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Go Wild at Barnacles Dolphin Centre in Tin Can Bay

Don’t miss this rare and magical opportunity to interact with a pod of wild Australian Humpback dolphins in a stunning location.

Mounded foreheads, long beaks and elongated dorsal fins giving a humpbacked appearance distinguish these dolphins from others. They like to hang out in the tropical waters of the west and east coasts of Australia but there is a special pod of 9 are particularly fond of Norman Point in Tin Can Bay.

The History of the Pod

It started back in the 1950’s when an injured dolphin beached himself on the sand at Barnacles Cafe. The locals took pity on him, started to feed him, and named him ‘Old Scarry’. Once he was well enough Old Scarry returned to the wild but regularly returned to the bay to visit the locals and enjoy a free meal.

The second was a female, also called Scarry, who arrived in the bay with a calf named Mystique who continues to visit on a daily basis as the third generation to carry on this tradition.

Mystique is the alpha male of his pod, also scarred from his many battles, including a battle with a bull shark in December 2007. Once again a dolphin sought refuge in the cove at Barnacles with volunteers feeding and caring for him around the clock for 10 days. Once he was able to hunt for himself, Mystique thanked everyone with an aerial display before heading out with Patch to return to the wild.

Patch is a female member of Mystique’s pod who started to come into the Cove to feed after the disappearance of Scarry. She is thought to be in her mid twenties and weigh just over 200 kg. In comparison to Mystique she has very few battle scars and she is throwing a pink colour as she ages.

More recently another young dolphin known as Harmony began visiting regularly with Mystique. Harmony is a juvenile male thought to be about five years old. This makes the fourth generation of dolphin to feed with the locals and visitors to Tin Can Bay. Harmony is also quite scarred for one so young and appears to be holding up the family tradition of liking a good fight. Harmony is very inquisitive and likes to check out his human visitors from a distance.

Pod Stars

Today there are 9 members of the resident pod, all with unique characteristics and personalities.









White Fin

What to Expect

You need to be up early to visit these beautiful mammals as there is only one feeding session a day at 8am. The Dolphin Centre opens at 7.00am with viewing time between 7.00 – 8.00am.

On arrival visitors are welcome to join the volunteers in the water and get to know these beautiful mammals with a small group of people in the water at any one time.

Fish for the feeding is available on site. They have an entry fee and a feeding fee, and as a volunteer group we request $5.00 per person entry fee plus $5.00 to cover the cost of each fish purchased and our other costs.

Dolphin feeding does mean getting wet, at least up to your knees…so do come prepared!

Once the dolphins are fed they generally return straight to the wild to get on with their day so be sure to be there before 8.00am to give yourself the best chance of enjoying this wonderful experience.

Please remember though that these animals are truly wild so they cannot guarantee their arrival time or even that there will be dolphins on a given day.

However, if they are running a bit late, you can enjoy refreshments from the cafe, sit back, relax and enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Cooloola region.

It is rare for no dolphins to visit but as with all wildlife experiences, it can happen.

Location:     Norman Point, Tin Can Bay, Qld 4580

Open:         7am. One feeding session at 8am

Cost:          $5 entry plus $5 per fish

Info:            Visit their website at

Info & Utils

Published in Friday, March 22nd, 2019, at 4:03 am, and filed under Gympie Region, Places to Visit.

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