February 20, 2023
9 mins Read
Endearingly referred to as ‘Straddie’ by the locals – and known as Minjerribah to its traditional owners, the Quandamooka people – North Stradbroke Island has buckets full of old-school Queensland holiday charm just waiting to be explored.
Around 30km east of Brisbane CBD (a 40-minute drive) is the coastal suburb of Cleveland and the gateway to North Stradbroke Island. If you’re travelling to Cleveland by train, a free connecting bus (route 258) takes you to Toondah Harbour.
Once tickets are pre-purchased online or at the ticket desk on arrival, visitors can catch the 25-minute passenger North Stradbroke Island ferry. It connects to a bus service on the other side at Dunwich, taking you to Point Lookout.
Alternatively, if you prefer to take your car with you, the 50-minute vehicle ferry is available, and the main roads on the island are sealed and easily accessible.
The entire trip takes around two hours from Brisbane CBD, but once you plonk your bare feet onto the shore it’ll be worth the journey.
There are three towns on the island: Dunwich, Amity, and Point Lookout. Each small town is located about 20km apart, and accessible via sealed roads. If you’re staying for a few days it’s worth visiting all three places, as they’re each so different.
In the historic town of Dunwich, you can visit Salt Water Murris Quandamooka Aboriginal Art Gallery or the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum. Point Lookout is popular for its magnificent beaches and retail shops. Or for laid-back local charm, head to the small seaside village of Amity Point.
While you’re more than welcome to soak up the sun, sea, and sand on Straddie (it really is the perfect island for this), there is so much to see and do here that you’ll never be bored.
Manta Lodge & Scuba Centre offers scuba diving trips from Friday to Tuesday. With experienced guides and over 15 dive sites to visit, this is popular all year round. Dive below and try to spot manta rays, leopard sharks in summer, and grey nurse sharks and humpback whales in winter. If you haven’t been certified as an open-water diver – no worries, you can sign up for the ‘Try Scuba Diving’ program.
North Stradbroke Island also has some extraordinary snorkelling sites and with no experience necessary, you can join a half-day guided snorkelling tour to see what lies beneath the water.
Going for a dip in tea-coloured water may not sound appealing, but trust us when we say it’s an experience not to be missed.
The colour of the water is due to the tannin from the leaves of the surrounding paperbark and tea trees, yet it’s beautifully calm and refreshing. It’s the perfect spot for a quiet dip on a warm day. The best way to reach the lake, 3.5km outside of Dunwich, is by car.
Brighten up your day with an early kayak tour. Setting off at 8:30am, a kayaking adventure with Straddie Kingfisher Tours takes you to Peel Island, stopping along the way to spot dugongs, turtles, and dolphins playing in the bay.
Near Peel Island is the Shipwreck of the Platypus which sank in 1930. From here, get your flippers and snorkels out to swim to the wreckage.
Located close to Dunwich, sandboarding is a fun way to spend a day in Straddie. Kingfisher Tours provides the boards and the speed wax, so all you have to remember is your sunscreen and camera. You won’t want to miss those epic stacks.
With incredible ocean views and beautiful stretches of coastal bushland, North Gorge Walk is a must-do item on your visit to North Stradbroke Island.
Along the way, there are spectacular lookouts to stop at and enjoy the view, as well as endless stretches of golden, sandy beaches and opal waters.
The 1.5km walk (around 45 minutes) starts off as a dirt track before quickly turning into a boardwalk for the rest of the route. Some steps are included.
In 1902 a ship sunk in the Coral Sea just off Point Lookout. A skeleton and boot were uncovered on a nearby beach 50 years later – hence the name Deadman’s Beach.
Putting the unfortunate history aside, this beach is one of the prettiest spots in the whole of Straddie. If you sit on the top of the grassy hill, you can easily spot the annual migration of humpback whales. On the other end of the beach lay rock pools and a massive sand dune.
You may be surprised to hear there are a lot of food and drink spots on Straddie – over 35 places.
Across Dunwich, Point Lookout, and Amity Point – whether you choose a beach hotel or bistro, fruit barn or coffee cart, or fresh seafood or pizza joint – you won’t be disappointed. They’ve all got great reviews, but here are five extra special recommendations.
Feeling peckish? Pop into Bo Beans Coffee for a caffeine hit and to suss out the treats cabinet. There’s a full range of vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free cakes, slices, cookies, brownies, and muffins.
Where: 44 Sovereign Road, Amity Point
Just a 10-minute walk from Dunwich Ferry Terminal, The Barn Cafe (formerly known as the Island Fruit Barn) sells a bit of everything.
Where: 16 Bingle Road, Dunwich
Following the mantra ‘you are what you eat’, Oasis on Straddie offers a menu made from scratch using locally sourced fresh produce where possible. Pop in for their daily gourmet salads, vegetable lasagne, or even a simple toastie and watermelon juice.
Where: 83 Dickson Way, Point Lookout
For alfresco dining with sea views, head to the Manta Ray Bistro & Waves Bar at Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel. From sensational seafood platters to a traditional salad and schnitzel, there’s plenty to tempt your taste buds.
Where: 158-172 Dickson Way, Point Lookout
For a spot of lunch at the highest point of the island, head to Bistro Seymour at North Stradbroke Island Golf Club.
New to the island in 2022, this stunning spot overlooks Brown Lake and Moreton Bay and serves a variety of hearty classics including “gran’s recipes passed down”. Customers can also be picked up from Dunwich in a shuttle bus if you book ahead.
Where: North Stradbroke Island Golf Club, Alfred Martin Way, Dunwich
Find your North Stradbroke Island accommodation in the mixture of privately-owned beach shacks, self-contained apartments, resorts, and camp spots perched on the road into Point Lookout – an ideal base for day trips and island adventures.
One of the few properties on the island where you can book a one-night stay, is Stradbroke Island YHA. With a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, and both co-living and private rooms to choose from, it’s an ideal base to save some dollars.
Sitting high among the neighbouring bushland is Straddie Island B&B, only a short stroll away from beaches and restaurants. Each private room includes a queen-sized bed and ensuite, as well as a covered patio arena and a complimentary bottle of wine on arrival.
Right up at the top in Point Lookout sits Cylinder Beach. This shady location is more centered towards the hub of town. It’s extremely close to the shops and eateries, plus art galleries and markets. Set up the tent on the unpowered site then run to catch a wave.
If it’s beach camping you’re interested in, Main Beach in Dunwich is your ticket to sleeping just steps away from the water. With 4WD access only, and a dog-friendly campground, you’ll be guaranteed to make lifetime memories. Hot tip: don’t forget to bring your own toilet.
Tucked into the foothills of Point Lookout is Allure Stradbroke Resort providing fully self-contained beach shacks and villas. Its deluxe villas have beautiful outdoor entertaining areas and on-site facilities include a pool, gym, and Straddie Eats Cafe.
For spacious villas with balconies offering views across Moreton Island and the Coral Sea, head to Pandanus Palms Resort – you’ll get a real taste of island life in style. There’s an onsite restaurant and cocktail bar, as well as a swimming pool, tennis court, and luxurious celebration packages.
This vibrant beachfront hotel with modern apartments and ocean-view rooms has its own al fresco restaurant – Manta Ray Bistro. Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel is spacious and modern with breezy open-plan living and modern conveniences.
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Ssssh! You’re not supposed to tell anyone about Straddie!
We’ll be as quiet as possible.