The Attractions of Stradbroke Island

Right on Brisbane’s eastern doorstep, North Stradbroke Island (“Straddie” to the initiated) is another of Australia’s natrual treasures and a perfect escape destination. Somehow, the secret has been well kept and it is only in recent years that Straddie has started to show up on the tourism and real-estate radar.

To travel to Straddie by way of the bayside village of Cleveland will take you approximately 50 minutes on the vehicle ferry. Cleveland is a 30 minute drive from Brisbane International Airport or 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 great experience.

Stradbroke Island is 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 able to be accessed by four-wheel drive, bicycle or tramping, with numerous great camping sites dotted all the way down Main Beach, and 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 buildings of the Gold Coast is often clearly visible, being a reminder of the contrast to the slower pace 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 a lot of Aboriginal and European history in the area of Dunwich where water taxis and barges berth.

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

North Stradbroke attracts four-wheel drivers, fishermen, surfers and beach-lovers to its wide stretches of sandy coast and rugged granite headlands, and the Island offers a wide range of accommodation, restaurants, cafes and holiday infrastructure. With an incredible diversity of attractions on offer and spectacular places to discover, North Stradbroke is a fantastic holiday location 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 40m above sea level and known as a leading land-based whale-watch area in between May and November, 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 are regularly spotted from the spectacular North Gorge at the northern tip of the island. The island is 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 best experiences on the island is the fresh seafood directly from local fishermen. Look for signs at Amity Point and Point Lookout which will 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 fabulous 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 all 3 towns to 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 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 surfing equipment 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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