Jennifer, 26 years old. When I went to Australia on my first Working Holiday Visa as an Au Pair, I didn’t get the chance to see much of Australia. Therefore, I came back 5 years later with my partner. After ten days in Sydney, we bought a van and travelled across the whole country. We got the Australia Backpackers Guide, which became really useful throughout our road trip. It was in this guide, that we found out about dolphin feeding in Australia, Tin Can Bay.

Dolphins in Tin Can Bay

The town is located just above the Sunshine Coast, 218km north of Brisbane. If you go to Tin Can Bay, it’s really just for the dolphins, as this place doesn’t offer any other tourist attractions. It’s close to Rainbow Beach though, so definitely go check it out on your way to Fraser Island. To see and feed dolphins, you go to Norman Point.

Barnacles Dolphin Centre

There are volunteers working at the Barnacles Dolphin Centre, allowing us to approach and feed the dolphins in the bay.

dolphin feeding in australia tin can bay

Why do dolphins come into this bay?

For more than 60 years, dolphins have come to Tin Can Bay regularly in search of food. The one that came here first, back in the 50s, was injured. As local residents felt sorry for him, they started to feed him. Subsequently, he came back from time to time. Apparently the word got out, since there are now nine dolphins visiting Tin Can Bay on a regular basis.

These dolphins are different from the ones you see at Monkey Mia. They are Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins. As can be seen in the photos, they are gray-spotted.

Our experience interacting with dolphins

I decided to feed the dolphins while my partner was just watching them, but we could both go into the water together. I gave a dolphin two fish that the Barnacles Dolphin Center had provided. It all went very quickly and the dolphin swallowed both of the fish. The lady who accompanied us told us to put our hands underwater because dolphins sometimes rub their noses against your hands to say hello. That day, there were two dolphins in the water with us, sometimes there are even more. Since they are still wild animals, we were obviously not allowed to touch them.

dolphin feeding in australia tin can bay 2

Practical information

How to get there

Since Tin Can Bay is a pretty small town, you’ll easily find the Barnacles Dolphin Center as well as the Cafe.

Where to camp

We camped on the marina parking lot, but that’s not officially permitted.


10$ for feeding dolphins, 5$ for just looking


Dolphins go there all year around but only between 7 and 8 in the morning.

Updated on the 08/01/2020. Initially published on the 11/11/2018.

Written by Jennifer

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