Wondrous Waddy Point
  |  First Published: December 2010

Waddy Point

Waddy Point and the lagoons and gutters it protects are probably best known for the launching of expeditions to the fabulous offshore reefs. For me, Waddy is extra-special as this is where my love affair with Fraser Island started back in the early 1960s.

Our early trips involved travelling from Urangan to Wathumba Creek, then by 4WD across the island to the developing Orchid Beach resort and along the beach to Waddy Point. The huts we used were nestled into the lee of the headland. These are long gone but you can still see evidence of them amongst the coconut palms at [1]. On arrival one of the jobs was to check the hut for snakes.

In a stay of a week or more during the Christmas holidays, it was rare to see anyone who wasn’t part of one’s own party. Another interesting point about those holidays that although fresh dingo tracks could be seen around the hut each morning, it would be rare to actually see one. The most you would normally see was one disappearing into the scrub at the sight of you.

The lagoons and gutters between Waddy Point and Orchid Beach were alive with fish in those days and still produce some good catches of whiting, flathead, dart and tailor during the spawning season. My particular preference was, and still is, to fish the headland itself.

Waddy is one of three outcrops of volcanic rocks on Fraser Island; the others being at Indian Head and Middle Rocks. Almost all other formations are of coffee rock, the remains of ancient swamps. The most accessible parts of the headland are the northern end where it meets the beach to the south.

Basic directions for reaching Waddy Point: After travelling north along the ocean beach, take the track across the back of Indian Head, then along the beach, onto Middle Rock and then the one-way road towards Orchid Beach. Take the turn-off to Waddy campground, then along the beach to the headland.

Taking a tour around some of Waddy Point’s interesting features, we start at the unofficial car park on the sandy beach [2] adjacent to the rocks. From here you can follow the shoreline or take any of the many tracks leading over the headland. The rocks [3] border ever-changing sand banks and gutters. When a gutter forms along the edge of these rocks [4], these can be good spots to target flathead, whiting and bream.

Ocean swells curl around the northern end of the headland often leaving extensive white water cover in front of the rock platform and ledges [5] and [6]. This is prime tailor country in season with dart almost always available. In close to the rocks and ledges, bream and tarwhine as well as sweetlip and Moses perch are worth targeting.

Open and exposed to whatever the sea is serving up, the rock platform [7], known to many as the wall, is probably the most popular spot at Waddy. Although fairly safe in most conditions, you need to take a long hard look at the conditions before getting busy. As well as being a top tailor and dart spot, larger pelagics like mackerel, tuna and yellowtail king, come within casting distance and are often taken by fast retrieving metals. Jew are also taken here, particularly in fairly rough conditions very late in the afternoon. At the base of the rock shelf, bream, tarwhine, sweetlip and black drummer are all very likely.

South of the wall, a low rock platform [8] extends out to sea from the main headland. This is not easy to access unless you’re related to a mountain goat. It also necessitates crossing a narrow gorge [9]. The rock platform offers a few more vantage points but it is not a good place to be in big seas. The gorge is certainly a difficult spot to fish but the effort can be worth it as it often holds sweetlip, drummer, big bream, golden trevally and tarwhine.

At the mouth of the main gorge, the rocks [10] can be reached easily from the car park by a track across the headland. Once again you need to sensibly evaluate the conditions before fishing here. There is deep water right at the base of the rocks so the general rock species previously mentioned will all be available. Unfortunately there always seems to be plenty of pickers so it is good to use baits that aren’t going to be disintegrated immediately. If you can get through the nursery, there is a good chance of scoring something worthwhile.

Fishing wide of the rocks invariably results in dart and tailor in season. Prospects in the main gorge [11] depend on whether or not it is sanded up. This is the way it has been on my last two visits. However when it is scoured out it can turn on the same selection of species. The same can be said for the red rock [12].

South of here, through the blow hole [13] the rocks [14] to the small gorge [15], access is difficult. I have rarely gone to the trouble of getting down to these locations as the same opportunities are available elsewhere with less stress. However those that make the effort are rewarded with many of the same selection of rock species as well as tailor and jew.

The southern end of Waddy Point can be reached by 4WD across the sand blow. This track takes you onto the beach linking Waddy Point and Middle Rocks. Vehicles are permitted to park on the beach adjacent to the headland but must not travel on the beach toward Middle Rocks. The small gorge [15], when not sanded up, is an exciting spot to fish for bream and tarwhine. I have taken many school jew here but probably well under today’s 75cm limit. Both sides of the rocks [16], produce access into productive water.

In decent southeasterly conditions, when white water covers the deeper inshore waters, this is the place to be just on dusk, or just after if it is safe enough. Big jew (legal ones), come in close and ready to take bunches of sea worms, pilchards or tailor fillets.

Fishing is permitted on the beach adjacent to the headland with tailor, dart and whiting usually on offer. However Middle Rocks is permanently off limits, being a Green Zone.

If you are coming to Fraser Island for the holidays, make the most of what the island has to offer. Drive carefully, follow the driving rules and never take the beach for granted. Keep on the lookout for washouts, melon holes and creek mouths and enjoy!

Other News

Every so often the ocean beach throws up an unusual catch: I was excited to receive news that one of the guests had landed a 48cm whiting, but as I rushed to investigate it turned out to be a bonefish. Not entirely rare on Fraser, most have come from the northern end of the island, I have caught just one in over 40 years fishing the beaches and have seen only two others. However, on this afternoon at Poyungan Rocks one was caught with another three the next morning.

I would like to correct an error concerning speed limits in my October report. The speed limit within the towns and on the inland tracks is 30km/h while on the beach it is 80km/h. There are also reduced beach speed limits close to townships and major tourist attractions.

While still on the beach, it is good to see new back-packer vehicle laws now in force and apparently working well. Unfortunately it took a multiple fatality to jolt the government into doing something positive about the existing way the industry was controlled. Previously, back-packer vehicles, were allowed to carry 11 persons and were driven by one of the visitors, usually without any beach or 4WD experience. They were also able to carry their requirements and camping equipment on the roof rack, making them seriously top heavy.

New rules state that a vehicle can take a maximum of eight and that nothing goes on the roof. In the near future, forward seating will be mandatory. Back-packers now go in tag along tours under the control of a lead driver, an experienced Fraser Island driver. I find it quite fascinating to see these little ‘trains’ of back-packer vehicles coming along the beach. Comforting too to know that there is now much less chance of our visiting young people from overseas getting into strife on the beach or on the inland tracks.


Waddy Point

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