The Brilliance Of Bribie Island

 

Archibald Meston said in 1891 “Bribie Island is the meanest piece of country in Australia” Well that may have been then, for now I’d say it is close to heaven on earth.

Bribie Island Heritage

Bribie Island Heritage

Bribie Island is based around an hour’s drive north of the centre of Brisbane and is part of the amazing Sunshine Coast.

On a recent trip to Brisbane in the gorgeous Queensland I had a car and a day free. Craving some time by the beach I considered my options. A shorter drive south would take me into Surfer’s Paradise and the Gold Coast. My one prior visit to the Gold Coast left me feeling that the place was very tacky and over commercial. It also happened to be the home to the “Schoolies” celebrations which are notorious for rowdy teenagers.

My other option was to venture north and explore the beautiful and more tame Sunshine Coast. A few years ago I spent a weekend at the divine venue of Noosa, located a fair way north up the Sunshine Coast. Memories of sun drenched beaches, calming waters and relaxed holidaymakers in a slow paced town made the choice for me.

 

Beach Near Brennan Park

Beach Near Brennan Park

On the drive up to the Sunshine Coast I began to question the logic of the name as drops of water from the heavens splashed the car windscreen. The fright was short lived though as the rain cleared by the time I crossed the now toll free bridge into the delights of the oasis known as Bridie Island.

 

Venturing right as I arrived in the Island took me towards Brennan Park and beaches with views across to Sandstone Point.

 

Pitching up across from one of many caravan parks I was able to satisfy my craving for breakfast with a pancake stake and smoothie whilst admiring an amazing waterfront view.

Well nourished and ready to explore before the midday sun threatened to scorch my pale complexion I took a tour of the area of the island known as Bongaree.

Matthew Flinders The First White Man On Bribie Island In 1799

Matthew Flinders The First White Man On Bribie Island In 1799

 

Bongaree is the name of a travelling companion of Matthew Flinders who was the first white man to land on the island in 1799. The land became a place of incarceration as convicts were shipped here even though in 1840 there were estimated to be 800 Aboriginal natives on the island.

 

In 1901 the first holidaymakers came to the island and this is when tourism began. By 1930 Bribie Island had only 50 residents yet was host to thousands of weekly tourists who came by boat from Brisbane.

 

In 1963 a bridge from the mainland to the island was completed and made it more accessible for tourists to visit. It is now a very popular spot to visit yet not quite so overcrowded with so much competition in the region. I fear that over time the popularity will grow and the novelty of my own secret little paradise will be lost to the masses.

There is a self guided walking tour around Bongaree which I took for around an hour in the morning. This helped explore the history of the island, such as the main jetty point of the past to the site of the first private electricity generator of the island.

Jetty At Brennan Park

Jetty At Brennan Park

 

The beauty of the island is not just in the amazing beach views, there is also lots of greener too. Bribie Island is the holder of the record for the most rainfall of anywhere in Australia.

Australia's Record Rainfall

Australia’s Record Rainfall

 

This means a green and beautiful place with lots of natural wildlife.

 

Picture Of A Creek

Picture Of A Creek

 

Who wouldn’t want to live in an amazing house along the tree decorated Banya Street?

 

The island recently benefited from a Seaside Museum. This proved a great place of refuge for me after my walk as the temperatures outside rose and the UV threatened the sun cream on my skin.

 

 

 

Ian Fairweather

Ian Fairweather

 

At the Seaside Museum I enjoyed a mini theatre inside an air conditioned room to watch a programme about a former resident artist of the island. Ian Fairweather was a true recluse and difficult to interact with. However his work is highly respected in art circles. Bribie Island proved a place of complexion and contemplation which helped inspire him to paint during the final 20 years of his life.

 

I must admit to find a Seaside Museum showing a program about an artist rather odd. The buildings name was however justified to some degree with displays on the local natural life around the area. There were also these rather strange bottle fish which date back to the early 20th century. Clearly this has been too long as the colour of the fish has faded.

 

Displays also included the tale of the landings at Bribie Island plus how the island became a strategically important place of defence during the World War II. In fact if you have a 4WD vehicle and buy a permit you can go to the north west of the island on a rugged drive and see some of the war time bunkers.

Tank Near Vietnam Veterans Park

Tank Near Vietnam Veterans Park

 

Venturing east from Bongaree I found within a few minutes drive what has become my favourite part of the island. (Although you could walk there too). I came across the beautiful thick golden sands of the virtually empty Red Beach. Time to reflect, absorb the sea air, admire the sea life and unwind with my kindle.

Looking North On Red Beach

Looking North On Red Beach

 

Batteries recharged and the purpose of my visit obtained I now headed towards the north east side of the island to Woorim and the beach favoured by surfers.

 

A patrolled (life guards) beach was as busy as any point of the island. As a popular spot it was easy to find refreshment and I was able to lunch here at a very reasonable cost.

The Surfers Beach

The Surfers Beach

 

Aware of how time was passing I wanted to see the harbour of this island paradise prior to heading back to my Brisbane base.

Harbourside Homes

Harbourside Homes

Pacific Harbour to the south west of the island is where I headed and soon began dreaming how I would spend a cool one million Australian dollars. A Harbour Boulevard home with pontoon would be a clear wish list item. Seriously who wouldn’t want to live in an area like this. Who cares if your boat is not the most fancy and extravagant. Just having a boat with my own private parking spot in paradise is all I ask, is it too much?

Harbour At Bribie Island

Harbour At Bribie Island

I absolutely adored the island of Bribie. I would need an entire photo album to show you the beautiful scenery of the island, not just a website.

Bribie Island Shoreline

Bribie Island Shoreline

Have you ever made a trip to Bribie Island or the Sunshine Coast? Do you prefer the Sunshine Coast or the Gold Coast? Be sure to share your experiences with me in the comments box below.

Tree At White Patch

Tree At White Patch

 

I made my trip in December of 2013 and would love to go back and see the brilliance of Bribie Island.

 

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Comments

  1. I’ve only been to the Gold Coast but this looks much more peaceful and beautiful

  2. I feel that the lack of commercialization is a large part of the appeal of any beach. The snaps look nice. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Looks like such a nice spot to visit. Great overview and writeup. I like reading about the history of places. Nice pics too. Looks beautiful and relaxing.

  4. That looks like a really nice beach drive. I haven’t been there, but it reminds me a bit of what people say the California drive is like. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Bribie island sounds very calming and certainly looks the part too!

  6. I love Bribie Island. It’s such a nice little oasis that’s so close to the city. Like you, Red Beach is one of my favourite places there since it’s so empty. I like that there’s always so much driftwood around there too — makes for nice photos.

    Having an ice cream while sitting and looking out at the Bongaree Jetty, the Pumicestone Passage, and the Glass House Mountains beyond is pretty much the perfect way to end the day.

    I’d still say that North Stradbroke Island is my favourite of the islands around Brisbane but I love visiting them all. Such a different vibe there than on the Gold Coast, which I initially hated, but after 5 years in Brisbane have learned to see the good side of. I tend to just avid Surfers Paradise and head further south to the Burleigh/Coolangatta area. It’s still more commericlal than the Sunshine Coast but much less plasticky and garish than Surfers.

    • It’s great to hear from someone who has been to Bribie Island too. Shall we keep Red Beach as our little secret? ;-)

      Thanks for the recommendation of North Stradbroke Island, I might make a day trip there the next time I go to Brisbane.

      Agree with your comments on the Gold Coast. I only went once and found Surfers Paradise and a lot of it tacky. I was on a guided day trip so I suppose my hands were tied to some degree as to what I could explore.

      • Haha yes, we should definitely keep Red Beach as our little secret! And let me know if you come back to Brisbane anytime soon. I could show you around and (provided I’m off work) even take you over to Straddy. It doesn’t matter what time of year either — it’s great in the summer when you want to beat the heat at the beach, but I love going in winter as well since you can sit up on the point and watch the whales go past. Plus it’s not often cold enough in Brisbane to say it’s not beach weather!

        And yeah, I can definitely see how being on a guided tour would make you think the worst of the Gold Coast. It takes some exploring to find the nooks and crannies that are worth spending time in!

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