At number 58 in our list of 100 Incredible Top Secrets of Australia was North Stradbroke Island, a timeless beauty. Located just 30km southeast of Brisbane in Moreton Bay, this piece of paradise is famous for its panorama of white sandy beaches, writes Jemma Fletcher.
As a popular holiday destination for families, couples and adventure-seekers alike, ‘Straddie’ as it is affectionately known, is perfect for day trips, short stays or week-long breakaways. The island is easily accessible by regular water taxis, and vehicle ferries from Toondah Harbour in the vibrant bayside village of Cleveland.
Stradbroke offers an incredible diversity of experiences to explore, largely via its three small towns. On arrival is Dunwich, home to the island’s sand mining industry. This first port of call is mainly regarded as a stopping off place to get supplies before heading further out, but it does have its own charms and attractions worth exploring.
900 metres from the ferry depot is the renowned Island Fruit Barn, a shady garden cafe that serves an excellent range of healthy option breakfasts and smoothies using high-quality ingredients. From here you can walk across to the Historical Museum which provides visitors with an opportunity to learn about the island’s Aboriginal history, its shipwrecks during the 1800s, and its current sand mining industry.
Point Lookout is 20km from Dunwich (bus and taxi service available), and is the most easterly point on the Queensland coast. As the resort centre of Stradbroke, accommodation here caters for a wide range of budgets and taste, from camp grounds and caravan parks, to luxury units and houses. One of the most spectacularly located accommodation sites is Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel & Spa Resort, just a few steps away from the rolling surf.
Undoubtedly, this town’s biggest attraction is its unspoilt beaches with stunning views of the Coral Sea, and a great way to view them is via the iconic 1.2km North Gorge Walk. This well-defined and built boardwalk is located at the north western end of Point Lookout (Moloomba Road) and has plenty of places to stop and admire the marine life along the way. Look out for the unique rock formation called the ‘Blow Hole’, similar to that of a humpback whale.
Another must-see treasure here is the Sunday morning markets, held roughly twice a month. Held at the Community Hall on Dickson Way, an array of gifts, local arts and crafts are available. These include a range of clothing, jewellery and natural beauty products, as well as homemade jams, honeys and baked goods.
Head west for 14km and you’ll find yourself in Stradbroke’s third town Amity Point, which has the quiet, laid-back atmosphere of a seaside fishing village. Trawlers still tie up at the jetty here to offload the night’s catch of fresh prawns, crabs and fish ready for the tables of local restaurants and shops.
The surrounding restaurants and cafes have signs out displaying what is fresh in today, so go for a walk or a drive around and discover the catch of the day for yourself. In addition, the rock wall either side of the jetty boasts a vast array of colourful fish species making snorkelling at Amity a truly memorable experience.
In fact, dozens of activities are available around the island, including; sandboarding, kayaking, and fishing, to name a few.
However, you choose to tailor your Straddie experience, this secluded get away is a unique opportunity to once again experience the old school beach holiday.