Tin Can Bay is a relaxed beachside village located on the Great Sandy Marine Park. It’s a great spot to get outdoors and enjoy nature with a diverse range of flora and fauna found in the area. It’s especially popular with families, boaties, fishermen, birders and the RV community.
Enjoy time out on the waters of the Great Sandy Strait and explore the 4 km foreshore either from the sand or on the well-maintained pathway.
You’ll find Tin Can Bay between the Sunshine Coast and Fraser Coast. It’s a 2.5-hour drive from Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, 1.5 hours north of Noosa on the Sunshine Coast and 1.25 hours south of Hervey Bay.
Fun things to do in Tin Can Bay
1. Walk or Cycle the Foreshore Path
The foreshore path runs for 4 km from Norman Park in the North to Crab Creek in the south. It is beachfront the whole way with a paved path or boardwalk and plenty of park areas to stop and enjoy the view along the way.
The path is a shared space and well-finished making it suitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs, bikes and scooters.
2. Enjoy the parks, BBQ and picnic facilities
Stretching from Les Lee Park at Norman Point, along the Esplanade to Crab Creek Park there are parks stretching all the way along the waterfront, so many that it is hard to notice when you move from one to the next unless you notice the sign. Many only have grass areas to play and bench seating or shaded picnic tables while others have toilet facilities, information boards on the local wildlife, BBQ facilities, children’s playgrounds, a skate park and a swimming pool.
Gympie Council have done an exceptional job with the development of the area, keeping the entire waterfront as public space from end to end.
3. Wildflower Walk
The Wildflower Walk runs alongside Schnapper Creek. Enter from the intersection of Emperor and Bass Street and follow the sealed path through to Ronald Bielby Park and the Marina. Along the way, there are a number of offshoots onto unsealed paths leading off into the bush and to the tidal creek edge.
Wildflowers are best viewed during springtime, September until November but there are wildflowers found here all year around, you just need to look a little closer at other times.
If you are visiting the area during October and November the sides of Tin Can Bay Road as you drive in are usually lined with wildflowers too.
4. Enjoy the local hospitality and a good coffee
There are a couple of coffee shops in Tin Can Bay
You will usually find us at Tin Can Coffee opposite Tom Impey Park a few times on any visit to the area. They make great coffee and chai and the service is energetic and friendly. You can also get toasted sandwiches or eggs benedict made with locally baked sourdough and a selection of baked goods and sweet treats.
Tin Can Coffee is open for breakfast and morning tea until 11 am, 6 days a week (closed on Wednesdays).
On the Esplanade at the Crab Creek end you will find Temptation by the Water which offers a wide variety of food options, coffee and juices. They are open from 7 am until 3 pm, 7 days a week.
5. Wild dolphin feeding
Our local marine life is tightly protected in Australia so there are very few places where you can hand-feed wild dolphins. Tin Can Bay is one of those places, the other is Tangalooma on Morton Island out from Brisbane.
The feeding is closely supervised by volunteers who work with EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that the necessary precautions are taken to ensure that the feeding remains supplemental only, that the health of the dolphins isn’t compromised by human contact and that it’s done in a way that is safe for all parties. The volunteers also collect essential research on this pod of adorable Australian Humpback Dolphins.
6. Head out boating and fishing
Whether you bring your own boat or hire one while you are here, the waterways around Tin Can Bay are ideal for exploring and fishing.
Crab Creek, Searys, Teebar and Norman Point are popular with those fishing from shore for Whiting and Flathead, Bream can also be caught at Crab Creek. During summer Mangrove Jack is most people’s target if you have a boat or kayak to fish from. Other species caught by recreational fishermen in the area are Trevally, Mulloway, Pink Snapper and Muddies.
Tin Can Bay Boat Hire and Coastwide Charters rent boats subject to availability.
Where to stay in Tin Can Bay
Caravan Parks in Tin Can Bay
There are three caravan parks located in Tin Can Bay.
Tin Can Bay Tourist Park in Travelly Street is our pick, we’ve stayed here a couple of times and will definitely be back. It is a little further walk from town but still very close to the waterfront walking path. Most things you would want including a decent IGA, other food shopping, the Post Office and a chemist are also an easy walk from the park.
The sites are level and easy to access, many have slabs and grassed areas. There are trees but they don’t overhang which can be a problem with a taller rig. The new camp kitchen, laundry and bathroom facilities are kept very clean and well-maintained. Plus there is a pool that’s heated in winter.
Kingfisher Caravan Park is located opposite the waterfront walkway and just down from Tin Can Coffee which is an excellent coffee shop in the village. Ace Caravan Park is also across the road from the waterfront, conveniently located to the Marina and adjacent to the Snack Shack, Tin Can Bays very popular fish and chip shop.
There is also a public dump point located at 18 Schnapper Creek Road with an easy turnaround point available 300 metres further along the road.
Other accommodation options
For those looking for self-contained accommodation the Tin Can Bay Marina Villas are a popular choice rating very highly for their location, cleanliness and facilities. With views out over the marina, a pool and a restaurant on site it has everything you need for a carefree relaxed break.
Other accommodation options in Tin Can Bay
When to Visit Tin Can Bay
More great spots to explore nearby
Poona is a small peaceful township on the shores of the Great Sandy Strait north of Tin Can Bay. There is a caravan park on the shorefront, a small cafe and a general store. A great spot for boating, fishing, swimming and exploring the coastline. There is a walking trail that runs through the park adjacent to the water.
Tuan is just a little further north of Poona. Also a coastal fishing village with a pontoon wharf, boat ramp, picnic shelters and a range of facilities for fishermen, boaties and beachgoers. There is a caravan park nearby at Boonooroo and this is a great spot for birders, kayakers or those hoping to spot elusive dugongs in the shallow waters.
The turquoise water, swirling sand and colourful sand cliffs along Rainbow Beach make it a spectacular place to visit. We’ve driven up and along the beach on a trip from Noosa to Inskip Point for the Fraser Island Ferry but if you want to see it without driving on the sand head to Carlo Sandblow.
The easiest access is from the Carlo Sandblow car park at the end of Cooloola Road, it is only a 500-metre walk in or if you wanted to your could also start the 102 km Cooloola Great Walk from here.
From Rainbow Beach, you can travel across to the world heritage-listed K’gari (Fraser Island) by car ferry. The world’s largest sand island is a paradise to explore with so much natural diversity including stunning beaches, rainforests, perched lakes and extensive sand blows.
You can choose to take your own 4WD vehicle across and drive on the beaches and sandy tracks or join a Fraser Island day tour or multi-day tour. We have been over on a small group 4WD day tour and stayed overnight on a longer tour and enjoyed them both. The extra time clearly allows you to see more and spend a little more time at the attractions, you really do want a trip where you get out of the bus for a good portion of it to walk in the sand drifts and forests, and swim.
A stunning spot on the Queensland coast is Hervey Bay. Sheltered by Fraser Island it is an alternative departure spot for a ferry out to the island but is best known for its whale watching throughout winter. This is an incredible spot to see humpback whales on their annual migration from Antarctica to the Great Barrier Reef.
Between Tin Can Bay and Hervey Bay, you will pass through the heritage town of Maryborough. Stop in here at Queens Park and walk down to the riverfront. Along the way, you’ll see several of the murals that are part of the city art trail and the Gallipoli to Armistice memorial between the city centre and the park is worth a stop on its own. If you are feeling like like or a cup of coffee or lunch, the Portside Cafe is always good.
If you enjoy Tin Can Bay some other spots you might want to visit on the Queensland Coast are: