The Attractions of Stradbroke Island

Located on Brisbane’s eastern doorstep, North Stradbroke Island (“Straddie” to the familiar) is one of Australia’s natrual treasures -a perfect escape destination. Something of a secret, it is only in recent years that Straddie has begun to shine on the tourist and real-estate radar.

Travel to Straddie via the Brisbane suburb of Cleveland takes approx. 50 minutes using the vehicle ferry. Cleveland is only a thirty minute drive from Brisbane International Airport or the centre of Brisbane, and an drive from the Gold Coast. The boat 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, 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 tramping, with many good camping sites situated down Main Beach, and views appear visible from almost everywhere on the island.

The 35 kilometres of white sandy beaches fringing the island’s eastern side runs 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, being a reminder of the contrast to the slower pace of Straddie.

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

The waters of Moreton Bay ripple against the shores of the island’s western fishing towns. The lack of agriculture and the filtering effects of the sand results in clean water which fish, and particularly Stradbroke Rock Oysters thrive in.

North Stradbroke attracts four-wheel drivers, fishers, surfies and beach-lovers to its wide stretches of beach and rugged granite headlands, and the Island offers a good range of accommodation, restaurants, cafes and holiday infrastructure. With a diversity of experiences available and beautiful areas to explore, North Stradbroke is a popular 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, and only a 30km drive on a sealed road from Dunwich. The North Gorge Headland is 40 metres above sea level and known as a leading land-based whale watching site in winter, and world-class surfing and fishing throughout the year.

Point Lookout’s unspoilt beaches and headlands are perfect for swimming, surfing and fishing all year round. Whales, dolphins, turtles and manta rays are regularly seen from the spectacular North Gorge at the northern part 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 best features of the island is the fresh seafood directly from local fishermen. Just 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 that would rather the work be done for them, Straddie’s restaurants and cafes all make use of this fabulous resource on the menu.

“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 three 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! Straddie also boasts what is perhaps the last truly old-school surf shop in the country, that makes it’s business selling surf 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 different 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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