HAVING grown up on the Sunshine Coast where the beaches are among the best in the world, I did not have high hopes for Nudgee Beach, the only Brisbane suburb that dares to attach “beach” to its name.
The harbor at Manly is very nice and Wynnum and Sandgate have pleasant waterfront esplanade walks but none really meet the definition of beach as in surf, waves and the blue Pacific as they are all “bayside” more than “oceanfront”.
Nudgee Beach also fronts the waters of Moreton Bay and, like the other coastal areas north and south of the Brisbane River mouth is all mangroves, not one of my favourite species as they harbor sandflies, a lifelong enemy.
(I was amused on a recent holiday to the island of Langkawi in Malaysia to see them spruiking fabulous “mangrove tours”. Pass!)
Back to Nudgee Beach. Feeling the need to get out of the city, I set off on the 25-minute drive to the coast north of the airport and river mouth with some trepidation.
No, it’s not a buzzing coastal mecca with white beaches backed by rolling ocean, but there is something appealing about it, a bit like some of the English and Dutch beaches where the water is less than inviting but it’s a pleasant place to walk.
And at least here, the weather is warm and the skies, for the most part, clear.
It would appear Nudgee’s virtues go largely unnoticed as there were few people around.
Mum, dad and the kids were paddling and playing on a strip of sand, the fishermen were out and a few kayakers were paddling.
The family said they do go swimming sometimes when it’s really hot, so it is possible but with many mangrove spikes sticking up out of mud, I remain unconvinced.
Nevertheless, the scene is all quite idyllic and seems remote and much further from city life than it is.
A pretty grassed path winds around a point, the water on one side and trees on the other, to where Schulz Canal (Kedron Brook floodway) enters Moreton Bay.
There is a large fenced reserve for dogs, with all sorts of doggy play equipment, and there’s also a swimming area for dogs.
For cyclists, there’s a great bike track that links the Boondall Wetlands with the rest of Brisbane and it’s particularly pleasant through Nudgee Beach.
Further north, through the Nudgee Beach village (population 260) where there are still some old beach shacks and a general store, large grassed peaceful picnic areas line the waterfront.
Keep heading north and there’s an entrance to the Boondall Wetlands walking trails (Billai Dhagun Tulla-Yugaipa Dhagun).
If looking for a swim, it’s probably safer to stick with Streets Beach at South Bank in the middle of the city but for a pleasant trip to the coast, Nudgee Beach delivers some real surprises.