The Attractions of Stradbroke Island

Situated on Brisbane’s eastern doorstep, North Stradbroke Island (’Straddie’ to those familiar) is one of Australia’s natrual treasures -a perfect escape destination. Something of a secret, it is only recently that Stradbroke Island has begun to sparkle on the tourism and property radar.

To travel to Stradbroke Island through the Brisbane suburb of Cleveland will take you approximately 50 minutes on the vehicle ferry. Cleveland is a half-hour drive from Brisbane International Airport or Brisbane central, and an drive from the Gold Coast. The boat ride across Moreton Bay is the first of a series of experiences that make Stradbroke Island such a fantastic destination.

Stradbroke Island covers 27,530 hectares, making it 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 able to be accessed by four-wheel drive, bicycle or on foot, with a number of popular camp sites located all the way down Main Beach, and wonderful views are visible from almost everywhere on the island.

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 concrete jungle of the Gold Coast can be clearly visible, and is a reminder of the stark contrast to the more relaxed lifestyle of Straddie.

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

The calm waters of Moreton Bay swish against the shores of the island’s western fishing towns. With a lack of agriculture and the filtering effects of the sand produces pure water that fish, and particularly Stradbroke Rock Oysters thrive in.

North Stradbroke attracts four-wheel drivers, fishermen, surfies and beach-lovers to the wide stretches of sandy coast and rugged granite headlands, and the Island offers a good range of accommodation, restaurants, cafes and holiday attractions. With an incredible diversity of attractions on offer and spectacular areas 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 the main destination, only a 30km drive on a sealed road from Dunwich. The North Gorge Headland is forty metres above sea level and recognised as a leading land-based whale-watch area in winter, and world-class surfing and fishing throughout the year.

Point Lookout’s unspoilt beaches and headlands are safe for swimming, surfing and fishing all year round. Whales, dolphins, turtles and manta rays can often be spotted from the spectacular North Gorge at the northern part of the island. The island is 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 the fresh seafood directly from local fishermen. Just look for the signs at Amity Point and Point Lookout to direct you to their homes and the freshest catch-of-the-day around. For those who prefer the work be done for them, Straddie’s restaurants and cafes all make use of this perfect island resource on their 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 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 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 surf gear rather than fashion.

The jewels in Stradbroke’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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