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  • Writer's pictureVicki

Beautiful Bribie!

Historically significant, Bribie Island is home to beautiful beaches, quirky cafes, bush and beach hikes and a number of WWII defence fortifications. Heritage Listed Fort Bribie, a quite dilapidated installation, sits on the north-eastern sands of Ocean Beach, up from the shell of the Fort Skirmish bunker located on the northern part of Woorim Beach.

Bribie Island National Park covers almost a third of the entire island, with vehicle access via the Beach Access Track at Woorim or the Ranger Station at Whitepatch. All access to the national park now requires a permit to be purchased.

WWII Fort Bribie

The naval site of Fort Bribie was built when WW2 loomed upon Australia and became operational by early 1942. The fort provided defence support against light raiding warships and originally a quite primitive structure. When Japanese aggression intensified the bunker was upgraded into Moreton Bay’s major defence installation, due to the superior tactical position.

The fort acted as the Examination Battery at which ships identified themselves and later were linked to the loop controlled underwater minefield surrounding Brisbane during the war. The minefields worked in conjunction with a system of indicator loops – submerged magnetic cables to protect our coastline from both ships and submarines.

Important Elements of Fort Bribie

  • 2 Searchlight Post

  • An Observation Post

  • 2 Mine Control Huts

  • A Plotting Room

  • 2 Major Gun Placements

  • A Signals Operation Room

  • A Water Tank

Access Fort Bribie

You can only access Fort Bribie by 4WD unless you are fit enough for the 20km trek along the beach on foot. You may trek through the bush track but it is difficult to navigate.

There is a sandy 4WD track to Ocean Beach campgrounds (Bribie Island National Park) and from there walk to the fort via the Fort Bribie Walk which links the campgrounds to Fort Bribie, or you can take the 4WD Access Track from Woorim and drive straight up the beach directly to the fort, not for the faint hearted.

Underground Hospital

There are a number of military secrets nestled on this tiny island, one of which was the underground hospital, allegedly built very close to the fort.

Dr Ure is quoted in Peter Ludlow's book Moreton Bay People (2000) as saying "The underground hospital did exist because I set it up at Fort Bribie in 1943. It was a large underground room with steps descending into it. There were about 15 stretcher beds set up inside".

It is doubtful if the hospital was ever used, but it is believed it was built and ready for an emergency should it be needed. [History]


Sylvan Beach is probably the most popular on Bribie, its safe swimming and family-friendly with picnic and barbeque areas, playgrounds and toilets, a boat ramp and hire boats to explore the island by sea. Pop into the bait and tackle shop before you head out for a fish and if you don’t catch anything for lunch, you’ll find a number of cafes nearby. There is Volunteer Marine Rescue on Sylvan Beach and the Talking Monument. Dogs are welcome, but only if they’re on the leash.

There are an abundance of beautiful beaches on the island some great off and on-leash dog beaches on the island and as a member of a large Great Dane community here in Queensland, we are always on the lookout for places to travel with our best buddies. Although dogs are permitted on Red Beach, they do need to be kept on-leash until you are further East. If you drive across to Woorim Beach, the expanse South is all off-leash and at low tide is fabulous for your fur family members.

Personally I am not a happy camper but do love to explore, both on and off track. There is an abundance of camping options, but my most recent visit to Bribie was at a dog-friendly AirBnB at Bongaree, although it wasn't fully fenced, we had a great time.

The path along the foreshore seems to go forever, almost circumnavigating the island. Bars, cafes, BBQs, chill-out zones and lookouts dot the trail, it's all accessible with nice flat and smooth paths most of the way.

So whether your thing is military history, full-on four-wheel driving, a pet-friendly escape or family camping trip, this tiny island has an abundance of bushland, beach tracks and easy walking trails. And Sandstone Point is just across the bridge of a full-on rock concert is your thing - but that's a story for another time.


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