Tin Can Bay
Tranquil Coastal Getaway near Fraser Island
Tin Can Bay, 245 km north of Brisbane, is a small centre of over 2000 people, on the mainland, opposite the southern end of Fraser Island. It is situated in a sheltered position within a deep but narrow inlet which is further protected from the ocean's raw force by a peninsula that juts out from the mainland near Rainbow Beach (see below), on the other side of the inlet. Tin Can Bay is a tranquil and picturesque getaway for those who want relaxation and simple pleasures rather than cultural activity.
It is said that Tin Can Bay's name serives, as a kind of homophone, from the Aboriginal place name of Tuncanbar, which is thought to have referred to the dugongs which still frequent the area, along with the sea turtles, the birds, and the friendly dolphins which come right in to the shore for a feed and a frolic.
European settlement was established here around 1870. The headland, which reaches out to Norman Point, was the location of one of the state's earliest railways, which was constructed to transport logs to the shoreline, from whence they were relayed, via raft, to the mills of Maryborough. Later Tin Can Bay became, and remains, a fishing village, centred on prawning. It also offers fine recreational fishing opportunities to the casual visitor, as well as calm, pleasant environs for boating, sailing, windsurfing, houseboats and canoeing. A boat ramp, marina, jetty and fish market are located at Norman Point (along The Esplanade) and aquatic equipment is available for hire locally*. There are plenty of safe shallows for family swimming, along with parks, picnic and barbecue areas and playgrounds. Crabbing, scenic walks and golf are also popular.
Visitors will find sufficient amenities to meet their needs, including a supermarket, marine supplies outlet, a hardware, service station, pharmacy, newsagency, butcher, baker, seafood outlet, greengrocer, hairdresser, bank, library, post office and emergency services.
The Bush to Bay Seafood Fun Day is held on the Foreshore each year in September.
The Cooloola Region Visitor's Information Centre is located at the Matilda Truck and Travel Stop, on the Bruce Highway at Kybong, 14 km south of Gympie, tel: 07 5483 6656. Also, see http://www.tincanbaytourism.org.au or http://www.cooloola.org.au
One of the most popular and pleasurable attractions at Tin Can Bay is the wild dolphins which come right up to the shoreline around the jetty for a feed. However, their presence is, of course, unpredictable. Therefore it may be an idea to ring the Cooloola Region Visitors' Information Centre to find out if they are around, or when they may be likely to show up, tel: 07 5483 6656.
A 9.5-km 'environmental walkway' lines the foreshore of Tin Can Bay. This is essntially a raised wooden walkway which allows free access along the bushy foreshore, while causing the least possible disturbance to the fauna which resides therein.
The calm waters of Tin Can Inlet and the Great Sandy Straits (which extend for 100 km between the mainland and Fraser Island) are ideal for sailing, boating, sightseeing, birdatching and fishing. Yachts and houseboats can be hired at the marina from Fraser Island Houseboats (tel: 07 5486 4444), Fraser Island Rent a Yacht (tel: 07 5486 4814) and Luxury Afloat Houseboats, tel: (07) 5486 4864. Runabouts, for exploring the inlet, can be hired from Ace Caravan Park (tel: 07 5486 4152), Barnacle's (tel: 07 5486 4899) and Kingfisher Caravan Park, tel: (07) 5486 4198.
The Bush to Bay Seafood Fun bay, held each year in September, typically involves a substantial fishing competition ( $20,000 for first place), helicopter rides, and art and craft show, sand sculpture, music, family entertainment, seafood cooking demonstrations, a skateboarding demo, street theatre, boat and tackle displays, market stalls, a fashion parade, organised family games, a dance for the young. food stalls, ,and a fireworks finale.
Canoe tours are provided by Just Paddlin' Canoe Tours (tel: 07 5486 4417). 4WD tours and dolphin cruises are also available, tel: 07 5483 6656.