f you’re heading to North Stradbroke Island or thinking about visiting, you’re probably wondering what to do on the island and which places are worth visiting. Well, you’ve come to the right place as this article tells you about the fun places you should visit on the island, as well as interesting facts about the island, and accommodation and transport options.
10 Interesting Facts About North Stradbroke Island
- North Stradbroke Island is called “Straddie” by the locals
- North Stradbroke Island is the largest and most established of the Moreton Bay islands
- North and South Stradbroke Islands used to be joined, but a savage storm severed the sand spit between the two in 1896
- Sand mining used to be a major industry here, but these days only the southwest of the island is mined
- Apart from the beach, the southern part of the island is closed to visitors because of mining
- There are three small settlements on the island: Dunwich, Amity Point and Point Lookout
- Point Lookout, on the main surf beach, is the nicest place to stay in Straddie
- North Stradbroke Island is an easy 30-minute ferry ride from Cleveland
- The island was once home to a large Aboriginal population and still retains much of their history
- Straddie’s most obvious lure is a string of beautiful beaches
Where is North Stradbroke Island located?
North Stradbroke Island is the largest island in Moreton Bay off the coast of Queensland in Australia. In terms of distance, it is situated 23 km east of Cleveland, 50 km east of Brisbane and 102 km northeast of the Gold Coast.
North Stradbroke Island Map
Fun Places to Visit in North Stradbroke Island
Wondering what to do on North Stradbroke Island? Below are three of the best places to explore on your island holiday. If you’re just visiting for the day, Point Lookout should be your top pick.
1. Point Lookout
The best place to visit in North Stradbroke Island is Point Lookout. Here, there’s a series of points and bays along the headland, and endless stretches of white sand. The string of beaches here are the most picturesque on the island with shallow, protected swimming along the shore.
Cylinder Beach and Amity Point generally provide calm swimming opportunities, while Main Beach churns some good swells and breaks for surfing. Home and Cylinder beaches are both patrolled and, therefore, crowded during holiday weekends with families. If you don’t mind swimming in unwatched waters, head for the more easterly Deadman’s Beach or Frenchman’s Bay. There are also unpatrolled and exposed breaks all along Eighteen Mile Beach.
At Point Lookout, the eye-popping North Gorge Headlands Walk is an absolute highlight. It’s an easy 30-minute loop around the headland along boardwalks, with the thrum of cicadas as your soundtrack. Keep an eye out for turtles, dolphins and manta rays offshore. The view from the headland down Main Beach is a showstopper. From the walking track around North Gorge down to Main Beach you might see whales, if you have binoculars.
Located on the western coast, Dunwich is Straddie’s main ferry port. There’s little to see here except for the North Stradbroke Historical Museum near the post office. The museum is definitely worth an hour or two’s browsing. An oddball collection of island artefacts includes the skull of a sperm whale, washed up along Main Beach in 2004. There’s a section on the indigenous history of Stradbroke, including a map showing Aboriginal walking trails around the island.
The museum is located on Welsby Road and is open from 10am to 2pm on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
3. Eastern Side of North Stradbroke Island
There are plenty of scenic places to visit in the eastern section of the northern half of the island. Most are off-the-beaten-track so you might have the place to yourself if you’re lucky.
The eastern beach, known as Eighteen Mile Beach, is open to 4WD vehicles and campers, and there is lots of walking tracks and old 4WD roads in this area.
Just off the road from Dunwich to the beach, Blue Lake is the glittering centrepiece of the Blue Lake National Park. It’s reached by a 2.7km walking trail through the forest, starting from a car park, well signed off the side of the road. There’s a wooden viewing platform affording great views and the lake is surrounded by a forest of paperbarks, eucalypts and banksias. Keep an eye out for swamp wallabies. The freshwater lake is beautiful spot for a swim, if you don’t mind the spooky unseen depths.
There’s also good swimming at Brown Lake, about 3km along Tazi Road from Dunwich. Favoured by families and only a short 4WD from the road, the water here is very brackish, hence the name. There are picnic benches, barbecues, a kids’ playground and a sandy beach that’s good for paddling.
For both lakes, take the road opposite to the ferry terminal. If you’re coming from Point Lookout, a number of dirt-track loops break the monotony of the bitumen road. A pleasant diversion is a visit to the Myora Springs, which are surrounded by lush vegetation and walking tracks, near the coast about 4km north of Dunwich.
North Stradbroke Island Accommodation
North Stradbroke Island is the largest and most developed island in Moreton Bay. As a result, it has some of the best places to stay and eat in the area. Almost all of the island’s accommodation is in Point Lookout, strung along 3km of coastline. Accommodation options range from basic campgrounds, hostels and self-contained bungalows to the more ritzy beachside resorts.
North Stradbroke Island Resort
There are three resorts on the island consisting of villas and apartments located in Point Lookout.
Domain Stradbroke Resort
Located on East Coast Road, the resort has large ultramodern villas set in a leafy compound and backed by forest. If you like your designer furniture and stylish décor then this could be the place for you. If you want space from the kids or travelling companions, this is ideal. Also included is great outdoor decking and an outdoor shower.
Pandanus Palms Resort
The best thing about this resort is its location. Perched high above the beach, with a thick tumble of vegetation beneath, the large two-bedrooms townhouses here are a good size and it’s worth paying the extra to get one at the front of the complex. The ocean views are simply magnificent and on a clear day you can see all the way to the Glasshouse Mountains. Room 28 is probably the best – it has been modernised inside and has a large coconut tree in its private courtyard, from where you can enjoy the views while cooking on the barbecue.
Whale Watch Ocean Beach Resort
Located on Samarinda Drive, this resort has sublime and secluded apartments with stylish furniture and large decks.
North Stradbroke Island Camping
There are five camping grounds on the island operated by Straddie Holiday Parks. The most attractive of the campgrounds are located around Point Lookout. The Adder Rock Camping Area and the Thankful Rest Camping Area both overlook lovely Home Beach, while the Cylinder Beach Camping Area sits right on one of the island’s most popular beaches. Sites should be booked well in advance to avoid disappointment.
How to get to North Stradbroke Island?
The gateway to North Stradbroke Island is the seaside suburb of Cleveland. Island ferries to North Stradbroke Island leave from Toondah Harbour in Cleveland.
To get from Brisbane to Cleveland, take the Citytrain from Brisbane’s Central or Roma Street to Cleveland station, then catch the special red-and-yellow National Bus to the ferry terminals.
North Stradbroke Island Ferry
Several ferry companies head across to North Stradbroke Island. Stradbroke Ferries and Big Red Cat cross to Dunwich around twenty times daily between them, commencing at 5:30am to 5:30pm. Alternatively, foot passengers can cross from Cleveland to Dunwich by water taxi operated by Stradbroke Ferries or Gold Cats. The Stradbroke water taxis run almost every hour from about 6am to 6pm. The Stradbroke Flyer also runs an almost-hourly catamaran service from Cleveland to One Mile Jetty, 1.5km north of central Dunwich.
North Stradbroke Island Bus
Local buses meet the ferries at Dunwich and One Mile Jetty and run across to Point Lookout. The last bus to Dunwich leaves Point Lookout at about 6:45pm, later on Friday. The local bus to Point Lookout also connects with all water taxis at Dunwich.
Tell us what you think. What makes you want to visit North Stradbroke Island? If you’ve been there before, what places did you visit?
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