If you grew up in South East Queensland, you’ve likely been to North Stradbroke Island, affectionately known as Straddie, at LEAST once. OR, if you never went, no doubt you had mates who went/still go religiously, often at the same time, renting the same holiday house, year after year…and they just can’t get enough! Sound familiar?
Straddie simply isn’t just somewhere you tick off your bucket list and never go again. Once you’ve been to Straddie, we can pretty much guarantee you’ll want to go again and again. It’s a little slice of relatively untouched paradise, yet it feels worlds away, despite being so close to the mainland.
Whether this is your first time, or you haven’t been in a long time, we want to help you get there! May we present…The Urban List’s ultimate guide to Straddie.
Your Straddie weekend will take a little forward planning, but it’s worth it! You’ll need to get yourself to Cleveland, in Brisbane’s east—it’ll take you between an hour and a half to two hours to drive there from the Coast.
Once you’re there, your island paradise is but a wee boat ride away! Water taxis and ferries run by Stradbroke Ferries depart hourly from Cleveland, dropping you off at Dunwich, one of the island’s three main townships, in about 45 minutes.
TUL Tip: Planning on staying a while? We recommend taking your car—it’s a little pricier, but hey, you can’t put a price on freedom! Getting around Straddie by car is a breeze, and you’ll see so much more. However, if you’re not in possession of a vehicle, there’s a handy bus service that lines up with the water taxi times.
What To See And Do
North Gorge Walk
If you didn’t do the Gorge Walk, did you really go to Straddie? This 1.2km boardwalk has the most incredible vantage points for spotting marine life, hands down. We’re almost 100% confident you’ll see dolphins, turtles and manta rays on any given day—and between June and November, there’s no better place for whale watching! Also, keep your eyes and ears peeled for Whale Rock, the famous blow hole.
We’re pretty blessed with plenty of beaches with gleaming white sand and crystal-blue waters…but you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! It’s easy to see why this beach consistently ranks high on the list of top Queensland beaches…Cylinder Beach is absolute goals. This picturesque little cove is patrolled and a little more protected than other spots around the island—making it a prime swimming spot, and perfect for working on your tan.
This freshwater lake is so pristine, it really has to be seen to be believed. The vibrant blues of the water, mixed with the greens and browns of the woodland, make for prime photo opps—and when the sun shines through, it’s a nature lover’s dream! Word on the street is that the road to Blue Lake is currently closed, which we reckon will only add to the experience…enjoy that serenity!
Consider yourself a fisherman, or maybe you fancy yourself one? Frenchman’s Beach is where it’s at. A popular fishing spot not too far from Point Lookout, Frenchman’s is a little more secluded than other beaches, also making it the ultimate location for a romantic stroll along the beach. Take care though—with rips, rocks, and no lifesaving patrol, she’s a pretty beach, but she can be dangerous.
Where To Eat And Drink
Visit this delightful little beach shack once, and you’ll be back again and again! Blue Room prides itself on fresh, scrumptious, and super Instagrammable breakfasts and lunches. We hope you’ve got a few days, ‘cause you’ll want to try every single thing on the menu! *Warning: checking out their website may cause serious drooling.
Island Fruit Barn
This cute lil’ café-cross-grocery store is ready for you! Island Fruit Barn has ALL the retro fruit shack vibes goin’ on, and we’re totally digging it! There’s lots to do at this little Dunwich gem. Sit and relax in their sun-lit courtyard over a smooth cup of joe, sample dishes from their delicious brunch and lunch menu, sip on a fruit smoothie, or stock up on fresh fruit and veg from the store.
TUL Tip: plan a picnic day and stop by Island Fruit Barn for freshly made salads!
Get your coffee hit and curb your sweet tooth at this iconic gelati shop! Oceanic Gelati is in Point Lookout, just a stone’s throw from the start of the Gorge Walk. With a mixture of unique flavours—think iced vovo or rosewater meringue—and the classics—chocolate, coffee…you know the ones—there’s a gelati flavour to satisfy every craving! Better yet, our vegan friends won’t miss out on all the fun—there are vegan options too!
Fins and Fries
One of life’s simplest pleasures is eating fish and chips on the beach. On Stradbroke Island, this is a non-negotiable! Order your fish and chips to go from Fins ‘n’ Fries in Dunwich and tick this off the bucket list! It’s fresh and delicious fare that’s also easy on the hip pocket…it’s a win-win.
Point Lookout Bait and Fresh Fish
In the back streets of Point Lookout lies Point Lookout Bait and Fresh Fish. Can you guess what they might sell? Yep, you guessed it—this little aptly-named stall sells only the freshest fish, all caught locally and on the same day it’s sold. If you’re staying in a holiday house or somewhere with cooking facilities, pay them a visit to guarantee yourself some delish fish for dinner.
Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel
If it’s drinks with a view you’re keen on (and let’s be real, who wouldn’t be?), the Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel has got the goods. Cocktails, wines, beers…you name it, they’ve got it! Pick your poison and bask in the sunshine and Coral Sea views, or watch the sun set over Moreton Island—the choice is yours. Both options are pretty amazing. Oh yeah, and you can get pub grub here too.
Where To Stay
Accommodation options on Straddie are a-plenty, with resorts, holiday houses, Airbnbs and campgrounds galore! Here are just a few of our fave places to rest your pretty heads.
Allure Stradbroke Island
The gorgeous beach escape you’ve been dreaming of is closer than you think! Allure is a modern luxury resort, surrounded by natural bushland and just metres from beautiful Home Beach. All the bells and whistles you could possibly want for a relaxing beach weekender within arm’s reach, yet it’s secluded enough to tune out and relax. With a lush AF pool and a few steps between you and the ocean, you’ll never want to leave!
Adder Rock Camping Ground
In case you missed our announcement, you can now glamp literally right by the ocean on Straddie! HUUUGE props to Adder Rock Camping Ground for looking out for the not-so-happy campers among us. As you can imagine, these sell out quickly…so make sure you start planning your glamping trip now and book ASAP!
Cylinder Beach Camping Ground
Location, location, location! When it comes to camping, you can’t get much better than the Cylinder Beach campsites. Choose from powered or unpowered sites, all facing the beach and protected from winds. Imagine falling asleep to the rolling waves, then waking up and running straight into that crystal-clear ocean for a morning dip. Pure bliss!
Want more? What about visiting Rainbow Beach? We've rounded up the best spots to visit here.
Image credit: Tourism Queensland