North Stradbroke Island is the second-largest sand island in the world. It’s also yet another easily accessible island in the Moreton Bay region and a very easy day trip or weekend away for us Brisbanites.
North Stradbroke Island, also nicknamed Straddie, and known as Minjerribah by the local Quandamooka people, is a little slice of heaven. With endless white sandy beaches, stunning coastal scenery, a rich indigenous culture, and more wildlife than people, we fell in love with Straddie at first sight!
Note: Queensland is home to the 4 largest sand islands in the world. Fraser Island is the largest, North Stradbroke Island the second, Moreton Island the third, and Bribie Island, the fourth.
Here is everything you need to know for the best trip to Straddie.
How to get to North Stradbroke Island?
Getting to North Stradbroke Island is very easy using the SeaLink Southeast Queensland ferries. They operate both a passenger and vehicle ferry.
The ferries depart from Cleveland which is approximately 40-45 minutes from Brisbane, depending on traffic. They arrive on the island at Dunwich.
If you own a car and decide to visit for more than a day, we recommend taking the car with you. It gives you more freedom to do as you please while on the island.
The car ferry isn’t cheap, ranging from $63.50 to $108 (each way for a standard car) depending on the time of day. 4WD cars are a bit more expensive, from $72 to $117.
We recommend booking online to be sure to get a spot and to receive a small discount. The car ferry takes approximately 45 minutes to reach Dunwich from Cleveland.
If you don’t own a car or are simply visiting for a day trip, the passenger ferry is the best option. At $18 return per adult, the passenger ferry is much cheaper.
To book your tickets or check the timetables, click here.
How to get around the island?
If you take the car ferry over, you can drive between all the townships. They are linked by sealed roads.
You only need a 4WD if you are planning to drive on the beach. If so, you need to purchase a 4WD permit from Minjerribah Camping ($53.65 per vehicle). You can get it here.
Note: If you decide to drive around the island, please drive slowly and look out for our wildlife!
If you don’t have a car, it’s not a problem. The local bus connects with all ferry arrivals and departures. Just check the timetables before you leave so you don’t miss the bus back to the ferry. The buses are currently cash-only, so be sure to bring some cash with you. You can either buy a single ride or a $10 day pass that lets you take the bus as much as you like for the day.
Other options to get around on the island are hiring a scooter or bringing your own bike across to cycle around. While you can hire taxis to get around, this will be a much more expensive option.
What to do on North Stradbroke Island?
Watch the sunrise
First things first, any day on the island should start early with a beautiful sunrise. Point Lookout, Home Beach and Cylinder beach are great places to watch the sun rising.
Taking a walk on the beach while watching the surfers catching a break and the sky changing colours is absolutely the best way to start the day.
Walk the Gorge walk in Point Lookout
After the sunrise, head to the start of the Gorge walk in Point Lookout. Look for the resident kangaroos, who will be out and about eating their breakfast at this time.
The Gorge Walk is a very easy walk that offers some fabulous coastal views. Keep a lookout for dolphins, turtles and manta rays that are commonly seen in the surf below.
Some parts of the walk are currently closed due to severe erosion. Hopefully, it will be fixed soon, although some people complain that it is taking far too long.
Head to the beach
There is no shortage of beaches on Straddie, and they all have crystal clear water and perfect sand. So, take your pick! Be careful though, the water can be rough, so pay attention to the signs on the beach.
There are two patrolled areas on the island, one at Main Beach and one at Cylinder Beach. If you have young children, there is a safe swimming enclosure at Amity Point.
If you visit from July to October, you’ll be lucky enough to arrive during whale season. North Stradbroke Island provides some great vantage points for whale watching. Point Lookout and the Gorge Walk are the best spots to see them, but you might also see them from the beach. You just need to keep your eyes open and be patient!
If you enjoy a bit of fun in the waves, then you’ll love the surf at Straddie. We don’t surf much but we do enjoy watching surfers in action.
Look out for dolphins
A few pods of dolphins live around the island, and you will very likely see them, especially if you visit Amity Point. We visited in the morning, and they were there, and then again at sunset they were still there!
It is also quite common to spot dolphins during the Gorge Walk and if you watch closely from the beach, you might spot a few surfing the waves too.
Hike to the Blue Lake
We always find a hike to do wherever we go, and North Stradbroke Island was no exception.
You can hike to the Blue Lake viewpoint and back through banksias, grasstrees and eucalypt trees, but you might be a bit disappointed as the view of the lake from there is a bit obstructed by trees.
It’s best to head along the path a bit further until you can get down closer to the shores to take good photos, then follow the Dakabin and Neembeema tracks back to the car park.
Taking those tracks will also provide some beautiful views of the island from the summit. This is a 7.5 kilometres hike which is partly on sandy paths with some inclines, so it’s not for everyone. But if you can, it’s a nice way to spend a couple of hours.
Take your 4WD down the Main Beach
If you have a 4WD you can drive along Main Beach. As mentioned earlier, you require a permit to do this. Wouldn’t it be nice to get to places on the island that most people can’t? Sadly, we don’t have a 4WD.
Visit the Brown Lake
The brown lake is named after (you guessed it) its brown tint. Its colour is due to the tannin leaching out of the nearby trees. You can take a swim in the lake and bring a picnic to eat by its shores. When we visited it was quite peaceful, with barely anyone there.
Have a beer at the Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel
The Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel is a great place to go for drinks or a meal. We visited twice because the views from the terrace were to die for!
Keep an eye out for wildlife
The island is home to lots of wildlife and I don’t think you can visit North Stradbroke and not spot any. Point Lookout has many kangaroos, and you’ll see them early morning eating their breakfast on the lawn at the start of the Gorge Walk.
We saw a koala in a tree while having a drink at the Strabroke Island Beach Hotel. The place was packed but that little guy was not concerned and changed trees in front of all the spectators! Then of course, you have so many birds around, lorikeets, curlews, pied cormorants, Pelicans and so many more.
Watch the sunset
The best spot to watch the sunset on the island is at Amity Point. It’s popular too and many people bring their picnic blanket, a bottle of wine and make camp there for a while as the sun goes down. Of course, the dolphins are likely going to be there to make it a memorable sunset!
Where to stay on the island?
Allure Stradbroke Resort
Located a two-minute walk from Home Beach, in a peaceful bush setting, Allure Stradbroke Resort boasts an outdoor heated pool, a fitness centre and a children’s playground. It is a 4-minute drive to the Gorge Walk at Point Lookout and 20-minutes to the ferry terminal. Find their prices here.
The Sea Shanties is located right on the beach front and is set in a garden setting. It’s the perfect place to sit with a glass of wine in the evening as the sun sets, with Koalas in the trees, Sea Eagles flying up in the sky and Dolphins swimming in the water. Find their prices here.
If neither of those are suitable, you can use HotelsCombined to find alternative accommodation using the search box below:
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