Bribie Island, Qld

By: Michael Borg, Photography by: Ellen Dewar, Matt Fehlberg, Nathan Jacobs


Sandy shores, great fishing and more wildlife than you can poke a stick at; Bribie Island set the scene for our offroad action.

Camping out for a week on an island would have to be the ultimate experience for almost any camper or 4WDer, especially if you’ve got adventure in your heart and camping in your soul. And the sunny state of Queensland is home to some of the best islands in the country. The climate is dead-set sensational, the water is usually the perfect temperature for a quick dip and, really, what else do you need?

Bribie is not your typical island escape. You don’t have to spend a fortune on barge fees to get your rig over to it and it’s not all that remote. In fact, you could probably get a pizza delivered directly to your campsite if you wanted; if the delivery bloke owned a 4WD and, on Bribie, chances are he probably does!

ISLAND LIFE

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This is an easily-accessible, user-friendly type of place. You can get to Bribie Island by simply crossing the main bridge about an hour north of Brisbane and, once you’re over there, you’ll find it’s got shops, schools and takeaway joints just like any other town.

But with more than three quarters of Bribie Island being declared national park, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s also the perfect place for a sandy adventure with your family or your mates. All you’ve got to do is lock in the hubs, drop down your tyres and get ready to tackle an awesome variety a coastal and inland tracks and campsites.

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When it comes to choosing your Bribie adventure, it really depends on what you’ve got in mind. If going for a nice relaxing paddle sounds like a good way to blow off some steam, you’ll find several freshwater lagoons, with access to most being straight off the beach. They’re pretty shallow, too, which makes them ideal for the kids to swim. And, trust me, while the kids are swimming, you’ll be floating on cloud nine with a relaxing breeze and the smell of barbecue in the air.

When it comes to camping, you’ve just got to spend a night or two at Gallagher Point. It’s a low-key bush campsite overlooking Pumicestone Passage and is located about 2km north of White Patch, which is on the western side of the Island. You’ll need to drop your tyre pressures down, engage 4WD and hit the sandy inlet track to get there. Keep your wits about you, too, as the track is pretty soft at times. There’s a good chance you’ll see kangaroos and goannas on the sides of the track, and keep a close eye out for the occasional bush turkey.

BEACH DRIVING

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As you explore the island, you’ll find the terrain is pretty typical for beach driving. The beaches’ entry/exit points can get very soft at times, so you’ll need a bit of momentum and nice low tyre pressures to make life easier on your 4WD. The sand driving is an experience in itself but, if you’re lucky enough, you might even spot a pod of dolphins, which are regularly seen jumping close to the shore as you drive along. And from July to October, humpback whales move through the deeper waters between Moreton and Bribie Island.

Another interesting attraction to explore is Fort Bribie, in north Bribie. It is one of three groups of WWII fortification remains on the eastern shore which also include Skirmish Point Battery on the north of Woorim at South Bribie Island, and the Royal Australian Navy Station No.4 at the north end of Woorim.

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The forts were a major defence installation constructed at the outburst of WWII from 1939-1943, their purpose was to defend the main shipping channel through Moreton Bay and into Brisbane, and provide a place for artillery training for Australian soldiers. The most dominant and visually striking structures at Fort Bribie would have to be No.1 Gun Emplacement along with the No.2 Gun, which is located up behind the first dune. The two-storey structure has a solid, reinforced and raised concrete platform with buttressed supports, which is where the six inch gun was originally fixed. It opened to the east with a large curve to allow a nice and wide angle of sight. The forts are nothing more than ruins these days, mainly because any reusable building materials were removed and transported for other government and military projects after the war.

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If you feel like ditching the 4WD and taking a stroll on your own two feet, you’ll find the island’s Bicentennial Trails are the perfect place to start. These are easy-to-moderate graded walks stretch around 3.8km return. If that doesn’t sound hard enough for you, you could take a stroll around the whole island via the beach! Just ensure you’re adequately prepared as walking on sand over such distances is not for the faint-hearted.

HOOK, LINE AND SINKER

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Places like Bribie should be listed as full-blown medical miracles, in my opinion. It’s the kind of place that will reduce your blood pressure and cure the blues the second you cross the bridge there. Obviously, this is not scientifically proven, but you get the point!

One thing’s for sure; once you’ve visited Bribie once, it’ll have you hook, line and sinker! So what are you waiting for? Hitch up the camper, throw in a few tubes of sunscreen and mozzie repellent and have the beach island adventure you’ve always dreamt of!

FAST FACTS

  • Bribie Island Recreation Area is 77km north of Brisbane, via the Bribie bridge.
  • Campers can stay at one of dozens of established campsites along Ocean Beach or there is bush camping for self-contained travellers at Gallagher Point and Poverty Creek.

Check out the full feature in issue #110 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.