I genuinely enjoy researching new camping destinations for this magazine. With new roads to travel, nice people to meet, fresh experiences; it’s awesome fun in my book.
I especially enjoy it when I can catch a nice fish while on the job, which is why I’m taking so much pleasure in presenting this article on Camp Kanga, a great place to set a spell and rig up tackle to have a crack at the big fat barramundi lurking within the waters of nearby Lake Proserpine, or Peter Faust Dam. The wall is virtually within walking distance of Camp Kanga.
While some campgrounds are privately or Council owned, this is an interesting set up with Lions district 291Q2 being actually in charge of Camp Kanga. It’s run in a very ‘spot-on’ manner, with an interesting mix of accommodation for the visitor, full convention and meeting facilities for large groups plus areas for conventional tent and van accommodation as per usual.
The layout of the camp sees it stretching from Crystal Brook Road in the south to the river bed of the Proserpine River at the rear of the grounds to the north and while not offering as much grassed or open area as some camping areas available today, Camp Kanga has more than enough accommodation arrangements on hand to cater for all comers. That means that visitors with tents, caravans or anglers seeking accommodation with the boat in tow can all be catered for quite happily at Camp Kanga.
While some visitors bring ‘home away from home’ with them, many will simply avail themselves of the accommodation on site, which takes the form of bunk style cabins, with or without air conditioning. The cabins are actually large demountable buildings divided into two, each having a separate room with its own bunks and refrigerator. The point is that there are a lot of these cabins on site and with a large central laundry and ablutions block servicing each bank of cabins. There are also gas barbecues for visitor’s use, the comfort level is definitely on the higher side of pleasant.
The entrance to Camp Kanga is at No. 2396 Crystal Brook Road, on the right, around 24km north of Proserpine. There are ample signs just you enter town and at the end of the main street pointing to Peter Faust Dam and the camp entrance, just as the car is climbing into the foot hills. They cannot be missed on the right. Proserpine is an hour and a half north of Mackay.
The camp Office has an associated kiosk with ice, staple small goods such as bread and milk, cold drinks and the like on hand. Friendly managers there will do their best to organize accommodation, suggest some of the more interesting local attractions and generally make the visitor very welcome. As mentioned there is a very large kitchen, convention centre and meeting hall also part of the complex so it’s not surprising that youth and school groups also join angling groups in making the best of the set up.
Denise and I stayed for several days recently and although the entire region was in dire need of rain, our stay was highlighted by the cleanliness and complete insect proofing of our 3-bunk cabin with its big over head fan contributing to an enjoyable night’s sleep. Also, much appreciated was the room’s electric refrigerator, which managed to turn itself on and off in silence. If you have stayed in a place where the fridge would start up with a sound like an anchor chain going over the side you will understand what I am on about. The fact that both laundry, wash up and toilet facilities were kept in a state of utmost cleanliness was also pleasing.
Another feature I really appreciated was the fact that our cabin, along with others, had a weather proof external power point so I could top up our Bullshark’s Minn Kota battery when necessary.
Did I mention the wallabies? Each morning, at around 3:30 as we grabbed a quick feed before fishing, several small rock wallabies would visit to nibble on toast and jam – extremely cute.
Proserpine is a town large enough to have virtually anything a visiting angler might need. Super markets, fuel, plus all manner of retail and professional outlets are on hand as well as the town’s bait, tackle, and chandlery store run by Lindsay Dobe, local fishing guide and renowned barra angler. Prossy also has an interesting historical museum well worth a look.
A lot of anglers like to tangle with Peter Faust dam’s barra, so a stay at Camp Kanga is virtually guaranteed to see you mixing with other barra anglers and consequently enriching your knowledge of barra fishing. As a fly angler, I’m always on a very steep learning curve and I picked up a lot of clues, and happily a couple of fish, during our short stay.
For the record, there are a lot of barra in this dam. Some did get over the wall during last summer’s flood but thanks to the efforts of local angling groups many were picked up and smartly returned. Metre long fish are still common as can be with 110cm and larger fish regularly being taken by those that can stay attached to them.
Like all barra in impoundments, the fish love to hang out in the timber and there are virtual forests of the stuff, so the clue is to find an area where you reckon you can land a fish and give it your best shot. Hook up and hang on, I say! Lily beds and weed beds abound in conjunction with the timbered flats so it’s a barra angler’s paradise.
Best thing is that being an impoundment there are no restrictions regarding fishing during the closed season; if you have an SIP you are hot to trot.
Other fish in the dam include sooty grunter, sleepy cod and saratoga, so it’s a somewhat mixed fishery but with barra predominating.
If you would like to engage a local guide contact Bluegum Barra Charters on 0407 164 515. Guide Ross Burgum lives quite close to Camp Kanga and spends a lot of time on the water.
Camp Kanga can be contacted on (07) 4947 2600, fax 07 49472636 or at --e-mail address hidden-- .Reads: 2955