Location Guide – Red Beach, Bribie Island

Posted by on Aug 18, 2013 in Location Guides | 9 comments

Location Guide – Red Beach, Bribie Island

Bribie Island is a short road trip north of Brisbane, about 1hr from the CBD will get you crossing the Bribie Island Rd bridge into the very relaxed island lifestyle. Bribie Island has a lot to offer itself for the photographer but by far my favorite is Red Beach.

Red Beach Storm by Ken Dickson 0.5sec @ f11, ISO 100 Canon 40d with Sigma 17-70mm

Red Beach Storm by Ken Dickson
0.5sec @ f11, ISO 100
Canon 40d with Sigma 17-70mm

Red Beach runs along the southern end of the island and it faces back towards Brisbane. This southern aspect is somewhat unusual in our area and it possible to both sunrise and sunset images along the beach at various times of the year.

When you walk onto the beach from the car park, you are facing south towards Brisbane across Moreton Bay. Turning right will head you along the beach towards the Pumicestone Passage Channel that runs between the island and the mainland. This stretch of beach gradually grows wider and leads around to the popular Buckley’s Hole Bird Watching area which is great for shorebirds.

Special Photographic Features or Notes

The biggest draw card for me comes when you turn left along the beach after entering from the carpark.  Along this narrow beach (note a warning about the tides further down in this post) is numerous trees and logs that lay along the shoreline. These unique pieces of driftwood will vary in size from small pieces of wood to truly massive trees.


Driftwood Beach by Ken Dickson
1/350 sec @ f9.5, ISO 100
Canon 40D with Sigma 17-70mm

This beach is not very well known , it doesn’t have surf or is patrolled. It is not unusual to have a the whole stretch to yourself at sunrise or sunset.

The beach borders the Buckley’s Hole Conservation Park, the bird life along this beach is easily spotted and includes the majestic raptors such as Osprey along with migratory shorebirds.


Osprey Soaring by Ken Dickson
1/1500 sec @ f5.6, ISO 100
Canon 40D with Sigma 100-300mm

Best times of the Day

Sunrise and Sunset are most definitely the best times of day for this location although good images can be constructed at other times.

The old trees and driftwood can provide interesting textures and sand patterns at other times of the day, just be careful of the high contrast that may be come into play during the middle of the day.

Special Equipment

Tripods are a must for the sunset and sunrise time periods. Some very interesting images can be constructed by examining the contract of wave movement against the static logs and trees.

I suggest a graduated filter to help balance the bright skies against the foreground ensuring a well balanced image.


The Last Soldier by Ken Dickson 10sec @ f11, ISO100 Canon 40d with Sigma 17-70mm

The Last Soldier by Ken Dickson
10sec @ f11, ISO100
Canon 40d with Sigma 17-70mm

Tidal Information

Big WARNING – Red Beach has a very small area of sand bordered by a thick bushy wetland. You must review the tides prior to attempting photography on the beach, you may get trapped if you are not watching the incoming tide. This warning is particularly related to the part of the beach with big driftwood trees.

To check tide tables I use an App on the iPhone called – ShralpTide

I suggest ensuring you are entering the beach on an outgoing tide, it needs to be passed the peak and dropping down to reveal more beach whilst you are there


red beach


Getting there

  • From Brisbane head north towards the Sunshine Coast on the Bruce Highway.
  • Take exit 152 from The Bruce Hwy onto Bribie Island road and follow the signs toward the island.
  • Once you cross the bridge onto the Island, you will be in the township of Bongaree, if you are staying overnight you will find a number accommodations options in this area.
  • You should follow Welsby parade through Bongaree, this road follows along side the Pumicestone Channel
  • Continue onto Toorbul st
  • At the roundabout, take the second exit into Spowers st
  • After about 200m turn right into Gregory St
  • Turn left into Tulley st
  • After 350m turn right into Red Beach and this will take you through to a beach-side car park. From there it is a short walk through to the beach.
  • Plenty of free parking is located directly at the end of the Jetty.


This little known beach is easily reached from Brisbane and provides tremendous potential to get great landscape images. If you do head up to Red beach, I really recommend looking around the other attractions you will find on the island. There are some magnificent photographic attractions in very close proximity here.


  1. Nice essay, Ken. Thanks. The tide app you recommend certainly has Bribie Island, but it isn’t very fine grained, i.e., it doesn’t have many locations in Australia. I’ve tried other apps – QLD Tides, Tides, Tides AUS – but none of them are perfect. I’m still looking…

    • Rodney,

      As with most things, it tends to be a compromise I guess. I always use the Brisbane Bar location as my starting point.


  2. Love your images Ken. Thanks for sharing. Will definitely go up and have a look and probably stay a night or two. Love beach images with something interesting on the foreshore, but finding them is never easy.

    • Thanks Lyn. Certainly a few choices on Bribie island that make it well worth a couple of nights stay.


  3. Hello
    Recently discovered Red Beach at Bribie. I am not a photographer but a ‘new writer’. I was intrigued on my visit to Red Beach to discover the connection and significance of the place during WW2. Hard to get more information on this. Google led me to your blog. Thank you for your fabulous pics. I have put a link to you on one of my posts. Hope you are OK with this, if not will delete.

    • Jan,

      Thanks for comments. That beach is certainly interesting all round.


  4. Wonderfully written.
    Does anyone know why it is called “Red Beach”?

    • Thanks Mary.

      I have heard 2 different stories but I believe the first is the most logical:
      1) Comes from the colour of the water that runs across the beach at various locations. The red water is Tannin filled run-off from the nearby forest area.
      2) named that water when the local area was used for military training in WW2

      • Thank you! Surely that shed some light.
        I agree with you, the first sounds a bit more logical.

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