The Attractions of Stradbroke Island

Located on Brisbane’s eastern doorstep, North Stradbroke Island (’Straddie’ to the initiated) is one of Australia’s natrual treasures and a perfect escape destination. Somehow, the secret has been well kept and it is only recently that Straddie has started to sparkle on the tourism and real-estate radar.

Travel to Straddie via the bayside village of Cleveland will take approximately 50 minutes using the vehicle ferry. Cleveland is a half-hour drive from Brisbane International Airport and Brisbane central, and one hour’s drive from the Gold Coast. The ferry ride across Moreton Bay is the first of a series of experiences that make visiting Stradbroke Island such a worthwhile experience.

Stradbroke Island covers 27,530 hectares, which makes the world’s second largest sand island. The elongated sand island shields much of the southern part of Moreton Bay and the smaller islands from the ocean swells. It’s beaches are accessible by four-wheel drive, bicycle or tramping, with numerous popular camp sites situated all the way down Main Beach, and wonderful views are visible from almost everywhere on the island.

The 35 kilometres of white sandy beaches fringing the island’s eastern side runs from Point Lookout in the north to Jumpin Pin in the south. From the Point lookout headland, the towering jungle of the Gold Coast is often clearly visible, being a constant reminder of the contrast to the slower pace of Straddie.

North Stradbroke (Minjerriba to the indigenous Noonuccal tribe) was the home of celebrated Aboriginal poet Kath Walker, or Oodgeroo Noonuccal. There is much Aboriginal and European history in the area of Dunwich where the water taxis and vehicular barges berth.

The waters of Moreton Bay swish against the shores of the island’s western fishing towns. The lack of agriculture and the filtering effects of the sand provides clean water which sea-life, and particularly Stradbroke Rock Oysters thrive upon.

North Stradbroke attracts four-wheel drivers, anglers, surfies and beach-lovers to the free stretches of beach and rugged granite headlands, and the Island also offers a good range of accommodation, restaurants, cafes and holiday infrastructure. With a wonderful diversity of experiences to offer and spectacular places to discover, North Stradbroke is a great holiday destination for families, couples and adventure-seekers alike. The ideal way to see the Island is by Four Wheel Drive, but there are many stunning coastal walks and a mountain bike and whale watching map are an easier and more environmentally sound alternative.

Point Lookout is a popular destination, only a thirty kilometre drive on a sealed road from Dunwich. The North Gorge Headland is forty metres above sea level and known as a leading land-based whale watching area throughout between May and November, and world-class surfing and fishing throughout the year.

Point Lookout’s beautiful beaches and headlands are perfect for swimming, surfing and fishing year round. Whales, dolphins, turtles and manta rays can often be seen from the spectacular North Gorge at the northern tip of the island. The island has been listed as one of the world’s most ecologically important wetlands and has several freshwater lakes, waterways and lagoons that are accessible by 4WD or on a guided tour with one of Straddie’s friendly tour operators.

One of the best features of the island is being able to purchase fresh seafood available direct from local fishermen. Look for signs at Amity Point and Point Lookout which direct you to their homes and the freshest, most delicious catch-of-the-day around. For those that prefer the work be done for them, Straddie’s restaurants and cafes all make use of this wonderful resource on the menu.

“The Point” offers a number of alfresco style cafes, a bakery, chemist, post office, newsagent, corner store and supermarket. The island also has its own bus service linking the three towns to the ferries and water taxis.

North Stradbroke Island is the ultimate paradise for the many enthusiasts who visit each year. On a good day it’s possible to surf right past the pub, along the evocatively named Cylinders Beach, on waves that peel dreamily for hundreds of metres. Stick ten bucks in the back pocket of your boardies and you can drop in for a beer on your way back around -you may even bump into world ranked surfer and local Bede Durbidge! Stradbroke also boasts what is perhaps the last truly old-school surf shop in the country, that makes it’s business selling surfing gear rather than fashion.

The jewels in the Straddie’s crown is Point Lookout and the natural wonder of the North Gorge Walk, along with the surf, the choice of beaches, all sheltered in various winds, the whale watching, and the spectacular coastal walk around the gorges. If you are looking for Stradbroke Island Accommodation, make sure you visit: http://www.discoverstradbroke.com.au/


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