins appear at Norman Point next to the boat ramp just after 7am.

There is a predominance of water-based activities for visitors, so the marina, the houseboats and the local yacht charters are the focal point. Day trips allow you to explore the Great Sandy Strait from Inskip Point to Hervey Bay, a beautiful waterway protected by Fraser Island. The old town itself is built on a peninsula that protrudes into Tin Can Inlet providing safe beaches for families and calm waters for recreational boating. It’s also possible to experience whale watching from July to November.

THINGS TO DO AND SEE – For the active visitor, Tin Can Bay/Tuncanbar offers a well-posted foreshore and wildflower walk, stretching from Norman Point in the north to Crab Creek in the south. The kids aren’t forgotten either, with some great playground equipment and a first-class skateboard park dotted along the foreshore. A five-minute walk from the marina is the local library with a huge selection of hard copy literature, also providing computers and internet facilities to visitors.

A five-minute walk from the marina is Lees Fisheries, where you can buy fresh local seafood straight from the trawler, all year round.

Annually, the first weekend in May sees Tin Can Bay/ Tuncanbar host the start of the largest trailer yacht race in Queensland. The “Bay to Bay” gets underway near the entrance to Snapper Creek, as entrants race their way up the beautiful Great Sandy Strait over two days, finishing off at Urangan Boat Harbour. On the eve of the race, the Tin Can Bay Marina comes alive with over 90 trailer-yachts putting on their final touches, in an attempt to take out the prestigious event

On the fringe of Tin Can Bay/Tuncanbar is the golf club with an 18-hole golf course, 2 first-class grass bowling greens, and a restaurant offering 7-day dining and weekend entertainment. There is a courtesy bus that will pick you up from the marina.

The surrounding waterways are well known for fishing and crabbing opportunities. The area boasts both estuary fishing and reef fishing for those enthusiastic anglers. The variety of fish that can be caught in the Great Sandy Straits and estuaries is extensive due to the mangrove breeding grounds found throughout the straits. Some of the more popular fish are whiting, flathead, bream, cod, mangrove jack, mackerel, and tailor.

The reef fishing means a trip across the bar before you can reach the bombies, which are small rock clusters and reefs. Some of the most popular fish to be caught that far out are snapper, squire, pearl perch, tailor, sweet lip, cod and red emperor. Another popular fishing spot is the world heritage-listed Fraser Island/K’gari, where the beach fishing is of world standard, and a fishing competition is held annually attracting thousands of anglers from around the country.

If you want fresh bait, then there is plenty to be found. The Tin Can Bay/Tuncanbar foreshore at low tide will produce yabbies, while the jetties will gain you white bait and other small bait fish. Rainbow Beach can supply fresh sand worms and pippies for the beach fisherman. The local shops also supply bait for both fishing and crabbing.

VISIT SURROUNDING TOWNS – World heritage-listed Fraser Island/K’gari is the largest sand island in the world with its own ecosystem, consisting of some very unique flora and fauna. The island is only a short boat ride from Tin Can Bay/Tuncanbar but the recommended way to see Fraser Island/K’gari is either by taking a tour or by four-wheel drive, via the barges from Inskip point to Fraser Island.

On the mainland, Rainbow Beach is known as the gateway to Fraser Island/K’gari and is surrounded by its own natural wonders such as the world famous coloured sands and the Cooloola section of the Great Sandy Straits, the Carlo sand blow, and the lighthouse that sits on Double Island point.

Your arrival will be welcomed at the Tin Can Bay Marina, situated at the southern end of the Great Sandy Strait.


Tin Can Bay/Tuncanbar – There are anchorages on the Teebar Creek in Tin Can Bay Inlet, and on the Katuri Creek. There is a boat ramp in Tinnanbar and another in Poona.

Fraser Island/K’gari – There are anchorages in the southwestern point close to the areas of Browns Gutter, Elbow Point and Coolooloi Creek.






Published in print October-December 2021