North Stradbroke Island or ‘Straddie’ as it’s known to locals is an ideal holiday spot for families, couples and groups of friends - pretty much anyone really!
It’s only one hour away from Brisbane so it’s great for day trips or longer holidays if you want to stay a while and experience the tranquility.
The island is incredibly diverse with quaint little villages, unspoilt beaches, year round fishing and stunning lookouts where you can watch dolphins play and turtles duck under the waves. There are three townships on the island, historical Dunwich, Point Lookout on the surf side of the island and Amity Point a popular fishing spot. Flinders Beach also has a small settlement of beachside holiday houses.
Getting to Stradbroke Island
There’s a couple of ways to get to Stradbroke Island, the fast way or the slow way. There are vehicle ferries that have serviced the area between North Stradbroke Island and Cleveland for the last 45 years. These vessels carry 400 passengers and can carry up to 50 cars each. They operate 7 days a week with extra services on weekends to cater for a greater number of visitors. The ferry can take standard cars, 4WD’s, trailers, mini buses and motorbikes.
There are also Water Taxis that take only 25 minutes to get from Cleveland to North Stradbroke Island. These taxi’s operate 7 days a week and run up to 12 return services daily. They seat 170 people comfortably and you can get a bus service from the Cleveland train station so you can get to your ferry on time.
Once you’re on the island you can use the bitumen roads to get around or you can take the North Stradbroke Island bus service that connects with all water taxis on the island to major beaches, resorts and tourism destinations.
There’s a myriad of accommodation options on North Stradbroke Island varying from campsites to luxury beach houses. Most of the accommodation on the island is located around Point Lookout, Dunwich and Amity Point which is convenient as that’s where the restaurants, attractions and shops are.
To camp on North Stradbroke Island you must apply for a permit which will allow you to choose from several different campsites. You can pitch your tent on some of the best beachside accommodation around and enjoy the great amenities. During peak holiday seasons it is imperative that you book in advance. To camp on the foreshore you must have a 4WD vehicle. It’s a fantastic and cheap way to enjoy the beauty of North Stradbroke Island.
There’s also a whole host of family friendly resorts, self serviced apartments, backpacker hostels, budget units and stunning rental houses. Whatever your budget or needs are there is something to suit everyone.
There’s a loads of things to do on the island including playing a game at the Point Lookout Bowls Club, play a round at the North Stradbroke Golf Club, visit the Point Lookout Markets that are held twice a month, visit local art galleries and historical centres, join a cycling tour or go for a self guided bushwalk. Below are some of our favourite activities on North Stradbroke Island.
There are a number of picturesque beaches, coves and inlets around North Stradbroke Island. There’s lots to do at the beach whether you’re just there to soak up some sun and go for a swim, surf, body board or snorkel. Some are patrolled beaches like Cylinder Beach which are great for families and others like Deadman’s Beach and Frenchman’s Beach are better for exploring rock pools and romantic strolls. Main Beach is a popular surf beach for its large swells and powerful waves. You’ll find a patrolled stretch next to the Surf Lifesaving Club however swimmers should be warned as there are often strong rips and currents.
Diving & Snorkeling at Stradbroke
Some of the best dive and snorkel sites in South East Queensland are located off North Stradbroke Island. There’s fantastic reefs surrounding Point Lookout which are great for spotting turtles, manta rays and reef fish. There’s a range of tour operators that offer snorkeling and 5 Star PADI courses. You can hire equipment from these places and be taken to the best spots by the experienced staff.
When you think of North Stradbroke Island you may not think that it is home to some of the world’s most ecologically important wetlands. There are a number of large lakes and a series of small lagoons on the island. Blue Lake or as it’s known by its Aboriginal name Kaboora, which means silent pool, is one of the Island’s most beautiful spots. You can’t reach this lake by car so you’ll have to walk around 2.5km each way. Brown Lake is accessible by car and is a great place for a picnic and a cooling swim.
Many keen anglers come to North Stradbroke Island for the sole intent on fishing up a storm. There’s a whole range of fishing options either beach fishing, from rocky outcrops, via boat or off jetties and some of the best offshore fishing available in South East Queensland. You’ll be able to catch reef fish like Jew and Snapper offshore, species like mackerel and tuna from rocky outcrops and sport fishing will enjoy catching marlin and yellow fin tuna further offshore. From the beach you’ll be able to pick up whiting, bream and flathead and if you’ve got a 4WD you’ll have access to tailor and dart.
History of Stradbroke
Stradbroke Island has a rich and varied history which is prevalent on the island. It’s native name is Minjerribah but we know it today as Stradbroke, named after the Earl of Stradbroke. There is a history of visitors to the island dating back to Matthew Flinders calling in to stop for fresh water and three shipwrecked sailors after him were welcomed and helped by the Aboriginal people. It is believed that before them a Spanish or Portuguese ship was wrecked and that two survivors walked into an Aboriginal camp to safety. It is believed that the ship’s remains exist somewhere in the 18 Mile Swamp. The Aborigines of Stradbroke Island became well known for their hospitality.
Later, European settlement on the Island saw that the township of Dunwhich used as a convict outstation, Quarantine Station, Catholic Mission and Benevolent Institution. Indication of the island’s past uses can be seen at three of the town’s cemeteries: the general cemetery, the Myora Aboriginal cemetery which is located north of Dunwich and the leper’s cemetery south of Dunwich. The general cemetery is open to the public and is filled with crumbling headstones, incomplete and no longer legible stones and unmarked graves. To learn more about Stradboke Island’s history visit the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum which provides visitors with an array of photographs, shipwrecked items and further information. You can take a self guided walk through the island which will take you past convict relics, graves dating back to the shipwrecks of the 1800s and various historical buildings.
One of North Stradbroke Island’s most famous locals is Oodgeroo Noonucall, formerly known as Kath Walker. Oodgeroo is one of Australia’s great Aboriginal poets and native rights campaigner. She was prominent in the 1997 agreement between the government and the local Aboriginal people in claiming rights over Stradbroke Island and areas of Moreton Bay.