Australia's best lifestyle – Lamb Island, Moreton Bay, Queensland – island-style seachange living just an hour from Brisbane or the Gold Coast

Lamb Island offers you the best of both worlds – an idyllic laidback island lifestyle, yet just over an hour from Brisbane CBD.

Lamb Island is 40 kilometres from Brisbane CBD as the crow flies – just over an hour's travelling time.

Three of the Bay Islands, although with much of Macleay Island out of frame at left.

Arguably the last unspoilt coastal residential environment in South-East Queensland.

Lamb Island's 'main drag' – and by the look of things, in the middle of the peak hour rush.

Looking from Lamb Island to the mainland. Karragarra Island on left, Macleay Island on right.

Waterbuses run more-or-less half-hourly during the day, and hourly at night.

Vehicular barges service the islands every couple of hours. The trip takes 45 minutes.

Moreton Bay's thousands of square kilometres of boating paradise are on Lamb Island's doorstep.

Local colour – Rainbow Lorikeets are just part of the abundant bird life on Lamb Island.

The local parkland precinct – free public tennis court, community hall, and bowls club beyond the trees.

Stone Curlews (or 'Bush Thick Knees') in the parkland along from the tennis court.

An inter-island social cricket game on the playing field adjacent to the bowls club.

The end of yet another perfect day on Lamb Island. But there'll be another one tomorrow.

Images and text © FigMince ( 2012, and may not be used without authorisation.
Lamb Island:
A special place to live...

Lamb Island is one of the Southern Moreton Bay Islands – a group of four islands (Russell, Macleay, Lamb and Karragarra) basking in the lee of North Stradbroke Island just over an hour's all-up travelling time from Brisbane CBD.

And yes, just in case it needs to be said, the islands have mains power, land-line phone (including broadband) and town water connected, plus a weekly council garbage collection.

Surrounded by the tranquil waters of Moreton Bay, these islands are arguably the last unspoilt coastal residential environment in South-East Queensland, and still something of a secret even to Brisbane people, let alone the rest of Australia. And although the word is now starting to get out, so far this lack of awareness has resulted in some of Australia's best real estate value.

That applies especially to Lamb Island which, at just two kilometres long by up to one kilometre wide, and with a population of only 400 or so residents, is generally regarded as the most lifestyle-friendly island of the four. It's not 'suburbia' like Macleay and Russell Islands, but it offers amenities that Karragarra lacks.

Looking towards North Stradbroke Island.

On Lamb Island, you'll find a welcoming easy-going community, where people accept each other for what they are rather than what they're expected to pretend to be. Instead of 'mine-is-bigger-than-yours' McMansions jam-packed against each other and surrounded by high walls, or blocks of flats overshadowing your privacy, you'll enjoy low-key architecture set in leafy surroundings, with fresh air, open vistas, and a balmy climate that's usually a couple of degrees cooler than Brisbane in Summer, and as warm again in Winter.

Transport and services:

All four islands are serviced by fast modern twin-hull 'waterbuses' which run more-or-less half-hourly during the day and hourly at night to and from Redland Bay from 4.45am till 10pm (11pm on Thursday, and midnight on Friday and Saturday nights). The trip between Lamb Island and Redland Bay takes around twenty minutes. Mainland bus services to a variety of destinations including Brisbane CBD run in conjunction with the waterbus timetables. Vehicular barges also service the islands from Redland Bay every two hours or so.

The islands are also serviced by locally based paramedics, with an ambulance on each island, and a special ambulance boat for transfers to the mainland. Urgent cases are transported by helicopter which makes the trip to hospital faster than from many Brisbane suburbs.

The Redland City Council maintains a general parking area as well as a secure card-entry parking compound adjacent to the mainland jetty, and many islanders leave 'mainland cars' there and use cheaper cars for getting around on their islands – although Lamb Island is small enough for many residents to choose to just walk, cycle, or in some cases use golf carts.

Shopping, Lamb Island style:

Lamb Island has a small general store we call the 'kiosk', and a licensed recreation club
. There's also a community hall, public tennis court, and a first-aid facility.

Macleay Island offers supermarket shopping, a butcher, pharmacy, medical services, restaurants, hotel, golf course, bowls club, a thriving arts and crafts centre, and more – just a three minute waterbus ride away. There’s also a primary school on Macleay Island, with a supervised bus to transport the Lamb Island kids to and from the Macleay jetty. (High school students go to the mainland, where special buses meet them.)

Russell Island, just five minutes in the other direction, has a huge IGA supermarket, butcher, bottleshop, etc, all within a hundred-or-so metres of the jetty – or a quick barge trip if you want to take your car over.

Redland Bay offers comprehensive shopping facilities a few hundred metres from the mainland jetty. Victoria Point (just a few minutes drive further or via regular bus services) is a booming regional shopping centre with everything one could need including cinemas, restaurants, and a council library.

From Redland Bay, Brisbane CBD is within a 45 minute drive outside peak hour (but closer to an hour during peak times), while the Gold Coast is about 45 minutes via easy access to the Pacific Motorway.

Make your lifestyle what you want.

Living on Lamb Island is like enjoying a permanent holiday in a small unspoilt coastal town that's still the way it was back before the rest of the world went crazy.

Obviously, if you're into boating and/or fishing, this is the perfect place for you.

Invite some of the neighbours home for dinner.

But for most residents Lamb Island's major appeal is the very real sense of peace and contentment that comes from living in such a natural environment and its small-scale community where everyone's friendly and laidback, primarily interested in enjoying life on their own terms rather than trying to keep up with the people next door.

There's also the security factor. Lamb Island's relatively small size makes it something like a 'gated community' – for the most part only the local residents or their visitors come here, and because everyone knows each other at least by sight, anyone who doesn't belong soon gets noticed. And of course, cruising hoons from elsewhere are never going to come through at two in the morning.

Paradise, but not for everyone.

At the same time, despite all the lifestyle positives and recreational opportunities, it's important to understand that living here isn't for everyone (which is part of what makes it so appealing to those who do).

While house prices may seem relatively low, accessing the mainland costs money, which adds to the real cost of living here. Teenagers and young adults find it a hassle having to go to the mainland for their entertainment and social activities, and then having to come home at midnight.
in practical terms, week-to-week living requires a certain amount of planning. To begin with, the only 'shopping experience' on the island is the kiosk. And while it carries a surprisingly wide range of basic needs, most locals shop off-island for meat, liquor, groceries, and so on, bringing them home on the waterbus (with specially dedicated areas for passengers' personal 'freight'). Others take the barge to do a major shop every so often, fill the car, then scurry back to the relative peace of the island. Alternatively, Woolworths home-deliver online orders to Lamb Island once a week.

Whatever the choice, most of us happily consider any extra effort to be a fair trade-off for the advantages of living such a natural and laidback island lifestyle – free of pollution, traffic, noise, crime, hustle-and-bustle, and angst.

In fact, there's an attitude that inevitably takes over Lamb Islanders, one that you'll hear expressed time and time again as locals get off the waterbus after a trip to what they refer to as 'Australia' – and it usually goes something like:
"Thank goodness we're home again.
How can mainland people live like that?"

Once you live here, you'll wonder too.

Visit Macleay Island Website
Visit Bay Islands Info Website
See Lamb Island Houses For Sale
See Lamb Island Land For Sale