Beach 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. The beach is divided in two by low tide rock flats. The northern half (1432) runs for 800 m between the Canoe Point and Tannum Sands rock flats, with the main southern half (1433) extending for 600 m to the mouth of Wild Cattle Creek (Fig. 4.84). The surf lifesaving club is located in the reserve 200 m north of the creek mouth.The beaches are partially protected from southerly waves by Rodds Peninsula, with waves averaging only 0.5 m, while the tide range can reach 6 m. The waves and tides interact with the sand to form a 50 m wide high tide beach fronted by a 150 m wide low tide bar. South of the camping reserve the bar widens to 300 m as the tidal currents from Wild Cattle Creek maintain a series of ridged sand flats (Fig. 4.85). The surf lifesaving club is located right at the apex of the bar and shoals, resulting in a wide surf zone at high tide south of the club house.
Swimming A relatively safe beach, 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.
Surfing Tannum Sands receives waves up to 1 m during a strong south-easterly and can produce rideable beach and reef breaks, which are best at mid tide.
Fishing The southern creek mouth and northern rocks are the best locations.
General A popular beach with locals and summer holiday-makers, with a good range of facilities, including an excellent beachfront reserve.