North of the bridge, Pumicestone Passage extends about 30 kilometres to Caloundra. This magical place is a must for visitors to Bribie Island. Whether beside it or on it, you cannot fail to be impressed by the views the Passage affords. You can take a motor-boat up the channel, sail, kayak, or go on a cruise – all opportunities to take pleasure in one of the most picturesque bodies of water in Queensland. Fishing is great fun in the Passage and the variety is huge – flathead in the creeks, whiting on the sandbars, snapper under the bridge. Some say that keeping the fish ruins a good day’s fishing!
Being on the water gives you the best chance of spotting dolphins and sea-turtles. Both bottle-nose and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins are common in Pumicestone Passage, often seen in groups, sometimes schooling fish together for a feast.
The green turtle is the one most often seen in the waters around Bribie Island.
If you spot a green turtle once, you may have to wait a while
to see it again – they usually surface every ten to thirty
minutes, but can stay under water for hours at a time!
The elusive dugong is listed as vulnerable to extinction, but there is a reasonably stable resident population in Moreton Bay Marine Park. The dugong is not everyone’s idea of beautiful, but sailors-of-old saw them as visions of mermaids. It is paler grey than a dolphin and has no dorsal fin; its upper lip is swollen and trunk-like (in fact its closest land cousin is the elephant!). This placid mammal feeds on the sea-grass beds of Pumicestone Passage. Sea-grass is precious to the dugong – so take care to avoid damaging it. More often than not, you first catch sight of a dugong out of the corner of your eye, and it is gone before you realise what you have just seen. Be patient; wait and look towards where he is heading – if you are lucky, a second sighting is your reward!
Banksia Beach and White Patch are great swimming spots; pull up in your boat and the kids can chase the soldier crabs along the sand. Further north are camp-sites along the shore; some, such as Mission Point, can only be reached by boat, but are worth the effort. Whether for a day or for a camping-trip, journeying up the Pumicestone Passage will become a lasting memory.
The distinctive Glasshouse Mountains in the distance provide a perfect backdrop to sunset, bringing to a close yet another wonderful day on the waters of Bribie Island.