From its northern mouth opening into the ocean off the Caloundra coastline, to its southern end filtering into Deception Bay - Pumicestone Passage is a 35 kilometre ecological marvel and a waterway wonderland of fun.
Part of the Moreton Bay Marine Park, (home to the oldest registered fish habitat in Queensland) the passage is a narrow, shallow estuary, encompassing a meandering system of channels, sand banks and islands located between South-East Queensland's mainland and Bribie Island.
The passage is one of Australia's most important bird and marine habitats on the east coast. Home to more than a plethora of birdlife, as well as populations of dugongs, dolphins, turtles and more species, it is little wonder why this waterway is such a popular shorebird watching area for bird watchers and nature photographers.
Due to the unique ecosystem of Pumicestone Passage, marine life is in abundance and can be observed in its purest form, with species such as turtles, bottle nosed dolphins and the wonderful dugongs, known as mermaids of the sea thriving within it and the wider bay.
Anecdotal reports have suggested Pumicestone Passage is home to dugongs year-round despite the winter water temperatures which usually cause dugongs to migrate elsewhere during the chilly season, making this the perfect destination to get up close and personal to these marvellous creatures. Be sure to observe safety regulations and ensure the safety and wellbeing of the dugongs.
Pumicestone Passage is home to about 1,500 resident shorebirds of 11 species, and nearly 20,000 migratory shorebirds of 24 species. The passage is recognised as one of the most important bird and marine habitats on the East Coast of Australia and is part of the Moreton Bay Marine Park. Get amongst nature and learn about the fascinating bird life which inhabits this beautiful part of the world.
For more information be sure to print out the challenge and identification chart here.
Whether a professional, or a hobbyist photographer, your best bet for bird photography is pretty much anywhere in and around the perimeter of Pumicestone Passage, especially where you find exposed mud, or sand. The Toorbul Bird Roost on the mainland side of Bribie is well worth a look as well.
Some areas such as the esplanades along Bribie and nearby Golden Beach and Coochin Creek (on the mainland side of the passage), are fairly easily accessible, while other locations are only reachable by boat, or 4WD.
If you don’t have access to a tinny then you may wish to consider booking into a Caloundra boat tour, or charter your own vessel on Bribie Island to get the bird and wildlife shots you desire.
For thorough, in-depth information on Pumicestone Passage shorebirds take a look at the Moreton Bay Regional Council's Shorebird Habitat Mapping Project.
Pumicestone Passage is a great destination for all fishing enthusiasts, whether throwing a line in from the shore or from a boat travelling along the waterway. The passage has been known to abound with good-sized tailor, bream and jewfish, to name just a few of the fish keen anglers have been known to nab in these parts.
For the lure anglers, there is a good population of prawns as well, making for a great haul to feed the family.
You will find plenty of fresh bait sold in stores and major service stations along the road to Bribie Island. Fishing on Bribie Island is a great activity perfect for keeping the whole family entertained during a relaxing day out on the
passage, or by the water.
For a truly memorable experience, why not take to the water to explore this natural paradise with a stunning backdrop provided by the Glasshouse Mountains.
There are cruise liners that offer guided services down the passage to really take in all its glory. There are vendors where you can hire kayaks, windsurf boards or kite-surf boards to create your own adventure and get up close to the wildlife. You could also hire a boat to go off-grid and access all the secret and isolated locations within the passage.
For an even more magical and adventurous experience, charter a glider from the Caboolture Airstrip for a birds-eye view of the glorious surroundings. A burst of adrenaline coupled with a serene view makes for a truly unique experience.
Bribie Island National Park dominates the northern half of Bribie Island.
A 4WD is required to traverse the park. Its southern edge connects to quiet White Patch Esplanade, a narrow bitumen road which weaves its way down towards the centre of town next to the water’s edge, behind a lightly forested shoreline.
Leafy foreshore areas reaching along most of Bribie’s western bank have great bird watching potential. Nearby to these you will find parks, caravan parks, restaurants & cafes and the Bribie Island Seaside Museum amongst other places of interest and more things to do on Bribie.
Bribie Island is located approximately 45 minutes drive north of Brisbane along the Bruce Highway.