5 nights at North Stradbroke Island

July 11, 2019

I recently had five nights at North Stradbroke Island.  I went with one of my sisters and her two kids (teen girl aged 16 and boy aged 11) plus a friend to my niece (another teen girl aged 16).  So there were five of us.  I was the driver and we went over on the vehicular ferry.  It was all very exciting.  

If you’re unfamiliar with North Stradbroke Island (‘Straddie’), it’s a large sand island that lies within Moreton Bay in Queensland, 30 kilometres southeast of the capital of Brisbane.  It’s about 38 kilometres long and 11 kilometres wide with an area of roughly 275 square kilometres. 

There is a ‘South Stradbroke Island’ too – it’s much smaller than North Stradbroke Island (around 21 kms in length) and whilst you can take a normal car over there, I believe it has no roads and requires a 4WD to get around and see the island.  You might be happy though to chill out camping and walking or maybe you’d enjoy staying at the one and only resort over there – the Couran Cove Island Resort.

Here’s a map that shows the size and location of North Stradbroke Island, and also the route the ferry takes from Cleveland to Dunwich.  By the way, while the term  ‘Quandamooka’ refers geographically to southern Moreton Bay, the waters, islands and adjacent coastal areas of the mainland, there is the Quandamooka people – Aboriginal groups made up of three distinct tribes, who live primarily on Moreton and North Stradbroke Islands.

Map showing location and size of Stradbroke Island.

I’d been to North Stradbroke Island once before, about 35+ years ago (or so) and only for one night.  I have little memory of it except that it wasn’t exactly a great experience.  It involved spending one night in a two man tent, pouring rain, a leaking tent, deflated air mattresses, claustrophobia, and no hot showers. The one good thing I remember is a nice meal at the pub!  I don’t recall the beautiful nature because I don’t think I noticed such things back then!

So let’s just say that this recent trip to Straddie was my first time there … which is ridiculous considering I live so close!  I will be visiting again many more times.  I can say that for sure.

I thought I’d share with you what we managed to see and do in the 5 days we were at Straddie.  WARNING:  This is a bit of an epic post (very long) but most of it is photographs (and some video’s).  All photos & videos were taken with my iPhone XR.

Where We Stayed

We stayed in a gorgeous spacious apartment looking out over Cylinder Beach – Waves Apartments, Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel.  My sister was lucky enough to snag a special deal.  Loved it there!  Beautiful well appointed and spacious apartment and just a short stroll to Cylinder Beach.  It was only a few minutes drive to all the shops at Point Lookout, or a 20 minute walk.

Waves Apartment, Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel, North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia.

Waves Apartment, Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel, North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia.

Sunset from apartment at Cylinder Beach, North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia.

Sunset from the apartment

Sunset over the pool at Waves Apartments, Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel, North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia.

Sunset over the pool

Relaxing on the deck of the apartment, North Stradbroke Island.

Relaxing and reading on the deck on a cold, windy and rainy day.

CYLINDER BEACH

I loved this beach that was within an easy stroll of where we stayed. It’s one of the Island’s most iconic surf beaches. With a direct north orientation, it enjoys protection from the prevailing winds.

MAIN BEACH

This beach is incredible.  So unspoilt.  So natural.  And it goes on an on forever – an east facing beach that runs south from Point Lookout for 38 kms.

FRENCHMAN’S BEACH

This beach was gorgeous.  It faces due east, so receives little protection from the prevailing south-east waves.  It is not a swimming beach – too dangerous!  The beach is 500m long and is backed by steep, densely vegetated bluffs, access to the beach is either around Dune Rocks from Deadmans Beach, or down a signed steep walking track from the main road (which is the way we accessed it).

SOUTH GORGE BEACH

This beach is teeny tiny but very cute.  It’s apparently quite popular because of its protection from most winds and calmer inshore waters. However, whilst relatively safe for swimming inshore, in deeper waters it can be more precarious because there are rocks either side and there can be quite strong rips.

GORGE WALK

Wow! This is a must do for anyone visiting North Stradbroke Island. It’s not a difficult walk – suitable for any age or fitness level and doesn’t take too long to complete.  It’s a 1.2 km walk – mostly boardwalk.  It is just stunning, offering outstanding views across the ocean. You can spot whales and other sea life and you may even spot some kangaroos along the walking tracks.  One thing though – if you have toddlers you will need to keep a very tight rein on them!

OCEANIC GELATI AND COFFEE BAR

We may have frequented this place a few times!  Yum – the best homemade gelato I’ve ever tasted and you can eat it with a view out over Frenchman’s Bay.  My favourite was the Mango!  They also offer espresso coffee, fresh juices and smoothies and refreshing dairy-free fruit sorbets!   They have the most beautiful insta-worthy tiles too! 

BLUE ROOM / GREEN ROOM

BLUE ROOM – This is a quaint and somewhat quirky little beach shack style cafe with some indoor seating (most with views) a small alfresco area with stunning views.  It is very, very popular!

GREEN ROOM – Alongside the Blue Room is the Green Room.  It embodies the ideals of healthy island living.  This is where you get some fruit and vegetables that are hand-picked from the markets (including organic when in season). There are also Barambah dairy products, organic meats, gluten-free breads, yummy organic treats, fresh coconuts, non-toxic household goods and personal toiletries.

Mosaics outside the Blue Room and the Green Room

Fruit and Vegetables in the Green Room

Window View from the Blue Room

Decorative tap on the wall in the Blue Room

THE BLUE LAKE

We drove to the Blue Lake National Park (within the Naree Budjong Djara National Park).  Blue Lake is an area of special cultural significance for Quandamooka people who call the lake ‘Karboora’, meaning ‘deep silent pool’.  

There were a few different tracks to walk to the Blue Lake.  We chose the shortest one which was a 1.5 hour walk each way.  It was an easy walk and well worth the effort.  

We had a picnic lunch on the banks of the Blue Lake and ahhhh the serenity!!

STARFISH STUDIO

I was very lucky to have discovered this place, quite by chance!  You see, while at the Blue Room having a coffee I was admiring the lovely hanging baskets out in their alfresco dining area.  I asked where they were from.  I was told they were made by Rope Buoy and that some of his stuff is sold at the Starfish Studio.  So I had a double discovery – Rope Buoy who I now follow on Instagram and Starfish Studio which I visited and now also follow on Instagram.  Starfish Studio is a delightful little shop that I would have driven past several times.  It’s easily missed but look out for it and definitely give it a visit.  I didn’t get a Rope Buoy hanging basket but I know where to look for it now, though apparently he is kinda ‘on leave’ at the moment as he is finishing a PhD! 

As we were leaving we were greeted by a lovely looking black and white speckled chook (we were told what type she is but I can’t remember).  The owner came out and showed us how when she puts her hands up ‘Amy the chook’ squats down with her wings out waiting to be picked up.  She’s very tame and absolutely loves to be held and patted.  She makes contented sounds when you pat her soft feathers.  She was lovely!  

Amy the Chook

THE STRADBROKE BEACH HOTEL MANTA RAY BISTRO

For our final night at Straddie we had dinner out at the Stradbroke Beach Hotel Manta Ray Bistro which was just downstairs and a short stroll from our apartment.  Perfect!  

Cheers!

Crispy Pork Belly with Apple Salad drizzled with Chilli Caramel dressing. Yum!

So there you go!  We managed to squeeze in quite a bit don’t you think?  Next time I visit Straddie, I’d like to visit the Brown Lake and some of the beaches I didn’t get to this time.  

Before we knew it we were back on the ferry headed back towards Cleveland.

Have you been to Straddie?  Where do you recommend I visit next time that I haven’t listed here?

Ciao for now,

 

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14 Comments

  • Reply Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond July 11, 2019 at 8:05 am

    It looks beautiful Min and I’m not sure I have ever visited North Stradbroke in the 30 odd years I have lived in Brisbane! You really needed the break and it sounds like just what you wanted. Thanks for the lovely photos and videos and I might have to organise at least a long weekend over there with my hubby. #lovinlifelinky

    • Reply Min July 11, 2019 at 4:02 pm

      I feel so silly that I haven’t been in all these years Sue and I live so close by! I hope you get there. I think you’d love it. It’s not a place for people that need a lot of entertainment/shops/etc It’s a great place for a lovely relaxing back to nature getaway! 🙂

  • Reply Joanne Tracey July 11, 2019 at 8:49 am

    I’ve never been to Straddie, but it’s definitely on my list for a sneaky getaway with hubby. I was so happy that the weather was better than forecasted for you too. Love your pics, your nails were def instaworthy in the gelato shot, but my fave by far was the chook.

    • Reply Min July 11, 2019 at 4:03 pm

      It’d make a great sneaky getaway Jo. It’s beautiful and very different to the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast. Haha re the nails – you should see the rest of them – chips galore! Ahh yes that chook really stole my heart. She was a lovely chook. Never thought I could be so taken with a chook! LOL

  • Reply Deborah July 11, 2019 at 10:10 am

    Oh your photos are stunning Min.

    Interestingly I went there in my ‘schoolies’ week in 1984. I’d won a holiday in a Model of the Year thing for two to a new resort on Straddie and so took my best friend. It wasn’t great as the resort wasn’t finished but we hadn’t known that. So there was no restaurant. We’d gotten dropped there (off the barge) and so had to rely on one local shop to buy stuff for the week and no one was around so it was kinda weird.

    I did go back in the late 80s though as a friend’s parents owned a holiday rental there. It looks like it’s changed a lot since! Still beautiful though.

    • Reply Min July 11, 2019 at 4:05 pm

      Model of the year hey Deb?! You should write a blog post about that – sounds like a great story! I’m sure the Straddie of 1984 was nothing like how it is now. In fact, that was probably around when I went and had my disastrous night in the tent! lol

  • Reply Christine July 11, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    It does look so lovely! Sounds like you had a very relaxing time. People are always talking about Straddie yet I’ve never been. One day soon ….

    • Reply Min July 11, 2019 at 4:05 pm

      It’s lovely over there. I would have liked longer there as I was only just starting to truly feel relaxed and it was time to leave. I hope you get there one day soon!

  • Reply Vanessa July 11, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    I was lucky enough to go there for a work retreat a few years back. The retreat was a disaster but at least it was in a pretty place!!

    • Reply Min July 11, 2019 at 4:06 pm

      Going for a work do would put a totally different spin on a Straddie visit. I hope you get to go again one day outside of work. It’s so lovely there!

  • Reply Patrick Weseman July 12, 2019 at 3:24 am

    So very beautiful. What a wonderful place. #lovinlifelinky

    • Reply Min July 15, 2019 at 12:51 pm

      It sure is a wonderful place. I’m so lucky to have it nearby. I should be taking more advantage of it!

  • Reply Natalie July 12, 2019 at 9:31 am

    Such a beautiful place with so many gorgeous beaches to explore, and it’s not too far so you can go there more often. Thanks, Min, for sharing your photos and videos with us. #lovin’lifelinky

    • Reply Min July 15, 2019 at 12:52 pm

      Yes – I really should go more often. I will make a point of it. It’s beautiful there!

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