Russell - Macleay & Nearby Islands

Visit Or Live On The Southern Moreton Bay Islands

Russel and Macleay Islands are the larger of the nearby islands in The Redlands region. Both have facilities and regular ferry services to support the residents that happily live here.  You can enjoy a healthy lifestyle, offering great medical services, a local shopping centre and swimming pool. Living within the Southern Moreton Bay Marine Park allows access to abundant fishing, crabbing and birdlife.

Just nearby are Lamb Island and Karragarra Island, noted for being less “frantic” and offering that quieter secluded lifestyle option. At The Redlands Life we have done the research for you – checkout more about the islands below. 

Also see the other Southern Moreton Bay Islands in this area

Russell Island

Russell Island (Canaipa) has the most beautiful views across Moreton Bay as well as the Gold Coast. It is set in a serene natural environment which is part of a recognised bird sanctuary, with thriving birdlife and a huge variety of fauna and flora.

You can easily get to the Island from the mainland by way of a 25-minute trip on the Translink passenger ferry from Redland Bay. If you prefer to take your car, then there is a daily Vehicle Ferry Service run by Sealink which you’re advised to book to avoid disappointment. Sealink also run regular Bay Islands Passenger Ferries with all fares payable with a Go Card or you can buy paper tickets.

How big is Russell Island?

Russell Island is the largest of the four islands being 8kms long and 3kms wide and is currently home to around 3700 permanent residents. 

Does Russell Island have shops?

Yes, there is a Shopping Centre that has a Supa IGA, a pharmacy, a hairdresser, bakery, and a post office. 

You can visit Aunty Alice’s Café for a coffee, snack or a meal and enjoy the amazing views overlooking the bay islands.

The residents of Russell Island are well catered for in terms of facilities and infrastructure, with almost everything one needs in a small community.

In addition to shops there is a police station, ambulance centre, medical centre, primary school, a childcare centre, public swimming pool, petrol station and a vet. There are also multiple cafes and restaurants on the island. Many locally run community events and facilities are on hand for residents and visitors, including markets, art exhibitions, BMX park, a Sports Complex, Public Library, Bowls Club, and the RSL.

Things To Do On Russell Island

Russell Island is also one of just 125 world-recognised bird sanctuaries, making it a must-do for birdwatching and nature enthusiasts.

The Whistling Kite Wetlands walking trail is a relatively new and not well publicised walk but it is well signed and maintained. It is worth doing if you like an easy hike and is a circuit of approx. 3.4kms. If you’re a bird watcher, then don’t forget your binoculars!

 A couple of the must-visit locations on Russell Island are the tranquil shores of Sandy Beach and Millseys Beach.

You can relax by the water, or fish from one of the many fishing spots, or settle into one of the picnic areas, complete with playgrounds and BBQs. 

Accommodation On Russell Island

Holiday accommodation is available through Airbnb and Stayz. These vary from 1 bedroom to 4 bedroom houses so there is something to suit all visitors.

There is also a small, Council-run campground at Lions Boulevard Park, however facilities are limited and the site is suitable for tent camping only.

Macleay Island

Macleay Island (Jencoomercha) is another hidden gem in The Redlands and it’s only a 15-minute ferry from Redland Bay and just 30kms from Brisbane! This tropical paradise, overlooked by many Brisbane city dwellers, boasts a unique and unhurried way of life that many are looking for to interrupt their busy lives.

This popular island offers all the amenities you need for a fantastic visit or an extended stay, and getting to it is easy with convenient transport options available from Redland Bay Marina. Hop on the frequent Sealink passenger/vehicle ferry or Translink passenger service and explore this hidden treasure of the Southern Morton Bay Islands. All fares can be paid for by Go Card or paper tickets.

We found it so convenient to be able to top up your Go card at the Redband Bay Marina ticket machine – adjacent to and within the ferry terminal.  And there is lots of FREE parking available for a maximum of 3 days. Just be aware, this is a busy parking area providing space for everyone coming to and from the islands. 

Also if you’re there in the evening then don’t miss the breathtaking sunsets with views over Stradbroke Island, painting the sky as you look back towards the mainland.

How Big Is Macleay Island?

Macleay Island is the second largest island 6.5kms long and 4kms wide, and is home to around 2700 permanent residents.

Getting Around Macleay Island

Once you’re on the island you have a choice of how you wish to explore or get around in general. You can choose from being on foot, riding a bike, or driving a car. You can take your own bike on the ferry with you or hire bicycles when you get there. (See below for details on cycling on Macleay Island). Alternatively if you prefer to drive whilst on the island and you haven’t brought your car, then you can hire a car or call for the Island taxi.

What Services Does Macleay Island Offer?

To serve the thriving community that calls Macleay Island home, there are all the necessary services to maintain the wonderful tranquil way of life that the locals enjoy.

Groceries can be bought at the Spar Supermarket on Southsea Terrace and Five Star Supermarket on High Central Road. There are also boutique shops, a chemist and five-star cafes.

Entertainment and leisure can be found at the vibrant Club Macleay Bowls Club, the Golf Club, and the Arts Centre.

Medical needs are looked after by Doctors, Dentist, Pathology, and a Chemist Pharmacy.

Emergency Services are available with Police, Ambulance, and Fire Brigade

For Education there is a Primary School and an Early Childhood Centre.

Access a list HERE for all business and services available on the island. 

Things To Do On Macleay Island

Macleay Island offers a diverse range of things to do to keep visitors engaged.

You’ll find a well frequented Macleay Island Bowls Clubenjoy a swing at the Macleay Island Golf Course and morre yourself for awhile at Tingira Boat Club.  All great venues that provide ample opportunities for recreation and holding regular events.

If you want to have a bite to eat, lunch or dinner then there are a number of restaurants and cafes on the island which get good reviews and would be worth checking out.

Cycling on Macleay Island is a wonderful way to explore this unspoilt natural island environment. So, if you like cycling then bring your bike with you on the ferry! The island is very bike friendly with an off-road cycleway running most of the length of the island. Most of the places where you might want to stop have bike racks or available space to lock up your bike so you can leave your bike and explore the area.

Macleay Island Beaches and Swimming Spots

The island has great little beaches, perfect for swimming and fishing, complemented by barbecue facilities in the foreshore parks.

A well-maintained sealed road stretches from the ferry terminal in the south to the picturesque Pat’s Point picnic and swimming area in the north, making exploration convenient.

Perulpa Island is a charming little island that is joined to Macleay by a causeway so you can take a walk and get the island-hopping experience!

Potts Point on the northern point of the island stands out as a favoured location for picnics and swimming, while Dalpura Beach on the western shores offers a tranquil setting for relaxation, barbecues, and a refreshing swim. This spot is renowned for offering some of the best vantage points to watch stunning sunsets.

For boating and fishing enthusiasts, Macleay Island offers several boat ramps, making it an ideal destination if you enjoy these water activities.

If you enjoy the arts culture the island has various galleries and the Macleay Island Art Complex providing opportunities for exploration and appreciation of local creativity.

Accommodation On Macleay Island

There is accommodation available to suit all visitors to the island, from those who like a bit of luxury to those who want the more rustic stay. You will find something to suit your needs on one of these sites: Airbnb, Stayz, or Macleay Island Accommodation

Lamb Island

Lamb Island in Southern Moreton Bay Queensland

Lamb Island (Ngudooru) is the second smallest of the Southern Moreton Bay Islands and is only 2kms in length and 1km wide. Despite Lamb Island’s small size and a population of only about 400 residents, island has a welcoming and unique charm.

How To Get to Lamb Island

To get to Lamb Island catch either the Translink or Sealink passenger ferries from Redland Bay Marina. This is the same ferry route that serves the other Southern Moreton Bay Islands. As the island is so small there is little need for a car! Every where is only 1 or 2kms away! You can take over a bike if you like.

Things To Do on Lamb Island

Day trippers can enjoy a picnic lunch at Hine Lovell Park on the southeastern side of the island, just 1.5 kilometers from the jetty. The park offers a refreshing swimming enclosure in the temperate bay waters, along with amenities like a BBQ, playground, and toilets.

For those looking to grab a quick bite or essential supplies, the small general store near the ferry terminal has you covered with a range of takeaway meals and supplies.

Alternatively, you can join the friendly locals at the member-run Lamb Island Recreation Club, known for its welcoming atmosphere and weekend meal service. A courtesy bus is also available for convenience.

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate Lamb Island’s rich bird life, drawing visitors to spot hundreds of bird species, including the captivating curlew.

Pioneer Hall, located at the island’s northern end, houses the library open on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10 am to 12 noon. It showcases local island memorabilia, reflecting deep community pride and passion for history. Displays depict the island’s agricultural past, with fruits and vegetables shipped by barge to Brisbane markets.

Karragarra Island

karragarra Island beach

Karragarra - the Smallest of the Southern Moreton Bay Islands

Karragarra, or Karra as its affectionately known by the locals, has retained it’s First Nation name. It’s  the smallest of the Southern Moreton Bay Islands. Nestled between Russell and Macleay islands, it is only 2kms long and 500m wide and home to 200 residents.

What makes Karragarra Island unique is that it’s the only island without any shops, giving it that “getaway from it all” vibe as soon as you step off the ferry. (It is serviced by the same ferry schedule as the other islands).

It’s a lovely spot for picnics and nature lovers so bring your favourite food and drinks in a basket for a relaxed day on Karragarra. There’s a popular sandy beach near the jetty with a swimming area, free electric BBQs, shaded picnic tables, a playground, and toilets. The beach is great for kids, and kayakers and boat lovers can drop by. If you go past the barge ramp to the west, you’ll find a good family fishing spot.

Take a walk along the shoreline, and you’ll discover small sandy beaches among the mangroves. The whole island can be explored in less than an hour, offering stunning views from Mt Cotton to the Gold Coast hinterland and the other islands. For nature photographers and bird watchers, it’s a perfect day out.

On the left side of the jetty, you’ll see the last goods trolley used on Karragarra, a reminder of the past. Before 1999, big timber trolleys on railway lines moved goods and island produce to and from the ferries for the Brisbane markets. Back in the 1960s, the ‘100-mile cruise of Moreton Bay’ used to stop at Karra for day trippers to grab fresh fruit salad and veggies.

Look out for the early farmhouse of the Noyes’ on the Esplanade, along with mango trees planted in 1896. With around 170 people, the island has a tight-knit community that takes pride in keeping the peaceful island lifestyle and its natural beauty. They host various events, including the fun Sea Market on the Sunday of the October long weekend. Check the jetty noticeboards for info on other island happenings.