IMAGINE walking barefoot along a white sandy beach, wetting a fishing line, swimming in turquoise waves, then taking those same bare feet to a restaurant for a scrumptious meal and an icy ale.
Sounds like an impossible island paradise?
Well, the good news is that the paradise is not make-believe and it's only a 75-minute ferry trip from Brisbane across the bay to Moreton Island.
Moreton Island Adventures gave campers, boaties, holidaymakers and island locals an early Christmas present with the opening of Castaways restaurant at Bulwer this month. The company has completely revamped its eco village and general store on the north-western side of the island to create Castaways.
Castaways includes a licensed restaurant and new-look general store, with plans to renovate the site's existing holiday units.
We first visited Bulwer in July and couldn't believe the transformation when we received a sneak peak of Castaways recently.
The result of the renovations is a light, comfortable and charming gathering place where you can grab a quick bite, or stay for a long lunch under a breezy thatched pergola.
The restaurant's laid-back atmosphere reflects the island's pace, where anyone can rock up for a great meal, coffee or snack. Bookings may be preferred, but shoes are an option.
Lazy breakfasts and hearty lunches are expected to be the big drawcards.
Castaways, which opened for business on December 17, is a blessing for locals and holidaymakers in the area who previously had long drives to Tangalooma, near The Wrecks, or Kooringal, on the island's southern tip, if they wanted a restaurant meal.
The restaurant is run by chef Diana Bridger and husband Paul who came for a holiday on the island and loved it so much they decided to stay.
During the busy Christmas holiday period, the restaurant will be open seven days for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7am to 9pm. It will be closed only on Christmas Day.
Bookings are essential for breakfast and dinner.
Outside peak holiday times, Castaways will open Tuesdays to Sundays, 7am to 9pm.
Castaways General Store, managed by Gail and Mark Booth, will continue to provide supplies such as groceries, alcohol, ice, firewood, and fuel. Snacks of fish and chips, hamburgers and wedges, plus hot chickens and pizzas, also will be available.
No 4WD? No worries
Take a day trip and enjoy the delicious food at the new Castaways restaurant at Bulwer. MiCat ferry travels directly from Brisbane to Bulwer every Tuesday.
Alternatively, a shuttle service will operate along the western beaches daily from MiCat's landing site near The Wrecks to Castaways.
The beach at Bulwer features its own wrecks, and is an ideal spot for families to relax, swim, fish, and explore.
MiCat is offering a Barefoot Walk-On special for $35 return for an adult until February 29. This offer is available for travel Monday to Thursday and must be same day.
For families (two adults and up to three children), return fares are $140.
Standard return adult fare is $50, and return child fare is $35.
If you want to explore further, or stay longer, 4WD and accommodation packages are available to suit weekenders, families and groups.
Moreton Island offers plenty of adventure with snorkelling , sandboarding, swimming, fishing, four-wheel-driving and hiking.
MiCat operates daily from 14 Howard Smith Drive, Port of Brisbane.
For further information, go to www.moretonisland adventures.com.au or phone 3909 3333.
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