Australia, in general, has lots of interesting marine life. This particularly includes dolphins which are known to frequent Australian waters.
These mammal marine creatures are always an interest to humans because of how interactive they are. Many places around the world offer dolphin feeding sessions.
This is where humans get an exclusive opportunity to feed dolphins fish.
One of the most popular spots in Australia to feed dolphins is at Barnacles Dolphin Centre located at Norman Point, Tin Can Bay. Located in the Wide Bay-Burnett area of Queensland. Tin Can Bay is one of only three locations in all of Australia where dolphins in the wild can be hand-fed by humans.
This makes the area quite unique for visitors who want to experience this activity. But where exactly in Tin Can Bay can people feed these creatures of the ocean?
Wild dolphins can be fed in Tin Can Bay at the Barnacles Dolphin Centre. This centre is located at the northeastern tip of the Tin Can Bay area, near the Snapper Creek inlet. Specifically, its address is listed as Norman Point, Tin Cay Bay, Queensland, 4580.
This fascinating dolphin centre allows guests to experience wild Australian Humpback dolphins that show up in the waters surrounding the centre. This species of dolphins are exclusive to the Tin Can Bay area.
The group of Australian Humpback dolphins that come to the centre are in a group, or pod, of 9. They even have names! There’s an Alpha Male who is named Mystique and the rest are named Ella, Squirt, Patch, Harmony, Aussie, Valentine, Chompy, and White Fin.
Because they are like a family to the centre, they have gained these quirky names! They frequent this area because the water conditions are suitable for their species. They require up to 20 metres of water and are generally found in river and estuary areas.
This experience is truly remarkable for visitors because they get to enter the water right where the dolphins are to feed them. Of course, no one should enter the water unless there’s a trained professional from the centre with them.
This simply ensures the safety of all guests. Below are some other things to keep in mind when visiting the centre for a dolphin experience!
Things To Keep In Mind At The Barnacle Dolphin Centre
Only Fish From The Centre Are Permitted To Be Fed To The Dolphins
Fish purchased from the centre are the only fish that are permitted to be fed to the dolphins. They eat things like squid, fish, and various ocean crustaceans. This rule ensures that the dolphins are getting the appropriate meal.
No Flash Photography Is Allowed
Flash photography can be harmful to a dolphin’s eyesight. All cameras should have the flash off, including mobile phones. Pictures can easily be taken of the creatures as the feeding is during daylight hours.
Additionally, mobile phones should have their volumes shut off. The frequencies from various mobile phone ringtones can cause dolphins distress.
Swimming Or Touching The Dolphins Is against The Law
While it might be tempting to get into the water and swim around the dolphins, it is actually prohibited. Dolphins are naturally curious creatures who love exploring what’s around them.
Their snouts are extremely strong. Because of this, swimming in an unauthorized manner can be dangerous. It is important to always follow the instruction of the volunteer from the dolphin centre who is assisting the feeding session.
This also includes touching the dolphins. There is a specific way to feed them and this process should always be adhered to. Any excess touching or swimming can result in fines of up to $8,000.
This might seem excessive, however, it is necessary to stress the importance of following the guidelines that are set in place to feed the dolphins and have the best possible experience.
No Dogs Are Allowed On-Site
Pet dogs are not allowed on the premises. This is simply to make sure that the dolphins and the dogs are kept safe. Only humans are allowed within the dolphin centre so keeping a pet dog at home is always the best choice!
The dolphin centre is great for families or couples. It provides one of the most unique experiences in all of Australia. These restrictions and rules are set in place to make sure everyone has a successful and fun adventure!
What Time Is Dolphin Feeding Time At Tin Can Bay?
Because the pod of dolphins that come to the Barnacle Dolphin Centre are wild, there is no guarantee that they will show up. It is completely reliant on the dolphins making the choice to swim up to the centre.
Even still, the best time to possibly catch a glimpse of these marine creatures is said to be somewhere between 7 a.m and 8 a.m. The feeding session specifically takes place at 8 a.m. provided that the dolphins have shown up.
While the feeding is restricted to 8 a.m, visitors who arrive earlier are welcome to enter the water with a volunteer to get accustomed to the dolphins and the environment in which they will be feeding them.
Only small groups are permitted at one time in the water. This is to prevent overcrowding in the water which could make the dolphins (and humans) uncomfortable.
Tin Can Bay Dolphin Feeding Prices
Feeding the wild humpback dolphins comes at quite an affordable price! It is only $10 per person to cover the cost of the fish that are being fed to the dolphins.
It is suggested that people come prepared to the site with the proper outerwear. Guests are entering the water, usually to their knees, so wearing appropriate clothing is suggested.
Other Things To Do At The Barnacle Dolphin Centre
While feeding the dolphins is certainly the biggest attraction at the centre, the centre does have a cafe that is popular among visitors. The cafe features all-day breakfast and brunch menus and is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
They also have a takeaway menu and beverages like coffee and tea. All current menus can be found directly by visiting the cafe. In addition to tasty food, the cafe also has bait and tackle and ice for local fishermen.
Considering the location, there are plenty of fishermen in the Tin Can Bay area looking to cast out a line.
Dolphins are one of the most fascinating marine creatures the ocean has to offer.
Even though a lot of Australia is already unique with its exotic wildlife, feeding the dolphins in Tin Can Bay is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is suitable for everyone!
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