Russell Island

Russell Island

Surrounded by the sparkling blue water of Southern Moreton Bay, Russell Island is a fascinating place.  We spent the day exploring it.

Russell Island

The ferry captain looked surprised when eleven bikes rolled on board.  We secured them, then settled down for a short cruise around the Southern Moreton Bay Islands, before coming ashore at the Russell Island Ferry Terminal.

Russell Island

Russell Island
(Photo: Adam Lynch)

Although the island is only 7.5 km long and 2.5 km wide, we had plotted out a meandering course that would take us over forty kilometres of dirt tracks and quiet paved roads.

Russell Island

Many of the suburban streets on the island are unpaved – which makes them perfect for an easy roll on a mountain bike.

Russell Island

Russell Island

Our aim was to avoid the tarmac, sticking to gravel roads and dirt tracks wherever possible.

There’s something comforting about the sound of relaxed conversations over the quiet crunch of tyres on gravel.

Russell Island

Two and a half thousand friendly Russell Islanders enjoy a laid-back lifestyle here.  No one is in a hurry.  Most people waved at us as we coasted past their houses.

Russell Island

At the Whistling Kite Wetlands, we followed a trail along the edge of a swamp.

Russell Island
(Photo: Tony Ryan)

Dense eucalyptus forest shaded us on one side, while open grassland stretched out on the other.

Russell Island

Russell Island

We followed a few leafy tracks through the wetlands, bypassing other interesting trails which would have to wait until next time.

Russell Island

“Hey Wayne, are they corks dangling from your hat?”

Despite photos and cartoons of the archetypal Aussie cork-hat, I’d never actually seen one being used before.

“No mate.  They’re bits of cardboard.  Cork is too hard to find these days.”

Whatever they were made from, they seemed to keep the flies away from Wayne’s face.

What a clever idea!

 

Russell Island

The tracks changed from gravel to sand…

Russell Island

…to grass.

Russell Island

We stopped at Rocky Point – on the south-western tip of the island.

Russell Island
(Photo: Tony Ryan)

Power pylons carried cables over Moreton Bay towards the mainland.

Russell Island

In the distance we could make out “Little Rocky Point” on the other side of the passage.

Russell Island

Adam and I set up our cameras for a group shot.

“Smile!” I said through clenched smiling teeth.

Russell Island
(Photo: Adam Lynch)

I pulled a face thinking the cameras had stopped shooting.

I was wrong.

Russell Island

We relaxed for a while at Rocky Point, enjoying the breeze and a few snacks.  There was no hurry today.

Russell Island

We followed a track through the trees that led to the water.

“I wonder what’s down here?”

Russell Island

The track stopped at the water’s edge, mud on either side.

We turned around and retraced our steps.

Russell Island
(Photo: Tony Ryan)

We followed the power lines east towards the other side of the island.

Russell Island
(Photo: Adam Lynch)

The last time we had come here, this track was flooded, blocking our progress and forcing us to take a five kilometre detour.

Russell Island

Today we were able to get through without any problems.  There was only a small amount of mud which we passed with ease.

Russell Island

After heading east for a while, we eventually reached Sandy Bay on the south-eastern tip of the island.

Ahead lay the sparkling water Canaipa Passage, with North Stradbroke Island a short distance away.

Russell Island
(Photo: Adam Lynch)

We stood on the shore looking over the water.

This was a pretty spot.

 

Russell Island

Adam splashed through the water on his bike, and didn’t seem to mind.

 

Russell Island

The south-eastern part of the island has the most hills.

We followed some bumpy tracks through the bush, then tried our legs out on one pinch climb.

Russell Island

From there we followed more bumpy tracks through the bush…

Russell Island

…eventually emerging at a scenic high spot overlooking the passage.

“This would be a pleasant place to paddle sometime” I thought to myself.

 

Russell Island
(Photo: Tony Ryan)
Russell Island
(Photo: Tony Ryan)

At the bottom of the hill we rode out to the end of a boat ramp and looked out northwards at the passage between Russell and Straddie.

These sheltered bays are perfect for mooring boats.

Russell Island

Russell Island

We crested one more pinch climb.

It felt good to test out our legs on the steep grade.

Russell Island

“Is that a mango tree?”

Jason spotted a tree laden with fruit.

Russell Island

“That was one of the most delicious mangoes I’ve ever had,” Kaye told me afterwards.

Russell Island

Our ride was almost over.

We stopped at Canaipa Point on the north-eastern extremity of the island.

The Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron has a beautiful picnic area here.

Jason stripped off and jumped in the water.

Russell Island

We lazily rolled back towards town, stopping at the local RSL for a quick lunch along the way.

Russell Island
(Photo: Tony Ryan)

Total distance: 40.15 km
Max elevation: 40 m
Min elevation: 1 m
Total climbing: 887 m
Total descent: -880 m
Average speed: 15.20 km/h
Total time: 04:25:40
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We rode about forty kilometres in about four and a half hours including breaks.

During this time we climbed about 470 metres in elevation and I burned about 1,500 kcal.

This is a relaxing, easy ride, best enjoyed with friends.

It’s perfect for a hot summer day, because of the cool bay breezes that bathe Russell Island.

I’ll rate it 6 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.

Thanks everyone for a fun day out!

I look forward to our return to the Southern Moreton Bay Islands.


Here’s Adam’s video of the day.

Russell Island
(Photo: Tony Ryan)

2 Replies to “Russell Island”

  1. Thank you Neil & Fellow Dirt
    Bike team members for a wonderful day. Enjoyed your many photos and especially the commentary, hope to bump into you all again.
    Cheers & blessings to all…
    Eric
    QuickestBuiltHomes
    0407 683 779
    quickestbuilthomes.com.au
    Home & Land Specialist
    Russell Island

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