Travel: Macleay Island

Macleay Island

In my experience, you can never tell how long you are going to live somewhere. Sure, some people live in the same house, or even the same suburb for most of their adult life, but it’s not my experience.

I’ve been living in Brisbane for 31/2 years now and it’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere since 2006. I tend to move around every two years, so when I live in a certain area, I like to throw myself into the region, because, you never know when you’ll be back again.

So it was with this background, that I decided to tick off another Island in Moreton Bay- Macleay Island. As you know we recently ticked off Coochie Mudlow Island and the kids thoroughly enjoyed it. My excuse for another short break was the combined 40th and 65th birthday celebrations of my mum and me.  

We’re actually traveling to Tasmania for the “real” celebrations, however, the children will not be with us. They spend two weeks each Christmas with their father.  So, we needed to have a “celebration” so they could tick that off their list, and not miss us whilst we are away.

After scanning the opportunities on Stayz and AirBNB we decided on Sunset Waters. You can see why in the photos below.

It’s in a word spectacular and fully equipped with everything you need to not only cook up a storm (trust me, this is often a down in a holiday apartment or house, where the kitchen is sparsely populated) but to enjoy your time in a relaxing environment. There was a cupboard filled with board games, a chess set, puzzles, and DVDs both appropriate for kids and adults. There was an iPod docking system with a stereo, a big TV and DVD player plus a bookcase full of magazines and books. There were also basics in the pantry – e.g. glad wrap, mozzie repellant and fresh milk in the fridge. As a bonus, there was also a chilled bottle of champagne awaiting our arrival!  For those who arrive having forgotten wine, there is also a selection of Queensland wine available for purchase at cost price.

Sunset Waters Mcleay Isand
Our accommodation for the weekend.

We were greeted by the caretaker, who happens to live next door. She pointed out that the shed outside contained bikes and fishing rods and a tackle box. We’re not fishermen, but appreciated the detail, especially given that there is a jetty out front, and can imagine that many guests spend the day fishing to their heart’s content.

It was a cold and rainy day on arrival and we decided to leave exploring until the following day and simply relax. I headed up to the master bedroom with views of the water to read a book that I had missed reading earlier in the year for my book club, and the boys starting drawing and chatting with my mum.  A little while later I got the call to come downstairs for my “birthday” afternoon tea. We indulged in a decadent chocolate mousse cake from “The Welsh Lady” and a bottle of Bollinger which was given to mum as a Christmas gift last year by Russell.

Happy 40th to me!

On Saturday morning, I thought I would rise with the sun and go and capture it through the lens. The bed was too comfy… After breakfast, we decided to explore the island. The kids would have been happy staying in the house relaxing, however, there’s no point in staying inside, when there is an island to explore! Our first stop was the organic farm and market. However, the island’s map is almost impossible to read and does not contain all the street names, so we ended up at the Lion’s Christmas Markets instead 😉 Not long after that, however, we found ourselves at the very unique and fascinating organic markets. It was a bit like stepping back into time- the kids found hula hoops, roosters, a pet kangaroo, a pig, a turkey, and its many babies, a shetland pony and many horses. Mum explored the organic market, and we were invited back to the fancy dress “Rocky Horror” outdoor movie screening and a party that evening, however, we had other plans…

Next stop, to find a park for the kids to play in, and perhaps somewhere to swim! As we drove towards the park, we drove past an ambulance and a police car decorated in tinsel. Mum said- “I told you, there is a parade”. A good old Aussie Christmas parade. It dawned on me what she actually meant as we kept driving and passed a bunch of locals on their bikes and pushing prams, and finally another van with a tray back, covered in tinsel and with loads of people hanging out the back and over the top waving. We had just driven past the parade. It is the one time that I have actually lost my nerve. I would have had some classic Aussie Christmas photos, but I kept going, so you’ll have to use your imagination…

Pat’s Park

According to the tourism brochure, Pat’s Park was one of the island’s main oyster camps. Today it is the site of the ANZAC day dawn service and is the location of the netted swimming beach.

Dalpura Beach

Our next stop was Dalpura Beach. Although it was picturesque, the tide really was too low to swim. The view across the bay was of Coochie Mudlow Island.


Macleay Island is a beautiful location for sunset. We were told, however, that the sunsets we experienced were not up to scratch as the best often have purples and pinks and blues. We, however, enjoyed the ones we experienced 😉

Karragarra Island

On our final morning, we decided to catch the ferry across to Karragarra Island, to wear the boys out, and give them an opportunity to have a swim. The ferry trip took a whole two minutes, and we were really surprised by the number of people who were using the passenger ferry to travel between the islands, and to the mainland. Karragarra Island is the only island to have more crabs than humans! There are only 160 residents and no shops, and I believe the locals like it that way…  The beach is netted and is tidal, so if you’re planning on traveling over, make sure you check the tides…

Crabs- Macleay Island
This little fella wasn’t so sure about me. A moment later he/she was gone down the hole, and busy blocking the hole with sand.

The verdict:

A peaceful and relaxing weekend away! Macleay Island is the perfect location for a family who loves fishing and a touch of luxury or a group who just wants to chill out, read books and have a weekend of wine and cooking.

How to get there

To book the car or passenger ferry visit this page. Make sure you choose the correct ferry or you will head to North Stradbroke Island!

I use myself for all my holidays. Please note that if you book a holiday using the search tool below I will receive a small affiliate payment at no cost to you.

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