Stradbroke Island – Island of Charm
North Stradbroke Island is affectionately known to everyone as “Straddie”. Not only do you have beaches, wildlife and a chilled atmosphere but also unusual things happen on Straddie. From September to January you will see a strange sight on the beach. A local guy brings his camels over to the island, so if you fancy the rhythmical sway of a camel ride, on a beautiful beach, with waves crashing around you, this is possible. Even dining options are different to most holiday places. There is no fast food anywhere on the island, so it’s either self-catering or dining out at one of the 17 restaurants, which include a price range from the local bowls club (a meal that won’t break the budget) to upmarket elegant dining.
North Stradbroke Island is in Moreton Bay, just one hour from Brisbane and is accessed by ferry or fast water taxi. Being an island it creates a haven unto itself. In no time, you will find yourself winding down to the pace that the locals move at, which is delightfully slow. It is an island of tremendous beauty and not only does the island have abundant sandy white surf beaches, but it also has beautiful inland lakes including a brown lake, a blue lake and a series of small lagoons. With a name like Kaboora, meaning silent pool, this is indeed a tranquil, peaceful place to wind down, enjoy nature and observe the kangaroos, wallabies, goannas and birds, which are prolific in this national park. Take a picnic basket, as there are plenty of ideally placed picnic tables dotted around the lakes’ shores.
The northern part of Stradbroke has a stunning walkway, hugging the cliff top and is a favourite viewpoint for spotting whales (the humpbacks travel past between June and November), green and loggerhead turtles, dugongs, manta rays and dolphins, all easily visible in the clear waters.
The two main beaches are patrolled and if you visit mid-week you can have the beach to yourself, you will be the only one there – truly remarkable! For me, it is the beauty of the wild beaches, long extended walks and the simple pleasure of taking in a spectacular sunset from Cylinder Beach that is the true appeal of “Straddie”. However, for the person wanting action and adventure, you can pack in 4WD-escorted tours, dive trips, fishing charters, eco-adventure trips or golf.
Accommodation is plentiful, however location plays a key role in making your holiday on the island easy, convenient and accessible to the beach. The Allure Stradbroke Resort is a perfectly located hotel complex adjacent to the beach and has a range of beach shacks and larger villas for families and groups of friends. Each beach shack has a patio and tall trees and if you are lucky you can spot the resident koala or catch a glimpse of the large two metre long resident goanna. If you can’t spot the koala from your patio, go and check out the tree behind the bus stop, just beside the main entrance; this is her other favourite hang out spot. The curlew birds are plentiful on the hotel grounds and are a constant source of fascination as well. Fancy turtles? Some baby turtles hatched a little while ago right at the hotel front entrance.
For the kids, you can’t beat the rock pools at Deadmans Beach, just around the headland from Cylinder Beach, located 10 minutes away. You can muck around for hours there and combine this with sand dune surfing armed with a piece of cardboard. Stradbroke, being one of the largest sand islands in the world, has plenty of sand for all to share and delight in a bit of slip sliding away.
North Stradbroke Island is a great getaway where you will be spoiled for choice from friendly locals and a laid-back atmosphere, to the many natural wonders and a diverse range of activities. Straddie has it all and awaits your visit.
How to get there:
1 hour drive from Brisbane, Queensland to ferry access point.
45 minutes drive from Gold Coast.
Ferry access from Cleveland
– Vehicle Ferry (45 minutes)
– Fast water taxi (25 minutes)
Photos by David Metcalf