Dolphin Feeding at Tin Can Bay

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 03/14/2018

Reading time: 3 mins

Get up close and personal with the local pod of dolphins in this unforgettable activity!

Renowned for its eclectic selection of wildlife encounters, Fraser Island boasts a backdrop of white sand beaches, incredibly blue waters, and ancient rainforests filled to the brim with native plants and animals. Visitors venture to this haven to enjoy a range of outdoor activities, but there’s one particular encounter that keeps visitors coming back for more: dolphin feeding at Tin Can Bay.

At this coastal hotspot, you can get up close and personal with the area’s resident dolphin pod and learn all about these majestic creatures at feeding time. The onsite pod is formed of nine dolphins and is led by Mystique, the alpha male. Other dolphins in the group include Patch, Squirt, Ella, Aussie, Chompy, Valentine, White Fin, and Harmony.

The Unusual Thing About Tin Can Bay’s Dolphins

The dolphins at Tin Can Bay are unique because they are humpback dolphins. This rare breed of dolphin thrives in rivers and estuaries, needing around 20 metres of water to fish properly. When not out catching their dinner or greeting visitors at Tin Can Bay, they frolic in the shallows in tidal creek areas. This particular species loves to eat fish, squid, and crustaceans – many of which can be found in the waters surrounding Fraser Island.

This experience is nothing new. In fact, the dolphins have been visiting Tin Can Bay for over 30 years. It all started with a dolphin nicknamed Scarry who arrived in the bay with a young male dolphin – the dolphin now known as Mystique. Scarry hasn’t been seen in the area for about 15 years, but Mystique still brings his pod to the shores around the boat ramp each and every day in search of food and human company.

Dolphin Feeding at Tin Can Bay

Feeding time starts early, with visitors flocking to the shore around sunrise in anticipation of the humpback dolphins’ arrival. There is only one feeding session per day. always beginning at 8.00 am. Visitors can flick off their shoes and roll up their pants before wading into the water, where the dolphins will swim right up and say hello.

When the dolphins begin to turn up, visitors hand out treats while they watch the creatures frolic and splash around in the shallow waters as the sun starts to warm the ocean.

Feeding this particular pod of dolphins is an important part of conserving the wildlife of Fraser Island. The activity is closely regulated by the Queensland Government to make sure it stays safe and enjoyable for both humans and the dolphins. To make it sustainable, this is the only meal of the day the Tin Can Bay company can give the dolphins, making sure they continue to hunt for themselves for the rest of their meals for the day. Visitors can also only feed the pod with food that’s bought onsite, and there is a maximum amount of food given out each session so the dolphins don’t get too full.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.