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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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!
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!
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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