Bribie Island—beautiful coastal camping close to Brisbane!
Issued: 14 Sep 2018

Remote empty landscapes, big skies, views to the horizon—you’d think you’d have to travel beyond the Black Stump to find a place like this, wouldn’t you? Well, not so.

Photo credit: Leanne Siebuhr © Queensland Government

Remote empty landscapes, big skies, views to the horizon... you’d think you’d have to travel beyond the Black Stump to find a place like this, wouldn’t you? Well, not so.

You don’t have to travel far at all, in fact you barely leave the outskirts of Brisbane before you find this ‘remote’ island with big sky views, expansive beaches and blue seas stretching as far as the eye can see.

On Bribie Island National Park and Recreation Area, you’ll find the best of both worlds! ‘Civilised’ or remote, passage-side or surf-side—you and the kids get to have both kinds of fun!

Just 65km from the city, this island makes things easy for you. You simply pack the family into the high-clearance 4WD, throw in the camping gear and drive over a bridge to get there. All before the kids have time to squabble over the DVD player, realise they’ve run out of data, or decide they want to go through the fast food drive-through now!

Here’s how to make the most of ‘going remote’ so close to town!

Blue ocean waters reflect bright blue skies and gentle waves lap a sandy shore where four-wheel drive vehicles are parked on the beach near bushy dunes.Ocean Beach drive | © MJL Photography

Head ‘surf-side’ for all the action

If your preference is for the ocean-side of the island, set up your family camp site in the Ocean Beach camping area. Choose your perfect spot along a seemingly endless 3km stretch of beach. The kids will be spellbound by all the sand, sea and sky—happy spending hours building sand castles and paddling on the shore’s edge. And you’ll feel a very long way from civilisation, not to mention fast food chains.

Tip: Book early as this camping area is popular.

A 4WD with high clearance and low-range function (and you need sand-driving experience) will get you here. BYO absolutely everything, including drinking water and firewood if you plan to have a camp fire (in the fire rings provided). We provide micro-flush toilets (as well as a portable toilet dump point) along with screened showers (of the cool kind) and water taps (not suitable for drinking) to make camp life easier.

Do your young ‘uns love to swim in the surf? We recommend Woorim near the southern end of the island, where you’ll find the surf club’s patrolled beach, along with a playground, barbecues and picnic areas.

Sandy camp site amongst shady trees is set behind the beach with ocean in the backgroundOcean Beach camping area | © MJL Photography

Spend a ‘quiet night in’ on the ‘passage-side’

If you prefer to be near sheltered water rather than rolling surf, Poverty Creek camping area is for you. The western side of the island runs alongside Pumicestone Passage, and here the waters are more protected from ocean swells.

Getting here is by 4WD or by boat, and of course you’ll need to BYO everything. We provide water taps (not suitable for drinking) and also picnic tables, fire rings, micro-flush toilets, portable toilet dump point and screened 'brisk' showers.

Tip: Pack the insect repellent especially in warmer months.

Simply set up the tent, then sit back and soak up the scenic views over the passage towards the Glass House Mountains. The kids will be busily occupied on the beach and in the shallows, totally immersed in nature, and yet they’re only a stone’s throw from the mainland and all its ‘digital distractions’. What’s more, if they’re keen fishers, this is a great place to wet a line!

Numerous tents and vehicles are set up on  the neat grassy camping area shaded by tall gum trees.Poverty Creek camping area | Leanne Siebuhr © Queensland Government

Marshall the troops to Fort Bribie

Pile into the army truck (aka the family wagon) and head to the far northern end of the island to explore Fort Bribie’s World War II ruins. Just a short drive north from the Fort Bribie day-use area, you’ll discover weathered gun emplacements and searchlight buildings where valiant soldiers once defended our coast and cities during the war.

Don’t be tempted to let the kids climb on the structures—they aren’t safe.

'Atten-shun!' As ‘sergeant’, this is a good time for you to drill your ‘squad’ in Quick time, Mark time and Double time marches along the sand. Bark your commands to ‘About face!’ and ‘Forward march!’ to keep them in order. And make sure they salute! Being a parent has never been so much fun!

Concrete gun emplacement structure in ruin sits behind the beach against a forest backdrop.Fort Bribie southern gun emplacement | Leanne Siebuhr © Queensland Government

Best-ever bushwalking, with an ice cream at the end!

Meanwhile, back in ‘civilisation’ on the island’s south western side, you’ll find easy walks through banksia woodland, eucalypt forests, palm groves and paperbark forests.

On the Bicentennial bushwalks, starting from the Community Arts Centre in Banksia Beach, the kids can spot wildlife such as kangaroos, wallabies and reptiles, and many kinds of birds. Keep your eyes peeled for scarlet honeyeaters and scaly-breasted lorikeets feasting on nectar and flitting about the trees. Or perhaps you’ll spot a lace monitor basking in the sun.

This part of the island also has playgrounds, markets (everything from fruit and vegetables to arts and crafts) and a museum; and you’ll possibly even find an ice cream shop or two… More than enough to keep the kids happy!

Tall gnarled trunks of banksias overhang a sandy walking track.Bicentennial bushwalks, Banksia trail | Leanne Siebuhr © Queensland Government


You don’t need to go to the ‘back of beyond’ for a remote family camping adventure—there’s one sitting right on your doorstep! Visit Bribie Island National Park and Recreation Area for more information or take a closer look at your camping options. Always check park alerts before you head off.