AUSTRALIA Queensland - NORTH STRADBROKE ISLAND

March 30, 2006

We decided to spend the day enjoying the sandy sights of North Stradbroke Island also known as "Staddie." Although we had anchored off the southern part of this island and in fact rode out a horrific wind storm, we were now going to tour it in the comfort of our rental car transported across the Bay via a 30 minute ferry ride from Cleveland.

It was a glassy flat calm day and we crossed at an extremely low tide.

The tidal flats revealed islands of mangroves and drying mud reefs all around. The water was far too shallow for Ascension to have made the crossing.

We landed at the ferry dock adjacent to a large pier where the products from the sand mining operations are loaded onto barges

The ferry dumped us into the little settlement of Dunwich, first established in 1827 as a convict outstation. The island is home to 3000 people but it really gives you a feeling of remoteness. We followed a hilly paved road that took us inland through scrubby eucalypts and areas of reforested pines somehow thriving in their sandbox.

Brown Lake

We arrived at a little lake and immediately noted the unusual brown tinged fresh water. Surrounding the water were the Tea Trees (Paperbark Trees) that were responsible for releasing tannins into the water and giving it the brown tea-like colour. The Tea Trees have rough bark and gnarly trunks that twist and corkscrew amidst the forest.

There were several people swimming in the tinted water which they shared with thousands of little tadpoles. We met another couple there who were from Australia and we spent a while chatting under the watchful eye of a kookaburra in a nearby tree.
We continued down the road toward Blue Lake but were turned back because the access was closed. We headed to the northern tip of the island instead, driving through more stunted salt tolerant bushland and Australian Pine growing in the sand dunes.

Brilliant Sand

The road north took us along the Coastline created by a series of points and bays with stunning wide sandy surf beaches. We stopped at Cylinder Beach where wooden steps ascending down through the twisty Pandanus (Screw Pines) to the shoreline below where we took off our shoe to tickle our toes in the hard packed clean sand.

We walked along the beach for a while. Gord found a cuttlefish bone, the kind that you can purchase in a pet shop to sharpen your budgies' beak.

Point Lookout

The northern part of the island is National parkland with a  little resort town of Point Lookout where we had our usual afternoon ice cream fix.

There the Gorge Trail began where a boardwalk took us through a stunning rocky headland carved by the dynamic force of the sea.

The steep cliffs offered an excellent vantage point looking out to sea, where a huge pod of dolphins were fishing.


The trial consisted of numerous steps frequently climbing, then dropped down as it followed the trail over the rugged terrain.

At every turn there was a new amazing vantage point. Looking down the sheer rock drop-off, the clear turbulent water surged and churned against the tide.  The trail continued to wind its way through the Pandanus, The Oaks and Eucalypts constantly treating us with spectacular views.


The end of the trail opened up to reveal a gorgeous beach below, where surfers and swimmers dotted the water. At this point I turned around to realize that we had lost Gord, who had been mesmerized watching a huge Manta Ray frolicking in the water.
A drive through Point Lookout afforded some more dramatic views of other beaches that make Stradbroke Island such an enchanting place.

Amity Point

We backtracked along the road and turned off toward Amity Point, a little settlement  home to Pelicans and fishing boats. We noticed two colorful looking Aboriginal women sitting on the grass  making for an interesting photo. As Mom was discretely trying to take their picture, Gord decided it more beneficial to just approach the women and get to know them. 

As it turned out, they were a delight, being half Aboriginal and half Irish, and having come from their interior Ozzie homeland for a vacation on the island.


Amity Point seemed like a hostile place to swim. Not only were there Jelly Fish warnings but it was at this location that a teenage girl was killed by a Shark just the week before.




I think this should read "BEWARE Stingers in this Area" (Jelly fish)



On the drive back to Dunwich we passed several Koala signs but didn't encounter any of the little animals. For more Koala Signs and other Animal Road Signs, visit the ANIMAL ROAD SIGNS section of this webpage.


Just as we boarded the ferry, some threatening black clouds started to form behind us so our timing was perfect. We had a nice ride back to Cleveland accompanied by several dolphins along the way.

Once back at the apartment in Manly we crammed as much visiting into our last night together as possible. We were sad that the folks were leaving so soon. Tomorrow they would be heading back to Sydney to catch their plane back to Canada. It has been fun visiting and so good to spend time together.



Links to TOURING WITH MOM & DAD Manly, Brisbane Zoo, Glass House Mnts & Hinterland  Tamborine Mountains Sunshine Coast & Aquarium