Friday, January 13, 2012

Cleveland Point To Caloundra

My good buddy Paulie is on his annual escape from the frigid Norwegian winter which meant it was time for a classic SE Qld adventure. This fantastic local sea kayak tour didn't disappoint.

Day 1 - Cleveland Pt to Moreton Is air strip - 49km : 

The original plan had been to paddle only as far as Amity Point at the northern end of Stradbroke Island on the first day, but like all sea kayaking trips, the winds and tides would dictate the itinerary. The forecast suggested 20-25 knot southerlies and seas to 2.5 metres later in the week, combined with a morning flood tide right on a full moon meant the Moreton to Bribie crossing would be unfeasible. We would just have to paddle all the way to Bribie in the first two days which made for a fairly long but very satisfying first day on the water. The crux of this section of the trip is the crossing from the top of Straddie to the southern tip of Moreton, time it incorrectly during spring tides and things could get a little interesting. We almost made it across before the big tide started to retreat in earnest, dragging us east with it. 100 metres of frantic paddling had us on the beach where we walked our boats through the shallows until we were out of the main channel and were able to paddle into the current. Another 25km on the protected, sweltering hot, western side of Moreton had us at our campsite a few kilometres north of the Tangalooma wrecks.

Day 2 - Moreton Is to Forth Lagoon Bribie Is - 32km :

We awoke to air heavy with smoke and ash on our boats and tents, obviously the fires that were sweeping over the northern part of Moreton were still burning strongly. There was no wind, just a glassy, crystal clear sea reflecting the oppressive heat as we paddled out to the M7 marker. As soon as our bows entered the main tidal flow we were being swept to the south on a course that would have landed us at Redcliffe. All our strength was needed to draw us level with the channel marker where we quickly decided that our best option was to head back into shore, paddle a little further north and wait until the flooding tide had lost some of its power. Take two went smoothly and we were soon moving (slowly) in a north westerly direction toward Bribie which we wouldn't be able to spot through the smoke haze until well over half way into the crossing. By mid afternoon we had made camp beside a big Casuarina, where we lay in the shade and watched Moreton burn.

Day 3 - Bribie Is to Bulcock Beach Caloundra - 20km :

The forecast south easterly arrived just as the sun cleared the huge mass of smoke spewing into the sky above Moreton. Our last day on the water provided the most engaging kayaking of the trip. The wind pushed into the flood tide and caused the sea to stand up sharply, requiring the odd brace and stern rudder. The bar crossing went smoothly and the adventure was done. It would have been nice to just keep paddling north, but we were happy. It had been a great trip with varied conditions in a beautiful location amongst big sea turtles, dolphins, manta rays, schools of chopping fish escorted by terns, even a small shark and an inquisitive snake. A true SE Qld classic.

Route details are here. The battery died a few km before the end.


  1. Great write up and photos' Trev. Really enjoyed reading this, and, I got some inspiration as well for future trips.

    1. Thanks Philip, this really is a great trip. I would highly recommend getting out there in your new boat when you get the chance.