Holiday in Australia’s Magical Mangroves

The sun was rising over the horizon as I flipped the switch for the kettle.

kayaking moreton bay


Unzipping my backpack, I popped in a couple of mangoes, some strawberries and (for a holiday treat) two apricot danish pastries and fruit juice.

Downing cups of tea, we slipped on life-jackets, hats, and with sunnies atop, headed out to grab our paddles from under the house.
We were going kayaking in the mangroves.


kayak moreton bay


The water across Moreton Bay (off Brisbane, Queensland) was like a mill pond.

The air was still.

Just the sound of crabs clicking in the mangrove mud as we untied our mooring ropes and pushed off in our kayaks.


Kayak moreton bay


Sloooosh… slosh… sloooosh… slosh… the paddles cyclically flowed through the glassy water flicking droplets off at the top as they circled up, around, and down – gently propelling the bow of our kayaks through the incoming tidal flow.


mangrove australia


Most people think of heading to expansive white sandy beaches for their Australia holiday getaway…

But there’s a tranquility immersing yourself in the magical mangrove wonderland that covers 18% of Australia’s coastline.

Mangroves are full of arboreal sculptural delights, which birds and sea-life call home.


Mangroves Moreton Bay


Meandering through the waterways around Morteon Bay there is no greater thrill than spotting wildlife in its native habitat.
It takes my breath away every-time I see a turtle!
And on this early morning expedition we saw not only one single turtle’s head surface to take in a breath of air, we saw turtle after turtle both coming up for air and taking off through the water beside us.


Mangrove Australia


All but one of the seven turtle species in the world can be found in Moreton Bay. Five of which are year round residents – You can therefore (fleetingly) see:

  • green turtles
  • loggerhead turtles
  • Pacific ridley turtles
  • flatback turtles and
  • hawksbill turtles.

Moreton Bay’s green seagrass meadows (which is clearly noticed at low tide) are one of the best feeding grounds on Australia’s east coast – hence the high density of turtles – and dugongs.

turtles moreton bay

It’s fascinating to also know that all the turtles you see in Moreton Bay are at least juveniles or older.
For years it was a mystery as to where they went between scampering down the beach to the ocean after hatching at Mon Repos up near Bundaberg and reappearing in the Bay about 15 years later.

After extensive monitoring it’s been determined turtles go for a 20,000 km migratory swim around the Pacific – Riding the East Australian Current down the coast, across past New Zealand to South America, where they traverse up the coast to return on the South Equatorial Current back across the Pacific Ocean  –

Female turtles don’t venture on land to lay eggs until they are between 30 and 50 years old – and then only between every 2 and 8 years.

However, for us land lovers, after a few hours paddling the waters we were happy to spot this sandy break (on Stradbroke Island’s western side) upon which to pull up our kayaks and get ashore…

Moreton Bay


…and have a spot of breakfast!

Moreton Bay


Its an amazing feeling in this overpopulated world to be able to pull up on not only an unoccupied beach at the peak of the holidays, but one that is only accessible from the water 😉


mangrove australia

Moreton Bay and the Marine Park is just 50 minutes from Brisbane city.

Ferries operate:

  • Cleveland to Stradbroke Island,
  • Victoria Point to Coochiemudlo Island
  • Weinham Creek at Redland Bay to the South Morton Bay Islands of Macleay, Kurragurra, Lamb and Russell Islands.

Kayak Hire is available on Coochiemudlo and Macleay Island, where ideally its best timed to go out a few hours before high tide (due to extreme tidal variations).
Sea Kayaking tours operate on Stradbroke Island.

Or there’s Kayak Tours that Katrina and Tony operate from the mainland in Redland Bay that will get you out on the water and in among the mangroves 🙂

Have you been kayaking?

Where did you go?
And how did you feel? 😀


Journey Jottings... highlight holiday adventures

17 thoughts on “Holiday in Australia’s Magical Mangroves

    • It looks like croc country, but happily Moreton Bay (off Brisbane) is too far south for crocs!
      Crocodiles habitat as far south as Gladstone, although I gather there have been sighting as far south as Hervey Bay… so maybe its a matter of time! 😉

    • Hi Jock ~
      That last photo was taken on North Stradbroke Island’s west coast in a little inlet just off the waterway between Willes Island and Straddie.

      I certainly love our mangroves here –
      I wrote a post 5 local places I love highlighting some of the wonderful things to be seen in Moreton Bay 🙂

      I’ve just popped over to your site and see the biggest and oldest mangrove is not far from here either! 730 years old with a 3 metre diameter trunk! Wow 😉

    • The turtles are amazing… particularly at ducking back under the surface of the water before you can say –
      “Look at that turtle”
      Or, for me, better still would be to get a quick photie –
      Never-mind… seeing is believing 😉

    • Early morning light is so gorgeous, before the sun gets too hot, brash and bright!

      Yes, kayaking is so peaceful – silently gliding through the mangroves also means you get to see so much more wildlife 🙂
      I love it!

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  4. We went kayaking in the bay on Orcas Island. It was beautiful calm waters, we saw huge star fish and it was lovely for about the first hour. After that, my legs started to ache and I wanted to move in the kayak but couldn’t. Then I got tired and wanted to stop, but had to stay with the group and guide. It was fun though. 😉

    • I could imagine that that region would be a beautiful area to go kayaking Patti –
      But too bad you started feeling uncomfortable and weren’t able to get out and take a break.
      That’s always the worry isn’t it when part of group? But often its not possible to do these types of activities any other way when travelling away from home – so its a take it or leave it scenario – which being an adventurer… I know I’d have to take! 🙂

  5. I can hear the silence and imagine the tranquility. What a beautiful spot to live. Yes, we love kayaking and must try to get our back from our son because living close to the beautiful Swan River means we should be out and about on them too. Loved your photos. Want to visit 😉

    • Kayaking is quite magical so you must get your kayaks back (or invest in more, which second hand are so cheap for the hours of pleasure they give) –
      Its exercise, fresh air, enjoying nature, being on the water when its hot… do you get the impression that I love it?!
      Kayaking companions are always welcome 😉

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