You can do this via a credit (or Debit) Card or PayPal on our online booking system. Alternatively, you can give us a call and pay over the phone. Conditions and time frames for payments are applicable and can be found in our Terms & Conditions.
If you don’t have a Credit or Debit card, we can provide you our account details and you can deposit the funds directly into our account. We will provide you with a reference number to ensure we are able to match the payment with your booking. These funds are required a minimum of 14 days prior to the departure date. This because of the time it can take to clear funds, the delay between booking and payment (which unfortunately can lead to non-payment) and our need to be able to be confident we have the numbers of passengers required for the charter.
The balance of your account is payable prior to boarding for individuals or small groups of up to a maximum of 3 people. This balance can be paid in cash, credit card or Eftpos.
Groups of 4 or more MUST pay the balance 7, 14 or 21 days before the actual departure date. The time frames depend on the size of the group and are clearly outlined in our Terms & Conditions. The reasons for the different time frames are purely to allow us enough time to find other passengers to replace your spots on the vessel. The more people that need to be replaced the longer time is required to cover that.
HOW WILL I KNOW WE ARE ACTUALLY GOING FISHING?
All charters are subject to 2 things. Weather Conditions & Passenger Numbers.
WEATHER: Obviously nobody wants to head out deep-sea fishing if the weather conditions are not suitable. We would all love to be able to predict the weather well in advance, but in reality that we have to wait until 12 hours before departure to be anywhere near confident of the forecasts (and even then on the odd occasion the BOM still gets it wrong!). Please note though that rain is not a reason for cancellation. There are 2 key factors we need to consider. Wind and swell. Depending on how these 2 factors are impacting will determine if we are able to head out or not.
PASSENGER NUMBERS: As you would understand, we do need a certain number of passengers to make it viable for us to head out on a given day. Normally we require 8 paying passengers. We do at times head out with slightly less, but this is dependent on the conditions, trip type and other cost factors.
In the event of your charter being cancelled prior to departure, you can either choose to reschedule to a future date, exchange the charter for a gift voucher (valid for 6 months), or request the amount paid to be refunded should either of the other 2 options not be suitable/possible.
HOW WILL I KNOW MY BOOKING IS CONFIRMED?
We have a very strict procedure that is followed with every booking, regardless of how it is generated – By agent, online, phone or in person.
1. We create a customer record for each actual booking (not for enquiries). This will have your contact details including email address and contact phone number, as well as method of payment etc. noted on it.
2. You will always receive a confirmation email from us which will give you the full details of the trip you have booked including departure time, date, directions, amounts paid / due and other relevant information relating to your charter. If you don’t receive an email from us, check your junk folder.
3. We will always contact you the evening (usually between 5PM and 7PM) prior to the trip to advise that the charter is indeed proceeding, or that the trip needs to be rescheduled. This is why we always request a contact phone number (ideally a mobile) to ensure we can indeed contact you. If we cannot reach you at that time we will leave a voice message or send an SMS to the mobile phone number you have provided requesting you call us back.
I’M ARRANGING A GROUP BOOKING. IS IT OK FOR EVERYONE TO PAY INDIVIDUALLY ON THE DAY?
Absolutely not. A group booking requires a single contact person to takes full responsibility of that booking. That includes all financial aspects as clearly outlined in our Terms & Conditions under Group Booking Specific terms and conditions.
We do not allow groups to pay individually or outside of our group terms and conditions to avoid possible negative impacts on the viability of the charter in question and the flow-on effect this could have on other passengers.
We do understand that this places a large amount of responsibility on the person taking on such a role. To help out the group organiser, we offer a discount on our private charters where you get 12 people for the price of 11. You work it out how you want, but maybe the group organiser is free as a thank you for sorting out everyone else’s payment beforehand.
If your group insists on paying individually the booking WILL NOT be considered a group booking, and each person would be considered a separate individual. As such we do not hold spaces for individuals and this may in turn mean that those slow to contact us might find the charter has received other bookings which make their booking impossible.
I’VE NEVER BEEN FISHING BEFORE, IS THAT A PROBLEM?
Absolutely not. Our crew are more than happy and able to give you all the help and hints you need to achieve an excellent fishing technique, and hopefully bring in the big one! Our skipper and deckhands might even hand you a rod that they have hooked a big fish on themselves! First timers are made to feel just as welcome as regulars. We will even bait your hook and remove your fish if that is in the yuk realm for you!
WILL YOU GUARANTEE I’LL CATCH A FISH?
Unfortunately, we cannot make any such guarantee. Although it is not common, for anyone, to not catch any fish at all, it can happen. We will do everything we possibly can to give you the best possible chance to catch fish, but in the end fishing is not only an often fickle endeavour, but also relies much on the person doing the fishing itself. It is our job to take you out to, and to put you “over the fish”. We do so in comfort, safety and a fun filled enjoyable atmosphere. From there the remainder is up to you to hook the fish and ensure you land it. Our crew will often hook fish and hand over the rod to the less “fish fortunate” people onboard. Even then it is not totally uncommon for the fish to escape before being hauled aboard. There is definitely a considerable level of skill and experience in fishing that is directly related to fishing success.
Please understand, you are booking a charter to head out to fishing locations and use the vessel and fishing tackle to ATTEMPT to catch fish. You are NOT booking a charter to be supplied with fish. As such it should be clear NO REFUNDS of any form are applicable should you not be successful in catching any fish. There is definitely a large amount of skill involved in fishing. We recommend you simply try again as practice makes perfect.
CAN I KEEP THE FISH I CATCH AND WILL YOU FILLET THEM FOR ME?
Yes, and No. As long as the fish is of legal size and within the normal “bag limits” set by the regulators (and these are different depending on whether we are in NSW or QLD waters), you can choose to either keep or share your fish. We will tag each fish accordingly. Of course if you prefer you can release your fish.
All fish that are kept are “Gutted & gilled” by our crew and placed on ice. We also bag your fish at the end of the day for you to take home to cook and eat.
We do not fillet fish as it is illegal to fillet on the water and we don’t often have time once we get back to the marina. Any fish caught on our trolling or other specialty rigs are considered “Shared fish” and these will be cut up or filleted by the crew when back at the dock to enable sharing between all passengers.
WHAT IS ACTUALLY INCLUDED IN A CHARTER?
When you book a charter with Downunder Charters, we supply all bait, quality fishing rods and reels, all tackle, bottled water, tea and coffee, bikkies and full assistance from our expert crew. You can of course BYO alcohol (no glass and sensible quantities please) and food on any trip, or we carry a great range of soft drinks, snacks (including plenty of gluten free) and sweet treats for you to purchase at a small additional charge.
WHAT SORT OF FISHING GEAR DO YOU SUPPLY ON BOARD?
All our fishing equipment is high quality, well maintained and ready for you to use. Our rods and reels are predominately Shimano and Alvey, with options of either side casters or spinners. We also provide high quality line, terminal tackle, lures and bait, both thawed and fresh caught.
CAN I BRING MY OWN FISHING ROD AND REEL ON BOARD?
By all means! As much as we prefer you to use our gear you can bring your own. However, if the master and/ or crew find that the difference in your gear to ours is creating issues on the day they will ask you to stop using your gear and switch to ours to ensure everyone has an enjoyable day. Specialty gear such as snapper winches etc are permitted but use will again be at the sole discretion of the skipper on the day. After all, it’s about everyone onboard enjoying themselves.
DO YOU PROVIDE DRINKS?
Yes, we provide bottled water and tea and coffee free. We also have a wide variety of soft drink available to purchase. As we are not licensed you can BYO alcohol. Our only request in that any such drinks be in the form of cans or plastic bottles to avoid possible glass breakage and minimise the weight of the rubbish created. If you are bringing alcoholic drinks (or food for that matter) we also highly recommend you bring them in an esky the smallest size possible that they will fit in. Bringing additional or large eskies simply takes up valuable deck space which is much better left for passengers, and which in turn allows everyone to be able to fish in comfort.
HOW FAR OUT TO SEA DO YOU GO?
Up to 30 nautical miles but this does depend on the type of charter you are booked on. 6 Hour Charters rarely go more than 10 nautical miles from shore, while the 8 Hour Charter seldom passes the 20 Nautical Mile area. It depends on the weather, the time of year and what’s actually happening on the day of your charter. If you would like to get right out there, consider getting a group together and hiring the whole boat for a full day charter.
WHAT IF I NEED TO USE THE TOILET?
Downunder has a marine toilet on board. This is a proper flushing toilet housed in its own room with running water in the hand basin. Any waste is stored in a tank in the hull and pumped out once we are back at the marina, ensuring we comply with the NSW regulations and don’t pollute the environment. Having said that we would ask that if you feel the need for a number 2 when you arrive, you use the toilets at the marina prior to boarding.
WHY DO YOU SAY THAT THE LONGER TRIPS ARE BETTER FOR FISHING?
As a very wise man once said, if you don’t have your line in the water you can’t catch fish!
The longer you are out on the water the more chance you have of catching fish. But more importantly, fish tend to feed mainly just once a day. There are many theories about how to determine when that is. Some people will say it depends on the tides, others say the wind, some the intensity of light, and others the temperature, swell, moon, etc. All we can say for certain is that the more of the day you cover out there the higher the likelihood is that you will be fishing when the fish start eating.
Once you get past 7 Nautical Miles and up to 15 Nautical Miles, the reef structures become larger and are able to offer protection to much larger (and more) fish. This is where our 6 hour charters head out to. Unfortunately, this is also where the vast majority of the private fishing boats are able to get to for their fishing. As such although you have a lot more fish and better size fish, you also have a massive amount of competition to deal with.
25 Nautical Miles and more is where we head to on our 8 hour and private charters. This is too far for most of the smaller recreational fleet, and the reef structure is approximately 4 times the size of the closer in areas. Most of this area sits very close to the edge of the Australian continental shelf. Very large fish will come from the much deeper waters past that edge to feed, and the reef system itself supports a massive variety of fish. There are other lesser known fishing spots here as well that we will visit from time to time. The size of the area, allows us to ensure we do not frequent the same area again and again, ensuring fish stocks are able to replenish themselves easily.
It simply takes time to find a good spot, regardless of the number of locations we have marked, that will fish well on a given day. Shorter trips often just do not allow for enough time to find this.
WHY IS IT BETTER TO FISH IN NSW NOT QLD?
NSW authorities have been very proactive in limiting the number of fishing licenses issued throughout the state. They have also bought back many licenses after charter boat operators have decided not to operate any longer. What this means for you is there is less operators out there trying to catch fish. In QLD waters lots of operators are all trying to catch a limited number of fish. In NSW, less operators = more fish per person, and the fisheries don’t get over fished as quickly.
WHERE DO WE BOARD?
Downunder Charters depart from the Tweed Marina; lot 2 River Terrace, Tweed Heads.
To get there if coming from the north, take the Tweed Heads/ Coolangatta exit from the Bruce Highway (M1), keep going straight across the Gold Coast Highway and follow the signs for Kennedy Dr. At the roundabout stay on Kennedy Dr by turning left. Go straight through the traffic signals, over the creek, past the park land on your right and take the exit for Tweed Heads by turning to your left. (Don’t go under the bridge!). You are now on Terranora Terrace. Go straight through the traffic signals and then follow Terranora Terrace by turning right opposite the big Kia/ Holden yard. Follow Terranora Terrace around past the trawler fleet until it becomes River Terrace. Go past the Marine Rescue Station and the first pier and enter the carpark on your right. Walk down the pier and you will see “Downunder” on your right about half way down.
To get there if coming from the south, take the Tweed Heads exit from the Bruce Highway (M1) onto Darlington Dr. Continue under the M1 and merge right onto Minjungbal Drive. Continue along Minjungbal Drive and across the Tweed River. Go straight across the bridge (do not veer left). You are now on Terranora Terrace. Go straight through the traffic signals and then follow Terranora Terrace by turning right opposite the big Kia/ Holden yard. Follow Terranora Terrace around past the trawler fleet until it becomes River Terrace. Go past the Marine Rescue Station and the first pier and enter the carpark on your right. Walk down the pier and you will see “Downunder” on your right about half way down.
WHAT ABOUT PARKING?
There is plenty of free parking in the Marina Carpark or on River Terrace.
DO WE HEAD OUT IN BAD WEATHER?
We recommend that you book your trip as early as possible in your holidays to the Gold Coast/ Tweed Heads. This so that we can reschedule in case of unsafe weather, (i.e. strong wind and/ or high seas). We don’t cancel or reschedule for rain. We recommend you bring a raincoat. Even though the deck is fully covered the sides are open to enable fishing. We receive and follow ongoing and numerous weather reports daily.
We will always contact you the evening (usually between 4PM and 7PM) prior to the trip to advise that the charter is indeed proceeding, or that the trip needs to be rescheduled. This is why we always request a contact phone number (ideally a mobile) to ensure we can indeed contact you.
Of course if unexpected weather hits during the charter it is completely out of our control. Usually with the size and style of our vessel we can ride these conditions out without too much disruption to the trip. However, should the conditions be deemed dangerous by the master, he will cut the charter short and return to the marina to ensure the safety of passengers and vessel. In such rare circumstances we will look at what has happened, how long the vessel was actually out at sea, the costs incurred etc to then determine if and what we can do to assist passengers that have had the misfortune of being aboard during such a trip. Because we monitor the weather so closely this is a rare occurrence indeed, but marine conditions are by their very nature at times unpredictable at best, even by the experts. This is a risk inherent with all outdoor activities.
WHAT ARE THE MINIMUM PASSENGER NUMBERS REQUIRED?
On average we require a minimum of 8 paying customers to head out. We can of course also build the group. As such single bookings as well as twos, threes etc. are no problem. Exact numbers for each length of trip are as follows:
6Hr – 8 passengers 8Hr – 8 Passengers
WHAT SPECIES WILL WE BE TARGETING?
It depends on the time of year, but our most common targets include:
Snapper, Cobia, Tuna, Mackerel, Kingfish, Sailfish, Dolphin fish (Mahi-Mahi), Tusk fish, Parrot fish, Perch, Wahoo, Jew, and many more.
WHAT FISHING METHODS DO YOU USE?
We use various fishing methods including bottom rigs, float lines, live baiting, trolling, spinning, jigging and more.
DO I NEED TO PURCHASE A NSW FISHING LICENSE?
No. Downunder Charters has already purchased a special license that allows all our passengers to fish in NSW waters for free. No license is required to fish in QLD waters.
ARE YOU THE FASTEST BOAT IN TWEED HEADS?
Definitely not. Downunder is 11000 kg displacement, roughly 10m long and 4.5m wide. What this means is that she is slower than the planning boats (like a speedboat) but that your ride is smoother and she is more stable in the water giving you a safer trip with less chance of experiencing sea sickness from the rocking motion experienced in smaller and less stable vessels.
By travelling at a cruising speed of around 8 knots we are also able to put out trolling lines as soon as we hit the ocean, giving you more time with a line in the water and more chance of catching a fish.
We think that the smoother safer ride and the ability to troll out and back is worth the extra few minutes to reach our destination. Planing is fun for a bit but being bounced off every wave and constantly drenched in spray gets annoying after a while!