We’d been talking about taking a trip to Bribie Island for some time, not to find a retirement home though, mainly to check out the natural and historical attractions including northern end of the island.
An early morning start saw us on the Bruce Highway heading north when the rush of workers starting their week was streaming southward toward the city. The coffee we made at home was just about finished by the time we passed the Burpengary speed camera and we settled in for the half hour cruise up the freeway to the exit ramp. It always seems to take longer getting across to Bribie than the distance suggests it should take, but we were soon on the long narrow timber access bridge and onto the island.
We scouted around Bongaree for source of our second coffee of the morning, but none of the options looked all that attractive and no coffee is better than bad coffee, so we kept going to Woorim on surf side of the island. We opted for an early lunch and coffee at the Mokha Café, which was passable but not worthy of a special commendation.
Now it was time for the main game and we headed to the beach access ramp. Before heading onto Bribie’s beaches it is necessary to get a vehicle access permit [see this link] at the hefty price of $52.35 per week! A day price like Cooloola would be a much better system and would encourage more visitors to the island (so would better coffee, or maybe they don’t want any tourists?). The permit system is enforced with number plate recognition cameras at both access roads to ensure no revenue is lost.
There were few vehicles about due to the gloomy weather and our choice of a week day. We aired down to 18psi all around and ventured through the cutting and onto the beach to be faced with a beautiful long stretch of empty white sand ahead of us.
Our main aim was to check out the Ocean Beach camping area at northern end of the island and while there explore the old WW2 fortifications. On the way we had a quick look at the island’s perch lakes, fresh water trapped just behind the dunes and which occasionally bursts through to the ocean. There were a few people at Mermaid Lagoon picnicking and swimming and a couple had ventured down to the surf with fishing rods in hand, we slowed down and passed with a wave before continuing along the beach.
We stopped halfway up the beach when Suzzanne noticed some dolphins just behind the breakers. We put the drone up and realised that they were doing what mammals like doing the most, so we left them to it.
We soon found the fortifications, looming as concrete monoliths at crazy angles projecting from the sand due to erosion undermining their footings.
The naval site of Fort Bribie was built at the outbreak of WWII, to provide defence support for the RAN against a feared attack by Japanese warships. The fort ended up being quite a large installation that included barracks, radar installations, munition stores and gun emplacements. There was also a mine field protecting Port Brisbane and the trigger circuit for the mines was monitored and controlled from this site.
Much has been written about the fortifications so rather than me paraphrase it I have provided a link to the official heritage register information, here.
From the fortifications we headed into the campground to have a general scout around and to use the facilities. The overcast weather on the day didn’t help to sell the campgrounds particularly well but they seemed to be nicely grassed and level, though a little too close together for our liking. It would be a good spot for those after a short stay, or fishermen wanting to be close to the action.
For a change of pace we took the inland track south, calling into each of the day use areas and the campgrounds on western side of the island; Lime Pocket, Poverty Creek and Gallagher Point. Similar to Ocean Beach, they are flat and grassy sites that are pretty closely spaced. The inland track was very soft in places, okay in the Cruiser on its own but towing through parts of it would be interesting.
We emerged at the black top and aired back up then had a snoop around the Banksia Beach canal estate before heading toward home.
Bribie Island is an easy day trip escape from Brisbane or a worthwhile 4WD camping destination for seekers of a sea frontage for swimming, fishing or just soaking it all in.