Day Tripping In Sandgate

Historic Sandgate is one of Brisbane’s most picturesque seaside villages and one that has been enjoyed by day trippers for over 130 years. In 1853 the first land lots were put up for sale, by 1858 Sandgate had its first hotel and in 1874 its first school. In 1880 with a population of 500 it was declared a town in its own right and, after the railway was completed in 1882 enjoyed a time as Brisbane’s go-to Victorian seaside resort.

Today much of its history has been preserved, with heritage parks and town square, grand sprawling Victorian villas and boarding houses, the neighbouring 150 year old Shorncliffe Pier and the iconic Richard Gailey built white gothic church that sits at the base of its cliffs. 

Old Sandgate Baptist Church

With a train station adjacent to the town centre visitors have the option of leaving the car behind (or parking it there) and following the route of the first tourists to the town square and to the foreshore for a splendid promenade that leads all the way along the sea front in one direction to Brighton or in the other around the cliffs to Shorncliffe and Cabbage Tree Creek via the little sandy bay at Lower Moora Park. The walk, which takes in the grand seafront Victorian villas, is at its best at high tide although at low tide the mud flats swarming with soldier crabs make for an interesting contrast.

Baaia Cafe, which faces the sea across the road from the promenade makes for a decent pitstop for coffee, breakfast or lunch.

Lower Moora Park and beach in Sandgate Queensland

On the cliff tops where Sandgate meets Shorncliffe, the best breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea spot in the whole area, Matthew Thomas can be found in an ornate masonic hall.  (No visit here should end without taking away some of the electable in-house fudge).

The rest of the eating and drinking options are gathered around the Sandgate town centre, which is also well worth a stroll and boasts the historic square, Sandgate Town Hall, a swathe of green parkland with ornamental ponds and bridges, a quaint mish mash of shops from the 1920s to the 1980s and the grand 19th century post office which is now a hotel.

Starting at the square across from the Town Hall, a cute little  row of 1950s shops are a must visit, including gorgeous hole-in-the-wall cafe Satori Organics, across the road at the intersection is charming Bramble Place and, in the laneway around around the corner, funky little Cardigan Bar is the inspot from after lunch from Friday to Sunday. Also on Sundays Satori Organics hosts a great little organic farmer's market on the footpath outside.

Head back across the square to the old corner store that houses Bramble Place, a fantastic Nordic-inspired cafe for breakfast or lunch and stroll down the main street, which has a decent smattering of op shops, a fabulous 1950s fabric shop Russell’s that still has its original signage and interior and, towards the end of the strip, a tiny art deco arcade with a quaint tea lounge and gift shop on the cusp.

On the way a decent coffee stop can be had at Mug Shots Espresso and, if staying late in the day, the best pizzas on the bay at little side street pizza joint Il Forno.

While not in Sandgate proper, other worthwhile driving detours in the area include Brighton on the northern end of the peninsula, which is home to two charming retro cafes – Generations Café and EclecTea, the latter part tea shop, part vintage store. At the far tip of Brighton, Decker Park on the waterfront is well-equipped for barbecues, picnics, children and dogs. Otherwise head inland a little to Deagon via the local oasis Einbunpin Lagoon (good for a walk if you have time) to check out the Ching Chung Taoist Temple .

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