Fishing destination: Jumpinpin, Qld

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As sub-tropical boating paradises go, the south-east Queensland locality of Jumpinpin — or “The Pin”, as it’s known locally — is about as good as it gets.

Fishing destination: Jumpinpin, Qld
Destination: Jumpinpin

Jumpinpin, or "The Pin" as we locals usually call it, isn’t so much jammed between Brisbane and the Gold Coast — a more accurate description is this beautiful region "wedges" those two centres apart.

Surprisingly, and perhaps especially so given its situation, The Pin’s ecosystem is in excellent condition. This is entirely thanks to some farsighted bureaucrats a couple of generations back, who declared most of this maze of sand banks and mangrove channels now separating the ’burbs either side of them as Fisheries Habitat Reserves, making them "off limits" to developers.


It must be said that encroaching urban development along Jumpinpin’s western side does continually chip away at the quality of its water and habitat, but regular flushing of pure seawater, as each rising tide pushes inland between North and South Stradbroke Islands, maintains Jumpinpin as a boating and fishing paradise.

There’s only one real catch to hanging out in what is without a doubt one of the loveliest boating destinations in our entire nation — Jumpinpin is a literal maze of ever-mobile sandbars and channels. And despite the mind-boggling array of navigation devices available to us these days, these waters may or may not be navigable after each set of spring tides are done shifting the sand about.

Locals accept there are only two kinds of people behind the wheel around The Pin: those who’ve just been aground, and those who are going to go aground sometime soon. For trailerboats it’s a minor hassle, as we can tilt the outboard up and, at worst, get out and push. However, for the numerous bigger boats that crowd every anchorage and channel deep enough to accommodate them, these shallows are something to fear.


There are no roads to Jumpinpin. Apart from a few 4WDs coming down the beach from Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island, the only way you can get there is by boat (or floatplane!). Sheltered campsites along South Straddie’s western shoreline are serviced by a ranger on a quad bike, and occasionally the resort at Couran Cove, a few kilometres south, may have a 4WD tour on South Straddie’s eastern beach — that’s about it for vehicular traffic.

Walking across the dunes to the surf beach from South Stradbroke Island’s campsites is a popular diversion. There are several places to camp around Jumpinpin, with the pick of them being those on the western shoreline. Close to The Pin the best camps are behind the beach along the anchorage known as "Millionaire’s Row" — so called due to the multitude of cruisers there on weekends. Another just to the south is called "The Bedroom", for obvious reasons.

From the eastern beach opposite these campsites, the Gold Coast’s Main Beach high-rises are just visible through the sea mist. Yes, The Pin is literally a world apart from both Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Crowds are the norm on weekends, as you’d expect with a place situated between the Sunshine State’s two most populous centres. However, peace returns midweek, and once more you’ll have no trouble finding empty beaches, while the fishing improves out of sight.


Talking of fishing, Jumpinpin is famous for both bream and flathead. Whiting, mulloway and tailor near the bar are the other usual targets, plus luderick. Fishing is the main reason I frequent The Pin, closely followed in my case by the many delights of simply mucking about in boats with family and friends.

To get onto the water you can use Gold Coast ramps at Paradise Point and the Spit. They are located less than half-an-hour’s run away in an average outboard.

The Coomera River ramps are another favourite, but probably the best and most popular access points are near the sleepy village of Jacob’s Well. It’s a few kilometres through cane fields east of the M1 and there are several ramps here, including a good one right in town (and conveniently close to the pub). Perhaps the best ramp is at Horizon Shores Marina a few kilometres north, although it costs you to launch. More private ramps can be found along a mangrove channel north of the marina, before the northernmost public ramp at Cabbage Tree Point.

The private ramps make sense if you’re staying down at The Pin overnight or for a few days because vehicle and trailer security beyond daylight hours at the public ramps leaves something to be desired.

Between The Pin and the Gold Coast is an area near what once was a pub and small resort called Tipplers — before it burnt down a few years ago. There’s still a store there, however, and you can pay your fees for camping on South Straddie there too.

South of Tipplers is the large resort at Couran Cove. There are a few private residences here and while the resort itself is somewhat upmarket, it’s a pleasant place where you can rent a unit and keep your boat out front in the marina. South of Couran Cove, and situated more or less at the northern end of the Southport Broadwater, is a more formal campground (more formal than Milionaire’s Row and the Bedroom, that is) of Currigee, which is run by the Gold Coast City Council. Scattered north of Couran Cove on both sides of Tipplers are private campgrounds owned by boating clubs, available exclusively to members.

Over many years I’ve often considered joining one of the boat clubs to gain access to these campgrounds, but instead I’ve opted to bush camp on the shoreline north of the Bedroom, near Millionaire’s Row.

Each spring my wife Mary and I camp here for a week or so when the tides are right to chase flathead. Trailerboating life doesn’t get any better than a comfortable camp right at the water’s edge, your boat anchored securely just a few metres away.

Arguably the best way to fish and enjoy The Pin, however, is to hire one of the many houseboats available and tie your pride and joy alongside each night. Unfortunately all the comforts of home don’t come cheap and we can only manage this when another couple shares the costs. That’s why we usually choose the low-cost camping option.

Jumpinpin is one very good reason to own a trailerboat if you live in southeast Queensland, and it’s a fantastic destination for boaties from all over.


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