North Stradbroke Island
Australia's best kept secret!
Our introduction to North Stradbroke Island (Straddie as it is affectionately referred to by the locals) was by virtue of very good friends of ours taking up the management of a bistro located on Straddie. Having visited Brisbane on several occasion in recent times we thought it would be great to catch up with old friends, so the car was loaded up and we headed off down to Cleveland to catch the car ferry across to Straddie. The trip across Moreton Bay on the ferry takes about 45min and you arrive at Dunwich on the western side of the island, once we had disembarked we head north to the sleepy little village of Amity Point, where our friends were living. Life in this part of the world is at different pace to the hustle and bustle of Brisbane and on the mainland you immediately feel like you are on holidays. Amity Point has a General store, Camping ground, a couple of fishmongers, small/bar cafe, community club and a boat ramp, most people come her for the fishing and boating.
We had booked into camping ground about 12 km further around the coast at Adder Rock. The site we had chosen was 30m from the beach in a protected area of the camping ground, it was well treed and offered shade during the day and the trees acted as a wind break also, a great spot for the next week. After setting up camp thanks to our generous friends providing the use of their camper and helping set up camp it was time for a cold drink or two, a catch up and a swim in the crystal clear water at the beach.
North Stradbroke Island is a mecca for those wanting to get away from crowded beaches, all you need is a four wheel drive vehicle and you can head off down Main beach on the western side of the island or head to Flinders Beach on the northern end of the island to find your on secluded section of beach. There is bush camping at selected sections along these beaches (a permit is required) just find a free area and set up camp.
Time to explore, with in a short drive of Adder Rock Campground there is are pristine beaches aplenty there is Flinders beach to the west, the picturesque Cylinder beach to the east and further on there are the beaches surrounding Point Lookout. Point Lookout is a rocky headland that conceals rocky bluffs, cliffs, blowholes, and gorge beaches. The headland walk is a must it starts opposite the Gelato shop and heads towards the east and follows the cliff line around to Main beach past the lifesaving club, the path very well maintained and where required boardwalks have been constructed so the walk is easy going, the views are spectacular of crystal clear turquoise water contrasted against the blue skies, rocky outcrops and Pandanus Palms. If you are lucky at Gorge beach you will be able to witness sea turtles frolicking in the shallows, or schools of dolphins surfing the waves just of the cliff faces, or huge Manta ray cruising by.
North Stradbroke Island is not all about the beaches though, there is more! There are beautiful freshwater lakes, a short drive down main beach and just inland from the beach you can find The Keyholes, we spent a great afternoon here eating fresh local prawns and oysters all washed down with icy cold beer then followed by a cooling swim in the lake, just a tip get there early to get a prime spot in the shade of the surrounding trees.
If you do not have a four wheel drive there is Brown Lake not far from Dunwich, or if you are feeling a little energetic keep going past Brown Lake and to the Blue Lake Walk carpark and take the walk in to Blue Lake it takes you through changing areas from bushfire scared bushland swampland and beautiful grass tree forests until you reach beautiful Blue Lake tucked away in the middle of the bush.
As it was late January it was quite hot, so for the most part our holiday was spent on the beautiful beaches, whilst we were there a cyclone went through the The Tongan Islands which in turn provided large surf along the south east Queensland coast with most exposed beach being closed due to dangerous surf, but at Adder Rock we were a little protected from the huge swells just enough to give us 4 days of great surf and every one who surfed was on our beach.
Unfortunately i had a fall off my board and it cracked me in the head, an embarrassing walk along the beach with blood pouring from my head, an ambulance ride to the medical centre and 7 stitches and that was the end to my surfing for the week, all i could do was paddle in the shallows.
Later that week we went to a beach just to the north of the lifesaving club at Point Lookout, this beach is so beautiful, huge cliff along one side and a natural rock spit on the other side, and again that crystal clear turquoise water and gentle surf rolling in it is the perfect spot to stop and have a swim after walk around the headland, it also offers some great snorkelling along the base of the cliff, where you can swim with turtles, dolphins and mantas. This beach is one of my all-time favourite places to have a swim.
The end of a day does not mean the end to the beauty the sunsets here are spectacular also, just find a vantage point along the western side of the island, sit back and enjoy the light show as the sun drops below the distant mountains across the bay on the mainland the huge ball of fire just lights up the sky.
I have posted some of my of photographs I have captured in this trip to the Stradbroke Island gallery, just follow the Stradbroke Island Images link.
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