|Pumicestone Pleasure Cruise
From Donnybrook to Mission Point (Bribie Island) and back again by 15’ Canoe.
There is something very satisfying in getting to a destination under your own steam, even better if it’s somewhere that can only be accessed by water.
With that thought in mind, and a long weekend begging to be filled, I booked a campsite for myself and 2 children at Mission Point on Bribie Island.
For those unaware, Mission Point is a campsite located in the Bribie Island National Park. It is accessible only by boat and is approximately 6km NNE of Donnybrook.
Taking 2 kids under 12 across 6km of reasonably open water required some planning in advance. What required even more planning was what to do when we got there to keep them occupied.
Both problems ended up being solved with the addition of an outrigger to the canoe. Firstly it improved the stability and tracking of the canoe as we paddled across Pumicestone Passage. Secondly to enabled us to carry a 11ft Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) on the canoe so the kids had some entertainment. We just strapped it on the side and away we went. Clothes and camping gear was packed in 60L water tight drums which were tied in between the outrigger poles nice and securely. A quick check of the tides and wind forecast on Willy Weather told us it was ideal for a lunch time departure to get a helping hand on the crossing. And away we went..
Our Rosco 15' Royalex Chief Canoe was the ideal vehicle for this trip as it has 400kg load carrying capacity, plenty of room for drums and crab pots and higher sides than most canoes to keep us nice and dry.
It's no accident we refer to it as the 4x4 of paddle craft!!
After loading up and sliding into the water it soon became evident we had a small trimming problem. The front of the SUP kept dipping into the water between the chop and slowing us down.
At this point I had one of the kids sitting right in the bow of the canoe and the other on the front seat. A quick re-jig saw both kids on the front seat and the water bladder moved to the stern - hey presto, a trimmed canoe.
The rest of the paddle was quite uneventful. Well, I say paddle, what I really mean was Dad paddling and kids occasionally dipping into the water...
Never the less we arrived safely at Mission Point in just under an hour, with little or no water on board and smiles on everyone’s faces.
We found out the wisdom of choosing an incoming tide to paddle across with soon after as we observed the outgoing tide to be quite strong!
We timed our return journey to have the tide behind us and as a consequence had a quick run home. On both runs the chop was mild and we didn't get any water in the canoe.
With our outrigger on I would be confident to take on conditions a little choppier than what we experienced and would be comfortable if the chop increased mid trip that we would get across safely.
Certainly the kids felt safe, and that is the most important thing!
Mission Point has 12 well setup campsites in the reserve. They all have beach access and could easily accommodate 2 -3 tents on each site. In addition each site has a wooden table with bench seats and a fire ring.
A toilet and shower block is situated in the middle of the sites, it is worth noting however that it is only salt water and there is no potable water at all in the area.
The beach at Mission Point is beautiful, although can get a little muddy at a very low tide. The waters are quite sheltered and very nice for paddling just off the beach, a little caution should be taken with tidal flow as it can be quite strong through the channel.
We camped on campsite 9, on the southern side of the toilet blocks. The campsites on this side of the reserve are generally more spread out and a bit more secluded. They all have good tree coverage and as such are shady for most of the day.
The only disappointing thing about the site was the amount of rubbish other campers had left there. The kids both asked why people would do that, I'm afraid I had no response...
We setup a tent for the kids and a hammock for Dad, on opposite sides of the campsite. I love hanging in a hammock and love it even more when I can have a lie in for the morning...
It is a good idea to take heaps of mozzie repellant when camping at Mission Point. Both Sandflies and Mosquitoes were in abundance at sun up and sun down, though they quickly moved on once the sun was fully up. My hammock has an awesome bug net and fly around it, which I was very grateful for at these times of the day.
The kids did lots of paddling on the SUP including following me around in the canoe when I put the smelliest crab pot in the world out. After an initial learning period they soon showed a disgusting level of proficiency paddling it and quickly over took their Dad.
A thoroughly relaxing weekend getaway with plenty of activities to keep the kids happy. The boat traffic was fairly low and most people showed respect for others peace and quiet.
The paddle over and back was great fun and added to the adventure of the weekend. There is certainly something a little special and going to a location that can only be reached by water!
Being only a short drive from Brisbane and a short paddle across it makes Mission Point a very attractive weekend getaway at short notice.
We will definitely be going again and we definitely will be taking our Rosco Chief!