THIS great place to enjoy a camping holiday is situated on beautiful Bribie Island, one of the most unspoiled areas left in southern Queensland.
The turn-offs to Bribie Island are around 44km north of Brisbane on both sides of the Bruce Highway, just north of the Caboolture River. There are two major turn offs here – to Caboolture west of the highway and Bribie Island to the east. The island is about 15km from the highway.
Once you’ve gone across the bridge over Pumicestone Passage and onto Bribie Island, turn right at the first roundabout, double back, and head along the waterfront esplanade – Welsby Parade. From here it’s about 3km to the Bongaree Caravan Park. Be sure to watch for the jetty. If you reach the jetty you have just missed the caravan park, which must be on the left as the water is on your right!
The council-run caravan park is well maintained, and hosts David and Michelle Thomas (ph. (07) 3408 1054) will make you very welcome. A general store is part of the camp office, and provides bait, tackle, ice, drinks and gas refills.
The park has powered and un-powered sites, with plenty of slabs for caravans and campervans, and many of the sites have good shade (not vital at this time of year, but very welcome around Christmas time). There are also fully self-contained deluxe villas and cottage accommodation, and everyone will enjoy the clean amenities throughout the park, which include a communal kitchen, barbecue area and a laundry. Overnight, weekly, and permanent rates are offered.
The Bongaree Caravan Park is a great place for families. Across the bitumen road and along the Parade there are many well set-up shelter areas and picnic tables, and the atmosphere is very easy and laid-back. The park is also nice and quiet, as traffic on Welsby Parade usually very light. You can hear boats heading up or down the Passage, but that would never worry an angler, I'm sure.
Remember that nothing is far away on Bribie Island. In fact, the local bowls club adjoins the caravan park so a feed, a few drinks and some entertainment is there right at hand. There is also a very well-maintained golf course on the island. Shops, medical centres and other facilities are available, as are a number of fuel, bait, and other outlets. Outboard and motor vehicle mechanics are there as well.
Only Welsby Parade separates the caravan park from Pumicestone Passage, and many species of fish are right on tap. These fish range from mangrove jacks (in the upper Passage creeks) to the tasty whiting, with many other species as well.
There are few camping venues that cater so well for anglers. There’s a decent launching ramp virtually just across the road from the park entrance, with a good amount of parking available. Although the ramp is probably easiest to use at high tide, I’ve still launched my 4.8-metre glass boat there on plenty of occasions, low tide or not. Lots of lovely tuna will be about this month and next month, just around the corner of the eastern end of the Passage.
Just 30Thirty metres from the park’s entrance, the sheltered golden expanse of beach stretches for kilometres in both directions, and is just made for wading out to fish for a feed of whiting or flathead during the warmer months. Bream should be about from now until spring.
An alternative is to visit the main surf beach on the northern side of the island, which is only a 15-minute drive away. This beach is great for swimming and surfing, and there’s good beach fishing right at the main parking areas. The main species targeted in the surf are whiting and dart and, to a lesser extent, tailor and bream. Many anglers chase big summer whiting here in October.
If you like to venture further afield it’s a simple matter to obtain a beach permit and take a run up along the beach to the northern tip of the island. The main species here are big tailor and jew, but whiting are also excellent in spring and early summer. A beach permit is available at the caravan park office.
Lastly, about 100 metres away is the famed Bribie Island jetty. Originally built in 1912, this jetty has been the site of some monumental fish captures over the years, with everything from cod to snapper to mackerel and even tuna being taken from the deep water at its end. Naturally, the shallow water section is a great place for kids to enjoy some fishing for whiting or gar. The thing to remember is to set up specifically for your chosen species and target it. The water here is very clean and straight from the ocean, and it's both bait- and fish-rich.
One of the really great things about enjoying camping at this location is the fact that virtually every kind of angler is catered for. You don't need a boat, but boaties will enjoy fishing the Pumicestone Passage inside the island, the reefs off Moreton Island, or fishing for pelagics such as tuna and mackerel. And beach fishers get their share as well.
1) The entrance to the Bongaree caravan park is located on Welsby Parade not far from the jetty.
2) A view of the beach on Bribie Island, straight across from Bongaree caravan park. That' the renowned Bribie jetty in the back ground.
3) At Bongaree caravan park there are plenty of concrete slabs for folk with caravans or camper vans.
4) Not surprisingly, there are a few boats on sites within the caravan park.Reads: 1968