Covid-19 Update

The NT borders are now open and people have started trickling into the Bay already.

On arriving at King Ash Bay please be advised that you MUST check into the office. This means EVERYONE. Even if you see a number of cars lined up it is important that you stop and advise the girls you are here, they will be doing their very best to make the process of checking in as quick and painless as possible. 

It is important we know the number of people on site to make decisions like increasing trading hours in the bar and grill.

The office will be open daily from 10am to 5pm until further advised. If you arrive outside of these times please still stop and complete the required form before entering the park.

We ask for your patience and understanding during these times. Looking forward to seeing you all soon.

PLEASE NOTE: All persons entering NT from a declared “hotspot” (including anyone who has travelled through a declared hotspot) will have to do up to 14 days mandatory supervised quarantine at a designated facility at your own cost of $2500 per person. Please visit the NT Government website for more details on this https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/stay-safe/quarantine/hotspots-covid-19

If you are unsure please contact the NT Travel hotline on 1800 518 189 8am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday as information can change daily.

To all Members and Guests, please be advised that Batten Point is closed for the remainder of 2020. This is both for camping and fishing off the bank.

We ask you to please respect the request of the traditional owners.


What’s Happening

CURRENT HOURS

CARETAKERS OFFICE

7 DAYS

10AM to 5PM

GROPER’S GRILL

THURSDAY, FRIDAY, SATURDAY & SUNDAY

6 – 8 PM

GROPER’S BAR

THURSDAY, FRIDAY, SATURDAY & SUNDAY

5.30 PM

Everyone entering the bar & grill will be required to sign in and wash hands prior to entering and must adhere to social distancing

PREPARING FOR YOUR TRIP TO KING ASH BAY

At King Ash Bay we are very remote. We are 700km from the nearest traffic lights and 1,000km from the nearest shopping centre. With that being said, we are very well setup here. Many first time visitors are amazed at what we have to offer. This page was made to help give travellers a little bit more information about planning their trip.

Travelling here:

There are many ways to get to King Ash Bay Fishing Club. The way you decide to travel here will depend on many factors including how much time you have, your budget and the time of year.

Drive: Most people drive to King Ash Bay from all over Australia. You can take bitumen roads the entire way except for the last 21km. You will need to plan your trip and make sure you carry enough fuel, because there are some stretches of road that are several hundred kilometres between fuel stations.

You have a couple of options for driving to King Ash Bay.

From the Stuart Highway you can either head East from Three Ways just North of Tennant Creek, then North at Barkly Homestead to Cape Crawford or from Highway Inn at Daly Waters on the Carpentaria Highway towards Borroloola.                                                                                                                     If you want to drive on bitumen the whole way from Queensland you will cross the QLD – NT border just outside of Camooweal on the Barkly Highway heading West. At Barkly Homestead you will turn right onto the Tablelands Highway heading North. Even though the Tablelands and Carpentaria are called highways, they are in parts only single lane and you will have to pull over for trucks and road trains, as well as slowing down for cattle. You will arrive at the Heartbreak Hotel at Cape Crawford. From there you will head towards Borroloola, past the McArthur River Mine and then follow the signs to King Ash Bay. If you get to Bing Bong, you have gone too far.

In the middle of the dry season, the other popular way to get to King Ash Bay from Qld is via the Savannah Way. I guess you could call this the “scenic route”. It takes you along the Gulf or Carpentaria when heading here from Queensland. A lot of tourists come through the Savannah Way. It includes some creek crossings, a lot of dirt road driving and does get heavily corrugated. If you are traveling along the Savannah Way, then a stop over at King Ash Bay is essential.

Fly then Drive: Fly any of the major airlines into Darwin. From there, hire a car or a 4WD or camper and drive it to King Ash Bay. Depending on where you are travelling from, this can save you a couple of days travel at each side of your journey. It is a big drive to get from Darwin to King Ash Bay in one day, but people do it. We would recommend stopping overnight somewhere in between. Katherine, Daly Waters or Cape Crawford are all options.

Fly then Fly: The quickest way to get here, but also probably the most expensive. Fly to Darwin, then fly to the McArthur River Mine, then get picked up from there (Approx 1 hour drive from King Ash Bay). One of the airlines flying into the McArthur River Mine is AirNorth. There is also an airstrip at Borroloola and a dirt strip at King Ash Bay, but you would have to either charter a plane or pilot your own plane to use either of these air strips. Borroloola airstrip has a self service fuel facility.

“The Road”:

Whenever we refer to “the road” on this website or on our Facebook Page, we are referring to the 21km dirt road from the bitumen to King Ash Bay Fishing Club. During the wet season the road goes almost completely under water and very muddy and boggy. When the road is like that you would only use it with a very capable 4WD and only if 100% necessary. During the dry season the road is usable by all vehicles including 2WD sedans. It does get corrugated, but you just need to drive to the conditions. We regularly have road condition updates on our Facebook Page.

The Weather:

It’s going to be hot. All year round we experience warm to hot weather. During Winter the days are almost perfect, and not too humid. It is during Winter that King Ash Bay is at it’s busiest. Droves of Grey Nomads come up from down south to enjoy the warmer weather. Once the weather starts to get really hot and humid again in the lead up to the wet season, they all head back home.

What to Bring With You:

A lot of first-timers to King Ash Bay bring mountains of food and fuel with them. We have a privately owned Petrol Station here at King Ash Bay which includes a workshop and a very well stocked mini-mart/supermarket. The mini-mart has all of your essentials like fresh fruit & veg, meat, dry goods and even fishing gear and souvenirs. Another big surprise to our first-time visitors is the clubs Bar and Grill. The Bar and Grill are both open 7 nights a week during the dry season with reasonably priced drinks and meals.

FISHING AT KING ASH BAY

With a two lane boat ramp, hundreds of kms of sheltered, mangrove lined rivers and creeks and easy access to the Sir Edward Pellew Islands and surrounding waters in the Gulf of Carpentaria, the range of fishing opportunities is enormous.

The famous Barramundi is perhaps the most sought after fish in the area, and these are available in large numbers.  The ‘build up’ period to the wet season (September to December) and the ‘run off’ towards the end of and after the wet season (March to May) are the best times for Barra fishing, but they can be caught all year round, with some anglers preferring fishing for Barra during the cooler dry season months.

Charlotte proves catching Barra is child’s play

Apart from Barra, there is a wide range of terrific sport and table fish available in the area.  Such a variety in fact that some anglers bypass Barra altogether and target other species.  In the estuaries popular target species include Mangrove Jack, Golden Snapper (Fingermark), Black Jew, Threadfin and Blue Salmon, Javelin fish (Grunter),Queenfish  and many more.  Around the islands and reefs, these same species can be caught in addition to Coral Trout, Nannygai, Mackerel, Emperor (various types) and many more.

Of course, the famous Mud Crab is also available in large numbers, so bring your pots with you.

Make sure you are familiar with current NT boat safety and fishing regulations by visiting https://nt.gov.au/marine

The Club supports and promotes sustainable fishing practices and care for the environment.  We want to preserve our pristine river system and fish stocks so future generations can enjoy them as we do.

We encourage the careful release of large (over 85cm) Barramundi as these are the breeding stock essential for future fishing.

As with most delta areas, there are many areas of mud flats along the coastal areas outside the river system.  If you are caught in one of these areas on a run out tide, you will not be the first.  Fortunately, as sure as night following day, a high tide follows a low one.

A worthwhile skill to have is throwing a cast net.The most successful baits to use in the river system are fresh caught local fish (Mullet and Herring) and prawn baits.  Don’t worry if you have not yet learned this skill.  There are many ways to throw a net and many people happy to share their way with you.

Fishing the Crooked Creek near King Ash Bay – Video on YouTube

Fishing the Pellew Islands – Video on YouTube

Fishing the Carrington Channel near King Ash Bay – Video on YouTube

With the support of the McArthur River Mine Community Benefits Trust, we are undertaking an extensive Barramundi Monitoring Project to establish baseline data about Barramundi in our river system.  Our long term aim is to establish a Barramundi breeding and re-stocking facility at the club to support and enhance stocks.  The Monitoring Project will provide essential research information in support of this objective.  We encourage members and visitors to help with this research by providing trip reports and by joining the Barramundi tagging effort.

     

>External article of a beginners guide to Fishing the McArthur River System with a map.

> External link to NT Fishing Adventures, who have loads of videos about Fishing around King Ash Bay.

Club Membership

Interested in becoming a member of King Ash Bay Fishing Club?

Unlike many other clubs, we do not actively seek new members and approval of new applications is not automatic.

We accept applications for new membership and approve new members who meet club membership requirements.  In short, we prefer new members who have interests that align with the club – good character, interested in sustainable responsible fishing, care of our environment, living in harmony with others and an interest in helping to maintain and improve the club and its facilities.

Application Process

Application forms are available from the club office.  The application must be signed by two current members who have known the applicant for at least 12 months and attest to their good character.

All applications are considered at a club committee Meeting.  At least one (and preferably more) committee members must know the applicant and speak for their acceptance.

If membership is approved by the committee, the following fees are payable before membership is confirmed:

Membership Application Fee $300

Annual Membership Fee $35 which is payable each year by 1 April for membership to remain current.

Because of the above process, it is most common for applications for membership to be submitted on the second or subsequent visit to King Ash Bay.

Email Subscription Options

Subscribe to receive Committee Meeting Minutes via email.

* indicates required




 

 

Borroloola Region

While fishing is the main reason people come to King Ash Bay, the region has much more to offer.

 

Considered a lawless frontier town when first gazetted in 1885, Borroloola is now the commercial centre of the region and the ‘seat’ for the Roper Gulf Shire.  The old police station was built in 1886.  It remains in excellent condition and is listed on the National Estate under control of the National Trust.  The building now houses a museum displaying the history of policing and other historical aspects of the region.

Short Video of the McArthur River Crossing at Borroloola.

Some information on the museum is available here:
https://sites.google.com/site/ntpmhsociety/our-rich-history/places/borroloola—historical

The aboriginal people of the region belong to four main tribal groups.   The Yanyuwa and Marra are referred to as ‘saltwater people’ and are associated with the Sir Edward Pellew Islands and the lower reaches of the McArthur and Limmen Rivers. The Gundanji and Garrawa people are known as ‘mainland or freshwater people’ and are associated with land to the south and east of the present township of Borroloola.  Gundanji lands include the site of the McArthur River Mine. Garrawa lands are near the Queensland border near Wollogorang Station and the Robinson River.

Borroloola draws it’s name from the aboriginal name of a nearby lagoon – Burrulula.

In recent years the McArthur River Mine, a zinc – lead mine owned by Xstrata Zinc has bought additional prosperity and employment to the area.

 

Carabirini Conservation Reserve

Caranbirini is located 46km south of Borroloola on the western edge of the Bukulara Range, just off the Carpentaria Highway (entrance is signposted on the Highway).  It incorporates sandstone escarpments, a semi-permanent waterhole with surrounding riverine vegetation and areas of open woodland. The waterhole is surrounded by 25 metre high sandstone spires known as a ‘Lost City’. There are short walks that allow you to explore the area.  Carabirini is easily accessible and is well worth a visit.

 

Waralungku Arts 

Waralungku Arts is an Aboriginal owned and controlled arts centre located in Borroloola. It is an enterprise of Mabunji Aboriginal Resource Association Incorporated (Mabunji).  Many of the artists have exhibited all over Australia in Darwin, Cairns, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne. In 2011 work from the centre was exhibited in London.  For more information, see their web site.
http://www.waralungku.com

Barranyi (North Island) National Park.

Part of the Sir Edward Pellew group of islands, Barranyi (North Island) is the traditional home of the Yanyuwa Aboriginal people.  The Park is Aboriginal freehold land and has been leased to the Northern Territory Government for management as a National Park.  Due to the isolation and lack of feral predators the Park is an important refuge for fauna. The island’s beaches provide an important nesting site for four species of marine turtle as well as a resting point for many species of migratory bird.
Camping – is available at Paradise Bay and Mud Bay.  Facilities are limited –

For further information, visit the NT Government website
http://www.nretas.nt.gov.au/national-parks-and-reserves/parks/find/barranyi

 

Poppy’s Pools

These thermal pools are situated 70 kilometers from Cape Crawford on Bauhinia Downs Station, traditional land of the Gundanji people.  The hot spring water rises under pressure from a large aquifer system 5-7 km’s deep in the earths crust. It emerges to the surface through permeable faulted sandstone rock of the Roper Group, where it cools as it moves downstream and mixes with the water from the cool spring.

Access to the pools is by helicopter from Cape Crawford or by road.  A permit is required and fees apply.

Wildlife and Flora

The McArthur Region is a tough environment for flora and fauna.  A long dry season, with long days of searing sun, cool nights and almost no moisture is followed by the hot, humid rainy and sometimes cyclonic wet season.  The area’s native plants and animals are well adapted to cope with this environment.

There is a large variety of bird life, but a keen eye is needed to spot and appreciate some of the smaller breeds as they often don’t travel far from the cover of long grass and thick bushes.  Early morning and evening is feeding time and the best opportunity to spot some of the more skittish breeds.

The following pictures are just a small sample of the wildlife and flora of the region.

 

What a sight!  The enormous and beautiful Sea Eagle swoops down near your boat to catch a fresh lunch.  Sea Eagles are a common sight in the area.

 

      

Not wishing to be outdone, the Whistling Kite puts on it’s own show.

      

Unfortunately swimming in the river is not recommended.  We live in harmony with the crocodiles by leaving the swimming to them.

      

The Brolga is one of two types of Crane found in Australia, while the Jabiru is Australia’s only member of the Stork family.  Both of these beautiful birds are found in abundance in the McArthur River area.

            

Naturally, snakes are also fairly common in our area.  Like most wildlife if they are left alone, they go about their business and let us go about ours.  The python on the left managed to get into a chook shed at one of the KAB residences. Having swallowed a chook, it could not escape.  The snake was released unharmed.  Unfortunately the chook did not survive the ordeal.  The tree snake on the right got caught in a cast net left out to dry.  He also was released unharmed.

 

 

The Groper is responsible for many a ‘one that got away’ fishing tale.

A group of very large Groper regularly spend time in the shallows near our un-powered camp area.  With care, it is sometimes possible to feed these magnificent  sea monsters by hand.

 

 

 

 

 

      

The Australian Owlet -Nightjar (left) is one of a number of owls active at night.  Along with the Double – barred finch, the Crimson Finch (right) are the most common of the finches found in our area.  These ones are enjoying a cool bath on a hot day.