Just 35 minutes north of Brisbane the Redcliffe Peninsula is a gateway to Moreton Bay and a relaxing spot to unwind over just a weekend.
The area is mostly flat, exploring by bicycle is by far the easiest – and cheapest – way to get around. The Moreton Bay Cycleway offers a leisurely path past the peninsula’s picturesque waterfront from Clontarf to Scarborough via Redcliffe. The cycleway is an ongoing project between Moreton Bay Regional Council, Redland City Council and Brisbane City Council that will eventually connect 150km of bikeways from Bribie Island to Redland Bay via the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges, making it the longest cycleway on Australia’s east coast.
The project is due for completion in 2014 but there’s already a decent stretch of path to travel. On our visit we ride more than 30km over Bramble Bay on the Ted Smout Memorial Bridge to Brighton and back before calling it a day. The sun is shining and there’s a slight breeze – perfect weather for exploring the peninsula on two wheels.
Despite being momentarily tempted by a tandem bike, my partner and I wisely choose separate bikes at Moreton Bay Bike Hire, next to the Surf Lifesaver’s Club at Suttons Beach. As the less experienced cyclist, I’m pleased to see the company offers bike collection within the Moreton Bay area for those too tired to pedal all the way home!
Locals and tourists flock to the waterfront in warm weather and it’s particularly busy along Hornibrook Esplanade near Settlement Cove Lagoon. On Sundays it’s even busier when the Redcliffe Jetty Markets are on but as long as you’re not training to be the next Cadel Evans the bustling crowd adds to the holiday atmosphere.
The crowd disperses as we follow the cycleway to Sandgate and there’s no one in sight when we pass the peninsula’s tip. We head back to Pelican Park at Scarborough for a relaxed lunch of fish and chips under shady trees and if you visit in May the annual two-day Kitefest will provide a delightful distraction. We pass Charlish Park at Redcliffe and the child-friendly Pelican Park at the peninsula’s southern tip near Woody Point before heading over the Ted Smout Memorial Bridge.
There are a number of cafes along the way. We started our day at Redefined Restaurant with a tasty breakfast of scrambled eggs and salmon and later sampled impressive home-made gelato at Feel Goodz Café at Woody Point. Redcliffe local Giselle Douglass is the manager of Oaks Mon Komoand recommends Kashmir Homewares Gifts and Café for afternoon tea and Scarborough’s Sugar Deli for gourmet items. Morgans Seafood Restaurant at Scarborough Boat Harbour is a local icon, while Sails Restaurant and Function Centre has a great seasonal menu.
Council completed a rejuvenation of the waterfront last year and there is now a buzzing café strip and hotels with views over Moreton Bay. One of the newest places to stay is Oaks Mon Komo which opened last year at Suttons Beach and offers short-term apartment accommodation as well as a bistro, sports bar and conference facilities. It’s an injection of luxury needed to win more new visitors and, given that Redcliffe is only a stone’s throw from Brisbane, this is a seaside jewel worth discovering.