As we are still mostly in our houses and definitely not traveling anywhere far right now, I will take you on a trip to my favourite place in Queensland, one of most favorite ones in Australia and the world. So sit comfortably and let’s travel. North Stradbroke Island or Straddie as we call it in Queensland is to the east of Brisbane within Moreton Bay. The only way you can get there is by ferry or on your own boat. There are vehicular ferries and water taxis. As you can see below the big vehicular ferry is making its way across the bay.
Imagine yourself getting on ferry in Cleveland, there is a vehicular ferry, which can take you and your car across the bay or one of the passenger ferries that will take just you. The ferry will drop you off in Dunwich, one of the three main settlements on the island. My first visit to the island was many years ago when there were just two buses running on the island, one from Dunwich across the island to Point Lookout and a second to Amity point. And to get to Amity point you had to change buses at one of the intersections not that far from Dunwich. Things have changed now. There are more buses and they are now not mini buses but actual real buses.
Straddie became a bigger travel destination over the years and services increased and improved. There are a lot more rental properties, small resorts and just regular residents who moved here from the mainland. Sunrise on Straddie is special and soon after when you walk along the beach it is pretty amazing to just hear the ocean and enjoy the waves. It is nice that there are more places to stay on the island but the fact that it is changing by being developed is also sad. The beauty and emptiness of the Pacific beach is something that we do not want to see go.
So what is drawing people to the island, both residents and visitors? Let me show you how it looks and you can judge for yourself. From my perspective, it is quiet, not remote but also not in a city so you have to make an effort to get here. There are miles of open beaches, with not crowds, fresh water lakes, hiking trails, breathtaking views and fantastic food. One minute you can be close to people in a community center or a restaurant, and the next minute you can be the only person on a beach taking a walk or surfing. It is this ability to truly relax on your own that makes it special.
One of the special hikes is along the North Gorge. Rocky cliffs offer amazing views of the ocean and the beaches. You can also observe wildlife from the trail, you can see whales, dolphins, turtles, birds. It is truly a different experience each time you walk there. Rocks are volcanic and crumbly, so staying away from the edges is important. There are occasional benches you can rest on and just look at the ocean.
The beautiful tree next to the trail is unfortunately gone. The view has changed, but it is still stunning. You can walk down to the beach you see above and have a swim or surf, or just sit or walk and enjoy the views. Some of the strong storms we had damaged some of the beach as water got close to the dunes.
One of the features at the Pacific Beach is the Surf Club. Lifeguards and surf rescue make sure that you swim between the flags so they can help you in case you get into trouble. Surfing is pretty good on the main beach. However, you do need to stay alert in case there are stingers around. We do have occasional oceanic wildlife that can be a little nasty in close contact, like the bluebottle shown above. And these are not the only dangers on Straddie, Amity point beach is even more interesting with signs like those:
As beautiful the ocean is, Straddie is not just about the ocean. There are also fresh water lakes: Brown lake and Blue lake. Brown lake has a small beach where you can rest and enjoy a day. Blue lake on the other hand is by a walking trail with just tiny little sand strips.
In order to visit the lakes and an amazing Neembeemba overlook, you do need to bring a car or at least a bike with you to the island. Brown lake is just within a walking distance but Blue lake as well as the overlook are too far. Maybe in a cold climate you could make the walk but remember Straddie is in Queensland and it is pretty hot for most of the year.
I will leave you with a view towards the Main Beach from the Neembeemba lookout. It is a beautiful, far reaching view. If you are asking what is next, we may just visit the heart of Australia – Alice Springs and the Northern Territory. So until the next time.