The region of Moreton Bay is situated north of the sprawling suburbia of the state capital, Brisbane, south of the beautiful, pristine, golden sandy beaches of the laid back Sunshine Coast and east of the serene mountains and plains of the Somerset region.
Though the former two often get a lot more attention, Moreton Bay isn’t a region to be overlooked. From beautiful forestry drives through large sections of D’aguilar National Park to numerous coastal experiences, land and water activities are in abundance here.
So if you’re looking for some quiet time away that’s not too far away from the chaos, Moreton Bay has many free things to do that will cater to your whole family’s inner outdoor enthusiast.
Take A Scenic Drive
Mt Glorious/ Mt Nebo, D’Aguilar National Park
The road that joins Brisbane and the region of Somerset is a glorious drive through the mountains that has numerous walks, lookouts and vantage points. It’s so glorious in fact that it’s actually called Mt Glorious. Imagine that. And Mt Nebo too, which is equally as pretty, but that doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?
But while these things are great to stop at and stretch the legs, this road is all “About them curves, ’bout them curves, ’bout them curves”. It’s the kind of drive that excites. The gentle rise and fall as the road meanders the mountainscape and elevates you into its peaks is the kind of stuff that motorbike riders, car enthusiasts and nature lovers love to explore.
*This drive goes into the Scenic Rim Region
Settle In For A Swim
Settlement Cove Lagoon, Redcliffe
If you think the artificial beaches at South Bank right by the Brisbane River in the state’s capital is a fabulous attraction, then the resort-style Settlement Cove Lagoon next to the ocean in Redcliffe will have you squeeing like a particular writer when she watches Supernatural.
This glorious, 95m crystalline lagoon comprised multiple sections such as shallow, fenced off areas for the mini-mes, deeper areas for the underwater warriors, an island in the middle for the ones who want to envision they are stuck of a deserted island and a river for those who don’t want to be all at sea.
It’s a fantastic free public pool that gives you the destination holiday resort you deserve without the price tag and its open year-round for all you crazy kids that don’t mind borderline hypothermia.
Watch The Sunset Over A Lake
Lake Samsonvale/ North Pine Dam
If you’re looking for a relaxing place to have a pic-a-nic, Lake Samsonvale is a lovely location not too far from Brisbane where you can escape the chaos of city-and-suburb life.
There are three main areas to choose from: Bullocky’s Rest, Forgan Park Picnic Area and McGavin View Park. Each park has numerous picnic tables, gas BBQ’s, and an abundance of trees for that back-to-nature feel.
If it’s damn views of the North Pine Dam you’re after, the better locale is McGavin View Park, which also has a playground you can tire the kids out on, but if you want to dip your toes into the water that supplies water to the Brisbanites of the south, the other two parks have gently sloping hills down to the shore where you can do so to your heart’s content.
Either way, some time out at Lake Samsonvale is a great way to recharge the brain battery without having to go too far away from the suburbs.
Looking to get wrecked? Well keep your beers in the esky, this is not that kind of wrecked.
Hidden behind some buildings at Woody Point lies the wreck of a flat-ironed gunboat, the HMQS Gayundah. This is the closest wreck to Brisbane (that I know of) that doesn’t require a trip across the water to get to an island or involve whipping out the snorkelling or diving equipment.
It’s a cool 37m ship that began its service before the turn of the 19th century and served several purposes until the 1950s before it was plonked here to protect the fragile little beach behind the buildings from eroding.
Drop by, get a selfie and say bon voyage to this cute little ship before it sets sail. Oh wait, you can’t, it’s beached. HA! Please stop me.
Watch The Pelicans Get Their Gobble On
Pelican Park, Clontarf
There’s nothing like watching a seabird glide effortlessly along the water just chilling to the beat of its own drum, especially if its a bird of sizeable proportions like the Australian pelican, but better than that is watching it chow down on its next meal.
Of course, seeing that happen in the wild is not something one tends to come across when out in the wilderness. However, as a way to check on the seabirds and observe if they have injuries or entanglements, the folks at the Clontarf Visitor Information Centre lure them in with buckets of fish from who knows where ready for them to devour.
It’s an all-out frenzy when the daily feeding happens at 10.00 am with many pelicans well aware that there is an easy meal for them at this aptly named Pelican Park and it’s quite a sight to see. So, if you’ve ever wanted to see a brief, a pod, a pouch, a scoop or a squadron of pelicans duking it out to see who’ll be the fullest-of-fish bird, this little park on the southern end of the Redcliffe Peninsula is the place to be.
Take A Drive On The Wild Side
The Mt Mee section of D’Aguilar National Park has a bit of something for everyone. You want an easy access lookout? Check. A short walk through the forest? Check. Maybe something a bit more challenging? Check. What about a little bit of history? Check. Fluffy creatures? Check.
All those things are well and good but its the forestry drives that are the real drawcard here. The Somerset Lookout provides beautiful views looking down into the Wivenhoe and Somerset catchments that you can’t see anywhere else (especially Somerset) and is worth the effort it takes to ride these uneven roads.
Get The Island Experience
A great way to spend a few hours relaxing is to visit the beaches on Bribie Island. As the only island nearby accessible by bridge, Bribie allows you to have a quiet island experience without the costly ferry ride it takes to get you there.
The east side is a typical Australian oceanside beach experience, but with fewer crowds, you’ll have no difficulty getting yourself a nice patch of sand. If you’re looking for a calmer and more scenic beach experience, the west side has prime views of Pumicestone Passage that separates Bribie Island from the mainland as well as views extending to the distinctive peaks of the Glass House Mountains in the north-west.
Both sides of the island are lovely and peaceful with the east catering more to surfers and whale watchers and the west catering to strollers and kayakers.
Kayak The Passage
The waterway that separates Bribie Island from the mainland is a sheltered passageway which means that it is a great place to take a dip, take a stand or take a seat without waves trying to drown you.
Whether you swim near the shore, stand-up paddleboard, or row, row, row your kayak gently down the stream, you’ll be able to have an ocean experience that has lovely views extending across to the jagged peaks of the Glass House Mountains in the north-west.
Have you visited all these places? Which ones would you love to check out next? What are some of your favourite free things to do in the Moreton Bay region?
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