A Quick Guide to South Stradbroke Island

You may have read our previous post on North Stradbroke Island. Well, we recently had a chance to visit its little sister, South Stradbroke Island. Like North Stradbroke, South Stradbroke Island is a sand island, located to the south of North Stradbroke in the Moreton Bay.

South Stradbroke Island or “South Straddie” is (like many of the Moreton Bay Islands) a great place for Brisbanites or holiday makers on the Gold Coast to spend a day or a weekend. South Stradbroke Island is a fair bit smaller than North Stradbroke, but it doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit. Like North Stradbroke, it’s home to spectacular beaches, lots of wildlife and it’s a great spot to relax and unwind.

South Stradbroke Island is only 21 kilometres long and 2.5 kilometres at its widest point. It’s not a huge island but there’s no shortage of things to do there. Here is everything you need to know for a great trip to South Straddie.

Couran Cove, South Stradbroke Island
Couran Cove, South Stradbroke Island

How to get to South Stradbroke Island?

South Stradbroke Island is just offshore from Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast. Getting to South Stradbroke Island is by water transfer only because, although it is very close to the mainland, there is no bridge to access it. The short but very enjoyable ride (the views are awesome) can be done by water taxi, ferry, or private boat.

Couran Cove Ferry

Couran Cove (the only resort on the island) runs a daily ferry a few times a day. The ferry is usable by both guests and non-guests and drops passengers at the resort. The departure terminal on the mainland is located at Mariner’s Cove (60-70 Seaworld Drive, Main Beach) on the Gold Coast. If coming from Brisbane that’s about an hour’s drive or less depending on the traffic. The boat journey is short but sweet as you relax cruising along the Broadwater. You can book your ferry online through the resort’s webpage. The cost is $19 per adult one way.

Water Taxi

If the times of the ferry don’t suit or if there are a few of you, a water taxi is also an option. The Gold Coast has many water taxi operators who regularly bring guests to the island.

Some that were recommended by the resort were:

Cove Water Taxi – 0419 724 630

Steve Water Taxi – 0404 905 970

By Private Boat

Well, if you are lucky enough to own a boat or know someone that does, you can get to the island by private boat. You can even book a berth at the Couran Cove Resort if you’d like to stay for the night.

Beach fun!

How to get around the island?

There are no public vehicle barge to take your car to the island so the best way to get around is on foot, bike or boat. You can hire a bike from the Couran Cove Resort and check out as much as you can on the bike trails that take you through the interior. If however, you are very keen to bring your 4WD onto the island, you will have to hire a private vehicle barge. There are a few in the area but it is obviously not a cheap affair.

What to do on South Stradbroke Island

The ocean beaches are perfect for long walks

Take a long walk on the beach!

The ocean beaches of South Straddie are stunning but sadly they are not the best swimming spots as they can be rough, and it is not patrolled. Sharks have also been known to hang around sometimes. However, there is no better place to take a long walk. You can walk for ages on the long sandy beaches and listen to the sounds of the crashing waves.

The rainforest walk at the back of Couran Cove

Explore the island’s interior

Once you’re done with the beach, there are also many walking trails on the island to tackle, ranging from 20 minutes to 90 minutes in length. The rainforest boardwalk at the back of the resort is a short but very enjoyable walk.

Hello there!

Look out for wildlife

Wherever you are on the island, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. The island has a myriad of birdlife as well as many wallabies, kangaroos, koalas and more. We spotted kangaroos on the beach!

Water sports time!

If you are a water sports fan, then South Stradbroke Island is your kind of island! Take your pick of kitesurfing, sea kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, parasailing, or snorkelling.

The inner side beach

Go for a swim

As mentioned above, the ocean side is not best for swimming, but the water is calm on the inner side facing the mainland. So, hop in and enjoy it!

4WD tours on the beach

Go on a 4WD tour

The Couran Cove Resort runs 4WD tours. They cost $150 per trip and last an hour and a half. During your trip you will either explore the surf beaches at the southern tip near the Gold Coast Seaway or enjoy a leisurely drive up to Jumpinpin Bar, where the North and South Stradbroke islands meet.

Sunset from the Sunset Bar

Watch the sunset

Watching the sunset is one of our favourite holiday activities. On South Straddie, we headed to the sunset bar at the Couran Cove resort and enjoyed a drink, sitting back on the long chairs. Nearby, a kangaroo was grazing – a perfect way to end the day!

Sunrise Couran Cove
View of the Gold Coast from the ocean beach side

Relax with a view!

Wherever you look on South Straddie, you have the best views. So, pick a spot and enjoy some peace and quiet for a little or a long while.

Couran Cove

Where to stay in South Stradbroke Island?

There aren’t a lot of options on the island. Camping or the only resort, the Couran Cove resort.

I’m sure Couran Cove was amazing in its prime. Sadly, it is in massive need of renovation. The grounds are looking so tired, the rooms also. However, if you get a room with a view on the marina like we did, you will more than likely want to spend a lot of time there still. That view is amazing. Wildlife even comes to your doorstep!

View from our balcony at Couran Cove

It is the only resort on the island, so if you don’t want to camp, you don’t have any other choice. Bear in mind that the restaurants are nothing to rave about, are quite pricey and they charge you to bring your own esky if you decide to cook in your accommodation.

Couran Cove at sunset

To check the current Couran Cove prices click here.

If you decide to camp, there are a few campgrounds on the island. Tipplers Campground is walking distance to the resort and has a cafe on site. There are also the North Currigee and South Currigee campgrounds to the south of the resort. You need to book your site before arrival. You can book it here.

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