If you’ve never heard of Donnybrook, I’m not surprised, as it’s one of those small but quaint holiday venues that people tend to keep very quiet about.
Donnybrook is on Pumicestone Passage, in the sheltered waters west of Bribie Island and it boasts wide beaches, tempting mangrove flats and adjacent sand banks with plenty of neat channels. Anglers can either fish from the shore or from a boat targeting a wide range of different fish species and with all those mangroves around the place there is also plenty of mud crabs.
Donnybrook is not really a hard place to find but a lot of folk tend to drive straight past the Donnybrook turn off on the Bruce Highway, not knowing about the peace and tranquillity of this friendly little fishing village.
The turnoff is not far north of the Bribie Island road and is well signed for travellers going in either direction. Then after you have turned onto Donnybrook Road follow the road for around 15 minutes right to Alice Street, Donnybrook and the caravan park is at the end.
The camp grounds and caravan park are overseen by the friendly people at the Donnybrook Jetty Convenience Store at 10 Alice Street. The store also has a newsagent and post office under its roof and is right next door to the Gold Star Boat Hire set up.
At the general store, there is a wide range of grocery items available including the usual staple small goods, ice and gas refills. Fishing tackle is also on hand for replenishment of gear with fuel also available at the store. In all, it’s a very workable arrangement for the traveller or visiting angler.
Some very nice take away tucker is available at the store, too, which means the adults can have a break from cooking from time to time.
The camping grounds are handily located almost on the water’s edge with only Pumicestone Park and the local boat ramp intervening. It’s not a massive camping area but certainly adequate for folk to set up camp and enjoy the ambience of being a long way from main roads and the generally busy lifestyle we lead these days.
Pads for caravans are on hand as well as plenty of room for tents and camper vans. There is also a general spacious feeling to the grassed expanses of the grounds, and there’s room for those with boats, trailers and the like, which is part of the charm of the place. The beach is also less than 60m away, so anglers can easily pump some bait or do a bit of fishing or crabbing. The parks amenities are also clean and tidy.
Obviously a camping ground that families and anglers can enjoy is going to be very popular at peak holiday times so bookings are essential to ensure your holiday is a success.
With the cooler weather coming on we can expect winter whiting and bream to be bending rods or stretching handlines from boats. The Passage, as the locals refer to it, is also well renowned for tailor in the coming months.
The humble gar is another fish that might not be so high on the glamour stakes but is excellent eating in its own right and a lot of fun for junior anglers to catch. Use berley of crushed yabbies or soldier crabs, sand, and lashings of crushed and mashed bread to attract these white fleshed fellows to your chosen spot. They can then be caught on light tackle until the tide leaves the weed bed covered flats they are found on.
Light line of around 2kg breaking strain is important, as is a very small hook; a size 12 or 14 should do the trick depending on the fish. A very light quill or pencil float will see the rig cast a short distance away and into the berley trail. Then once the float moves Mr Gar should soon be in action. The best bait for gar is dough made out of flour, water and cheese or a tiny bit of peeled prawn tail flesh threaded expertly onto the hook.
Crabs can be scarce during cooler months but if the rains continue as they have in early autumn, some mud crab pots can be well worth the effort of putting out some pots.
Boats are not essential at this camping location but if you don’t have one and would like to spend some time in the Pumicestone Passage’s gentle waters Gold Star Boat Hire at the store can certainly comply.
Donnybrook Jetty Convenience Store can be contacted on (07) 5498 8219 or at www.donnybrookjetty.com.au.Reads: 5558