Just 30km southeast of Brisbane, North Stradbroke Island makes for the perfect short-distance, last-minute getaway. If you’re yet to truly enjoy what the coastline of Queensland has to offer, spend two weeks exploring inland lakes, paddling the crystal clear waters and viewing wildlife in its natural environment. A regular visitor to the island, Cara Akkari takes us through the highlights of the island, where to go and what to do. So grab a bunch of friends, hire a 4WD and travel around North Stradbroke Island for a great holiday so close to the city.
Flinders Beach is accessible by 4WD, and there’s nothing like cruising up Flinders Beach looking for the perfect stop to park, setting up your tent and unpacking for a day of lolling around in the crystal waters. Boogie boards and skim boards are a must if there are waves, or floaties (big and small) to enjoy the calmer pools of water provided by outgoing tides. We tend to pick a destination for the day and make the most of it in that spot. The Gelato van comes driving down this beach and stops right next to you when you wave it down for perfect service, and is a refreshing accompaniment to the day.
Around the rocks from Cylinder Beach, you enter your own little bit of paradise that is Deadmans. After a wonderful day frolicking on one of the many beaches, this is a great late afternoon spot to hang out for some fishing off the many rocky points and setting up drinks and nibbles to watch the sunset, before exploring the rock pool formations, do a bit of sand tobogganing and enjoy the cool afternoon breeze. Watch for whales, dolphins and other marine life.
Enjoy a day of surf at Main Beach, accessible via foot at the patrolled end, and then a day of 4WD up to Jumpinpin for fantastic fishing and a more secluded day out. The surf is great and it’s not uncommon to see some friendly dolphins or the odd shark (tide pools are the best for swimming when journeying up this beach), while surfing is enjoyed down the patrolled end of the beach. As you drive down, ensure tyres are let down for best traction, and roll down your car windows as there’s nothing like the fresh sea breeze caressing your face and inhaling the salty air as you cruise down this sandy highway.
More crystal waters, this beach is fully patrolled, accessible via foot (car park less than 50m) and is fantastic for surfing or for the adventurous, climbing over the nearby rocks and jumping into the ‘dishwasher’ – where waves meet the rocks. Jumps must be well planned in this area and quite often a lifeguard will be perched upon a high rock watching over this activity. When the tide is right, this makes for hours of fun. When the tide is out, this beach is like tent city with the glorious waves ready for all types of board activities. Beach cricket and Frisbee are a must.
This little alcove is like our very own piece of the Mediterranean: cerulean blue to turquoise waters, encased by rocky cliffs – a beautiful escape. Jumping from the rocks into the water (of course after safety checks and if the tide is right) is fun for everyone. Shark Alley lies around one bend (probably best not to swim there), while a journey over the rocks will lead you to patrolled Main Beach, or a five-minute stroll if climbing rocks is not your thing. Full days here, or perfect afternoons where you don’t need to set up more than the humble umbrella as the rocks provide some much needed shaded areas.
This place is a fantastic spot to take in some gorgeous views while enjoying Gelato from the local Oceanic Gelato (think lots of mouth-watering flavours of gelato and sorbet including green apple, watermelon and lemon). The lines are always huge, but service is quick and it’s worth the short wait. We are fans of the local Fishes at the Point, where we grab fish and chips and park our butts to watch for marine life across the road, better known as North Gorge.
An early morning and late afternoon walk along North Gorge is about a one km round-trip walk, but spare some time for the many stunning photo opportunities. As well as stunning landscapes of the sea, beaches, cliffs and alcoves, wildlife is a plenty and you can spot something new each time. The kangaroos are huge and fast, turtles and dolphins are aplenty and we see the odd shark each year. Enjoy a coffee and breakfast or early afternoon drink at the Look Beach Bar and Café, less than 50m up from the main shops.
With two weeks on the island, we also took some time out to spend lolling around in the pool of our Pratt Court apartments. Houses and apartments make for perfect stays and year after year we find ourselves residing on one of highest points of the Island. The views are magical – think breakfasts and BBQs on the deck overlooking the ocean, and even visits from Kookaburras who weren’t scared to sit less than a metre away from us on the deck. This is the closest I ever get to these gorgeous birds…and those beaks are like weapons and amazing to hear the clacking when they find a stray bit of food off the deck.
Point Lookout Surf Club
Sit back and relax with sunset drinks on any given afternoon or a pleasant night out.
Spend an afternoon fishing off the jetty and enjoy some pretty amazing visits from wild dolphins coming in every afternoon to check out holiday-goers. If you’re on the jetty, the dolphins come right up, and while you can’t pet them, they are very close and a delight to watch play in the water.
Point Lookout Markets
Ideal for a Sunday morning stroll.
Get some inland exploring into your visit to North Stradbroke with some 4WD fun to visit Brown/Blue Lakes. I love the journey over to the lakes; well worth the trip and the dip into some tea-tree infused water just feels good for you.
Our handy 4WD is the only way to go, as this way we an access anywhere! Cars are fine too, just not for the beach. Walking is also easy around Point Lookout and the best bit is the ocean is right there to cool off at any time.
By Cara Akkari