You see them everywhere around the Sunshine Coast – and Australia probably – community’ welcome signs.
Bribie’s stand out for two reasons – they are lovely to look at and they exude a sincere and joyous welcome – like the island itself.
Clean, neat and cared-for these signs lift the visitor’s spirits before they even have an opportunity to stop their cars.
Situated at the Australia end of the bridge spanning Pumicestone Passage, the message is clear and easy to receive – “get set for a fun and friendly time”.
By the time you reach the Bribie end of the bridge the welcome has worked its magic and you can feel the worldly weights have been left behind on the mainland.
Below is the bridge – the magical “Bridge to Bribie” – which will transport you far from “A troubled World”. The Australian mainland is hardly recognised as one of the world’s trouble spots and yet when one has reached the far shore, the change is so tangible that it might very well have been one – albeit a very junior one.
The bridge, still made of timber (in June, 2002), is a real charmer and one can’t help but hope that it will stay that way and resist the move to a concrete and steel span. Once again I was impressed by the neat feel to it as we drove across.
The longer I was on Bribie the more impressed I became with its consistent charm, warmth and pervasive feeling of “safeness”.
Recalling the “Safe House” signs which are sprinkled around urban schools, I couldn’t help but think that Bribie deserved a “Safe Island” sign.
Only this would be for children, adults and families!
The Island is a declared flora and fauna sanctuary and I feel sure that could easily be extended to a flora, fauna and human sanctuary.
The island is dotted with parks, most of which are discretely appointed with services – toilets, shelters and barbeques.
This small clump of trees includes a large barbeque facility. The shelter is formed by 4 sails – made from timber (including the roofs).
The effect achieves a discreteness and feeling of harmony that, once again, reflects Bribie’s sanctuary status.
On the eastern side of the Island the waters of the Pacific stretch away to other islands – Stradbroke, Fiji, New Zealand, Tahiti – some of the more alluring places for an island-lover.
This approach to the beach was signed as “wheelchair access”. To be sure this part of it was certainly wheelchair-friendly.
The beach end of it however looked more challenging – for a “wheelie” – but it certainly was worth the effort.
Another common feature of Bribie life is the alfresco breakfast – or so it seems.
Admittedly the weather when I visited was perfect, but does Bribie have anything other than perfect weather?
More interestingly, does Bribie have anything other than perfect anything?
Reluctant as I had become to return to that “troubled world” which Bribie’s welcome spoke of, I eventually turned my face to the mainland and set out back across Pumicestone Passage.
One of my last visions of the island was another family group, encircled by sacred ibis and gulls, with a small group of pelicans in the water nearby.
It won’t be long before I return to enjoy more fully the sanctuary that is Bribie.