Riding the Big Red Cat to Stradbroke Island

We took our Toyota Prado, loaded with camping gear, on the Big Red Cat when we recently camped on Stradbroke Island. 

There are basically two ways to get your vehicle to Stradbroke Island — or Straddie as the locals call it. You can put your vehicle on Stradbroke Ferries or the Big Red Cat.

I chose to use the Big Red Cat mainly because it had an on board cafe. I did not fancy spending an hour with my kids locked in my car with me, so being able to get out of the car and have some food and drink was a determining factor. There was also an outdoor observation deck above the cafe.

The Big Red Cat has four areas for transporting vehicles — a top deck that is raised and lowered, and a main deck that has low clearance height section (2.1 m, I think) under the top deck for cars, a medium height section (2.4 m) under the cafe, and a full height section down the middle of the boat for large vehicles — on the way over to Straddie, a coach was parked down the centre of the boat, as well as some high commercial vehicles, caravans and cars loaded with gear on their roof racks.

The trip to Straddie takes a leisurely 40 minutes. It took about 10 minutes to load or unload all vehicles — on both my trips the car decks were full.

Several people with dogs stayed with their cars, some even setting up camping chairs on the car decks. We went upstairs to the cafe, where these is also a tour desk.

Overall, riding the Big Red Cat to Stradbroke Island was super easy to book, collect tickets and to drive my Toyota Prado loaded with camping gear on and off the boat.

Parked in the Cleveland holding area before boarding the Big Red Cat — the office behind the car has a drive through window where you collect your tickets


On board the Big Red Cat — outside observation deck on the right; centre section of the main deck with coach; and upper car deck on the left


Dolphin watching on the observation deck


The on board cafe


The on board cafe


Tour desk


The Big Red Cat approaching Dunwich on Stradbroke Island

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

One thought on “Riding the Big Red Cat to Stradbroke Island

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