Tannum Sands is a coastal town on the Central East Coast of Queensland, Australia. Tannum Sands and its neighbouring twin - Boyne Island - are separated only by the Boyne River. Tannum Sands has a patrolled beach and is well known as a fishing venue with access to the Great Barrier Reef, the Boyne River and Lake Awoonga. It is a major residential area for the nearby Boyne Island Aluminium Smelter and Gladstone-based industries.
Tannum Sands is the surfing beach for the city of Gladstone. Originally it was established as a holiday settlement, mainly occupied by typical holiday 'shacks'. The beach was then known as Wild Cattle Beach and the Tannum Sands Surf Life Saving Club was established in 1936. Expansion of Gladstone in the 1980's saw the sleepy settlement become a beachfront residential area and an increasingly popular holiday destination. There is road access to and good parking right along the beach, together with a caravan park and beachfront camping reserve.The beaches are located 30 km south-east of Gladstone and 10 km off the Bruce Highway. The settlement has two caravan parks, including a beachfront camping reserve and a small shopping centre.
Tannum Sands has a relatively safe beach for swimming, particularly at high tide. However, south-east Trades will generate a sweep up the beach and care must be taken near the mouth of Wild Cattle Creek, especially on a falling tide when strong tidal currents flow seaward. Also watch out for the rocks in the centre and northern part of the beach, and for children wandering out across the wide, southern ridged sand flats. For surfers, Tannum Sands receives waves up to 1 metre during a strong south-easterly and can produce rideable beach and reef breaks, which are best at mid tide. The southern creek mouth and northern rocks are the best fishing locations.
Boyne Island and Tannum Sands are home to the Boyne Tannum Hookup, Australia's Largest Family fishing event held on the Queens Birthday long weekend. The event is held at Bray Park. This event is very popular with more than 3,000 entrants entering into it.
Kiteboarding is a rapidly growing sport in the region, with Tannum Sands becoming a nationally renowned location. The sport is promoted annually with the Coconet Classic, which was formerly the National Kiteboarding Titles, but is now an open event held during the Easter long weekend.
Located to the south of Tannum Sands and the City of Gladstone, Wild Cattle Island National Park comprises two low vegetated sand islands separated by mangroves and intertidal creeks and flats. The 580 ha park is part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and is important habitat for endangered migratory birds and nesting sea turtles.
Wild Cattle Creek separates the park from the mainland on the parks western side. At low tide the creek dries and visitors can walk 600 m across the creek to the park from Wild Cattle Creek boat ramp or the southern creek access path of Millenium Esplanade. Visitors will need to time their arrival and departure to coincide with low tides.
Visitors can enjoy a quiet camp behind the dunes, a picnic on the wide sweeping beach on the parks eastern boundary or explore the estuaries and creeks for a spot of fishing.
There are no formed walking tracks on the island. Visitors are welcome to explore the vine scrub, woodlands and foreshore but must be self sufficient and well prepared.
The area south of the Boyne River was originally known as Wild Cattle and had been a popular fishing and picnic location for the people of Boyne Island, but remained unsettled due to its inaccessibility. Closer settlement began in the late 1930s when 12 beach front lots were auctioned. The Town received its name when a group of children returned from a Sunday School picnic to the beach quite sunburnt. The comment was made "we can really tan 'um over there." One of the people present worked for the Queensland Land Department thought it would be a good name for the area and registered the name. Closer settlement began in the late 1930s when 12 beach front lots were auctioned.