A Day on Macleay Island in Moreton Bay, Queensland

We are in the middle of a two-week school holiday break here in Australia at the moment. As usual, Mrs Bob and her friend Stacey are looking for things to do to keep the kids amused.

On Wednesday of last week they paid $6 for the adults and $3 each for the children to board the ferry to Macleay Island, just off of the Brisbane coast, as foot passengers. Here are the kids looking cool as they speed out towards the island…

ferry20 minutes later they found themselves on the island at its southernmost point, but they wanted to be in Pat’s Park at the north end. Luckily, a cab was parked up nearby and the driver was happy to take them where they wanted to go as soon as she had finished her lunch.

A few more bites on a sandwich and one $20 minibus ride later, they were where they wanted to be.

I didn’t go, as I’m sure you have gathered by now, but if I had I would have taken some wonderful photographs like those taken by Melanie Cook…

Macleay Island 1

Macleay IslandPhotos courtesy of Melanie Cook

I would have also, no doubt, taken even more high-quality pictures similar to those taken by Redland City Council…

Macleay Island sand Macleay Island boat

Macleay Island sunsetPhotos courtesy of Redland City Council

But I didn’t go, so what we have here instead are the photographs taken by Mrs Bob with her iPhone.

It wasn’t long before they found the path that leads to the swimming pool…

swimming poolNot your regular kind of swimming pool, but it did at least have netting all the way around it to keep out the sharks, which was nice….

swimmingAs long as you jump back in on the right side of the fence…


Like this…

swimming (3)

swimmingMacleay Island

Macleay Island is one of four inhabited islands in the group of islands known as Southern Moreton Bay Islands. The other three are Russell Island, Lamb Island and Karragarra Island.

Macleay Island has a population of around 2572 people (as at 2011), which is 99 more than on the larger Russell Island, making it the most populated of the four. Lamb Island and Karragarra Island are considerably smaller.

Moreton Bay itself does have many more islands, including North Stradbroke Island and Moreton Island, both of which we have visited on many occasions.

If you fancy the quiet island life though, you might be surprised to hear that property on these islands is considerably cheaper than on the mainland. I had a quick look and found a five bed detached house for $295,000 and a two bedroomed detached cottage for just $158,000, both on Macleay Island.

Of course, the downside is that there won’t be too many job opportunities on the island and shopping is limited.

With the day over, the girls needed to find their way back from the north end of the island. They discovered that if you have a drink in the Macleay Island Bowls Club, you can get a free ride back to the ferry terminal in their courtesy bus.

Two glasses of wine and three kids drinks = $19.70.

A perfect end to a perfect day.

Do you live on Macleay Island? Or any of the other Southern Moreton Bay Islands? What’s it really like to live there? Please do let us know in the comments below…

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Matty M March 19, 2019, 7:08 pm |

    Hi Bob, realise this thread is a bit old but none the less thought I’d give it a try and see if we can get a response from anyone.
    We plan to make the move from “Mexico” (Melbourne haha) and purchase, and are tossing up between the 2 larger ones Macleay and Russell Islands. Is there one particularly more enticing than the other. We are mid 40’s with 2 sons (19 & 21). We plan on semi retiring and will possibly setting up rental on the mainland up there to get our sons settled there as I think the slower life & extra daily ferry travel would not be their scene (for a little while anyway)… until they work out what life is really all about… One apprentice carpenter the other plans on trying to make the cut to get into med school.. We love the idea of low traffic noise, cars doing burnouts in the middle of the night, get out of the rat race and start to unwind and enjoy the simpler things in life. Home grown fruit and veggies, few chooks etc and meet nice caring genuine folk who are after the same relaxed pace in life..
    (P.S. one of my sons wants to know if their are crocs around them also haha, he seemed a bit concerned)😂
    Would love any feed back from anyone re choosing an island to call home, pro-cons between the 2.
    Thanks a heap
    Matty M

    • BobinOz March 20, 2019, 8:23 pm |

      Welcome from over the border 🙂

      As you can imagine, this is a question I simply can’t answer, I have not personally been to either place, but hopefully someone who knows these islands well will help you out.

      As you can see from the comment below, pravdaseeker moved to Russell Island some time ago, and was loving it six months in. Not sure if he’s still there, or still loving it, but if he does see your comment I’m sure he will tell you what he thinks as he has been a very regular commenter on this website over the years.

      How it compares to Macleay Island though, I really don’t know, I’ve not been to either.

      As for your sons, you can put their minds at rest, there won’t be any crocs off of either of these islands to worry about. Sharks though, that’s a different story…

  • pravdaseeker April 21, 2016, 6:13 pm |

    Greetings Bob,

    Living on Russell Island for 6 months now. We LOVE it here. No cattle trucks rumbling by, or trains horns in the middle of the night. Just stone curlews calling out sometimes. Our garden has a lot of native plants so we are visited by honey eaters, and Lorikeets on a regular. There is a mob of Sulphur crested cockatoos that pass through occasionally. One I think was once a pet, as it answered my wife a distinct HELLO the other morning. Russell has just about all one really needs, and occasionally a trip across the bay is needed for certain items, but a good sized IGA store, a bowls club, a RSL, nice school for the younger children, a nice swimming pool, and various small businesses that meet most needs. A police station with 2 officers I think. BUT NO PUB…hmm. Someday it might have one of these too. Nice and quiet place, lovely island. The soil at our house is a DEEP RED and very fertile. We have passionfruit growing like crazy, and a paw-paw tree that has at least a dozen fruit coming on at the moment. Banana trees at back of property. We decided to buy where we wanted to retire at, so after going all over Queensland, Russell Island seemed to fit the bill for us. Cheers, and keep up the good work with your website mate!

    • BobinOz April 22, 2016, 6:37 pm |

      It sounds absolutely perfect, well, until I got to the bit about no pub! I assume you can get a drink at the Bowls club or the RSL though?

      That aside, it would appear to have the best of everything. Quiet, secluded beach side living. Small friendly community. Local shops for everyday needs. Bananas, no trucks, and Australia’s fourth largest city a short ferry ride away.

      I’ll be checking out Russell Island one day soon, it’s definitely on my ‘to do’ list. I’ll make sure I bring some tinnies with me 🙂

  • Warwick April 7, 2016, 3:54 pm |

    Wellington Point, Victoria Point, Redland Bay – these are beautiful seaside areas with rich red soil and lush vegetation. They are like sub-tropical paradises. They are nuggets amongst the dross of the greater Brisbane area.

    • BobinOz April 7, 2016, 8:45 pm |

      Yes, Brisbane may not have golden sandy beaches and waves to satisfy the surfers, but it does have coastal areas of beauty and serenity. Wellington Point is one of my favourites, but all three you mention have a distinct charm.

    • Warwick April 21, 2016, 8:16 pm |

      I used entirely the wrong word when I said ‘The dross of the greater Brisbane Area.’
      “Dross” is very wrong.
      Most of the greater Brisbane area is fine; it is just that these particular spots are possessed of something special.

      • BobinOz April 22, 2016, 6:59 pm |

        Ha ha, I thought it was a little harsh at the time Warwick, and not your usual style. All good though, Brisbane forgives 🙂

  • djmcbell April 5, 2016, 10:19 pm |

    Ah, Bob – we are now very happy as, for starters, our car has passed its MOT somehow – and we didn’t even have to sacrifice any goats!

    But, more importantly, things are moving on our house! We have accepted an offer and, all being well, should be out in the land of Oz at the beginning of July! Probably not the best time, but it should allow us to get settled without frying to death immediately. We also have a rental lined up for as soon as we get there, which is (quite literally) a stone’s throw from the beach.

    Now I just need to get a job sorted…

    • BobinOz April 6, 2016, 6:25 pm |

      My congratulations to your car and those retained goats.

      Looking good on the house front as well, hope the sale proceeds smoothly and congrats on securing a rental for when you get here, that’s not always easy to do. Please do refrain from throwing stones at the beach though 🙂

      Seems things are falling into place for you, well done. And any time is a good time to arrive in Australia. Cheers, Bob

  • Richard Huckle April 5, 2016, 12:07 pm |

    Loved this blog. Sister in Birkdale – how I wish I could stay there.

    • BobinOz April 5, 2016, 9:26 pm |

      Yes, Birkdale, nice and handy to catch that ferry from there, and it’s a very nice place to stay. If you can’t get a permanent visa, maybe your sister will let you stay for a holiday or two? 🙂

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