There's a new energy in Brisbane's bayside suburb of Redcliffe. Spend a day exploring the hidden secrets around it's shoreline and you'll be very surprised - I was!
Located about 45 minutes’ drive from Brisbane’s CBD, Redcliffe was the site of Queensland's first European settlement colony in 1824.
Known as the Redcliffe Peninsula, the area includes suburbs such as Clontarf, Woody Point, Margate, Scarborough and Redcliffe, all faced by a long stretch of beach front lapped by the calm waters of Moreton Bay.
When the fledgling colony was relocated to Brisbane in 1825, Redcliffe remained deserted until around 1860 but by 1880 it had gained a reputation as a popular seaside resort. These were the days when today’s quick drive would have taken perhaps a day with a horse and dray.
First stop wasn’t actually in Redcliffe, but rather Sandgate which is still on the Brisbane side of the Houghton Highway Bridge. Perched on the bluff, overlooking Moreton Bay, The Full Moon Hotel is renowned for its magnificent views of Bramble Bay and is named as a result of its NASA rated full moon gazing position. I’ve had a great pub lunch here before but I didn’t know they also serve an awesome High Tea with fresh, warm scones. All the cakes and pastries are made in house and it shows.
We drive over the bridge and hug the coastline following Margate Parade which becomes Marine Parade. My eagle eye spots something usual along the shore so we stop to investigate and find a wonderful art work created from found objects. There’s an Australian flag, a map of Australia and a book to write comments. A passer-by is sharing their enjoyment with the artist through the pages. She tells me that the artist lives just up that street and regularly creates things here. “It’s great,” she says, “even the local children don’t mess it up but respect what he’s doing.”
Further down the parade and into Redcliffe proper we stroll down Bee Gees Way, a tribute to Redcliffe’s most famous sons the Bee Gees. The only surviving Bee Gee, Barry Gibb made a pilgrimage here to officially open the display. It’s filled with touching family memories of their rise to fame. I remember my 15-year-old pop star crush on Maurice Gibb.
Moreton Bay is a significant seafood fishing ground and the trawler fleet tied up at Scarborough Boat Harbour ranges from luxury yachts, pleasure craft and commercial trawl fishing boats that head out for weeks on end. Morgan Seafood Restaurant’s newly renovated fresh seafood section is extensive and it’s fun to watch oyster shucking plus see the expert fish filleter and sushi makers in action.
There’s something very satisfying about eating seafood with the trawlers that caught it in sight and views to the Glasshouse Mountains. I tuck into a huge plate of oysters followed by a mixed seafood grill (see top photo). The seafood is as fresh and full of flavour as I could wish. Then it’s time for dessert and I’m transported to another type of heaven.
There’s plenty of wind in this beachside location. Pelican Park, Clontarf is not only the perfect place to try your hand at kite flying, but it’s also popular with para-gliders and para-surfers.
Ideally positioned on the beach at Redcliffe, Oaks Mon Komo is a four star property which should have unrivalled ocean views from its many beach front rooms. Centrally located, it’s surrounded by restaurants, cafes, entertainment facilities and recreational activities. My friends told me that the sunset and sunrise views from their rooms were fabulous, while my room looked west over the rear of Redcliffe.
Dinner was at Mon Komo’s Caribee Restaurant where the menu is spiced with Caribbean-inspired meals as well as fresh seafood and juicy spice-rubbed steaks. I tried Oysters Caribbean with mango toasted coconut, chilli and lime salsa but I’m still an oysters naturale girl.
Up early in the morning I headed down to walk along the shoreline one last time and check out the Redcliffe Jetty Market scene where I found curry mixes and Cornish pasties, Mexican tacos and German bread, squid, Turkish delight and much more that I could take home.
I returned from Redcliffe realising I didn’t know my city as well as I thought. Getting under Redcliffe’s skin was a revelation and I’ll be back to do it again.
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Disclaimer: Ed+bK travelled with the support of Brisbane Marketing and Tourism Queensland