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Our Best-Kept Secrets

You can experience a rustic island lifestyle just a short boat ride north of the Broadwater in the southern Moreton Bay. The little known Southern Moreton Bay Islands, locally referred to as the Bay Islands, are an ideal day-trip destination. There are plenty of sheltered anchorages for overnight stays too.


The Bay Islands include Russell, Macleay, Lamb, and Karragarra Islands. The area offers the intrepid many secluded fishing spots, interisland transport, heritage walks, a museum, local markets, festivals, and other local events. The islands are a treasure trove of plentiful wildlife. There are littoral rainforests, rocky shores, sandy beaches, mangrove areas and vistas to the mainland and surrounding islands.

Russell Island. This is the more developed of the islands with some 4,000 residents. It is a large stretch of land 8km long and nearly 3km wide. While boaties will always find floating around a delight, the locals of Russell Island encourage visitors to find the time to explore the island itself. When you are exploring Russell Island, there is a few things to see in the Kite wetlands, turtle swamp, and the only grave on the islands. Other great spots for boating families are Rocky Point, and the BBQ facilities at Jock Kennedy Park and Sandy Beach. Once you make it to shore, the local taxi is cheap to get around.

With around 30% of the dwellings used as family holiday homes, the island is virtually yours midweek. Do not be discouraged if the town may seem too quiet. Most nights, the RSL and bowls club provide entertainment and bistro facilities.

Don’t forget to try Aunty Alice’s for a great meal and views across the Krummel Passage.

Macleay Island. This is the second largest island and has become a trendy residential hotspot offering a country life right by the water. The island is now a popular sea-change location for artists and sustainable lifestylers. The weekly markets, and the cafes and restaurants are abuzz with creative people – painters, sculptors, potters, and poets. The island boasts an organic farmers’ market every Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning. Macleay Island has a community arts complex, a pottery shed, and several art galleries and studios. There is even an opportunity to undertake an art retreat. Various classes in martial arts, tai chi and yoga are offered. The island is not all alternative or bohemian thought, here is a golf course and a sailing club. A good launch spot is the Dalpura Ramp towards the north of the island.

Lamb Island. This laidback island has several inviting accommodations with really beautiful outlooks, as well as a modest general store, a licensed club and a tennis court. A visit to the islands’ wetlands will showcase birdlife, frogs and a green carpet of algae. The original name of the island was Nguderoo, an Aboriginal word that means paperbark trees, referring to the trees that surround the wetlands area.

There are a few interesting pieces of residential architecture that may be of interest to the visitor – such as a dome house and a hexagonal one – that can be sighted along the roads. For any grocery and meal needs, the Lamb Island Convenience Store is a kiosk and a general store that serves meals and snacks at outdoor tables in a bush setting.

Karragarra Island. The smallest of the islands, it is just 2km long and 500 metres wide. There are no shops on this island, but it has the best white sand beach among the four bay islands, and offers spectacular views of the other islands and the Gold Coast hinterland. The highlight of visiting Karragarra is the safe swimming enclosure beside the boat ramp, which is an ideal spot for a boatie’s picnic lunch. Although small in size, this island has its long history of being a farming town that serviced Brisbane.

The Bay Islands promote conservation tourism and sustainable development. The boater will be thrilled by the variety of waters and shoreline, there are dolphins, turtles, dugongs and other marine life that frequent these areas.

Fishing in the area is great with pristine conditions, fish stocks are abundant as the green zones and mangroves help keep the area alive with various fish.

Overnight cruisers can drop anchor on the north end of the Russell Island in the Krummel Passage. You can walk to the shopping centre with a bakery, an IGA, and a take-away shop, the local servo carries some essentials like bait, tackle, and fuel.

Be aware, shallow waters surround most of the islands, with the mud flats exposed at low tide. If you are travelling by car with a trailer boat, take the water barge at Redland Bay, and drive off on Russell or Macleay Islands. If you base yourself on Russell Island, there are several boat ramps you can launch your boat. There is abundance of accommodation from waterfront AirBnB holiday homes to luxury B&Bs and camping


Editorial by Andy Kancachian