Holidaying on Stradbroke Island

We recently had a rather adventurous weekend on Stradbroke Island — or Straddie as the locals call it. In many people’s eyes, Stradbroke Island is a stunning and beautiful holiday destination.

Some of the Straddie holiday attractions are:

  • beaches
  • sea life — whales, dolphins, turtles, manta rays
  • sand four wheel driving
  • beach camping
  • beach fishing.

And all this only an hour from Brisbane by vehicular ferry.

We took my Toyota Prado to Stradbroke Island on the Big Red Cat and camped at Point Lookout. Unfortunately, three of the five days that we were on the island had a strong northerly wind. We were staying at Adder Rock Holiday Park, and the beach front site we were on got slammed. After the second night and with a severe wind warning current from the Bureau of Meteorology, we moved off the beach front to a more sheltered site inside the camping ground. We were holidaying in winter, but I believe that the prevailing wind year-round is usually a southerly meaning that the north side of the island is normally quite sheltered.

One of the highlights of Stradbroke Island is taking the North Gorge walk and viewing the migrating humpback whales, dolphins, turtles, manta rays and other sea life. Redland City Council has recently invested in upgrading the walkway and it is a great tourist attraction.

North Gorge

Migrating humback whales can be viewed from the headland at the North Gorge

There are several cafes and restaurants servicing the crowds of people who flock to the North Gorge walk. During peak holiday season, I think that parking to access the North Gorge would be chaos!

Some of the cafes and shops servicing people visiting the North Gorge

While on the Island, we visited Point Lookout, Amity Point, Flinders Beach, and briefly Dunwich. We also drove our Toyota Prado along Main Beach and Flinders Beach, as well as taking the Tripod Road four wheel drive track.

4WDing on Main Beach at Stradbroke Island

Straddie is an island. I would like to see more focus on the water and beaches for people who do not have four wheel drives. In particular, more beach front cafes, restaurants centred around accommodation hubs are needed in my opinion. For many, an enjoyable beach holiday is to park the car at their accommodation — whether that is a camping ground, holiday home, or hotel — and then walk to the beach, shops, cafes and restaurants until it is time for them to go home.

Parts of Stradbroke Island, particularly Amity Point, have the air of a fishing village of years gone by. However, approximately two thirds of the island area is reserved for sand mining leases. There are two main active mines, Yarraman Mine and Enterprise Mine. The Queensland Government (under former Premier Anna Bligh) announced in March 2011 that it would phase out 94% of sand mining on the island by 2019, and end all operations by 2025. 80% of the island will become national park by 2026.

Many locals think the closure of mining activities will kill the island economy. You can read both sides of the argument at Save Straddie and Sustainable Stradbroke.

Without making a comment on whether mining is right or wrong, in my eyes, with some strategic urban planning and tourism infrastructure, Stradbroke Island could truly become a world class, iconic holiday destination. Apparently the Queensland Government is planning to develop tourism opportunities by creating new walking tracks, camping grounds and recreational facilities, so this is a step in the right direction. The danger then would be, loving Straddie to death.

To read more articles about our holiday on Stradbroke Island, please browse the Stradbroke Island tag.

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