Brisbane is a coastal city, but lacks the great beaches that The Gold Coast and The Sunshine Coast are famous for. Yet there are a number of beaches in the greater Brisbane area worth visiting if you don't want to travel too far. Here is a guide to some of those beaches.
I love all of Brisbane's coastal areas and even if they are not as good as the best beaches South East Queensland, they are still worth a trip. What is more, many of these places can be easily visited in quick trip rather than a whole day.
Sandgate is a lovely coastal community by the sea. Yes, it does have a beach of sorts. For most people the best time to visit this beach is as low tide. The mudflats go way out to sea and when the tide is out, it is an interesting place to walk.
Sandgate with its own town hall has a village feel
At high tide though, while it is not a great swimming beach, the waters attract kite surfers. The shallow water means that you can stand up far from shore. For kite surfers, this is paradise, because it is much easier to launch in shallow water where they can stand up.
If you do need a place to swim then Wellington Point has a little beach. Wellington point's sandbar walk out to King Island attracts many people at low tide. At high tide there is also lovely little beach to have a swim. But if you go at low tide there is not enough water at the beach to swim.
Ideally you arrive at the changing of the tide. Hopefully the sandbar is exposed enough to walk out to king island and back (don't linger too long as the tide may cover the sandbar), followed by fish & chips from the snackbar or a barbecue. Then to cool off, you can have a nice swim.
Wellington Point is Brisbane's little secret and well worth visiting at high or low tide. Other activities here include fishing from the jetty, walking in the mangroves and kayaking in the normally calm waters.
Without leaving the Greater Brisbane Area or going over to an Island, Redcliffe has the best beaches. Most people who head to the peninsular swim at the artificial Settlement Cove Lagoon. This is a lovely spot for a swim, but becomes crowded on weekends. The local kids happily jump off the jetty and swim around the Jelly Fish (not recommended).
Redcliffe is a great place for a beach walk combining walking on parklands paths as well as the option to walk on the sand at several beachs. On weekends there are also places on the beach to hire bicycles.
The Redcliffe Peninsular is a great place for a coastal walk
However the place people do swim is Suttons Beach. While not the greatest swimming beaches it still is good enough for a dip and you will regularly see a few people swimming here. It is also popular among kite surfers.
Redcliffe is a great destination overall, with great restaurants, takeaway shops and various art galleries and curio shops as well as attractions such as Bee Gee Way. Definitely worth heading there for a day trip.
Bee Gee Way is one of the many attractions at Redcliffe
Another Brisbane secret, Coochiemudlo (or Coochie as everyone calls it) is 5 km square island with 4 kms of beaches. It is surrounded by normally calm waters as it is protected by the other islands of Moreton Bay. The beaches are not a surfing paradise, but more of a calm place to take your kids, have a picnic or barbecue on the beach and then let the little ones splash around in the water.
Photo courtesy of Redlands City Council
There are other activities you can do as well. You can hire bicycles and cycle the island or rent a kayak and paddle around the entire island in around two hours. Keen kayakers will paddle the 1 km from Victoria point out to the island. There are also pedal boats for hire which are better suited to the little kids to muck around in the water.
Photo courtesy of Redlands City Council
Overall a nice family day out relaxing on an island. A great place to visit if you need to chill out for the day.
Bribie Island - Beaches and bushland
Strictly speaking outside the Greater Brisbane Area and on the Sunshine Coast, Bribie Island is included on this list because it is the closest to Brisbane and has great beaches.
Bribie Island is a combination of great beaches for different purposes. Bongaree located on Pumicestone Passage is a lovely quiet place for kids to swim and adults to kayak or fish.
Red Beach is an 8 km beach walk lined with bushland that goes around the southern end of the Island and takes you from the little village at Bongaree to the little village at Woorim. One of the great beach walks in South East Queensland.
Red Beach on Bribie Island is great for walking, but not so good for swimming
Bribie also has the perfect four wheel driving beach (with a permit). You follow the sandy tracks through the national park until you find beach access and then drive for miles.
Cylinder Beach - North Stradbroke Island
I have saved the best for second last. Cylinder Beach on North Stradbroke Island apparently received its name when US soldiers were stationed on the Island in WWII and were using it as a place to practice beach landings. The story I was told involved a boat sinking. Then over the course of weeks cylinders were washed up on the beach. Hence the name.
Cylinder Beach is the perfect place for a swim or surf
Whatever the story behind the name, it is one those perfect beaches that South East Queensland is famous for. Combining a nice surf break created by a reef that protects the beach from large waves. We have swum here with only small waves even when Main Beach has been closed due to stormy weather.
You can also camp just on the beach or stay and dine at the Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel. Yes you do have to catch a ferry and then take the bus to get here, but it is the perfect day out, especially when you combine it with the Gorges Walk.
Camping on North Stradbroke Island at Cylinder Beach
Streets Beach at South Bank - Because every city needs a beach
I am mostly adding this at the end of this list because, well let's admit it, Streets Beach at South Bank is Brissy's most famous beach. This artificial lagoon covered in sand might seem cheesy but it is a great free way to entertain kids or have some fun in the city.
South Bank is fairly crowded with both locals and tourists. But if you can find some tables and chairs, an electric barbecue that is not in use or a green patch, it is a great place for a barbecue or picnic.