Flying on the Beach

(Photo: Jason Reed)

I love the feeling of freedom that comes with riding on the sand at low tide. The endless stretch of sand, and the gentle roar of the surf keep me coming back.

Today we decided to come back to Bribie Island.

Onto the Beach

We all let out an involuntary laugh as soon as we rolled on to the sand. I think we all recognized that the beach isn’t a place for breaking world records, or high-pressure deadlines. It’s a place for fun.

Buckleys Hole

Our plan was to ride from Bongaree on the “Calm Side” of the island, along the beach on the southern coast, then up the “Surf Side” to Lighthouse Reach and back before the tide came in.

Red Beach

The low tide had gifted us broad beaches with hard sand.

In the distance the peaks of Moreton Island reached out above the shimmering ocean.

Yes – once again we had come to the right place.

Red Beach

Red Beach

The southern tip of the island, between Red Beach and Skirmish Point feels secluded. Thick paperbark and Tea-Tree forests come right down to the shoreline. I was only a 45 minute drive from home, and already felt like the buzz of city life was miles away.

Pilates on the Beach

Doing their pilates exercises in the morning sun, these people seemed oblivious to us as we rolled by.

Yoga on the Bike

Raquel got into the spirit of things, doing a bit of on-the-bike yoga.

Somehow I don’t think you could do this on the road 🙂


(Photo: Tony Ryan)

In a surprisingly short time we had ridden around the bottom end of the island and reached Woorim.

Friendly lifesavers greeted us while keeping a watchful eye on early morning bathers.


Welsby Lagoon

(Photo: Jason Reed)

Our first stop of the day was at Welsby Lagoon.

Welsby Lagoon

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

This tannin coloured lake comes close to the shore, but only rarely flows onto the beach after heavy rain, or after an unusually high tide.

Welsby Lagoon

We spent a few minutes cooling off in the shade and enjoying the breeze.


Further up the coast we met Joe on his Mongoose Fat Bike.

I saw him a few hundred metres ahead of us on the beach, and wondered why it took so long for us to catch him.

“Gee he must be going fast” I muttered to myself.


(Photo: Raquel Brand)

Joe was just wearing rubber thongs on his feet, had no water, and was riding a bike with no gears.

We admired his riding skill and his simple, but effective bike.



Caloundra loomed on the northern horizon.

If we kept riding up the beach we would eventually reach the northern tip opposite Bulcock Beach at Caloundra.

But today we planned to turn off about three-quarters of the way up the island.

Pushing Through the Sand

The track to lighthouse reach has soft deep sand.

The riders with skinny tyres had to get off and push for a while.

Today I was grateful for my fat tyres.

Lighthouse Reach

Eventually the surface firmed up and we followed the track east towards the day-use area.


The shady picnic shelter at Lighthouse Reach was the perfect spot for lunch.


As we relaxed, jet-skis zoomed up the channel leaving a thin white wake behind them.

Lighthouse Reach

The low tide had passed. The strip of hard rideable sand on the beach would be shrinking as the waves rolled in, so we decided to make our way back down the beach while we had time.

Racing Against the Tide

As if on cue, the waves did start coming closer. The strip of sand narrowed, and the surface grew softer under the incoming tide.

Although our ride up the beach was carefree, the southbound leg was hard work.


Vehicles drove further up the beach to avoid the water.

One unfortunate driver found himself bogged.


In times like this, an ultra-light helicopter would come in handy.

This guy buzzed up the beach, only a couple of metres above the water. It looked like he was having a lot of fun.


(Photo: Tony Ryan)

Fortunately, we reached our turn-off just as the beach became impossible to ride on.

Grinding through the soft sand had been hard work.

We had another break in the shade.


Jason surprised us with some frozen drinks he had packed for us beforehand.

What a delightful surprise.

Thanks, Jason!


Plantation Trail

(Photo: Raquel Brand)

Leaving the beach we followed a track east towards the plantations.

Forest Trail

With the national park forest on our left, and the pine plantation on our right, it was a relief to ride on a firm grassy fire trail.


Forestry Trail

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

Alas, the track grew soft and sandy in parts.

We all tried different approaches to avoid the soft bits.

Darb and I kept on the track and trusted our fat tyres.

Jason R and Raquel rode in a dry creek bed.

Jason G rode on the grassy verge.



The track continued east, eventually returning us to the busy east coast near Bongaree.


We followed the bike path along the coast back to our starting point, past tempting smells of sizzling BBQ’s, happy kids, smiling faces and seagulls.

Bribie Island – what a delightful place!

Total distance: 63.62 km
Total climbing: 346 m
Average temperature: 29.8
Total time: 05:33:42
Download file: activity_986151350.gpx
More data

We rode 63km in about five and a half hours.

I burned about 3,000 kcal.

The first half of this ride was easy and carefree.

The second half was physically demanding.

All up I’d rate this one 8 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter due to the tough grind back down the beach as the tide was rising.

That’s the thing with beach riding: you can be ambitious or carefree, but not both. It’s unpredictable, and the tide always has the last word. It’s always worthwhile to have flexible plans.

Thanks Darb, Jason G, Jason R, and Raquel for a fun ride.

I’m sure we’ll be back soon!

Merry Christmas everyone! Thanks so much for your friendship and support during the year. We’ve seen some amazing places over the last twelve months. I hope that continues in 2016.


Red Beach

2 Replies to “Bribie”

    1. Thanks for your kind wishes, Geoff.
      I might be fit, but not enough to keep up with the others when the tide started coming in!
      Merry Christmas – I hope 2016 brings more wonders for you.

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