Meg Forbes is a mum, freelance writer, and photographer living in the Redlands, South of Brisbane.
Published June 28th 2020
Find sun, sand, and solitude close to Brisbane
Although Coochiemudlo Island on Redlands Coast, just south of Brisbane is only 5 square kilometres in area, it is fringed by 4 kilometres of beautiful beaches. Since Coochie, is situated within Moreton Bay and protected by much larger North Stradbroke Island, each of these beaches offer calm water without surf. This article covers three of the best of them.
Each of the beaches on Coochiemudlo Island are lapped by the calm waters of Southern Moreton Bay
Coochie, as the island is fondly known by locals, is only an 8 minute passenger ferry ride from Victoria Point, or slightly longer ride on the vehicle barge, making it an ideal destination for families in South East Queensland. Look out for dolphins, turtles, dugongs, and other marine life on the short crossing. Dolphins in particular love to play in the ferry's wake.
A dolphin dancing around the passenger ferry on the way to the island at dawn
Main Beach is a beautiful sandy beach that runs between the passenger ferry terminal and the vehicle barge landing point, making it the most convenient of Coochie's three stunning beaches to visit. Main Beach is the only beach on Coochie that is patrolled by a surf life saving club in the summer months, making it ideal for families who wish to swim.
Coochiemudlo Island's Main Beach runs between the passenger ferry and the vehicle barge, and is the only patrolled swimming beach on the island
There are a number of picnic tables and benches installed behind the small dunes at Main Beach, and neighbouring Pioneer Park provides facilities such as a beach shower, public amenities block, a nature-themed playground, and electric BBQs. The Curlew Cafe and Red Rock Cafe behind Pioneer Park both serve dine-in and take away meals, drinks, and ice creams.
Numerous picnic tables and benches overlook Main Beach
With so many facilities at this beautiful beach, many families come as far as gorgeous Main Beach and don't explore the island any further. That is a shame, however, as Coochiemudlo Island has two more, less crowded but just as beautiful, beaches to visit. In fact, it is quite possible to find oneself in complete, blissful solitude on either of the two beautiful beaches listed below.
While stunning Main Beach is perfect for a family day out, visitors who range further afield to the beaches listed below are rewarded with stunning views and, often, solitude
Coochie Boat Hire operates from Main Beach with a range of tinnies (no license required), kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, paddleboats, and even BBQ boats available, and a wide range of life jacket sizes. For visitors who would prefer to use pedal power than walk to explore the island, Coochie Boat Hire also has a range of bikes available including junior bikes for older children. Coochie Boat Hire can be contacted on 0419 983 801.
Coochie Boat Hire offers a range of interesting alternatives to walking around the island
Although the vehicle barge and bike hire are available, Coochiemudlo Island is easy to walk around, and a map detailing the walking trails is provided near to the passenger ferry's exit. Although there are short cuts along the streets, we usually choose to walk along the beaches on the perimeter of the island, so that our favourite route to Norfolk Beach begins by walking south along the beach from the ferry terminal, and then simply following the coast around two corners to get there.
Norfolk Beach faces east to North Stradbroke Island, and like the rest of Coochie is steeped in history. People of the Quandamooka Nation valued and cared for the island as part of their Traditional Country since time immemorial, and Matthew Flinders landed on the island with his sloop, the Norfolk, on the 19th July 1799. Norfolk Beach, named after this event, has a memorial to his landing just behind the dunes.
There is a memorial to Matthew Flinder's historic landing on Coochiemudlo Island behind Norfolk Beach
The beautiful sandy beach here is greatly affected by the tides, which can be checked for the entire island here. This means that if you wish to swim, a visit at high tide would be best. However, low tide has its own attractions, especially in terms of wildlife that hunts across the intertidal zone. Laughing kookaburras and brahminy kites are frequently seen diving down for meals, and are fascinating to watch. However, visitors should also note that bull routs (similar to stonefish) may also be present in the substrate here, and wear reef shoes or similar for protection.
Wildlife abounds at Norfolk Beach, such as this nesting brahminy kite
Norfolk Beach offers a number of facilities within the shade behind the dunes that makes it perfect for a family day out. These include a very well maintained public amenities block, drinking water, two electric BBQs, and a number of picnic tables. There is also parking available on James St and Victoria Parade East for visitors who bring their vehicles over to the island.
Electric BBQs and picnic tables are just some of the facilities provided at Norfolk Beach
The third stunning beach on Coochiemudlo Island is north-facing Morwong Beach. To reach Morwong Beach, visitors can continue walking along Norfolk Beach, past a small section of rocks and mangroves, and around a corner, or they can drive directly down Elizabeth Street from the ferry terminal to Victoria Parade North (see the map towards the end of the article).
Sand ripples running along Morwong Beach at low tide
Stunning Morwong Beach overlooks Moreton Bay towards Peel Island, and is affected by the tides in a similar way to Norfolk Beach. Although a lovely, sandy swimming beach at high tide, a wide intertidal zone is revealed by outgoing tides. A pair of white-bellied sea eagles frequently hunts here, and at the time of writing this article they have a juvenile hunting with them as well.
A juvenile white-bellied sea eagle perfecting its hunting above Morwong Beach
The passenger ferry and vehicle barge, both run by Amity Trader, leave from Masters Ave, Victoria Point. Passenger ferry times can be found here, with prices here. The vehicle barge's times are listed here, with their prices listed here.
Frequent passenger ferry and vehicle barge services make visiting Coochie a hassle-free day out
Things to bring on your day-trip or getaway to Coochiemudlo Island's beaches include:
- Swimmers and towels
- Sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat
- Money for the ferry and optional food, drinks, and icecream (the ferry, barge, and shops all take cash and EFTPOS here)
- A camera to capture the island's beauty