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Cruising Adventures in MORETON BAY

Cruising Adventures in MORETON BAY

Nestled in southeast Queensland, Moreton Bay shines as an aquatic gem, encompassing a vast area of 3,400 square kilometers and bordered by three main islands. Navigating these waters with care and being attentive to cardinal markers will become second nature. Beware of reefs, rocks, and wrecks that may dot the area. The bay’s shallow waters are infamous and require thorough research, skillful use of GPS, Beacon to Beacon maps, and careful preparation. However, with the right planning, you can turn your week-long circumnavigation of the marine park into a reality.

As you explore Moreton Bay, keep your eyes peeled for its rich wildlife. Admire the 74 identified species of birds, marvel at the graceful dugongs, encounter sea turtles, and delight in the playful presence of dolphins. The bay teems with life, offering a captivating experience at every turn.


Peel Island, one of Moreton Bay’s scenic treasures, beckons as a popular anchorage for getaway seekers. Horseshoe Bay stands as the main attraction, where on weekends and holidays, dozens (or even hundreds) of private vessels find solace in dropping anchor. This spot is perfect for swimming and engaging in beach games. With its long sandy beach and stunning red sandstone outcrops, Horseshoe Bay provides excellent overnight shelter from northwesterly winds.

Take note of the low tides, as the deep water lies more than 70 meters away from the high tide mark.

To the east of Peel Island lies Platypus Bay, home to a sunken wreck called The Ship’s Hull. This captivating underwater environment supports a diverse array of marine life, making it a beloved snorkeling destination.

In 2007, Peel Island was declared a national park and given the Aboriginal name Teerk Roo Ra, meaning “place of many shells.” The island boasts numerous walking paths, leading you through its scenic landscapes. Don’t miss the remnants of an old bakehouse-cum-jail, a part of the historic quarantine station, which has become a favorite stop for photo opportunities.


Moreton Island, the third largest sand island in the world, awaits as an unspoiled paradise. With a staggering 95 percent of its land protected as a national park, it offers a pristine environment for exploration. At the southernmost tip lies Days Gutter, a picturesque location where entry from the south requires caution due to its shallow waters. Arriving at high tide is recommended. Once there, you’ll be captivated by the beauty of this spot, making it an ideal place to drop anchor and spend the night.

Days Gutter serves as a vital breeding ground for various marine species. Snorkeling in these waters unveils a mesmerizing world beneath the surface. The shoreline boasts bright white sand, attracting 4×4 day trippers and boating families who come ashore to enjoy swimming and leisurely walks.

No visit to Days Gutter would be complete without a pilgrimage to the “World Famous” Gutter Bar. This popular destination offers a vibrant atmosphere for both residents and visitors, where you can watch sporting events on large screens while savoring fresh seafood sourced directly from trawlers and oysters straight from local growers on the island. The bar also offers an abundance of cold beer, generous servings of hamburgers and chips, and a small convenience section supplying basic grocery goods and essential items.

When departing to the north, only possible during high tide, you can navigate a tightly marked channel through Days Gutter, ultimately exiting to Moreton Bay at the Little Sandhills.


Bribie Island is a destination that deserves a few days, or perhaps even a week, of your time. With several marinas nestled in sheltered canals, this island provides a welcoming retreat. Explore its shopping centers, indulge in café culture, and revel in the endless surf-and-sand activities available. Separating the island from the mainland is the Pumicestone Passage, a narrow waterway stretching from Deception Bay in the south to Caloundra in the north.

The southern end of the passage offers ample opportunities for exploration, boasting numerous coves and inlets ideal for overnight anchorages. For those with shallow drafts and a spirit of adventure, navigating through the notoriously shallow passage known as The Skids, The Narrows, and The W’s will unlock the wonders of Caloundra’s waterways. Despite spanning a mere one-and-a-half nautical miles, this section experiences a tide variation of one hour and 20 minutes. The tidal flow is influenced by Moreton Bay at the southern end and the Bribie Bar at the northern end.

Overlooking the pristine waters of Bribie Island sits the Sandstone Point Hotel. This picturesque icon perched atop a hill provides an ideal setting for lunch or dinner, allowing you to savor local cuisine while enjoying the surrounding beauty. A long jetty enables free berthing while you indulge in the venue’s offerings.


If you seek refuge from adverse weather conditions on Moreton Bay, the Brisbane River offers calm waters, convenient fuel and service facilities, and the cosmopolitan atmosphere of city living upon stepping off your boat.

Dockside Marina at Kangaroo Point emerges as an ideal overnight berth, situated just minutes from the Brisbane CBD. The marina provides public ferry access and is a short walk away from public buses. Each berth offers captivating views of the iconic Story Bridge. Many of the berths are privately owned by liveaboards, fostering a sense of community and inviting conversations with interesting personalities who are always ready to chat or provide advice. Brisbane City’s River Access Network and Recreation Hubs now offer two-hour temporary berthing, allowing day trips to various stops along the river, from Murrarie downstream to Riverhills upstream.

Located only 6 nautical miles from the river mouth and 4 nautical miles from the heart of Brisbane, Rivergate Marina boasts three different boat lifts and is home to over 320 world-class contractors specializing in more than 20 trades. Adjacent to the marina, you’ll find two cafes and a 24/7 on-water fuel facility in the D arm.

IMPORTANT WARNING: Moreton Bay holds the esteemed recognition of being one of the most significant marine habitats along Australia’s east coast. This transitional area is home to tropical, sub-tropical, and temperate marine species, fostering distinct and harmonious wildlife and habitat communities. As a responsible steward of these waters, it is vital to understand your responsibilities in ensuring the sustainability of the area. While Moreton Bay is renowned for fishing, many recreational activities are subject to restrictions. Therefore, it is essential to check the Moreton Bay Marine Map before engaging in any activities.



Published in print July-September 2023