the catch at cairns

Catch at Cairns – A Fish to BBQ at Wanggulay

What’s the catch at Cairns, we hear you say. How can our superb location possibly be so affordable, and so incredibly quiet and peaceful outside of peak season? And our beloved Wanggulay holiday rental. Why is it a fraction of what you might expect to spend at other top-end locations? We’ll let you into a secret. There is no catch at Cairns, or Wanggulay for that matter, except what’s swimming in the ocean, reservoirs, rivers and lakes.

We are a bit of a bargain actually. Because of that we have bookings all year round. We earn more money than expensive resorts that may stand empty week after week which enables us to deliver the very best. The only catch at Cairns is the rich harvest of fresh and seawater fish waiting for you to catch. And deliciously barbecue at our exclusive, private holiday home on the fringe of Cairns we call Wanggulay. Why not stay on, and revel in our part of paradise? Who knows, you might decide to book our place when next in Cairns.

the catch at cairns

Chargrilled Baramundi: Kurman Communications: CC 2.0

The Catch at Cairns – Cast Your Hook and Relax

Cairns and its environs are a perfect place to cast your hook and relax. First, we have a warm tropical climate and we are far from being over-fished.  Secondly, our generous monsoon season keeps our rivers and dams full. So, make your choice. Dangle your hook in fresh or salt water as you prefer.  We can’t promise you a record catch while you are staying at Wanggulay on the forested fringe of Cairns. But we may be able to suggest the best fishing places depending on the season.

Cairns and its environs are an ideal place to discover the immense fishing potential of Far North Queensland. The vast Coral Sea offshore and the lakes, rivers and reservoirs inland abound with marlin and barramundi barracuda deliciously grilled over an open fire using a recipe we may share. There are many more tasty species besides for you to relish and enjoy. Many visitors say we are as close to an angler’s paradise as anywhere on earth.

the catch at cairns

Marlin Caught off Cairns: Kris Hamilton: Public Domain

A Broad Take On the Catch at Cairns That’s Available

Shall we dive in, so to speak and see what’s for supper tonight? We will, but first we have some Cairns fishing basics to share with you …

  • We are a regional city in the ‘wet tropics’ of Far North Queensland, Australia. Therefore we have a wet season from November to April (our summer). We have regular monsoons that fill our rivers and create spectacular waterfalls and cataracts. Our drier season is from May to October (officially winter).  The water temperature in our Coral Sea seldom drops below 23 Celsius (73 Fahrenheit).
  • You will have better luck catching certain fish at particular times of the year.  Barramundi (Asian Sea Bass) come inshore in summer when the water is warmer, while Marlin spawn  from September to December when they are easier to hook. Trevally, Kingfish and Queenfish are regular visitors to river mouths during dry winters. They may even swim inland a short distance.
  • Cairns is an easy-going place to fish because a virtual wilderness surrounds us. And we have a generous number of fresh- and saltwater fishing spots. Being a popular angling destination guarantees abundant tackle shops. These range from ‘moms and pops’ offering personal advice, through to warehouses with every imaginable hook. line and sinker.
  • Locals and visitors do not need fishing licenses, except for privately-stocked ponds and ‘closed waters‘ reserved for conservation. We ask you not to return Carp, Tilapia and Gambusia because they are invasive species. Here’s a list of Coral Reef legal sizes and take limits.

Barramundi can grow to 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) and weigh 60 kilograms (130 pounds), but that would be an exceptional size, seldom seen except in aquariums …

the catch at cairns

Large Barramundi with Barcoo Grunter in Background: Nick Thorne: CC 2.5

The Catch at Cairns: River Fishing Trevally and Queenfish

Cairns has great sand bars, weed holes and riverbeds  to cook these delicious fish. The best spots are the Daintree River 110 kilometres north of our luxury family accommodation,  and Mulgrave and Russel Rivers south of us. Use 4 t0 10 kilogram tackle (9 to 20 pound) to land a good one. We have healthy populations of blue salmon, bream, estuary cod, flathead, and whiting king waiting to challenge your angling skills. Rest assured these fish are good fighters.

Rich Estuary Fishing in Trinity Inlet off Admiralty Island

Let’s pause for a moment at a remarkable spot offshore from Cairns. This was where the Mulgrave River once entered the Coral Sea before volcanic activity shifted its course. Sediments accumulated over volcanic rocks during this event. These gave birth to the mudflats, mangroves, and the muddy Admiralty Island  these great fish love.

The Trinity Inlet does more than shelter inbound berthing for the Port of Cairns, the region’s sole tanker berth, and a Royal Australian Navy base. It also hosts renewable resources of barramundi, flathead, fingermark,  grunter, mangrove jack, trevally, and salmon in 90 kilometres of waterways where you may freely fish. Although subject to quota to preserve the rich resource.

the catch at cairns

Flying Fish Point: Archmage01: CC 2.0

Beach Fishing Off Golden Sands for Families with Children

The catch at Cairns beaches may not be the richest in the warm Coral Sea, but this is a super way to introduce kids to the open air joys of angling. Take Flying Fish Point for example, where fishing off the beach may land a plump barramundi, or a fighting red mangrove jack. Other popular spots are Palm Cove, Yorkeys Knob, Port Douglas, and along the Captain Cook Highway between. All have good facilities, with a likelihood of landing queenfish, trevally, whiting, and mackeral too.

Cairns beach fishing is a great recreational activity for everyone in the family. Because our beaches offer golden sands for suntans, rock pools to explore, and safe swimming with lifeguards. And places to build sandcastles while the barbecue sizzles under your fresh catch of Far North Queensland line fish. And for those that prefer it, we have some quiet, private naturist beaches too. The catch at Cairns you get is what you fancy, on the day.

the catch at cairns

Sweetlip Emperor Fish: Jean-Lou Justine: CC 4.0

‘Bottom Bouncing’ the Catch at Cairns off the Great Barrier Reef

Our Great Barrier Reef is rich in sea-bottom-feeding fish, with some real whoppers lurking there including red emperor, coral trout and nannygai saddletail snappers lurking in the depths. The gorgeous sweetlip emperor fish in the photo grows up to 90 centimetres long (35 inches) from head to tail. Fry the fillets in extra virgin oil. Then spoil them with a half tomato finely sliced, a tablespoon chopped pine nuts, two teaspoons oregano leaves, and the juice of a lemon freshly squeezed.

Bottom fishing, or bouncing is a matter of trawling a 30 to 45 kilogram (60 t0 100 pound) hand line to attract predatory, carnivorous fish rifling through the larder in the sand and coral formations below. This gives you the best possible chance of snagging one, since they are already in a feeding frenzy. You may like us to recommend an experienced charter for your fishing holiday when you arrive. You can’t do this easily from a distance, because the right choice depends on the climate and the season on the day.

the catch at cairns

Boats Ready to Deliver The Catch at Cairns: Neal Jennings: CC 2.0

Deep Sea Fishing – The Catch at Cairns for Serious Anglers

The Great Barrier Reef, and the continental shelf nearby us are both great places to hunt for our local denizens of the deep. Our black marlin are always ready to put up a fight and may win. Our numerous smaller barracuda, dorado, sailfish, wahoo, and spanish mackerel make tasty eating.  It’s no wonder there always seem to be fishing charters leaving Cairns harbour. You could enjoy great views of them from the Cairns Esplanade where the seafood restaurants are excellent.

The preferred times for deep-sea angling in Far North Queensland are from November through to March. Charters travel a way out to sea, and so the rates for basic services are $395 per person assuming  a party of at least five. You could pay up to $1,950 to deep sea fish under the guidance of a an expert. If you want just the two of you on board, then budget up to $5,000 for an experience you could remember for a lifetime. And perhaps have a magnificent trophy for your den too.

The Finest Catch for Serious Holidaymakers at Cairns

When you have done your day of fishing – and we sincerely hope have landed a great catch – thoughts turn to a pleasant evening dining on the tasty proceeds. We have several restaurants in town that will prepare and cook it for you with pleasure. However you may prefer to do the same at our holiday rental some angling parties have called ‘the best catch of all’.

We have super outdoor barbecue facilities, and a five star kitchen with all the appliances you expect to find at home. Our freestanding, very private accommodation nestles cheek and jowl with pristine, indigenous rain forest. And there’s a river a short walk away where you may find no one else besides yourselves. So do come on in and enjoy. Enjoy the finest holiday rental in Cairns. We can’t promise that you will land the catch of your lifetime. But we do promise to do our very best to make you feel welcome as our very valued, very special guest.

Cairns Luxury Family Holidays Best Beaches

Cairns is a natural for family holidays on the coast. We are on Australia’s eastern seaboard between the Coral Sea and the Great Dividing Range. Therefore, this virtually guarantees us a tropical monsoon climate all year round. From November to May, copious rains fill our rivers and our waterfalls come tumbling down. But we can still swim in the ocean on Cairns luxury family holidays. That’s because the water is a delightful 27–28 °С right around the year.  June to October are somewhat drier months attracting light showers.

cairns luxury family holidays

Cairns Beach and Ferry Map: Image Queensland Tourism

If the weather is unfriendly, and the rain is drifting down, we have a bucket load of heritage sites to visit. And get you into the spirit of the history of this place we call home. However when the weather is good our beaches become the natural attraction. Who can resist the call of the sun, the sand, and the warm water when we have hot, humid summers and milder temperatures in winter. We have some super water parks too. Not to mention a marina offering cruises to the Great Barrier Reef not far away.

cairns luxury family holidays

Cairns Water Front: Frances 78: CC 3.0

Great Beaches to Try on Cairns Luxury Family Holidays

The best beaches in Cairns are to the north of the city, where currents and tides create ideal conditions for surfing and swimming. We will be touching on most of them. For now all you need know is they form a 26-kilometre chain. And their names are Barron River Bridge, Machans Beach, Holloways Beach, Yorkeys Knob, Trinity Beach, Clifton Beach, Palm Cove and Ellis Beach respectively. There is a local bus service stopping at all of them except the first and the last.

We recommend visiting the Regional Council‘s pages before leaving for the beach. North Queensland Surf Life Saving patrols Ellis, Palm Cove, Clifton, Trinity, Yorkeys Knob, Holloways, and Branston beaches. Box Jellyfish may come close inshore between November and May. Thus please do follow the lifeguard’s instructions. We want our guests to enjoy every moment of their Cairns luxury family holidays at Wanggulay.

cairns luxury family holidays

Machans Beach: Sippala: CC 3.0

Machans Beach Closest for Cairns Luxury Family Holidays

This part of Machans Beach is not really for swimming, because they built a stone sea wall to protect the houses from erosion. It’s a great place for a gentle stroll after a delicious Sunday lunch at a local restaurant, because it is only ten minutes from the Cairns CBD. In addition, if you walk as far as the south end of the bay there is an open stretch for seaside games. In fact the gradient is so gentle the beach becomes wider than it is long at low tide.

The folk living at Machans Beach describe themselves as ‘down-to-earth working class people’ as you can see from the photo. They have successfully kept large hotels and resorts at bay, and live in a quiet community with a subtle ‘hippie’ feel. For dining out, they have unassuming privately-owned restaurants. A general store with petrol station, post office, community town hall, and sports club cater to the needs of the approximately one thousand permanent inhabitants.

cairns luxury family holidays

Holloways Beach: Alexander Khimushin: CC 3.0

Cairns Luxury Family Holidays Come Together at Holloways Beach

Holloways Beach is a popular destination for families with kids, being sixteen minutes from Cairns bypassing Machans Beach on the way. The beach is just a few metres wide, owing to sand erosion. They may eventually build a promenade sea wall to protect the first row of houses. That said, Holloways Beach is a super spot to cool off while enjoying the fresh air. It is also one of the top Cairns fishing spots.

If you want to be away from the crowds, take a right turn at the Beach Park roundabout which has a water tower in the middle. Follow the road right to the end, park the car, and take the trail down to the beach. In stinger season, please swim inside the protective nets they put up. The small town has the usual amenities, including convenience store, news agent, video shop, launderette, and sports shop. And you can be back at our accommodation for Cairns luxury family holidays in less than half an hour.

Yorkeys Knob Marina: Kgbo: CC 4.0

Yorkeys Knob for Great Cairns Luxury Family Holidays

Yorkeys Knob was once an isolated retreat belonging to a Yorkshire-born fellow and his wife. Nowadays it is a tourist attraction with a marina looking across to Double and Hancock Islands. Yorkeys Knob is across a narrow channel from Holloways Beach. The riverine estuary is great for fishing. The beach is also a popular destination for kite and wind surfing.

Having well over two thousand permanent residents means Yorkey’s Knob has the usual small shops, plus three restaurants including one on the marina deck. The main swimming area is at the north of the promenade, where there are barbecue and picnic facilities, plus public toilets and showers nearby. The golf club attracts a great collection of bird life. In the evenings,  flying fox bats come out in search of prey.

cairns luxury family holidays

Trinity Beach: Rehali2001: CC 1.0

Sheltered Trinity Beach Between Two Headlands

Trinity Beach is a mere 21 kilometres from Cairns. It is an almost perfect example of the legendary North Queensland tropical setting, with a broad selection of free-to-use barbecues and picnic tables. Moreover, Trinity Beach has takeaways offering fried fish and chips and other favorites, as well a several restaurants and small shopping centres.

The swimming beach enjoys protection from twin headlands, and with a lifeguard in attendance is an idyllic swimming destination for kids on Cairns luxury family holidays. It is also easy to find after a relaxing half-hour-drive along Captain Cook Highway traveling north. Take a right turn at the sign and follow the road to the end. Then you can turn either left or right to parking spots fronting the generous beach and ocean.

cairns luxury family holidays

Clifton Beach: Cogdogblog: Public Domain

Try Clifton Beach if You Want to Tan and Send a Card

This beach is near a dormitory village 23 kilometres from the city along Captain Cook Highway. This makes it ideal for guests staying at Wanggulay, especially on weekdays when much of the population is away at work. Clifton Beach has largely escaped tourist development, so what you find is a laid back atmosphere on a sandy beach with palm trees swaying in the background. As an added bonus, it has a shopping centre with cafe and takeaway, a supermarket, restaurants, and a post office in case you want to send a card.

To reach Clifton Beach follow Captain Cook Highway north from Cairns for around 35 minutes. After you pass the BP and Mobile petrol stations turn right immediately. Take another right turn at the end of the road. Then following a winding road to the beach with playground equipment, barbeques, and picnic tables. If you prefer to be away from crowds, continue driving south until you find a quiet spot.

cairns luxury family holidays

Palm Cove Beach: Lenny K Photography: CC 2.0

Palm Cove Beach Just the Spot for Cairns Luxury Family Holidays

Imagine being a half hour away from Cairns,  yet sitting on one of the most perfectly pristine beaches in Queensland you imagined possible. The Great Barrier Reef 30-kilometres offshore to the east provides shelter and relatively calm water. While the Macalister Range National Park to the  west forms part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage area.

The small, close-knit community believes in keeping life simple. Thus there are no schools or major shops. In fact, if you want anything out of the ordinary head for Clifton Beach a few kilometres to the south. Instead, team up with the locals. Jog, walk, or cycle along palm-lined paths, or take a dip in an enclosed swimming area. If you enjoy fishing, the Palm Cove Jetty has a good supply of mackerel, giant trevally, and shark swimming by.

cairns luxury family holidays

Ellis Beach: Damian Keegan: CC 3.0

Ellis Beach What a Find on Cairns Luxury Family Holidays

You may almost find Ellis Beach deserted at the end of your 29-kilometre journey from Cairns, excluding the side shoots to the other beaches we mentioned. This is because the permanent population was under 40 when we last looked, and the bus service does not call. As such, it is almost entirely undeveloped. What you see in the photo is what you get.

The long, thin beach stretches a whole kilometre and a little more. There is not much surf or swell on account of a rocky outcrop and Double Island. The fishing is good and there of quiet spots to catch a suntan. The Ellis Beach Surf Lifesaving Club does its best to keep a watchful eye. But we don’t recommend entering the water on your own, when nobody else is present. You never know and it is always best to take care. And now it time to think of returning to your gracious Wanggulay holiday rental home for a rest.

cairns luxury family holidays

Wanggulay Master Suite – What Luxury

Wanggulay, the Epitome of Style for Cairns Luxury Family Holidays

We have reached the last of the beaches in the necklace to the north of Cairns when we come to Ellis Beach.  After a happy day out in the surf and sun it’s good to know your home from home has been waiting for you patiently. Our villas each sleep up to twelve people in comfort with all the features of a luxury 5 Star resort. We are kid and pet friendly which some of them are not. You will be so glad you earmarked us for your Cairns luxury family holidays. See you soon!


Luxury Cairns Snorkeler Accommodation

Luxury Cairns Snorkeler Accommodation: The Islands off the Coast

Luxury Cairns snorkeler accommodation, what thoughts does that conjure up in your mind? Are you looking for holiday rental space voted one of the best places to stay in North Queensland.  It is no wonder we receive top ratings. First, we offer superbly fitted, discretely separate bungalows sleeping twelve adults each. Secondly, as an added bonus, these are in a sought-after Cairns suburb edging a national heritage rain forest. Well not actually the whole suburb. In our case, the gardens of our two luxurious bungalows lead directly to the banks of the seductive Barron River.  Just the place for a late night, moonlight dip beneath the stars.

Luxury Cairns Snorkeler Accommodation: Where’s Best for Diving?

We won’t pretend you can snorkel in the Barron River, where it whispers past your luxury accommodation on its way to the coast. The best we can offer are shallow dip pools for brown-bodied kids to splash about while you relax. We arranged a Victorian bath near the river’s edge for loving couples. Our guests tell us we have the ultimate place to share a loving cup of champagne in dappled shade. Did you ever lay eyes on anything half as cute as this before.


luxury Cairns snorkeler accommodation

An Outdoor Bathtub on the Fringes of the Rain Forest

Three Islands to Visit While Snorkeling off Cairns

Green Island is closest to our luxury Cairns snorkeler accommodation, and has over 700 hectares of coral reef. Therefore the cruise  takes only 45 minutes, and moreover there’s an underwater observatory for folk who like to keep their feet dry. Then Fitzroy Island is a little further at 26 kilometers off the coast. It boasts mountainous rain forests, great scuba diving, and some of the loveliest white sandy beaches anywhere in Queensland.

Finally, the Frankland Islands are just off the Cairns coast, yet uninhabited because the cluster of five islets are quite small and low lying. They are an idyllic spot for beach picnics, after diving down for exclusive views of green sea turtles, tropical fish, and giant clams. On Round Island you can even walk inland through native rain forests with tranquil rock pools.


luxury Cairns snorkeler accommodation

Approaching Green Island: Road Runnerz 45: CC 4.0

Approaching Green Island with a Bit of Everything

This island has a bit of everything, including a 46-room luxury resort, and some of the best snorkeling opportunities near Cairns. The small land mass formed 6,000 years ago when restless waves laid down sand, loose bits of coral, and other floating debris on top of the reef. But local aboriginal people tell us the island was once four times larger in time immemorial, so the past could be returning. Today, vine-covered thickets largely cover Green Island.

Access is via charter boats, a catamaran service, seaplanes, and helicopters. In addition, there are wonderful opportunities for scuba divers and snorkelers to explore marine nature at  its most spectacular. During season, dwarf minke and humpback whales arrive to birth their calves. Green Island’s resorts are open to day visitors.  So you could dine at one of the restaurants, or enjoy light bites from a pub if you wanted.


luxury Cairns snorkeler accommodation

Fitzroy Island: P Butke: CC 2.0

Fitzroy Island 45 Minutes by Ferry from Our 5 Star Accommodation

This is the largest of the islands we visit. In fact, the highest point is 372 meters above sea level. The Great Barrier Reef is all around it. Hence most of it lies within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Fitzroy Island was once part of North Queensland until it separated 8,000 years ago, and it still shares the same delightful climate just a quick ferry ride away.

Fitzroy Island has in addition a great selection of hiking trails through mangroves, open woodland, tropical pristine rain forest, and along coral beaches. Water sports include snorkeling, swimming, sea kayaking, and glass-bottom boating. The island resort has cafe’s, restaurants, and bars, so there really is something for everyone to enjoy.  This includes the unofficial, but aptly named Nudey Beach.

luxury Cairns snorkeler accommodation

Frankland Islands from North Queensland: Jim Bendon: CC 2.0

Luxury Cairns Snorkeler Accommodation: The Frankland Islands

The Frankland Islands are 6o kilometres south of Cairns, and just offshore the town of Babinda. You can skip Babinda, as it is the wettest Australian town by rainfall. However, the five Frankland Islands are a totally different matter. Each is a quintessential ‘desert island’ soaking up the sun in the warm hospitable Coral Sea. Day trips are courtesy of a single provider. But camping overnight on Russell or High Island requires a permit from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

The most interesting spots to visit are on Round, Russell, and Normanby islands. Round Island has great diving spots for observing green sea turtles, tropical fish and giant clams. While Normanby reef provides superb snorkeling opportunities. Russell Island boasts a government campsite, sandy beaches, and a forested hill where there are pythons in the bush. All five islands are alive with nesting seabirds, especially Normanby where there is restricted access from 1 September to 31 March each year during breeding.

More About Our Luxury Cairns Snorkeler Accommodation

Luxury Cairns Snorkeler Accommodation

Luxury Cairns Snorkeler Accommodation

Robert Louis Stevenson, father of the steam engine was quite a poet when he wrote “home is the sailor, home from the sea.” And you will feel at home when you relax at Wanggulay after a time exploring these intriguing islands sheltering in the Coral Sea. Please let us know if you would like us to arrange charter boats or ferry rides. We will try our best to get you ringside seats if we make your bookings in time. We know the operators well and it will be our pleasure to ‘twist their arms’ a little bit.

Our two separate, utterly private, and totally upmarket holiday rentals each sleep 10 adults in luxurious comfort, and we can always squeeze in a few kids in the day room lounge. Being directly on the edge of rain forest at the bottom of the garden means we are alive with birds rejoicing in the treetops around us. You could walk past a secret waterfall on your way down the the Barron River. It really will be our pleasure to welcome you to the North Queensland 5 Star Paradise we call Wanggulay.

5 Star Accommodation Port Douglas

5 Star Accommodation Port Douglas is Nearby

5 Star Accommodation Port Douglas can be difficult to find, especially in season when holidaymakers pack the place. Cairns  provides a satisfying alternative when it comes to quality and value an hour away on the Pacific Highway. Your holiday is even better when you stay in our rain forest retreat. Read more

Wanggulay in the Late Afternoon

Luxury Accommodation Cairns … The Road Less Traveled

Luxury Accommodation Cairns … The Road Less Traveled

Luxury accommodation Cairns … the road less traveled … what do these two things mean to you? There is always a pleasant surprise around the corner when visiting Cairns and its surrounds. Here we highlight some unusual things to do when visiting Wanggulay Read more


With Wanggulay Luxury, Cairns Fish are Never Far Away

Wanggulay Bali is so comfortably nestled into the rainforest that our luxury holiday accommodation seems kilometres away from Cairns and its myriad of attractions. In face, they are just a quick 15 minute drive away, while Port Douglas is a short one hour drive up the coast.

Cairns has the added attraction of being the closest major port to our star attraction the Great Barrier Reef. All types and sizes of small craft depart daily from Trinity Inlet, heading for a marine wonderland where guests swim, snorkel, scuba, and of course catch huge tasty fish all day long.

Photo Source:

Photo Source:

Fishing the Great Barrier Reef All Day Long

Thanks to the coral, we have an amazingly long marine food chain. It stretches all the way from colourful nippers that swim between our fingers to the great denizens of the deep, our dwarf minke, humpback, bottlenose, and migaloo whales. On a good day, you could even see all four.

We have some great eating and fighting fish out there to catch. Which one do you prefer? We have barramundi, barracuda, black marlin, coral trout, dolphin fish, red emperors, spanish mackerel, scaly mackerel, yellow fin tuna, trevally, wahoo, and sailfish in abundance. We also have great cooking facilities at our luxury holiday accommodation, unless of course you prefer a barbie down by the river.

Photo Source:

Photo Source:

Enjoy Your Fish at Wanggulay or a Restaurant

The great thing about Cairns fishing is the crew on shared and individually booked charters will clean and pack your catch so it is ready for cooking or the restaurant. Didn’t know that? Cairns is an easy-going place. Our restaurants do everything to welcome our visitors including preparing their catches to individual tastes.

All You Need to Know About Fishing off Cairns

We invite and welcome you to our luxury holiday accommodation, where the Cairns rainforest is at the bottom of the garden and trails lead to streams and waterfalls for good swimming in all day long.

Come and join us. We have a discount offer this September. Catch your fish and chill out afterwards. Give us a call on Australia 0468 377 799 or international +61 468 377 799, and we will tell you about fishing the laid-back way in Cairns.

Cairn Fishing Holiday Accommodation

Let’s Go Barra Fishing

Holidays are a great time to try something new, so on your next trip to Cairns, why not try your hand at Barramundi Fishing at Hook-a-Barra in Wonga Beach.

At just over an hour from Wanggulay, a trip up to Hook-a-Barra is a great day out for all the family. With a rainforest backdrop, and regular visits from the local birdlife, whether you’re taking part in fishing for Barramundi, or just watching, there is plenty to see and do up here.

Located at the Daintree Saltwater Barramundi Fish Farms, the fishing pond is stocked with over 1,500 Barramundi, as well as Mangrove Jack. Filled with salt water direct from the Daintree River, the Barramundi here range from 1kg through to 12kg and from 50cm through to 1m in size.

The Daintree Saltwater Barramundi Fish Farms supply plate size and whole fish premium Barramundi year round to restaurants and hotels both within Queensland and across Australia. Saltwater Barramundi is one of the best eating fish you’ll come across, and is in high demand across the country – in fact, if you’ve ever eaten Barra in a restaurant or hotel around Australia, it’s more than likely that you’re eating Saltwater Barramundi, farmed right here in Australia.



We recently took a trip up to Hook-a-Barra, and the experience was amazing. Being able to catch some great sized fish without needing to worry about heading out on a boat; with so many fish stocked in the lake, you’re bound to catch a great sized Barra or Mangrove Jack.

Hook-a-Barra is a catch and release facility, but you do have the opportunity to purchase your catch on the day. Take up this opportunity if you can, because you can be guaranteed a great meal.

If you aren’t one for fishing but would still love to try some of our locally farmed Barramundi, you can place an order directly with the Daintree Saltwater Barramundi Fish Farms – but we recommend heading out there when you stay here at Wanggulay.

We thought we’d share with you our favourite Barramundi recipe, apart from the simple Barra & Chips of course.

Grilled Barramundi with Asian Veg

This is a really simple recipe, and one of the best ways to eat Barramundi.

Simply take your fish fillets and grill them on the BBQ out on the deck, or in the oven. While you’re waiting for the fish to grill, steam some Asian greens like bok choy or pak choy, and fry up some mushrooms in butter.

Serve simply with a green salad or chips on the side, and you’ve got a lovely meal to eat out on the deck here at Wanggulay. A dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling goes well with the fish, as does an unoaked Chardonnay or Chenin Blancs.

Book your holiday at Wanggulay today, and enjoy a day out taking in Hook-a-Barra.


The Great Barrier – Nature in Action

Early European explorers were frustrated when they found the Great Barrier Reef obstructing navigation between Queensland’s east coast and the open ocean beyond it. Many ships came off second best and foundered amid the over 600 island sand 3,000 reefs, before we had accurate charts.

Len Zell writes in his book Diving and Snorkelling Australia’s Great Barrier Reef that Lieutenant James Cook ‘discovered’ our reef on June 11, 1770 when his sailing ship HMS Endeavor got stuck on it for a whole day after suffering serious damage. They chucked about 50 tons of gear overboard and patched it up sufficiently to ‘nurse it into a river mouth’ a week later.

Full repairs on the beach near modern Cooktown took the best part of two months, where after Cook continued on his epic voyage without understanding the miracle he had tripped over, so to speak. History does not record whether the intrepid explorer sent the boats back to recover the floating barrels of salt meat, hard biscuit and sauerkraut that were their staple diet at sea.

Endeavour being Careened in Far North Australia after Hitting Reef: John Oxley Library / Public Domain

Over 1,500 species of fish feed off the Great Barrier Reef, ranging from silvertip sharks as long as 3 metres to dwarf goby fish the size of your fingernail. Isn’t it time you took a holiday? Over 200 species of birds wheel in the sky above, while out to sea turtles, whales and dolphins roam. We suggest you dive under the watchful eye of an experienced guide. We also have 20 species of venomous sea snakes. Best not touch this spotfin lionfish either!

Spotfin Lionfish: Richard Ling / CC 2.0

The reef is currently under assault by crown of thorns starfish that live off coral. Fully-grown ones are 35 centimetres / 14 inches across. They have sharp spikes, so beautiful to behold but please don’t touch! Our reef has fared better than most others have though. We hope scientists find reasons for the sudden population explosions, and figure out how to stop them.

Clownfish on Great Barrier Reef: Jan Derk / Public Domain

We welcome you to our subtropical paradise of countless reefs and cays. Please respect the usage measures implemented by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park so our reef stays looking good forever, and future generations look back on us with favour. Visit photos from the Catlin Seaview Survey in protected area sand be amazed by the power of photography in these lovely, lonely places.

A Panorama of the Coral Reef near Heron Island: Catlin Seaview Survey / CC 3.0

Dining at Wanggulay – Our Favourite Recipe

Dining out is something we all do on holidays, but sometimes you just want a quiet meal at “home” where you can relax with the family and a glass of wine.

There’s no doubting Cairns has some great fresh food stores where you can sample some of the local produce, and we thought we’d share one of our favourite recipes using mostly regional produce.

Mahi Mahi is one of my favourite fish and when combined with a macadamia nut crust it is absolutely delish. We generally serve this one with a simple salad or two – generally a mango salsa and a green salad.

We promised this recipe in our last blog so here it is:

Blend ½ cup of macadamia nuts, ½ cup of shredded coconut, large bunch of coriander with most of root, knob of ginger, garlic, salt and lemon.

Place fillets in a baking dish and press the nut crust into the fillets. Bake at 180 degrees for 15 mins or until cooked and crust is browned.

 We buy all of our ingredients locally from shops like Ocean World Seafood Market or Captain Cook Seafood, and Rusty’s Markets. If you’re heading out to the Tablelands or north of Cairns for the day, you’ll certainly find some fresh options to serve you’re your Mahi Mahi fillets.

If you really enjoy the food we get here in the Tropics, we really recommend picking up a copy of Clare Richard’s book – Tropical Cuisines: Cooking in Clare’s Kitchen to take home with you. Clare shares her passion for great tropical food from around the world.