There are many places in Australia’s Queensland that are great for fishing. Since you are allowed to fish in any water that is not privately owned or has a “fishing forbidden” sign, there are many opportunities to test your fishing skills while traveling in Australia. One of the first things my boyfriend and I did once we arrived in Cairns, was to head to K-Mart to buy two cheap fishing rods for 20$ each.
For me, fishing is less about actually catching anything and more about having an excuse to spend time in nature. Therefore I love spots that have a nice surrounding like forests and beaches, where you can see wildlife and also do some hiking if you feel like it.
There are many famous fishing spots around Queensland where you can put your hooks in the water and enjoy the view of a beautiful natural scenery around you. Pierre and I tested as many of them as we could during our road trip through Queensland.
This is a list of our 10 favorite fishing spots in Queensland:
1. Fish and enjoy the beach – Cairns Marina
Arriving in Cairns, this was the first and easiest to find location to test our new rods. You can walk on the jetty and try your luck in the deeper part of the harbor. It is especially beautiful at sunset and since there is no shade you will return home with a nice tan – or sunburn if you forgot to bring the sunscreen.
You also have the esplanade nearby, so you can relax at the free pool before or after you are done with fishing.
Personally, we did not catch much there and ended up losing several lures that got caught up in seaweed. But we saw many people pulling out big and small fish with nets just beside us, so the fish are definitely there. If you are smart enough to build a crab cage, there are also plenty of huge Mudcrabs that can make for a delicious free dinner.
A secret spot that mostly only the locals go to, is the back side of the marina. There is no jetty, but a harbor where you can sit on the docking poles and fish in deep water. We had the luck to get a giant catfish there!
2. Fishing between the Mangroves – Machans Beach
Machans Beach is not far from Yorkeys Knob and truly a wonderful spot. You can choose whether to fish at the beach (but since it was stinger season we did not risk standing in the breakwater to fish) or whether to try fishing in the river.
There is little concrete bridge from which you can fish in the deep center of the Barron River or you can sit between the mangroves where thousands of little fiddler crabs sit in their little mud holes and will curiously come out to take a peek at you. It was almost more fun to try and catch those crabs than catching fish!
However, also at Machans Beach, you should be careful not to stand too close to the water, as it is crocodile territory.
3. Soft Sand and Shallow Lagoon – Holloway Beach
Holloway Beach was the highlight of all the three beaches for me. You have to walk down on foot with all your gear over a long, secluded stretch of sandy beach, on which you have the most awesome view on an island further away from the shore and the big blue ocean! There are high waves, palm trees, sunshine and wonderful smooth sand. At the top end of the beach, there is a gorgeous lagoon hidden behind the dunes, where you can fish in the shallow water.
There are many predatory birds and beautiful old trees and mangroves. If it weren’t for my fear of crocodiles, snakes and stingers I would have loved to go swimming there! Since there were warning signs and nobody else swimming at this heavenly place although it was 35°C in the middle summer, I decided against it though. We spent some hours fishing and enjoying the scenery until suddenly we were attacked by a swarm of sand flies. Their bite really hurts, so we had to retreat. But this beach is definitely something you should visit when you are in Cairns, no matter whether you like fishing or not.
4. Jungle Waterfall – Crystal Cascades
An hour drive away from Cairns there are the Crystal Cascades. They were recommended to us by many of the locals, so we went on a day trip to see if they are really that great. Guess what? They are!
Not only do you get to hike along a magnificent jungle trail with lots of big old trees, funny insects, turtles and other wildlife, you also get to see a wonderful clear stream that flows downhill over big boulders, collecting in deep ponds here and there, where many people go to swim. The water is crystal clear and cool and you can even see the fish in the water.
The only problem is, that you cannot fish where people are swimming and where there are no swimming areas, there is no way to get close enough to the water to fish. So we ended up walking all the way with our gear until the end of the trail, where a big waterfall comes down from the mountain.
It is a breathtaking sight, but we could not catch any fish, even though we saw many. But probably you can find a spot by taking another way, as locals repeatedly told me that they caught good fish there, so there must be a spot where you can put in a rod.
Anyway, it’s worth a visit!
5. Fishing paradise in the desert – Bivouac
Further inland we spent a night camping in a place called Bivouac. From the road, it looks like you are going to the middle of a desert, but as you arrive, a river appears behind a cliff and it is abundant with fish! We came here by chance, as it was simply the nearest spot to camp that we found before nightfall, but how glad we were, that we ended up in this place!
The people who were there since a few days already proudly showed us their catch, Mangrove Jacks of considerable size, and apparently, they were easy to catch, too! The riverside is also very beautiful, with big white eucalyptus trees lining the water. A fishing paradise!
And a great spot for camping too, with cheap powered sites, public kitchen with fridge and stove and very clean, modern showers. The owner was very nice, too. And you can see wild peacocks running around or have a chat with the talking cockatoo and a tame chicken that live in the kitchen area. We could only stay for a day, but had a lot of fun!
6. Connecting with nature – Alligator Creek
On the way to Townsville, we stopped at a bush camping spot called Alligator Creek. It was merely the name that attracted us, but we were pleasantly surprised to find a wild jungle river, where you can fish in a cute little bay surrounded by forest and cliffs. The water was very high when we came and almost went over the bridge leading to the bay and the currents were quite strong, but it was a magnificent spot with lots of wild turkeys, kookaburras and wallabies keeping us company while fishing. Beware of the birds though, they will try to steal your food if you are not careful!
7. Living the dream at Wongaling Beach
Around Wongaling Beach, there are many beautiful fishing spots at the sea and in the Hull River. We spent several weeks there, working in a hostel for accommodation which was a great way to enjoy this marvelous place for free.
At Wongaling Beach you can fish in the surf surrounded by tropical rain forest and just chill in the sun, have a cold drink and enjoy life. It is the Australian dream: Waves, Beach and Booze – and BBQ.
Most backpackers who came from the other side of Australia told us this was the best part of Australia they had seen so far and after traveling from Cairns to South Australia and back up through New South Wales, I think I agree. But there are other great places, too, that I was happy to have visited, like outback Queensland and Kangaroo Island.
8. Fishing for squid at Mission Beach
At Mission Beach there is a long jetty that takes you far out onto the sea.
At the top end, there is a little bench with a roof where you can sit while your lines dangle in the waves.
We spent many evenings there trying to catch squid which can be seen all around the jetty at night.
You can bait them with fish pieces or colorful squid-jiggers that are available at the local shops.
You have to be careful while night fishing though, as sharks are also more active at night. A fellow fisherman accidentally caught a shark and it was not fun to unhook it with its mouth full of sharp teeth!
The beach in front of the jetty is really beautiful. When I had enough of fishing I took a walk beside the tropical trees, strolling over roots and rocks and had the luck to spot one of the rare wild Cassowaries (which gave me good scare, to be honest, but it was also pretty cool to see this huge blue-headed bird with the big horn on its head)! As they are an almost extinct species I was very happy to be so lucky to see one while it is still possible.
9. Wild Jungle Adventure – Hull River
The Hull River is another adventurous, magical fishing spot near Mission Beach. You can fish at a little jetty in the jungle, where crocodiles and cassowaries are often spotted and a wreck of an old boat lies stranded on a sandbank.
We spent two days fishing there and were amazed how smart the fish seemed to be since they kept stealing our bait without ever getting hooked. Only later did we realize it was crabs taking the bait! After that, we switched our target and went home with two big Mudcrabs for dinner.
10. Fishing in the outback – Spencer’s Creek
To get to Spencer’s Creek you have to go deep into the outback. It is near Hellhole Gorge which you can get to from a small town called Adavale. If you go there, make sure to stop at the epic Adavale outback pub and say hi to Koss the publican! He can tell you how to get there and also give you a map of the area. 😉
Spencer’s Creek is a deep gorge with clear water, where you can swim with turtles and catch the delicious Yellow Belly. It is a great adventure to drive there with a four-wheel-drive over a rocky dirt road and to climb around the colorful cliffs that surround the gorge. Watch out for snakes and be careful not to hit Emus or Kangaroos on the way, which are everywhere and will suddenly jump on the road especially between dusk and dawn. It is a real adventure to go there, but it’s worth it!
Have you been to any of these places or know any other great fishing spots in Queensland? Tell me about it in the comments!
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