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Monday, 11 August 2014

Townsville Boat Ramps - Cocoa Creek

Cocoa Creek is a small estuarine creek that empties into Cleveland Bay to the south of Townsville. It is relatively close, and provides easy access to, both Aligator and Crocodile Creeks. Please watch the video below for full details on the track condition and how to located the various turnoffs.

The creek is accessed be driving 25km south along the Bruce Highway. Take a left turn onto Cape Cleveland Road towards the AIMS facility. Not far short of AIMS is a dirt road to the left with a sign marked 'Cocoa Creek'. Its about 20mins on the dirt before the ramp is reached. There are several tracks that lead off the main dirt road, but keeping straight will get you to the ramp. The drive from Townsville to Cocoa Creek will take approximately 45mins.

The quality of the track varies greatly from freshly graded to washed out from wet season run-off. For the most part of the year the track is easily negotiated with a basic 4WD. Even a 2WD vehicle can manage the track most of the year, but clearance is sometimes an advantage. And launching a boat at this location should not be attempted with 2WD.

Cocoa Creek boat ramp is not really a ramp at all. Its very much a mud-slide into Cocoa Creek. Again, conditions for launching vary greatly. Over the years the bank has changed considerably, and different sections have become more and less useful. Currently there is a section with a reasonable gradient and some rubble for traction. But it is very muddy down low. Launching at Cocoa creek is very risky and should only be attempted with a 4wd. The smaller boats (3-4m) and experienced drivers can launch on tides as low as 1m. But I would recommend a minimum of 1.5m. Even 2m makes launching safer and easier for boats in the 4-5m range. On 3m tides larger boats can be launched with care. But most people would not subject larger boats to the torture of the track in.

There are no facilities at Cocoa Creek. This is a bush ramp and receives no maintenance or upkeep from Townsville City Council. There is enough parking at the top of the bank, but security is a real problem. Cars are frequently broken into, especially if left overnight. On weekends there are enough people around to keep things reasonably safe. If you are using the area for launching or fishing, it pays to keep an eye out for suspicious activity.

Cocoa Creek is positioned to give great access to Crocodile and Alligator Creeks. The ramp is less than 5min run from the mouth, and Crocodile creek is only another 5mins across the flats. Cape Cleveland provides great protection from SE winds, and small boats can make a safe run to the Weedbeds or the Cape with plenty of protection.

However, the channel at the mouth of Cocoa Creek is very narrow, difficult to negotiate and runs a long unpredictable path. The flats are exposed on low tide, and getting stuck here is a real possibility! The channel should be marked on a GPS during high tide to make navigation easier. The mouth can be traversed on 1m of tide or better, if you know where the channel is! In the photo below this boat is stuck on the flats almost 2km from the mouth of Cocoa Creek.