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Frequently Asked Questions

Thinking of moving to the bay islands? Or perhaps you just want to come for a visit?

Here are some frequently asked questions:


Q. How do we get there?

A. If you plan on bringing a car, you will need to catch the vehicular barge, run by Stradbroke Ferries. You can call them to make a booking on (07) 3488 5300. If you don’t want to bring a car with you, then Bay Islands Transit run a regular passenger ferry service to the 4 islands. If you would like to plan your trip, or find ferry times, you can use our Ferry Planner or install our Bay Islands Guide app.

Q. How much does it cost to get to the islands?

A. The cost of the vehicular barge depends on the size and type of the vehicle you wish to bring over. The passenger ferry service is part of the TransLink network, and accepts Go-Card or cash payment methods. The prices for your journey on the passenger ferry can get seen by using our Ferry Planner or Bay Islands Guide app.

Q. How do we get around the islands?

A. Once on the islands, you have the choice of a leisurely stroll around the islands, or you can hire a bicycle or motor vehicle for the day. John Coles offers car rentals on Macleay Island. If you wish to rent a bike to explore Lamb or Karragarra islands, this can be arranged also. Macleay and Russell Islands also offer a Taxi service.

Q. What is there to do on the islands?

A. Once you’ve finished taking in some of our amazing scenery, you might want to get some lunch. If you’re on Macleay, we recommend the Macleay Island Bowls Club. It is located about 1/2 way up the island, right on the waterfront at Coast Road. If on Russell Island, why not stop in at the RSL for a great meal. We also highly recommend Aunty Alices Cafe, just a short stroll from the ferry terminal on Russell Island.

Q. Ok, I’m in love with this place. How can I buy a property?

A. There are many real estate agents willing to help you buy your own little slice of paradise. Make sure to shop around, as there is always a fantastic selection of properties available.

Q. Ok, we’ve bought a house on the islands. Now we need a car. Is there anything special we need to do? Is it just the same as having a car on the mainland?

A. Sort of. There are many cars available for sale on the islands. Either from John Coles car yard on Macleay, or from many private sellers. For the most part, everything is the same as if you were on the mainland, but with a few changes. If you are only going to use the vehicle on the islands, you are entitled to a ‘Restricted Area’ concession on your registration fee. This saves you a fair amount of money, but you can not legally drive the vehicle on the mainland without getting a permit. For more information, check out our Island Registration page.

Q. We bought a car on the islands. How do we get a roadworthy?

A. If you have bought a vehicle on the islands, you are exempt from obtaining a Safety Certificate or ‘Roadworthy Certificate’ for the vehicle. However, this does NOT mean that you exempt from having a roadworthy vehicle. Police do regular vehicle checks, so make sure your car is in a good, safe operating condition at all times. In order to get registration, your vehicle will be required to be ‘identified’. For more information, check out our Island Registration page.

Q. What about groceries? Do you have supermarkets?

A. Both Macleay Island and Russell Island have modern supermarkets. Macleay as both a SPAR and 5-Star, while Russell Island has a Supa IGA. Lamb Island has a small convenience store located near the southern end of the island, just a short walk from the ferry terminal.