The Attractions of Stradbroke Island

Right on Brisbane’s eastern doorstep, North Stradbroke Island (’Straddie’ to the initiated) is one of Australia’s natrual treasures -a perfect escape destination. Something of a secret, it is only recently that Stradbroke Island has started to shine on the tourist and real-estate radar.

To travel to Straddie via the Brisbane suburb of Cleveland will take you approximately 50 minutes using the vehicle ferry. Cleveland is only a half-hour drive from Brisbane International Airport and the centre of Brisbane, 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 fantastic trip.

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. The beaches are accessible by four-wheel drive, bicycle or on foot, with numerous great camp sites situated all the way down Main Beach, and beautiful views appear visible from almost everywhere on Straddie.

Thirty-five kilometres of white sandy beaches fringe the island’s eastern side, from Point Lookout in the north to Jumpin Pin in the south. From the Point lookout headland, the towering jungle of the Gold Coast can be clearly visible, and is a reminder of the contrast to the more relaxed lifestyle of Straddie.

North Stradbroke (Minjerriba to the indigenous Noonuccal people) was home to famous Aboriginal poet Kath Walker, or Oodgeroo Noonuccal. There is a lot of Aboriginal and European history in the area of Dunwich where the water taxis and vehicular barges moor.

The calm waters of Moreton Bay lap against the shores of the island’s western fishing towns. The lack of agriculture and the filtering effects of the sand produces pure water that sea-life, and particularly Stradbroke Rock Oysters thrive upon.

North Stradbroke attracts four-wheel drivers, fishermen, surfies and beach-lovers to the expansive lengths of sandy coast and rugged granite headlands, and the Island also has a range of accommodation, restaurants, cafes and holiday infrastructure. With a diversity of attractions on offer and beautiful places to explore, North Stradbroke is a fabulous 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 the main destination, and only a 30km drive on a sealed road from Dunwich. The North Gorge Headland is 40m above sea level and recognised as a leading land-based whale-watch site in the colder months, and world-class surfing and fishing throughout the year.

Point Lookout’s unspoilt beaches and headlands are perfect for swimming, surfing and fishing year round. Whales, dolphins, turtles and manta rays can often be spotted 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 with several freshwater lakes, waterways and lagoons that are accessible by four-wheel drive or on a guided tour with one of Straddie’s friendly tour operators.

One of the great features on the island is being able to purchase fresh seafood available direct from local fishermen. Look for the signs at Amity Point and Point Lookout which will 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 amazing resource in their menus.

“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 which links all 3 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 quick beer on your way back around -you may even bump into world ranked surfer and local Bede Durbidge! Straddie also boasts what is perhaps the last truly old-school surf shop in the country, that makes it’s business selling surfing equipment 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 differing 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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