Stayin’ Alive in Moreton Bay

Writing this caused me to rewatch the video for the song in the title of the post. It’s definitely a classic but I don’t remember being confused by the story being told when I saw it back in the day.  It could be age, but I struggled this time round, to work out what was going on. I eventually came to the conclusion that the Gibb brothers were multi-tasking and combining a video shoot with viewing a potential property to renovate. It was obviously a bit pricey as later on they downgrade to an old train. We’re going to be staying in a renovated train carriage when we visit Undara Volcanic park later in the year, so I know its a possibility. If anyone’s got a more convincing explanation, please do comment below. Anyway, I digress, back to Moreton Bay, more of the Bee Gees later.

We’ve been visiting Bribie Island for over ten years since Jane’s parents moved there. It’s a large sand island stretching for nearly 40 km alongside the coast of the southern end of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, separated by the Pumicestone passage. Bribie is joined to the mainland by a road bridge just under 20km from the Bruce Highway at Caboolture. There’s a great little seaside museum overlooking the passage. It gives the history of the island including its charting by Mathew Flinders and his guide, Bongaree. One of the larger townships on the island bears Bongaree’s name. The museum also gives the life story of Bribie’s most famous ex inhabitant, the eccentric artist Ian Fairweather.

Only the southern tip of the island is developed and the rest is bushland. On the eastern ocean side, Woorim beach spans the length of the island. North of Woorim township, if you get a Queensland parks permit, you can access the beach by 4WD and drive up to the tip of the island near Caloundra.

There’s a variety of places to stay including campgrounds, motels and airbnbs. There’s also plenty of choice when it comes to eating and drinking. The Bribie Island RSL has always had a good reputation for its food and entertainment and is a large facility for the size of the island. This is possibly a reflection of the retired demographic on the island. A new attraction on the mainland just next to the Bribie Bridge is the Sandstone Point Hotel. This large complex is very popular and has a variety of eating and drinking spaces as well as hosting regular live music events.

Opposite Bribie Island at the mouth of the passage is Redcliffe. Both Bribie and Redcliffe are in the Moreton Bay region, home to Moreton island and the eponymous Moreton Bay Bug. Although you can see Redcliffe from Bribie island, it’s a good 45 minutes to drive there as you need to go back to the Bruce Highway then back out to Redcliffe. Coming from Brisbane, it’s about an hour or so north to drive and is also serviced by a new train line. We dropped in for a few hours whilst we were last staying at Bribie. There’s a nice Esplanade walk which winds past an impressive water park for the kids. Brunch was at Cafe 63,, a chain which operates across Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. We’d previously been to their New Farm location and knew their menu was pretty impressive. The Redcliffe cafe didn’t disappoint us.

However, our real reason for visiting Redcliffe was to see Bee Gees Way. The Bee Gees started in Redcliffe, playing over the P.A. at the speedway in 1958 after the Gibb family had moved from Manchester, England. Barry Gibb attended the official opening of this tribute in 2013 and its apparent from quotes and video you can see here that the town is still special to him. The alleyway is an impressive tribute and gives some interesting background to the Gibb brothers musical careers and their personalities. Bee Gees Way and Redcliffe are definitely worth a visit if you’re in this part of Queensland.

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