The Attractions of Stradbroke Island

Right on Brisbane’s eastern doorstep, North Stradbroke Island (“Straddie” to the familiar) is another of Australia’s east coast natural treasures and a perfect escape destination. Somehow, the secret has been well kept and it is only in recent years that Stradbroke Island has started to sparkle on the tourist and property radar.

To travel to Stradbroke Island via the bayside village of Cleveland takes 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 step that makes Stradbroke Island such a wonderful trip.

Stradbroke Island is 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. It’s beaches are able to be accessed by four-wheel drive, bicycle or on foot, with numerous popular camp sites placed 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 at 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 constant reminder of the stark contrast to the more relaxed lifestyle of Straddie.

North Stradbroke (or 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 surrounding Dunwich where the 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 provides pure water that fish, and particularly Stradbroke Rock Oysters thrive upon.

North Stradbroke attracts four-wheel drivers, fishermen, surfers and beach-lovers to the expansive lengths of accessible coast and rugged granite headlands, and the Island offers a good range of accommodation, restaurants, cafes and holiday infrastructure. With a wonderful diversity of attractions to offer and stunningly beautiful areas to discover, North Stradbroke is a fantastic holiday place 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 tourist hub, only a 30km drive on a sealed road from Dunwich. The North Gorge Headland is 40 metres above sea level and recognised as a leading land-based whale-watch area during from May-November, and world-class surfing and fishing throughout the year.

Point Lookout’s unspoilt beaches and headlands are safe 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 tour with one of Straddie’s friendly tour operators.

One of the greatest features of the island is being able to purchase fresh seafood directly from local fishermen. Just 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 would rather the work be done for them, Straddie’s restaurants and cafes all make use of this amazing resource on the menus.

“The Point” offers several 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 drop in for a quick beer on your way back around -you may even bump into world ranked surfer and local Bede Durbidge! Straddie 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 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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