The island thrives on eco and adventure tourism, with dozens of operators offering everything from guided nature walks to adrenalin-charged sports.
STRADBROKE ISLAND - AN OFFSHORE ADVENTURE
Affectionately known as Straddie to the locals, North Stradbroke Island is the second largest sand island in the world, 30km from Brisbane. An easy journey via ferry across Moreton Bay from Cleveland, Straddie is one of the most popular holiday camping spots in south east Queensland.
With more than fifty percent of the island a declared National Park, Stradbroke balances all the modern amenities that make holidays relaxing, with the untouched natural beauty of sand dunes, lakes, beaches and rainforests. The island thrives on eco and adventure tourism, with dozens of operators offering everything from guided nature walks to adrenalin-charged sports. There are also many 4WD drive tracks through the rugged centre of the island for off-road adventurers.
For a surfing, snorkelling, scuba diving or kayaking adventure, head for Point Lookout, or try your luck against the local pelicans and dolphins, fishing the shore at Amity Point while the kids splash in the ocean. The island's inland lakes - Brown, Blue and Tortoise - are also perfect for calm water swimming or paddling.
WHERE TO STAY
Stradbroke Island accommodation ranges from luxury resorts and fully-furnished chalets to hostels, cabins, camp grounds and beach campsites.
There are six official beachfront campgrounds offering powered and unpowered sites for tents, camper trailers and caravans, as well as some fully equipped cabins for those who aren’t quite ready for the 'au naturale' camping experience. You can even hire a camper trailer to be delivered and set up for you, fully-equipped with all the essentials if you are looking to test-drive a camping holiday before investing in your own gear.
There are also hundreds of secluded beach camping spots nestled among the sand dunes, accessible only by four wheel drive. You will need to apply for a 4WD Vehicle Access Permit if you intend to stay at one of these spots - you can do this online before you depart; or at one of the designated offices on the island.
GOOD TO KNOW
Stradbroke Island is equipped with all the modern amenities, including its own supermarkets, restaurants, cafes and specialty food retailers, a post office, fuel stations, an ambulance and medical facilities. Mobile coverage is limited to Telstra networks, so consider buying a pre-paid mobile SIM card for use during your stay and WiFi access is also limited. Sounds like an ideal location for a technology-detox! Accommodation options range from absolute beach front camping, with zero mod-cons, to luxury resorts with swim-up bars and king sized beds. The most secluded beach camping spots are accessible by 4WD only and you'll need to apply for a permit for beach driving.
If you are new to 4WD touring check out the National Parks brochure for tips for driving on sand. Don’t rely on Google Maps for suggested cycle or 4WD routes - depending on the tides, you may find yourself tyre-deep in water. Remote campers will need to plan ahead and pack lots of drinking water, as there are very few taps for filling up water bottles etc once you are out of the main township areas and beaches. It is a sand island, so insect repellant is also essential. The incoming tide in this area flows slightly southerly, while the outgoing tide is northerly, so if you're planning to go ocean kayaking make sure you’ve checked tide times before heading out in the open water to save your paddle-power.
For a foot-propelled hiking holiday, bring your mountain bike or use the local bus to transfer to your accommodation. Each township is linked by bitumen roads, easy for bike riding as well as standard cars. You can take bikes on the vehicle ferry, but not the faster passenger ferry or water taxi service. It's a 20km ride of winding roads with some inclines and hills from Dunwich to Point Lookout or Amity Point. A conservation plan will see up to 80% of the island designated for protection over the coming years. Ecology and caring for the natural environment are important to the locals, and you will be reminded to leave the area exactly as you found it, especially being responsible with rubbish and litter, around campsites, bushland reserves and beachfront areas.