The Finch Hatton Caravan Park is close to Teemburra Dam, arguably the easiest place to hook a barra in central Queensland. Although there are some whoppers at Peter Faust and Awoonga, when you look at the number of hours anglers have put in for their catches, it’s not hard to see why Teemburra emerges ahead of the pack.
Given that Teemburra Dam is a such a drawcard to the area, it’s strange that the Mirani Shire has seen no need to set up a camping ground at the dam as other shires have done with Awoonga and Peter Faust dams. Fortunately, the Finch Hatton Caravan Park is only 20km away from the launch ramp, which makes it a prime place for visitors fishing the dam to set up camp.
Situated on the main road to Eungella, Finch Hatton is around 72km west of Mackay. Take the well-signed turn-off to the Peak Downs Highway, which runs west off the Bruce Highway on the southern approach to Mackay. Travel along this road for around 8km, then take the Eungella turn-off to the right. Follow the road west via Marian, Mirani, Gargett and Pinnacle until Finch Hatton comes into view, just as the rugged rainforests of the Great Dividing Range start to take on distinctive features.
Finch Hatton is at the foot of the rainforest-clad range and on a clear day you can see some of the features of the township of Eungella high above. You can’t miss the sign for the caravan park, which is on the left as you enter town.
The Finch Hatton Caravan Park is set into its own area of forest, yet it’s certainly within town. And in the tropical climate, the huge number of shade trees present will certainly be appreciated. Fortunately, there are enough trees and shaded camping areas to go around.
There is a swimming pool and a large camp kitchen with sink, electric kettle, toaster, microwave, fridge and freezer. Next to the camp kitchen is a large gas barbecue with plenty of hot plates and a decent-sized hood to keep the plate spotless. There is a coin-operated laundry adjoining the amenity blocks.
In all, Finch Hatton Caravan Park is an informal and friendly place. Pets are allowed upon arrangement with the managers, Nick and Emma.
There are four onsite vans, which can sleep six people. They all have a microwave and air-conditioning unit, which will make your stay much more comfortable during summer.
I liked the large steel framed roof over each onsite van. The roof keeps off debris from the trees and when it is raining heavily, occupants can walk in and out of the van without getting water inside it.
Nearby there is a post office, general store, café and coffee shop, as well as the Criterion Hotel, which offers terrific meals at very reasonable prices.
There is ample space for anglers to store their boat in between fishing trips to Teemburra. Local attractions include Cattle Creek, which is on the edge of town and carries decent numbers of sooty grunter; the nearby Finch Hatton Gorge, which has some lovely waterfalls; and the beautifully scenic town of Eungella high above.
Teemburra Dam is the main attraction, although Eungella Dam (33km from Eungella) and Cattle Creek on the north side of town are also popular fishing spots. Teemburra has the best action when it comes to barra, with just about any sportfishing method working.
I fly fish Teemburra because I just love that sudden wrench on the arm as a barra scoffs down a fly. If you want to catch a barra on fly, you’ll need a rod that is at least a 10-weight. Some barra in Teemburra will be at least 20kg this year so I recommend a floating or intermediate line to try to stop these big fish getting their own way.
I use Loomis gear and on my last trip to Teemburra I scored a 12kg fish in some timber on the GLX Cross Current rod. The 40lb leader was severely chafed from the barra’s gill covers but I managed to landed it anyway.
If you are a whiz with gold Bombers and B52s on a baitcaster (or Tango Dancers for night fishing), then go for it. Most anglers use 40lb braid and 20kg leaders to keep the fish under control.
Soft plastic anglers who use light weights will also do really well in this dam. I think that slowly retrieving large paddle-tail plastics will score more barra than other soft plastic techniques. However, there is nothing wrong with a newcomer to the dam finding a point near timber and working individual features with a shallow diving lure, a big lazy plastic or a big silver or gold Deceiver in a slow retrieve.
One thing’s for sure, the comfort of the Finch Hatton Caravan Park is only a short drive away and it’s there to enjoy at the end of an exciting day’s fishing.
For more information about Finch Hatton Caravan Park, contact Nick or Emma on (07) 4958 3222 or visit their website at www.finchhattoncaravanpark.info.Reads: 3101