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Coochiemudlo Island Walk

Home > Brisbane > Beaches | Health and Fitness | Nature | Outdoor | Walks
by Roz Glazebrook (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane. I love bushwalking, kayaking, wildlife, history and travel.
Published January 27th 2020
I kayaked across to Coochiemudlo Island about six years ago with a friend. We had a swim and lunch and then kayaked back. We didn't see much of the Island on that trip. Recently I went on a walk around the Island with four friends and discovered what a beautiful and interesting place it was.

Coochiemudle Island
Coochiemudle Island


I met up with the others at the ferry at Victoria Point, early on a weekday morning. The ten-minute ferry ride goes to and from the island every half hour from very early in the morning. It only cost a few dollars.

Ferry Terminal
Ferry Terminal


There is also a car ferry if you want to take your car across, although the island is only five sq km, so you probably don't need a car for a short visit. I suspect the only cars belong to residents. We did see a lot parked near the ferry terminal, probably for people who work on the mainland.

Beach and boats
Beach and boats


The ferry arrives and disembarks from Main Beach at the Southern side of the island.

After coffee at the local café near the beach, we set off on our walk around the Island. We turned right from the jetty and followed the signed Coochiemudlo Trail.

Soon after starting our walk, we ran into an Eastern Bearded dragon in the sun on the side of the track.

Eastern Bearded Dragon
Eastern Bearded Dragon


It was a short 4-8 kilometre walk, but was very interesting with a variety of habitats including long sandy beaches, Bribie Island Pines, Scribbly Gums, Brush Box, Melaleuca Wetlands, Mangroves, Casuarinas and Pandanus.

Lovely forest
Lovely forest


There were information boards along the way describing the history of the area. English Explorer Matthew Flinders was the first white person to land on the Island on 19th July 1799 in his ship the Norfolk. Flinders called the island 'Sixth Island'. The Aboriginal families had called it "Kuychi Mudlo" for generations. It was a place where they obtained red ochre stones used as body decoration and as red pigment for their shields and skin.

Matthew Flinders on Coochiemudlo Island
Matthew Flinders on Coochiemudlo Island


We passed a beautiful shrine in the bush to an island local resident, Adam Bowden. I read he died from a heart problem jogging near the spot in 2015.

Shrine to Adam Bowden
Shrine to Adam Bowden


As we walked along, we could hear the call of the colourful noisy pitta bird. The bird's call sounds like "walk to work".

The walk was fairly flat, with only a few slight rises and steps to negotiate. After walking along the beach for a short time, we walked through the forest to get to the other side of the island. There was a beautiful beach there with a few families fishing and enjoying the beach.

Nice beach walking
Nice beach walking


That beach ended in mangroves. We didn't stay long there because of the mosquitoes. We headed off up "Morton's Steps" to explore around the area near the scenic, nine hole course golf course which is next to the Coochiemudlo Community Centre.

Doug and Mary Morton were long time residents of the Island.
They farmed on the Island.

Old track into the mangroves
Old track into the mangroves


Doug was repatriated to the island after the war and spent 41 years living there. During that time he built five jetties and a five-hole golf course on the Western flats, two sets of steps down to his jetties and a lookout, named Flinders Lookout where it is thought Flinders viewed the southern reaches of Moreton Bay. There is a reserve and set of steps named after the Mortons.

Morton's Steps
Morton's Steps


Morton's steps led to one of Morton's jetties, which provided access and a safe haven in southerly gales. He also built a canal for his dinghy and a bathing yard, reached by a causeway consisting of a corduroy of saplings and a rock section.

Bush track
Bush track


There were lovely views from the Matthew Flinders lookout. I read Doug Morton had built up the ground for the lookout. The Island celebrates Matthew Flinders day every July.

Flinders Lookout
Flinders Lookout


Flinders Lookout Sign
Flinders Lookout Sign


After having a short rest at the lookout, we walked down a road and admired a beautiful old historic homestead with lace around the verandahs. We also passed an interesting yard, which contains some old train carriages and duck pond.

Beautiful old house
Beautiful old house




A replica of Matthew Flinders sloop the Norfolk was built by Bern Cuthbertson in Tasmania and was used on 19th July 1999 to re-enact Flinders Landing on the island. A local resident Edward Field Jones played the part of Flinders. My Brisbane friends' mother was a Cuthbertson and she had family who were boat builders in Tasmania and was related to Bern.

Matthew Flinders Sloop, the Norfolk
Matthew Flinders Sloop, the Norfolk


The toilet block at the end of the walk had some colourful murals of Matthew Flinders and his cat and boat.

After lunch at the café, we headed back to the mainland on the ferry and then drove home to Brisbane. It was a very enjoyable day. The beaches are beautiful and safe and shallow for swimming. You can also hire boats along the foreshore. I am sure the island is home to lots of creative people like artists and writers. It is quiet and unspoilt.

Unfortunately, you can't camp on the Island, but there is accommodation in Air BnBs and cottages for rent. You can find out about these here: www.visitcoochiemudlo.com

Coochiemudlo Island
Coochiemudlo Island


Tree in sand
Tree in sand

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Why? Relaxing Island walk
When: Anytome
Where: Coochiemudlo Island
Cost: Ferry fee
Your Comment
Roz,
There is definitely something magical about Coochiemudlo. I'm drawn to it as well and so close to Brisbane.
by Susan J Bowes (score: 3|1689) 238 days ago
It is often the smaller places that prove to be the most interesting.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|7970) 236 days ago
I remember camping there from Xmas to NYE back in about 1974. We camped near the golf course (I think we got permission from a land-owner). Problem was mosquitoes at night and sand flies all day. I think we gave up due to these pests before the week was out.
by motch (score: 2|118) 238 days ago
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