The Bribie Island landscape has changed a lot since Matthew Flinders, Bongaree, and their crew landed on the island in 1799. Even centuries later, the expedition has left an indelible imprint on the island and its residents.
The community of Bongaree is proudly named in honour of an Aboriginal explorer from Broken Bay, near Sydney. Bongaree accompanied Flinders on his expeditions, and helped encourage communication between the white explorers and the traditional caretakers of the areas they visited.
It’s easy to forget that communities like Bribie Island have long and colourful histories pre-dating the thriving collection of galleries, cafés, and museums there today. Walking tours are a fantastic way to get out of the air conditioning, and explore the beauty and history of an area.
The Walkabout starts and ends at the Bongaree Jetty, and takes visitors to historical landmarks and buildings around the foreshore area. Though there are 16 main landmarks showcased in the walk, there are other, smaller landmarks and plaques throughout the journey for visitors to enjoy. In sunny weather, there’s even a chance to view the natural, swampy landscape as it was before the island was developed.
There is a small amount of uphill walking involved in this walk, though it’s generally considered a low-intensity wander.
For those looking for a longer wander through the countryside, the Bicentennial bushwalks are located near the Bribie Island Community Arts Centre, located on Sunderland Drive, at Banksia Beach. The 3.8km trek features the Banksia, Palm Grove, and Melaleuca walks, giving modern explorers the chance to walk through eucalypt forests, paperbark wetlands, and even wallum heathlands.
There’s a range of birdlife to see, making these walks a great chance for photographers to practise their skills in photographing rainbow bee-eaters, red-backed wrens, and eastern yellow robins, as well as a host of other birds both beautiful and well-camouflaged.
The State Government funds a host of ranger or specialist-led activities in parks and forests throughout the state, and including those in the Moreton Bay region. Visit the website for information on upcoming events.
The Bongaree and Bicentennial walks are self guided, with maps available to help find your way through the landscapes. View the Bongaree Walkabout map online, or pick one up at the Bribie Island Seaside Museum or information centre.
The Bicentennial map is available online here.
Bribie Island is just over an hour away from Brisbane, using the M1 and Bribie Island Road. The island has a range of accommodation options for those wanting to make it a weekend adventure.
The Bongaree Walkabout tour takes about an hour to complete, but an idle stroll (or a walk with a photographer) will take longer. The Bongaree Jetty is surrounded by parkland, so it’s a perfect chance to grab a picnic (or visit one of the nearby eating options) and make a day of it with the family.
The Bicentennial walks are all on sandy surfaces, which will impact those with mobility issues.
Regardless of the time of year, it’s a good idea to pack your sunnies, sunscreen, water, food, and of course the camera!