A Change of Pace: Take a Look at Toorbul
  |  First Published: February 2012

Set into a quiet stretch of the Pumicestone Passage around one hour north of Brisbane, the small town of Toorbul awaits a very keen angler. It’s the sort of place where the clock hasn’t just slowed, it’s perhaps irrelevant!

With only one road leading to Toorbul and none departing to other destinations, suburban sounds change from the usual roar of traffic, wail of a siren or rumble of an over head jet, to the calls of sea birds, lapping of small waves on the beach front or perhaps the hum of an outboard out on the water.

A recent stay there brought back many memories of my childhood. I saw small children walking to the beach with a bait pump and bucket to collect yabbies. One or two visitors were enjoying a picnic on a blanket spread on the grassy foreshore in some shade. While paying a fair bit of attention to the picnic basket’s contents they were also keeping a watchful eye on a small boat drifting on the nearby channel - one rod bent, another just re-cast.

In many respects Toorbul is a noticeable step back in time to an age when entertainment didn’t involve flicking a switch to activate some manner of electronic device but rather being outdoors to see what a new day might offer. The beach, some bait, then some fishing; it’s all there to enjoy.

A compact camping area

The Toorbul Caravan Park, with its entrance at 109 Toorbul Esplanade, is the heart of this experience for the visitor. This is quite a small camping area, and by no means one of those places where you need a ‘You are Here’ map to find your way about.

The park is actually tucked away just a little off the Toorbul Esplanade with a short street leading to its entrance - the sign quite visible. Once inside the entry boom gate the neat and well maintained park offers powered sites, unpowered sites, one bedroom cabins and a two bedroom cottage. Please note that if you do wish to stay in one of the cabins or the cottage there’s a need to book well in advance as they are very popular.

The park offers plenty of grass to set up a really comfortable camp on, with a number of concrete pads for the caravan sites. There are also some very nicely shaded picnic areas, a barbecue with a decent amount of table space plus ample chairs as well as a large, well kept, and airy amenities block.

Of interest is the room between park sites and the width of the roadway within it, which all combine to provide a feeling of roominess, enjoyment and provides plenty of room for car and boat together. In fact one thing that I did notice during my recent visit was the number of sites that had boats also present. Obviously, folk don’t come here just to enjoy the seaside ambience; there’s clearly some pretty serious fishing on tap at Toorbul.

No Need for a boat

While a boat is always going to be handy to secure a feed of fish at Toorbul it’s by no means vital. I noticed folk fishing from the boat ramp who mentioned that they had been catching flathead and whiting during a session on the high tide the previous day. Bream and tailor are also inhabitants of the channel between Toorbul and Bribie Island and can be expected. The proximity of Bribie Island does an excellent job of providing sheltered waters in this portion of the Pumicestone passage, so even quite small crafts are at home here. There’s ample parking at the ramp - in all it’s a very user friendly environment.

Toorbul Store

Note that there’s no entry office at the caravan park. To enquire or book it’s necessary to drop into the Toorbul general store at the intersection of Freeman Road and The Esplanade. As Freeman Road is the main road leading to the Esplanade after you come in off the Bruce Highway along Toorbul Road, it’s near impossible to miss the store.

While staying at the park it’s reassuring to know that groceries, some fishing tackle, bait, ice and gas bottle refills are available at the store. There’s no need to drive back to the nearest town of Caboolture west of the Bruce Highway for basic items that you might need while away from home.

The store also offers take away meals, has decent coffee and there’s also a liquor outlet plus newsagent – to allow you keep up with the latest in QFM while on holidays. Mark Ingham is the proprietor and he can be contacted on (07) 54988210

Getting there

As I mentioned earlier Toorbul is around one hour north of Brisbane with access off the Bruce Highway around five minutes drive north of the Bribie Island/Caboolture turnoff. Note that the sign will indicate that both Toorbul and Donnybrook are accessed from the one connection road. If heading north there is an over pass to cross the M1, if heading south the turn off is well signed and very hard to miss. Once on the Toorbul road just stay on it until you arrives in town.

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