Coochiemudlo Island appears uninhabited, sitting just off the seaboard of Greater Brisbane, but stroll through the 'Emerald Fringe' that hides this place and you'll discover why it's one of Australia's best kept secrets. Just one hour from Brisbane's central business district, sink your toes in the sands of iconic Morwong Beach, and share the slower pace of this special place. Island resident and local Heritage Society member David Paxton narrates this journey into Quandamooka country, where sites of ancient Aboriginal culture and tales of settlers and farmers are woven into the ongoing conversation to interpret and understand this unique landscape.
Norfolk Beach, site of explorer Matthew Flinders' 1799 beach landing; Morwong Beach, with panoramic views of Moreton Bay; The Melaleuca Wetlands, an international Ramsar Wetland with abundant birdlife; Sites of Quandamooka and Anglo-Australian heritage.
From Brisbane, head to the Victoria Point Ferry Terminal on Masters Avenue, Victoria Point, Queensland 4165. Ferries leave every 30 minutes to Coochiemudlo Island, with a journey time of just 7 minutes. Bus and ferry services connect to and from Brisbane city and Cleveland Railway Station (go to translink.com.au). The tour starts at the noticeboard on the concrete footpath on Victoria Parade South at the jetty on Coochiemudlo Island.
Places to stop along the way:
Quirky Cottages accommodation, Morwong Beach, Norfolk Beach, Red Rock Cafe, Coochiemudlo Island Kiosk, Coochie Island Beach Resort, Coochie Boat Hire (includes bike hire).
Best time of day:
This tour would be an ideal way to spend a half-day on Coochiemudlo Island if you can't stay the night. In Summer, come early or arrive later in the day to avoid the midday heat. From Monday to Saturday ferries return to the mainland daily until 11.15pm. On Sundays and Public holidays the last ferry leaves at 10.45pm. So if you want to catch a sunset and stay for dinner, you won't get stranded! If you're planning to swim at one of the sandy beaches, check the tide times and come during the hours leading up to and away from a high tide. Low tide is bird-watching time when the food-filled mudflats attract all manner of species.
Summer brings out the sandflies and mosquitos, mainly at dusk, so wear insect repellant. Bring a hat and sunscreen. Crossing the bay in winter can be a bit cool even if the day is warm, so a light jacket is a good idea. When walking around the island's beaches at low tide, avoid walking across the mudflats - they can be deeper than they seem!