North Stradbroke Island – where laid-back vibes, pristine beaches, and indigenous culture combine to create the ultimate Aussie adventure. Known as ‘Straddie’ to the locals, this island paradise is the perfect escape for anyone looking for some relaxation and breathtaking natural beauty. (And did we mention the resident kangaroos hopping around? It’s like living in a postcard!) Check out our guide to North Stradbroke Island below.
🌞 When to Visit North Stradbroke Island
The best time to explore North Stradbroke Island, the world’s second-largest sand island, is during May to November. This is when the island truly comes to life, with endless outdoor activities and the chance to witness majestic whales on their migration journey north to breed. Get ready for some epic adventures under the Aussie sun!
🚢 How to get to North Stradbroke Island
Hop aboard a short ferry or water taxi from Toondah Harbour, just a 30km (19mi) drive from the vibrant city of Brisbane. Brisbane Airport (BNE) conveniently serves international and domestic flights, so you’ll have no trouble making your way to this island paradise. And once you’ve arrived, getting around is a breeze with various transport options like private hire, bike rentals, taxis, and car hire. We recommend planning and booking your transport ahead of time for a hassle-free visit!
🦘 Wild Encounters
One of the highlights of Straddie is its unique wildlife encounters. Kangaroos roam freely around the island, adding an extra touch of Aussie authenticity to your adventure. Be sure to have your camera ready for some adorable snapshots!
🌴 Cultural Immersion
Dive deep into the rich indigenous culture of North Stradbroke Island, also known as Minjerribah in the Aboriginal language. The Quandamooka people, traditional owners of the island, have a profound connection to the land and the water. They welcome you to explore their heritage through various Aboriginal experiences, giving you a chance to gain insight into their fascinating traditions and history.
🏖️ Beach Bliss
Of course, no trip to an Aussie island would be complete without a generous helping of beach time. Straddie’s beaches are pristine and perfect for sun-soaked relaxation. And if you’re feeling more adventurous, take a hike to one of the whale-watching lookouts for breathtaking ocean views.
North Stradbroke Island experiences its high season during the Aussie summer (December to February), offering long, sunny days and fantastic beach weather. If you prefer milder temperatures and fewer crowds, consider visiting during the low season in winter (June to August). And for a unique cultural experience, don’t miss the Island Vibe Festival in October.
So, whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore indigenous culture, or immerse yourself in the wild, North Stradbroke Island has it all. This is your chance to dive into an unforgettable Aussie adventure, so pack your bags and get ready to explore ‘Straddie’ like a true traveller!
(Updated October 1, 2023)
Want to know the best way to get around North Stradbroke? Here’s how!
We started the day off and met our small group and tour guide, Rio, in Brisbane CBD. There, we loaded up the van and took off on a 45 minute drive to Cleveland, where our ferry to paradise awaited.
On our way over, Rio ran through the day’s itinerary with us. He promised exciting wildlife encounters, and beautiful locations. We were so excited!
When we arrived on the island, we made our way over to our first stop. On the drive, Rio talked about the island, telling us that it was the second biggest sand island in the world! The first, being Fraser Island, just north of Brisbane. He also talked about the cultural and historical significance of the Indigenous people of the island, the Quandamooka People.
Our first stop was Brown Lake, which was only a five minute drive from the port. When Rio first told us that the lake was a rich brown colour, I was a bit skeptical. I didn’t really know what to expect from his description, but upon arrival, I was blown away!
The water was calm and beautiful, perfect for activities like swimming and kayaking. The white sands leading to the lake were silky and soft, it was unbelievable! Rio told us that the lake’s brown hues and likeness to a mug of tea comes from the tea-trees surrounding the water, the leaves of which fall into the lake and give the water its iconic, rich brown colour!
From Brown Lake, we made our way to Cylinder Beach. The beach was 20 minutes away from the lake, but with the wonderful sub-tropical landscapes Stradbroke had to offer, 20 minutes felt too short a drive.
By the time we arrived in Cylinder Beach, it was noon, and the sun was high in the sky. The sounds of the rolling waves were enticing, and I couldn’t wait to take a dip in the water.
The waves were a lot more tame that day, making the water sparkle in the sunlight, and the colours of the water really pop. Up close, we were all in awe of the crystal clear, cerulean waters! The cloudless sky, and blue horizon offered the perfect backdrop for taking pictures, which I can assure you, our entire group did.
I mean, with a view like that, who could blame us?
Lunch & Gorge Walk
Afterwards, for lunch, we stopped at a strip of restaurants to have a taste of Straddie’s famous fish and chips, and ice cream by Point Lookout. I had some of the chips for lunch, and true to its word, they were delicious! You definitely need to stop by and have a taste for yourself!
The hot and sunny day was also a perfect excuse to get some ice cream. My friend, Clarrine, treated herself to a popular rum and raisin flavour, which she enjoyed on our relaxing walk along Gorge Walk.
Gorge Walk offered a view over the ocean, where we watched on as plenty of people surfed, and swam to cool off the day’s heat. During the walk, we saw a lot of exciting wildlife. All along the trail, you could hear the excited sounds of our group, pointing to the water at a few sea turtles swimming around.
We had to put a stop to our walk for a bit, as part of the trail was closed due to erosion affecting that part of the trail. We made a detour to the other end of the trail, going by the main road again, where we were met with wild kangaroos!
It was a particularly exciting experience for Clarrine, as it was the first time she had ever seen a wild kangaroo out in nature! You can tell how happy she is by the bright smile on her face!
From there, we continued our tour of Gorge Walk, enjoying the views of the ocean and the surrounding nature. We hopped off the trail and onto a rocky area overlooking the ocean, where our group took plenty of pictures.
Our last stop of the day was Amity Point, where we spent the rest of our time on the island relaxing. Amity Point beach had a small area corralled by nets. The water is calm and free of waves, perfect for young children to swim in.
Clarrine and I made our way over to the jetty. There were a few people were fishing and swimming in the deeper water.
We took our shoes off and put our feet in the water, basking in the afternoon sun. The water was perfectly cool for a hot day!
But the tour didn’t end there! On our ferry ride home, as we sat atop the vessel, sitting in the breeze. We were treated to the sight of dolphins! Everyone on deck was excitedly pointing them out, taking videos and photos as the dolphins briefly splashed across the surface.
We were sad to end the tour after the exciting day we’d had, but this is only making me look forward to my next trip to Stradbroke Island.
If you want to take this tour around North Stradbroke Island, head over to North Stradbroke Island Tour.
Beaches not your thing!? Don’t worry, we’ve also got amazing Wine Tours up at the beautiful Mt Tamborine.