- If you can dream it, you can do it. Walt Disney
Visit North Stradbroke Island
North Stradbroke Island is a place to exhale. Spend a day, a week or a month here and you will feel the importance of this cultural paradise. Known as Minjerribah to the traditional owners (the Quandamooka People), Straddie has a natural beauty not often seen and a spiritual connection not often felt.
Just a hop, skip and jump (drive or train and ferry) from Brisbane’s CBD and you’ll feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of life. Mobile phone coverage is patchy, the ocean is a twinkling turquoise blue and the waves roll in day in, day out.
Here’s our tips for making the most of your trip to this laid-back paradise.
1. Hang with the local wildlife
Native wildlife are right at home at Straddie and if you know where to look you’ll be spotting them all day. Dolphins come right up to the jetty at Amity Point at both sunrise and sunset (no feeding allowed!) and the kangaroos have their brekky and dinner at the top of the North Gorge walk every day. There are several well-known koalas around the place including one at the Amity Point Camping Ground as well as one at the Little Ship Club at Dunwich.
2. Watch the whales without leaving the shore
North Stradbroke is Queensland’s most easterly point, so from June to November you can watch the whale migration from several vantage points on shore. Find a spot along the top of the cliffs anywhere from Cylinder Beach to North Gorge – keep an eye out for several elevated viewing platforms perfect for catching a glimpse of one of these beauties!
3. Learn about the land’s traditional owners
Join a historical walk along the Goompi trail with a local Aboriginal guide and learn about the Quandamooka people, artefacts, traditional hunting methods, bush tucker, bush medicines and heaps more.
4. Meet the fish, face to face
Scuba diving at Straddie is a must-do, with average visibility 15-20m, and up to 30m in summer. Head out to Shag Rock or Flat Rock and spot the resident Manta Ray Pod, Leopard sharks, turtles and a myriad of fish. Never dived before? You can get qualified while you’re there at Manta Lodge.
5. Take a stroll along the North Gorge Walk, Straddie’s pride and joy
This 1.2km walk is one of the best you’ll ever experience. From the rocky outcrops, look out to the turquoise sea and you’ll spot dolphins, manta rays, turtles, fish and even the occasional shark.
6. Slurp while the sun sets
Oceanic Gelati Bar is conveniently located at the entrance of the North Gorge walk, making it the perfect reward for all of those stairs!
7. Swim in a tea-stained lake
Brown Lake is just 3.5km from Dunwich and is the perfect spot for a swim followed by a barbecue lunch. The tea trees surrounding the lake cause the clear water to take on a brown tinge.
8. Paddle on
Join a kayak tour to Peel Island and see the shipwreck of the Platypus, which sank in 1930. Keep an eye out for dugongs, turtles and dolphins as you paddle.
9. Watch the ocean glow
Head down to the beach at night to see the bioluminescence of local plankton literally light up the shore line.
10. Embrace the vibe
Visit during late October and watch the island come alive for Island Vibe, the music, dance, art and culture festival to end all others.
11. Savour the locals
A bag of prawns, a couple of Moreton Bay bugs and some Spanish mackerel will make for the ultimate island indulgence meal. Try Rufus King Seafoods at Amity Point or local secret, Mal Starkey's Seafood House, for the freshest of the fresh seafood, straight off the trawler.
12. Sundowners with a view
From 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays, the Point Lookout Surf Lifesaving club opens its doors for the best sunset tipple we know of.
13. Get some culture
Visit Salt Water Murris' Art Gallery at Dunwich to check out a huge range of local Aboriginal art - better yet, take a piece home to experience the Straddie spirit even when you’re back home.
14. Take a walk in the woods to Blue Lake
Located in the Naree Budjong Djara National Park, this 5.2km (return) walk will treat you to stunning vistas of Blue Lake. But don’t jump in, the lake is culturally significant area for the Quandamooka people.
15. Hang Ten
Straddie surf is as varied as it is fun, with ideal spots for the experienced surfer and the beginner alike. Hint, if it’s blowing down at Main Beach then head on over to the protected headland at Cylinder for non-stop sets.