Tucked out of the way around one hour’s drive north of Bundaberg, roughly halfway between Bundaberg and Gladstone, is a fairly large waterway known as Baffle Creek. This pristine and totally unpolluted system is regarded as having the highest concentration of mangrove jack in any Queensland waterway. Excited? Read on…
Most southern Queensland anglers have heard of this estuary system but few would understand there’s 70km+ of tidal influenced water to explore. Moreover not many would have enjoyed a stay at the Baffle Creek Caravan and Camping Park situated at 1384 Coast Road Baffle Creek.
That said, those anglers that had visited would no doubt be planning a return trip. The very peaceful surrounds, the spectacular wild life and the attraction of excellent fishing in Baffle Creek, which adjoins the camping area, are not to be forgotten easily.
Travelling to the Baffle Creek camping grounds can involve a great deal of back country travel but road signs are for the most part fairly prominent. The secondary roads leading to the Baffle Creek area from either Bundaberg or Gladstone are wide enough to make car and trailer travel stress free and comfortable.
For those travellers who don’t have a GPS in the vehicle I’ll give brief directions.
The caravan park/camping area is on the northern side of Baffle Creek. Winfield is on the southern banks.
If travelling south on the M1 from Gladstone there’s a left turn from Miriam Vale leading to 1770, Lowmead and Baffle Creek. The turnoff to Lowmead and Baffle Creek will be found after the turn off to 1770. It will take around an hour travel time to reach the Baffle Creek camping area with a couple more signed turn offs en route. However, the last few kilometres of travel on the Coast Road, between Baffle Creek and Wartburg, are inhabited by quite a few somewhat careless kangaroos, so be alert for these fellows.
Travelling from Bundaberg, cross the bridge to North Bundaberg and head towards Gin Gin. The turn off to 1770 is just a few kilometres from Bundaberg’s outskirts. Again, this is a back road but a welcome marker will be Rosedale with a turn off to 1770 and then (further on) Baffle Creek. Again, watch the signs; don’t turn off to Winfield. Once on the East Coast Road you’ll pass the towns of Baffle Creek and Wartburg and you can purchase food stuff, small goods, fuel and ice or visit the Baffle Creek hotel for cold drinks. A few more kilometres of travel and the Caravan Park sign is on the right.
Additionally, if you continue down the East Coast Road you will get access to the very beautiful Rules Beach area, which has unique attractions of its own. A walk in solitude on an unspoiled and totally pristine expanse of sand is what Rules Beach is all about.
The Baffle Creek Caravan and Camping area was formerly known as Baffle Bobs; it was renamed when Roger and Sally Erlich became owners. So if your GPS is showing the way to Baffle Bobs, then follow its directions!
At the quite large Caravan and Camping Park there’s an air of informality and tranquillity that’s immediately noticeable. There’s a long drive way into the main camping area and it’s not all that unusual to dodge a wallaby or kangaroo. Perhaps even detour around a curious pair of beautiful shelducks, their immaculate black backs and white breasts highlighted by a prominent chestnut/brown breast band. These magnificent wild ducks are rarely seen so far south but are friendly enough in these campgrounds to visit sites in search of treats. Additionally, as I drove into the park last November a pair of brolgas were dancing in an adjoining paddock.
Visitors will find plenty of entirely level, shaded campsites. There are ample concrete pads for caravans, with an overall atmosphere of cleanliness and neatness that’s not overdone but adds to the enjoyment. With so much room in which to set up a tent, camper or caravan, a degree of privacy – sometimes hard to find in popular camping grounds these days – is a bonus.
Boat owners will enjoy the spacious layout with ample room for their pride and joy at the camp. Power sites are available to keep electric motor batteries charged.
Visitors will enjoy the very clean amenities, there’s a neat outdoor kitchen with power, a BBQ and TV facilities and for those without camping gear (just the boat and a big grin) there are fully self-contained on site vans, a cottage and a bunk house for larger parties. These facilities should be booked well in advance.
Campfires are permitted in selected areas, and there are laundry facilities as well. Hosts Roger and Sally are only too willing to show first time visitors around and to assist in the selection of an ideal campsite. Small goods, some food lines, refreshments and ice are on hand at the camp office kiosk, as well as bait and tackle. At the office the enticing line up of photos – quite a few featuring host Roger holding a quality fish – is indicative of what awaits the angler in Baffle Creek.
Like many estuary systems, Baffle Creek tends to be influenced by seasonal conditions to produce its best. That said, the creek is renowned for mangrove jack and these are truly an all year round possibility. A boat is mandatory to explore this magnificent waterway, a sounder and GPS tracking a must to keep abreast of the many rock bars and sand spits that seem to materialise magically out of nowhere. An exploratory high water trip might be wisest for new-comers to find their way around.
From the launching ramp behind the caravan park you can travel down to the mouth of Baffle Creek with its plethora of deep sections or head upstream to fish the many holes, rock bars, and small islands that appear with considerable regularity.
Remember that Baffle Creek is virtually an overlap habitat for fish from tropics to areas further south. Fish regularly taken include bream, whiting, flathead, threadies, jacks and, yes, even barra. Queenfish and GT also visit the system, as well as mulloway. It’s the complete fishery! As a heads up, don’t go too light on the braid, stick with the 30lb and hang on tight. And don’t forget the mud crabs…
Contact details, telephone (07) 4156 6421.Reads: 8690