Bribie Island, Queensland, Australia

Bribie Island has something for everyone – white sandy beaches, protected rainforest, convenient towns, and accessibility by road from the mainland.

34km long and 8km wide, it is home to about 15,000 residents.  The island offers a 30km white sandy beach on its eastern side. The northern three-quarters of the island is an undeveloped and protected Recreation Area (a national park), whereas the southern end – where the bridge is located – is mostly developed. Over 80% of the population lives on the island’s western shore.

Bribie Island is a large sand island located in the northern part of Moreton Bay, 45km north of Brisbane, and separated from the coast by the narrow Pumicestone Passage channel. The island one of just two Queensland islands connected to the mainland (via Bribie Bridge), making the island easily accessible by car.

History

The island’s name might derive from “Boorabee,” an aboriginal expression that refers to a koala.  An estimated 600 Aborigines lived on the island at the time of Flinders’ expedition in the late 1800s.

Bribie Island has a rich history. The island was used by the army and navy during World War II to protect the entrance to Brisbane. Fort Bribie still stands today, a historical landmark on the Queensland heritage register. The Fort still houses the original WWII bunkers and gun emplacements, positioned along the ocean beachfront to defend Brisbane.

Natural environment

Three-quarters of the island is the Bribie Island National Park or Recreation Area (about 55 square kilometers), and the tidal wetlands and waters around the island are protected by the Moreton Bay Marine Park.

The land: The area comprises sand dunes, white sandy beaches, tidal flats and wetlands, heaths, forests, woodlands, and freshwater creeks and lagoons.  Shorebirds feed and roost on the island.

The sea: Pumicestone Passage offers a breeding ground for fish, crabs, and prawns, and a seagrass feeding ground for dugong; diverse habits around Bribie vary from mangroves to mudflats to saltmarshes to claypan communities.

The flora and fauna: About 80% of the island is forested.

The wildlife:  Various animals – such as emus, wallabies, snakes, green tree frogs, and dingos – can be seen on the island; over 350 bird species live along the coastline in the bushland; dugongs, turtles, and dolphins live in the surrounding water.

Activities (Nature and Wildlife Interest)

Bush walking and birdwatching is a favourite activity on the island, often in the Pumicestone National Park overlooking the Pumicestone Passage Marine Park. Another favourite is the Bicentennial bushwalks (starting from Sunderland Drive) – which meander through diverse plant and bird communities.

For birdwatchers, check out the bird hide at Buckleys Hole Conservation Park (take the stairs at the end of The Boulevard, Bongaree), which has recorded close to 200 different species.

Those seeking fishing opportunities have plenty of choices.  Flathead, bream, whiting, and tailor are often fished around Bribie Island, and sand and mud crabs are often caught in the summer months. Pumicestone Passage is a breeding ground for many fish, crabs, and prawns; during the winter, yellowfin bream spawn between Bells Creek and Caloundra Bar.

Other activities include:

Water activities: kayaking, parasailing, surfing, boat rentals, fishing, dolphin watching

Land activities: golfing, 4WD exploring, bushwalking and birdwatching, driving (4WD vehicle essential for the recreation area; vehicle permit required to drive in the national park), camping, cycling

Accommodation

Bribie Island offers several accommodation options:

  • On The Bay Resort: 28 two- and three-bedroom luxury apartments on four levels, with balconies overlooking the Bay and Pumicestone Passage. Facilities include 10m lap pool, BBQ, outdoor dining area, undercover parking, elevator.
  • On The Beach Resort: located beside Bribie Island’s main Woorim surf beach; accommodation includes two bedroom air-conditioned apartments with ensuite and ocean views, as well as luxury two and three bedroom beachfront ensuite villas, as well as two penthouses with their own private spas.
  • The Gums Anchorage: 20 fully self-contained apartments with water views overlooking Pumicestone Passage at Sylvan Beach, with options for both holiday and permanent renting; apartments are 2- to 3-bedroom units with ensuites and bathrooms, private balcony or terrace, well-equipped kitchen, lock up garage and parking for boats. Complex facilities include tennis court, putting green, salt water lagoon pool and sauna.
  • Sylvan Beach Resort: located across the road from Pumicestone Passage, with 2- or 3-bedroom self-contained air-conditioned apartments with balcony views over the Passage.

Camping

Camping areas dot the island, and are located in areas that were traditional used by the indigenous tribes (permits required):

  • Poverty Creek (12 campsites as well as an open camping ground which holds 80)
  • Gallagher’s Point (6 campsites, no toilets or facilities, only accessible by 4WD)
  • Mission Point (12 campsites, only accessible by boat)
  • Lime Pocket (6 campsite, only accessible by boat)
  • Ocean Beach (63 campsites)

Getting There

The island is about an hour away from Brisbane by car (65km), or 45 minutes  from Brisbane Airport.

The island is 70km south of Caloundra, via the Bruce Highway,

The island is linked to the mainland by road bridge.



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