BRADBURY’S Beach Caravan Park and camping grounds is a very special camping area on North Stradbroke Island. The main attractions at Bradbury's Beach are fishing, fishing, and more fishing. Sound good?
To enjoy a stay here you need to either drive your car onto the car ferry which services the island or travel over on the smaller passenger ferry. Both ferries depart the end of Middle Street at Cleveland, east of Brisbane. To get to the ferry terminals, travel east on Old Cleveland Road. Middle Street is virtually an extension of that road, and the 'Stradbroke Island Ferries' sign is prominent at the end of Middle Street.
On North Stradbroke Island the car ferry terminal is right on the edge of the town of Dunwich. The two separately-owned passenger ferries have terminals at both Dunwich (next to the car ferry) as well as at One Mile which is within easy walking distance of Bradbury's Beach.
Assuming that you’re travelling by car – most visitors do – the journey on the car ferry takes around 50 minutes, which I found is just enough time to get some tackle ready. Don't worry about what other passengers think! Sometimes there are fish chopping on the surface right next to the ferry landing and the nearby jetty will let you at them. Naturally, you can bring your boat across on the ferry with the car.
Once ashore, just drive straight up into Dunwich and make a left turn into the main road leading out of town to Point Lookout, which will see you on the way to Bradbury's Beach camping area. If you need groceries, food or bait there are ample outlets in Dunwich. The tackle store, in particular, is well set up with most items you’d need for fishing on this island.
Bradbury's Beach caravan park is around a kilometre north of the town centre and a sign shows the way on the left. Flinders Avenue is the road to take and it leads straight down to the park nestled in against the wide expanse of beach and Moreton Bay, tucked away to the west.
This is a very clean, spacious and green camping ground. Those visitors who are accustomed to setting up camp on sand will find the thick grass a fine contrast. Stradbroke Island receives far more rain than the mainland, and even when the drought was bad early this year the island was still emerald green.
This Redland Shire Council owned caravan park is a very laid back, casual place. If the Council ranger is not around you can pick a site that takes your fancy, but it’s best to call and make a booking through the office on the number shown at the grounds. Bradbury's Beach is never crowded during the off season, but it’s essential to book ahead before Christmas or Easter. (ph. (07) 3409 9622).
There are both powered and un-powered sites available for caravans, campervans and tents at Bradbury's Beach. All sites are quite level, well grassed and have plenty of room to settle in comfort. The boat won't be a problem and there is a good sized table on the beach that looks as though it’s seen a lot of fish on its boards over the years. During my stay I frequently saw it getting a bit of a workout.
About the only stipulation is the 'No Dogs' edict, which also applies to the other Council-owned caravan parks on the island.
All styles of angling are available here, from wading the flats out front of Bradbury’s on a rising tide (after pumping yabbies on the sand flats for bait) or putting the boat in at the adjacent One Mile ramp and heading out to fish the reefs nearby or perhaps give the adjacent Rainbow Channel a workout for pelagics or reef fish.
The Rainbow Channel is a clean body of water draining the eastern side of Moreton Bay, and there is much good fishing on hand. Big schools of mackerel and tuna frequent these waters, and the broken ground near Myora Light and the beacons on the west side of the Channel are favourite fishing spots for anglers seeking reef fish such as snapper, sweetlip and parrotfish.
Those boaters with the necessary experience and suitable craft can also travel out through the South Passage between North Stradbroke and Moreton Islands to fish wide of Stradbroke Island for succulent reef fish and light gamefish such as tuna, mackerel and wahoo. The weather and sea conditions are the deciding factors here of course.
Alternatively, you can simply use Bradbury's Beach as a base, travelling to many other fishing locations via car or maybe heading north to Flinders Beach or across to Main Beach to fish the surf gutters for the likes of tailor, bream, whiting and dart. A 15-minute trip to Point Lookout is always worthwhile. Some spectacular scenery abounds here and whale watching from the big headland is a popular pastime. Rock fishing is productive here as well.
In all, Bradbury's Beach is the ideal place for folk who love quiet places. I found the residents to be very friendly people who enjoy their fishing as much as I do, and I thoroughly enjoyed some of the fishing anecdotes they shared with me.
1) This modest sign welcomes visitors to Bradbury's Beach camping area.
2) The visitor won't need a boat to enjoy fishing here. This group of anglers have just pumped some yabbies and are fishing into the channel of the One Mile boat ramp right next to the Bradbury's Beach camping grounds.
3) Both caravan and tent sites are available here, and there is plenty of room for all.
4) Looking down the One Mile boat ramp. There is sufficient depth here to launch even large trailer craft.
5) Staying at Bradbury's Beach camping grounds and exploring North Stradbroke Island involves putting the car onto the ferry.Reads: 6161