"Visiting Stradbroke Island - "Maddie on Straddie"" North Stradbroke Island by amandamac15

North Stradbroke Island Travel Guide: 17 reviews and 26 photos

Getting there and away - Maddie on Straddie

We wanted to take Maddie to Straddie.... Maddie was a Swedish exchange student, Madeleine, in Australia for a year to experience Aussie culture and language, and what little tradition we have. She wanted to see Stradbroke Island, a secluded beach paradise off the coast of the south eastern suburbs of Brisbane. As Australians are oft to shorten names, it is affectionately called Straddie, even though it has anything but humble beginnings being named after the the Lord of Stradbroke....

Aboriginal communities have long existed on Straddie, as has a plethora of wildlife and flora including the much loved koala, kangaroo and gin - gin (otherwise known as a grass tree). Plus there is miles of pristine, well almost pristine, (there is the ubiquitous plastic litter) on white sand beaches, waves that a surfie would die for, as well as a swimming meccas for locals, dolphins, and very occasionally, sharks.

"Maddie" wanted to see "Straddie", so we booked in at the Backpacker's Manta lodge, situated a few kilometres back from Point Lookout. Took the early morning ferry from Cleveland to Dunwich. This was actually called the 'Flyer' and cost about $40 for two adults and one child return. This fare also included the bus to our lodge, which has a convenient timetable that coincides with the arrival of the ferries from the mainland.
The ferry ride takes about 40 minutes and the bus about 30 minutes to traverse from one side of Stradbroke (Dunwich) to the other (Point Lookout) Something to remember is that from 10am - 12noon, the bus drivers have their lunch break and there are no buses then, so you are in for a long walk if you want to go anywhere between those times.

You are able to take your car over on the other ferry service, but it becomes quite expensive - around $100 for a standard vehicle.

Beach walk to Point Lookout - Maddie on Straddie

to Point Lookout by road, but we chose to walk along the beach for the scenic journey over the rocks and beach verges.

Beware: this beach route can take one over an hour, and there are some sections where you have to climb over rocks, dependant on the tide movements, and it is more direct to walk along the road, or catch the bus, but it is a lot less scenic. If you have mistimed your beach walk, you can always find toilets/amenities half way along at Cylinders beach Caravan Park, where there is also a small shop and Post Office.
Beach walk continues and continues.....

You do pass the Point Lookout Hotel (pub) along the way, so a good diversion could be to stop in here for a rest, or for lunch, or a liquid refreshment, or two. The view from there is simply amazing, and this you will see from anywhere in the hotel.

And so after you are suitably refreshed, you can continue on, exploring the headland at Point Lookout, named by Captain Cook as he sailed along the East Coast in 1770.

Amazing views along Thirty? or was it Sixty mile beach.....plenty of it anyway:-) Take the Gorge walk for a long and very scenic view of this cove and the turbulent surf hitting the headland in front of the Surf club. If you do, you will see views like you see in the photo....

Back to Point Lookout and there are also a few souvenir type shops and a chemist there, a bakery selling pies, Ginormous salad rolls and sweet pastries, but NO foccacia, despite the signs advertising them, and of course, a 'fish n chip' shop. And a playground for kids too!

On the eastern approaches to the main Point Lookout stores, you will find a small collection of avant garde gift and boutique fashion shops. Their opening times are various, but you could be lucky and be then when the doors are open. One that caught my eye seemed so 'Straddie' ie:.... laid back.... not always open, simple, and not at all pretentious ..and that was the Fresh local Seafood shop called "The Prawn Shack"...Love it? (pictured above)

As for Point Lookout amenities, there are a number of eateries serving Breakfast specials. If you stay at the Backpackers at Adder Rock or nearby camping grounds/accomodation, you will find that a hearty english breakfast of Bacon and eggs is served for just $5.00 at the Convenience store next door to hte hostel! Bargain, it was, and the quality was good. As it was Mothers day and I was the Mother, I even got an extra rasher of bacon free!!!

Bills' 4WD Fabulous Adventures: Maddie on Straddie

You can take an organized tour of Stradbroke Island run by a tour company that takes all day and costs about $100 per head, including lunch. My eleventh hour call to the Stradbroke Island Tourist Bureau revealed that although this was the quietest weekend on the island, that tour was booked out. As luck would have it, a local tour guide called Bill, will take you anywhere you want to go, show you the island, all for $35 Adult and $20 per child of any school age. No lunch included mind.
Bill first took us along the beach near our hostel, at Adder Rock telling us that it was named after the Death Adders so prevalent there! "Not to worry," Bill said, "Step either side of a Death Adder and you won't know about it. But step on it, and you will soon know!"I felt a bit scared for the people in tents at the Adder Rock campsite but they were taking the cheap option! Perhaps this was the origin for Bill's penchant buzzwords to make one smile for the camera...."Say Snakes" he said when snapping our picture!
Driving on most beaches is allowed at Stradbroke Island, but you do have to be careful and a speed limit is now imposed upon drivers. Some fools would go hell for leather along the beach, not only endangering swimmers and sunbathers, but also blissfully unaware of the fresh water gutters that run our to sea at various points along the beach. Despite being a veteran at 4WD beach driving, Bill reduced to a crawl when negotiating these little traps.
Bill likes to collect things during his tours/fishing expeditions along the beaches of Straddie. A series of strange artifacts adorned his truck's dashboard. "Have a look at this, what dya reckon it is?" Bill said in his laconic Aussie drawl. This pinky white lump stunk like a rotten fish, and Bill revealed it was the horn of a snapper fish, the lump on its head. He had found it washed up, and thought it interesting to collect. (Yuk!) "Once I caught a $5 note on my fishing line" he told us. Then there was also exhibit B: the swim bladder of a porcupine fish. Yet another item looked like some king of porous black rock wrapped up in an old stained beanie tucked into the sun shield of the car. We had to guess what that was, as well.......Bill gave us a hint that it was used in expensive French perfume. Being completely stumped he divulged, "It's the gall bladder of a sperm whale", Bill declared. It is called Agoris and apparently fetches over $250.00AUD??? Well, trust the French. Bill likes to give us an insight into local customs.... "Look, No hands!" he declared as the car travelled along ruts caused by previous vehicles essentially steering itself!

Straddie Surf was not "UP" that day, but the weather was clear and beautiful and we could see all the way over to nearby Moreton Island. ( A ferry travels between Stradbroke and Moreton at Amity, where we were now headed. (see pic below) This was also the stretch of water where one can hand-feed friendly dolphins who scout around fisherman in their small craft looking for any unwanted fish.
Amity is a sleepy village and beach with plenty of cheap cabins and campsites and Bill tells me a great fishing spot. Downside: No surf, not that I mind that so much as the sharks. It is not normally a beach with shark nets, and in 2010 a girl was mortally attacked by a shark.
Wildlife: Cormorants are often seen on Straddie's beaches as are Sea eagles, Bills' friend 'Stumpy', the seagull with one leg, the reason for which eluded even Bill. As are the Koala, Bats and Kangaroos come down to the beach at sunset. Some have even been seen swimming in the surf!!! Incredible. Surfing Kangaroos, who would have thought it possible. Baited hooks are used to attract sharks out in the open water, on the basis that it will keep sharks away from the divers and swimmers... I don't really have a lot of confidence in this theory.Other sights on Bills tours include Dunwich & its historic Cemetery, Brown Lake, National park, Thirty Mile beach

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The price and length of tour. I kind of liked Bill Fabulous Adventure Tours and am so glad I did not take the squeaky clean version. In four hours, I learnt more about Stradbroke Island and got to see the kinder side of the Island people.
  • Cons:Four hours might be a bit long for some people ( not me ) The Ugly: the stinky snapper fish head on the dashboard
  • In a nutshell:Paradise for a Swede or anyone else for that matter
  • Last visit to North Stradbroke Island: May 2011
  • Intro Written Sep 6, 2011
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