North Stradbroke Island
North Stradbroke Island, located within minutes from Brisbane is a hidden gem that is little known among interstate and international visitors. One has to discover this getaway island paradise right on Brisbane city’s doorstep.
North Stradbroke Island in Brief
North Stradbroke Island, commonly referred to as ‘Straddie’ by the locals is located 30 kilometres southeast of Brisbane, Queensland. It is the second largest sand island in the world. The island is about 38 kilometres long and 11 kilometres wide. The island is split into two islands: North Stradbroke Island and South Stradbroke Island, separated by the Jumpinpin Channel. To reach this island, it is only accessible by ferry from Cleveland, Brisbane across Moreton Bay. Today, North Stradbroke Island is a popular tourist destination but not a mass tourist destination.
Like many cities I have visited, I have a passion for visiting particular areas that are away from the city or little known to city dwellers. North Stradbroke Island, off Brisbane city is a place happens to be one of them. I find that bright lights and hustle and bustle like Brisbane city have sometimes wear a little thin. Thankfully, I am blessed that a friend recommended to taste a weekend away from Brisbane which was a great option for rest and relaxation within a few hours drive of the city. This sounded just perfect for a weekend getaway and took his advise. I often think that city dwellers find it hard to think outside the ‘major attraction’ boxes. But for me silence, solitude and sanity can be better found in other charming and more relaxed retreats. While visiting the place, my intention was to visit one of the most iconic locations on North Stradbroke Island – Point Lookout, accommodating a rocky headland, with a view of the ocean. I couldn’t wait.
At just an hour’s journey from Brisbane, there is not a whole lot of travel time required in getting to Stradbroke Island. After packing my weekend travel suitcase, I board the Cleveland Line train to Cleveland from Brisbane city. I disembark at Cleveland train station and board the bus to where the hourly Stradbroke Ferry departs to take you across Moreton Bay before arriving at North Stradbroke. It was one of the most pleasant 45 minutes ferry ride I could ask for and one that dropped me right in the hub of one of Straddie’s three main townships – Dunwich. I was quiet surprise to learn that how inexpensive this Ferry ride was and also amazed that the number of Brisbaneans never taken the refreshing 45-minute trip across Moreton Bay to North Stradbroke island for a day or even for a weekend getaway.
North Stradbroke Island
Straddie, the world’s second largest sand island is also the heart of pristine white sandy beaches, whale-watchers paradise and romantic getaways. As I step off the ferry, I was totally removed from life’s everyday cares. I also felt like I was walking onto some of the pristine islands I have visited in the Caribbean. Without a doubt, this place was absolute delight and nothing was compared to what this island had in store for me. This island was going to be my mini vacation getaway from the busyness of life.
Here at the Straddie ferry terminal, I was welcomed by my driver which I arranged prior to my arrival on the island. The driver, who I knew him as Mr Ted was a local indigenous gentle men who was raised and lived on the island all his life. During my travels to many places around the world, I often try to use locals as my guide or drivers. I personally believe that locals know better and always provide local information rather than what tourists want to hear. As locals say, when you set foot on Straddie, it means you go back in time – ‘Slowing Down’. I was about to get a local treat, an introduction to what the island has to offer. Though, I was only on the island for few minutes, I feel the vibe, this was going to be absolutely beautiful and laid-back getaway for me.
Though, driving around the island was easy, Ted offered to drive me around the island through both low land and high level areas, where whales can be seen on shores certain time of the year. We explored, almost the full-length of the island – from jaw-dropping cliffs to beautiful views of the ocean and uncrowded and naked sand beaches. It was absolutely breathtaking and views on every turn were just incredible.
To add a bit of excitement, we ventured off into beaten tracks where only locals go camping. The area is generally protected surroundings and certainly make Straddie a camper’s paradise but there was an abundance of privately-owned beach shacks and land which Ted’s family owned. This place is little known to tourists as most of them are private access areas. With the guide of Ted, this certainly not only enable me to explore the beauty of the place and the island but gave me a rare insight into the past, the present and the future. Mr Ted, showed me some of the sacred sites where local indigenous do private ceremonies and dances on special occasions. Though it was only few hours away from Brisbane city, the serenity of the place gave me a sense of being away to a different world.
To end my island tour, I was driven to a lookout that over-looks out to the wide open blue ocean and the white sandy beaches that went for miles and miles away, as far as eye could see, totally untouched was just mesmerising. It was absolutely beyond my imagination, how such place could exist here and yet only few come to enjoy it. I just totally fell in love with this island and the people. Without any hesitation, I took a Gorge walk from Point Lookout and it certainly delivered what I wanted to see and am so glad I did it.
Straddie has been one of the rare moments in my travel plan to be standing on this beautiful island, just off Brisbane city certainly provided me with that ultimate, authentic and relaxing experience which has been too toxic to ignore. This island certainly has amazing wondferful spots with stunning views which gave me the chance to truly marvel at nature. These are some of the places on earth that are worth taking in.
Just before ending my unforgettable getaway, Ted mentioned that the locals want to keep it the way they have been for years without any major tourism developments but sadly, many developers are creeping in at a very slow pace. This tiny island is so peaceful where everyone knows each other. It is so relaxing and you really need to visit the island to experience the welcomeness of the area. To me, this is a great destination for honeymooners and any travelers that want to indulge themselves in an environment where quietness, peacefulness, relaxation and stunning views of the ocean and beaches are experienced at the same time. This place is beautifully too toxic and you never want to leave.
For any travelers to the island, it is the perfect place to escape the routine of busy city life. You will certainly have that ultimate experience on this island of Straddie. It is worth visiting, even for a day trip.
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