Posted 10/19/2011 by
The southern Sunshine Coast beaches are unique because they are protected by the northern tip of Bribie Island. Not only does this make the shores of Caloundra and Golden Beach perfect playgrounds for little children, but the waters between the mainland and island offer safe opportunities for exploration. The hues of blue and green in the Pumicestone Passage are caused by undulating sand beneath the surface. The calm waters play host to anglers and kite surfers while beachside bike paths, playgrounds and picnic areas are the perfect places for family relaxation. I am, however, one of those people who can’t sit still and look at a beautiful vista - I need to get IN it. If this sounds like you, renting kayaks or a boat can certainly add to the experience. Amber and I are very lucky because we own a sit-on-top kayak big enough for both of us to fit. Named “Mango Express” for its distinct colours, we often use it to ply the waters of the Pumicestone Passage in search of adventure and it’s a method of exploration we love. By kayak, you are less likely to come a cropper on an unfriendly sandbar than with a motorised vessel and exploring under your own steam is an adventure in its own right.
Kayaking to deserted Bribie Island
At low tide, exposed sand bars have been claimed as temporary kingdoms, sand forts built and flotsam flagpoles erected. At high tide, canoeing across to Bribie and wandering down the deserted seaward shore in search of seashells wafts us to the pages of Treasure Island or Robinson Crusoe. Imagine the delight of your kids as they practice their pirate voices and race ahead to hide in the dunes. There are two operations which hire kayaks at Golden Beach: Golden Beach Hire and Bill’s Boat Hire. They are both located right on the Esplanade in Golden Beach so there’s no need to transport the kayak, and they will give you all the necessary instruction. Costs start at $12 for a single kayak for an hour or $20 for a double. With small kids, I suggest a double or with teens perhaps give them a little freedom in their own kayak. Although booking ahead is suggested, it’s not always necessary. If you do book, though, we suggest planning around the tide. The water’s clearer on an incoming tide and if you go close to high tide, the current is almost slack. If you aren’t planning to travel far, and prefer to explore the sand bars, low tide is better. Another way to investigate the Passage is on a tinny, half-cabin cruiser or pontoon boat from Bill’s Boat Hire. No experience is needed and full instruction given. Costs start at $65 for two hours. The advantage, of course, is the ability to travel further and worry less about the currents. Heading south from Golden Beach, the Passage is a 35km meandering channel and, for rentals, your southern boundary is Bells Creek. It’s not uncommon to see turtles raising their heads to inhale, dolphins lazily traversing the calm waters or ospreys searching for lunch among the mangroves. Less common (but still possible) is a sighting of the elusive dugong. These shy marine mammals have a body like a dolphin and head like nothing else. Whether you choose a kayak or boat, taking a picnic and eating it on a totally secluded beach is something memories are made of! Picnic on your own private beach.