Redcliffe could well be Brisbane's best kept secret. This relaxed coastal enclave offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the tranquil waters of Moreton Bay, a rich history to explore, and a must-see homage to the city's favourite harmonising sons. Here's a checklist of ten top things to do.
Boasting some of Brisbane’s closest and calmest beaches (thanks to the sheltering islands of Moreton Bay) and a relaxed seaside vibe, the Redcliffe Peninsula makes the perfect short break or ‘staycation’ destination from the Queensland capital.
While accessing Redcliffe’s beaches in the early 1900s meant hopping on a steamer and chugging down the Brisbane River, today the Peninsula is just a 30-minute drive north of the Brisbane CBD. Time your stay to include a Sunday so you can browse the eclectic stalls at the Redcliffe Markets.
Here are ten of the best things to do in Redcliffe.
There are plenty of lovely patches of sand on which to park yourself around the Peninsula. Check out Scarborough Beach (the northernmost option), Suttons Beach (patrolled) and Margate Beach, which stretches for some two kilometres.
Redcliffe Beach offers the opportunity to stroll along the historic Redcliffe Jetty and take in the sweeping bay views towards Moreton Island. When you’re ready for that all-important ice cream, head up to The Big Kid Ice Creamery on the Parade and choose from thirty flavours. There are also plenty of neighbouring cafes and restaurants.
2. Laze by a tropical lagoon
Located at the base of the Redcliffe cliffs, the idyllic Settlement Cove Lagoon offers an alternative to beach swimming. Patrolled during peak periods, it’s perfect for everyone — with shallow play areas for the littlies and deeper areas for competent swimmers — all surrounded by landscaped gardens and swaying palm trees.
3. Boogie down Bee Gees Way
Having emigrated from the United Kingdom to Australia in the late 1950s, Gibb brothers and passionate musicians Barry, Robin and Maurice played their first local gig at the Redcliffe Speedway and signed their first record contract on the kitchen table of their Redcliffe home — naming themselves the Bee Gees. Their Redcliffe roots are celebrated in a laneway dedicated to the group.
Freely accessible to the public, Bee Gees Way is open day and night. The fascinating multimedia tribute features life-size statues of the brothers, interpretive boards and a 5.3-square-metre video screen playing interviews and home movie footage. Don’t miss seeing the evening light show, which is set to a soundtrack of hits.
4. Shop up a storm at the markets
The Redcliffe Farmers and Artisan Markets are held along the Redcliffe beachfront every Sunday from 8am, and you can pick up fresh produce, handmade products, jewellery, clothing and that unique gift that you probably won’t find anywhere else. The markets also serve up a world of tasty treats — everything from towering New York hotdogs to gooey Portuguese custard tarts. Come hungry!
5. Go island hopping or whale watching
It’s not only humans that enjoy swimming in the protected waters of Moreton Bay. Whales, turtles, dolphins and even dugongs are partial to it also. Book a cruise with Brisbane Whale Watching and head out to meet the marine dwelling locals. Cruises operate between June and November.
6. Attend a festival
In addition to its weekly markets, Redcliffe stages some fabulous annual community events. The Redcliffe Festival of Sails takes place on Good Friday on Suttons Beach and coincides with the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race. You can’t get better land-based views of the race action. To top it off, a sky-diving bunny lands on the beach to deliver Easter eggs (always managing to miss the hundreds of market stalls that line the foreshore).
If you happen to be in town in August, head along to the Redcliffe KiteFest. Held in Pelican Park in Clontarf, kites of all shapes and sizes fill the sky with colour. The festival attracts expert kite flyers from around the world, and you’re very welcome to bring along your own kite and join in the high-flying fun.
7. Walk the Redcliffe Heritage Trail
Grab yourself a guide from the Redcliffe Visitor Information Centre and set off on possibly the most picturesque historic walk you’ll ever take. Named Red Cliff Point in 1824, the Redcliffe Peninsula was the site of the region’s original penal colony — which was established to take Sydney’s incorrigible convicts. The settlement was moved up the Brisbane River due to a lack of drinking water.
The Convict Trail walk will take you to sites such as the prisoner’s barracks, the Commandant’s house and the whipping post. Next, follow the Esplanade Walk to see where Australia’s first Luna Park once stood, along with historic highlights like the Ambassador Hotel.
8. Be a culture vulture
For a dash of local, national and even international culture, check out what’s on during your stay at the Redcliffe Entertainment Centre. Ballet, opera, jazz, comedy and musicals are all staged at the centre. Redcliffe also has a brand-new $5.5 million dollar, 1,000-square-metre art gallery and community space, which features the work of local artists alongside touring exhibitions.
9. Buy a Moreton Bay Bug off the trawler
You can’t visit the Peninsula without sampling some of the best seafood in Queensland. Situated right on the Scarborough Boat Harbour, Morgans Seafood offers the freshest catch straight off the trawlers, along with cooked fish and chips, a sushi bar and an oyster bar. Dine in overlooking the marina, or do takeaway and enjoy an al fresco feast by the beach.
10. Explore the Peninsula on two wheels
Hire a bike and take on the Moreton Bay Cycleway (a 22-kilometre return trip). Start near Scarborough Beach and enjoy the fresh sea breeze as you cycle along the Peninsula’s foreshore to the Ted Smout Memorial Bridge in Clontarf. Take a breather at Scotts Point Beach in Woody Point to check out the HMQS Gayundah shipwreck. At picturesque Woody Point Jetty, local fishermen will be happy to chat about the day’s catch.
Do you have any suggestions to add to our list of the best things to do in Redcliffe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.
Visitors to any Queensland beach are reminded to stay safe and always swim between the red and yellow flags.
Additional images: Shutterstock/Bigstock
About the writer
Marianne Diaz is a research scientist by day and a freelance travel writer by night! She has travelled to Sri Lanka to explore her children’s part-heritage, and enjoyed research trips to Japan, and Bloomington, Chicago and Boston in the USA. Marianne’s main travel goal is to get to the Italian Aeolian Islands to check out the other half of her children’s background. She also loves exploring history-laden Australian country towns.