Just 20km out of Tully is the picturesque Googarra Beach Caravan Park, and it’s a place you don’t want to miss.
Tully is an hour south from Cairns and a couple of hours north of Townsville. To most people it’s known as the wettest town in Australia (the average annual rainfall is around 3400mm). However, to anglers who have been lucky enough to fish there, it’s quite simply a paradise. At the mere mention of the word ‘Tully’ they will get a wistful, faraway look in their eyes. They may dazedly murmur such words as ‘great fishing’, ‘beautiful place’ and ‘can’t wait to go back’.
This camping venue is one of the best-kept secrets of the area. Regular visitors to Googarra Beach Caravan Park tend to keep its charms close to the chest so they don’t miss out on their place in the sun. If you look around inside the grounds you’ll soon see why.
Firstly, the complete camping area is large and of a very high standard with an overall layout, with modern facilities. JFuel and LP gas are available within the Park, and there’s a great restaurant next to the office. The office adjoins a general store and a café offering excellent takeaway food as well. An ATM, bait, tackle, a sub news agency and ice are all on hand. All up, once you’re settled nicely into Googarra Beach you won’t need to drive to Tully for small goods.
To get to Googarra Beach Caravan Park, drive on the Bruce Highway south of Tully and watch for the Lentini Rd-Tully Heads turn-off around 6km from town, on the left if you’re travelling south. On Tully Heads Rd you’ll see the welcoming sign for the Googarra Beach van park at the Hull Heads Rd intersection. The sign has a big marlin over the top and is hard to miss.
The caravan park has dual entry areas, the main one being on Hull Heads Rd with the main office handy.
Inside the grounds there’s a tropical ambiance, with coconut palms and a large pool beckoning hot travellers. The wide expanse of lawns are neat and well kept, and there’s plenty of shade. There are plenty of concrete pads for caravan owners, with both powered and un-powered sites on hand, so there’s something for everyone.
Visitors without their own camping set-up are catered to as well, with 13 en suite equipped cabins for hire.
Well-kept amenity blocks, a laundry, rest areas with barbecues, a fish cleaning table (of course!) plus other attractions are all on hand for residents to enjoy. Pets are allowed on application.
Because Googarra Beach is located at the junction of Hull Heads Rd and Tully Heads Rd, access to either river is less than five minute’s drive away.
These are both interesting rivers. The Tully is a wonderfully snag-lined body of water with a lot of fresh, even in its lower reaches. The Hull River, however, is totally tidal. It’s mangrove-lined for the most part, with its ocean outfall at nearby Hull Heads where it’s very easy to run straight out to sea at full or near-full tide. From there you can fish around Dunk Island, nearby channels or the Family Group of islands just to the south.
Anglers fishing the Tully and Hull rivers can expect to encounter a wide range of species, including blue salmon, grunter, barra, trevally and mangrove jacks. Shore-based anglers can catch flathead, grunter, bream and even jacks. The channels around the islands are renowned for both doggie and Spanish mackerel and the odd long-tail tuna. Out wider there are black marlin.
The main fish taken when bottom fishing around the islands are reefies such as coral trout and golden snapper (fingermark), which are highly prized tablefish. Lure and fly fishers can score barra and jacks around the river and headland snags, and bait fishers can score anything in these waters – from macs to catties. One never knows.
One of the big attractions here this month will be the eighth annual Take A Kid Fishing Day. This event, conducted by Tully Rotary, is on 22 September at the Coast Guard, Hull Heads. This popular fishing competition is just for youngsters, who will go into the running for some very generous prizes. The day starts with registration at the Coast Guard at 8am, and you can find out more by contacting Ron Hunt on 0428 791 032.
Local infrastructure is centred around Tully, which has a reasonably large retail centre, fuel, services and amenities. It also has a very good tackle store in the form of Tully Tackle World where Rolly Newton can advise you on what’s on and where they are biting, plus supply lures and rigs to suit the local area. Want to troll for Spanish mackerel or marlin? Rolly can supply a rigged wolf herring set up on a gang of big hooks with a cunning chin weight to ensure it swims correctly.
I’ve seen a lot of caravan parks and camping grounds but I couldn’t help but be impressed with the high overall standard of Googarra Beach Caravan Park and its friendly staff. And the fishing in the immediate area is, weather permitting, very exciting stuff. Because this is becoming a popular camping area, it will pay to book well in advance. You can contact the Park on (07) 4066 9325, fax 07 4066 9956 or email --e-mail address hidden--Reads: 3767