Bongaree, on the western side of Bribie Island, is a quiet commuter town for Brisbane. The island was relatively empty until around 100 years ago but has become a popular destination for both tourists and retirees in recent times. Due to the influx of tourists, Bongaree offers more amenities than one would expect for a town of its size. It is a good place to raise children, with nearby parks and beaches offering plenty of options for family enjoyment.
- Population – 6,947
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander percentage of population – 2.2%
- Closest major town/city – Caboolture (28 km)
- Distance from airport – 65 km (Brisbane)
- Cinemas – 1
- Cafes/restaurants – 13
- Pubs/bars – 1
- Primary schools – 1
- Secondary schools – 1
- Tertiary education providers – 0
- Annual average maximum temperature – 25.2°C
- Annual average minimum temperature – 17.0°C
Located close to both Brisbane and Caboolture, Bongaree is a small town with a lot to offer. Situated on Bribie Island along the upper point of Moreton Bay, it is within easy commuting distance of Brisbane. Reached via the old Bribie Island Bridge, Bongaree is located within a short drive of beaches, with national parks and state forests also nearby.
Because of its popularity with retirees, Bongaree has an unusually high median age (64). In fact, almost half of the residents are aged 65 and older. Not surprisingly, the number of widowed is significantly higher than both state and national figures. The number of people in married or de facto relationships is on a par with the rest of the country, and children make up around eight percent of the population. There are somewhat more women than men in the town, with 54 percent of residents being female.
Anglican and Catholic are the two most common religions in Bongaree, although almost a quarter of the population stated at the 2016 census that they don’t follow any religion. The predominant ethnic backgrounds are British and Australian. Around 70 percent of residents are Australian-born.
Health care in Bongaree is provided by two medical centres – Bribie Doctors and Welsby Parade Medical Centre. The nearest hospitals are Caboolture Hospital and Caboolture Private Hospital, on the mainland. Bribie Island’s ambulance station is located in Bongaree.
With its high percentage of elderly residents, and the many chronic conditions that come with an aged population, the town is considered relatively disadvantaged. In addition, the median personal income of $463 per week is significantly below the national and state medians, which has its own health implications.
Bongaree is in the Brisbane North PHN and is rated RA2.
For families with small children, Bongaree offers two options for day care. Both primary and secondary education are also catered for, with Bribie Island State School and Bribie Island State High School located in the town. For those who prefer private school education, there are several options in Caboolture at both primary and secondary levels.
Although there are no tertiary educational facilities in Bongaree, there are three universities in Brisbane – The University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology and Griffith University.
Career options for partners
If your partner doesn’t wish to commute to Brisbane for work, there are some opportunities in Bongaree, particularly in the service sector. Aged care and other social assistance services, as well as education, are the largest industries, with retail and food services following close behind due to the high level of tourism. The statistics for full-time work show it is below the national average at just over 48 percent, with a higher than average amount of part-time work.
There are a number of volunteer opportunities also on offer in Bongaree, such as Bribie Island Seaside Museum, Bribie Community Options or the Blue Care thrift shop.
Arts and culture
Bongaree and surrounds offers a number of arts and culture options. The Bribie Island Community Arts Centre in nearby Banksia Beach has a selection of galleries and also hosts art and craft classes and workshops. A couple of dance studios offer classes in a variety of dance styles for both children and adults, and music lessons are also available. In addition, there is the Bribie Island Seaside Museum and the nearby Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology, which is just 12 km west of Bongaree, across the bridge.
For lovers of the great outdoors, Bongaree is a great location. The island itself has a good network of bicycle paths and trails. Bribie Island National Park is just a few minutes drive from Bongaree and is networked with walking trails, beautiful beaches and an annual spring display of flowers that is breathtaking. The park offers bush camping sites and plenty of opportunities for birdwatching.
Not far away, just across the bridge and a little north, are Beerburrum and Beerwah State Forests. As well as pine and eucalypt forests they also feature coastal mangroves and rainforest. There are trails suitable for exploring on foot, in addition to tracks for mountain bikes, four-wheel drives, trail bikes or horses. Coochin Creek provides water activities and camping.
Moreton Bay Marine Park offers boating, fishing and a host of other water sports. Dugongs, whales, dolphins and turtles are among the park’s residents and visitors.
For birdwatching enthusiasts, there is nearby Banksia Beach wading birds sanctuary and Skirmish Point nature park, as well as Ningi Creek, which is just across the bridge towards the town of Ningi.
Food and drink
With the number of tourists that visit Bribie Island, it’s no surprise that the variety and number of cafes, restaurants and takeaways in Bongaree is excellent for the size of the town. Eating options range from fast food to Indian, with plenty of options in between.
Although there is only one bar in Bongaree (the Bribie Island RSL), nearby Bellara and Woorim each have a hotel, and they make a great night out. If you want to venture further, Caboolture and Brisbane are within easy driving distance.
With the area still growing, most of Bongaree’s housing stock is new detached houses, and finding flats can be difficult. Most of the homes are quite spacious and priced around $415,000 for a three-bedroom house. For rental, the cost is around $380 per week for a three-bedroom house.
There are numerous bus services that link Bongaree to the rest of Bribie Island and a regular service to Caboolture. From Caboolture, you can connect to the Queensland rail network to reach other parts of the state.
If driving, both the Bruce Highway (M1) and the D’Aguilar Highway (State Route 85) connect through Caboolture. Roads around the island are well maintained and easy for both cars and bicycles.
Bongaree has a mild oceanic climate with moderate rainfall that arrives primarily in the summer months.
Broadband – NBN is available throughout most of Bongaree.