Discover Brisbane's Islands
Brisbane's coastal location means there are a number of stunning islands to explore within close proximity to the river city, each with their own unique personality.
Here's a guide to discovering the best of seven of the islands off Brisbane, from the better to the lesser known and the uninhabited.
It is possible to drive across to Bribie Island, making it one of Brisbane's most accessible islands. Woorim Beach is located on the eastern side of the island where there is a surf lifesaving club, as well as cafes and shops. Bongaree on the western side of Bribie Island overlooks Pumicestone Passage and provides quiet coastal walks, extensive parkland, bird hides and more gentle swimming options, as well as beachfront dining at Blue Anchorage.
Ten minutes by passenger ferry from Victoria Point lies the relaxation-inducing Coochiemudlo Island. This is a fun place to enjoy water based activities in Moreton Bay, such as canoeing, fishing, kayaking, and aqua biking and there's a great walk that circumnavigates the island in an hour. Accommodation options include Seminara Apartments, while enjoy a picnic on the beach for lunch, otherwise try the kiosk near the jetty.
Come for a day or stay for a long weekend at this peaceful little island, reached by passenger or car ferry from Redland Bay, with stops to Lamb and Russell Islands on the way. Take a heritage walk, visit one of sandy swimming coves (try Pat's Point) and discover the relics of old limestone kilns or relax and be pampered for a couple of nights at beautiful B&B Yarrandabbi Dreaming. Day trippers can dine at the Blue Parrot Café or the Macleay Island Bowls Club.
Famous as the third largest sand island in the world, Moreton Island is the perfect spot to enjoy the great outdoors. Ferries depart regularly for Moreton Island from Redcliffe and Port of Brisbane, however the island is 4WD access only. Accommodation ranges from camping to glamping at Castaways, or luxury villas at Tangalooma Island Resort. There are also extensive eco-adventure programs including dolphin feeding, whale watching and sensational sand boarding and a highlight of any trip to Moreton is snorkelling the wrecks.
North Stradbroke Island
The second largest sand island in the world, Straddie lies only an hour's drive east from the city. Point Lookout is a prime location for whale spotting (Jun-Oct), the beaches are magnificent and pristine and the North Gorge Headland walk is an absolute must do. Meanwhile Amity Beach is the spot to swim in calm water, pick up fresh seafood and stay in a fishermen's shack or glamp at Cylinder Beach. Vehicle and passenger ferries to Stradbroke Island depart regularly from Cleveland.
The tiny heritage-listed island is renowned as the site of Brisbane's former lazarat (leper colony) from 1907 to 1959 (with huts still intact but not accessible to the general public) Before that, in the mid it was a quarantine station for the colony of Brisbane, and then, for a brief period at the turn of the century, an asylum for Brisbane vagrants. Today its main beach Horseshoe Bay with beautiful crystal clear jade waters is a popular destination for day-trippers who arrive by private boat.
St Helena Island
St Helena is currently closed for tours due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Another island with restricted access and a dark past, St Helena is a famous heritage-listed national park that was Queensland's foremost maximum security prison for men from 1867 to 1932. It is possible to take a day trip and tour the well-reserved historic relics of St Helena Island National Park, with colourful re-enactments by a troupe of actors of its stories. Only accessible by boat. Ph 1300 438 787
Some other interesting islands to explore around Brisbane and Moreton Bay include Karragarra, Lamb and Russell, all of which can be discovered as a jump-on-jump-off day trip by ferry from Redlands.
By Lucy Hordern