Although it’s often right on our doorstep, at Vitora we know that taking time out to really enjoy Australia’s great outdoors is something that sometimes needs just a little bit of inspiration to get started! This month our team is setting off from Brisbane to North Stradbroke Island, which gets those Vitora tyres of yours out for a short drive and picture-perfect ferry trip to the world’s second largest sand island, for a relaxing day (or two) of sea ‘n sand and plenty more.
A bit about this magnificent island
North Stradbroke Island (or “Straddie”) as it is often called by Queenslanders, also has the name, Minjerribah. Home to the Quandamooka people who have lived there for many thousands of years, it is rich in their history and culture and has miles of pristine beaches and ocean stretching out as far as the eye can see!
Being close to both Brisbane and the Gold Coast, it makes a great day or weekend destination, and with frequent daily ferry trips from Cleveland to Dunwich, it’s easily accessible for you, your vehicle, family, dog … and everyone else you want to invite along with you! Along with every type of accommodation available, including a multitude of camping grounds, it’s also a haven for 4×4 enthusiasts (you will need a permit).
Some basic directions and where to stop along the way
Just 30km south-east of Brisbane, getting to Straddie from the centre of Brisbane couldn’t be easier. Via the M3 or State Route 22, it will take you about 45 minutes (off-peak) from the city centre to Cleveland, where you’ll drive aboard a Minjerribah or Sea Breeze ferry service, for the 45-minute crossing to Dunwich. While the ferries run regularly, it’s advisable to book ahead and be sure to check the ferry timetable for full details.
What to do once you’re there
It makes sense that as a world-famous sand island, Straddie is one of those places you can’t help feeling on holiday, even if you’re just there for the day. Beautiful swimming and surfing beaches, walking trails, 4WD the beaches and bush, explore local history, art and culture, do some whale and turtle and koala spotting … the choices are endless. Here are just a few highlights to put on your list to whet your appetite and get you started.
- If walking is your “thing”: The 1.5km North Gorge Headland Walk offers amazing views over the Pacific Ocean – and keep your eyes out for the local marine life as it’s a great vantage point for viewings of sea turtles, whales and dolphins. Alternatively, take the Goompi Trail, a one-hour historical walk with a local guide – along the foreshore of Dunwich overlooking Moreton Bay.
- Put Straddie’s swimming and surfing beaches to the test: As you’d expect Straddie’s beaches are the perfect place to take a swim, surf, paddleboard or kayak. Main and Cylinder beaches are patrolled (there are many others too which while extremely stunning, are not patrolled). You can also swim in tranquil Lake Bummiera (Brown Lake) a fresh water lake outside Dunwich, which also offers picnic and BBQ facilities.
- Take your 4WD on a bushtrail or beach drive: With designated bush tracks and vast sandy beaches that you can drive on (with a permit that can be purchased online or when you get to the island) – this is a hugely popular destination for 4×4’ers! There are special conditions relating to beach driving, including permitted beaches and driving times.
- Fishing and camping: Straddie is both a fisherman’s and camping paradise – with Flinders and Main Beaches often considered the favourites (so if you’ve never yet caught a fish, now may be a good time to throw in a line!) There are no less than 6 camping grounds for camping and glamping – with options to bring your own tent or caravan, book a cabin or “Eco Island tent”. And if you really want to soak up the beautiful beach surrounds, there are also natural beachfront campsites.
- Art and culture: Be inspired as you visit the Salt Water Murris Quandamooka Art Gallery and meet local artists, see exhibitions or attend a workshop
- Shop up a storm: Straddie has a number of shops with everything from fresh fruit and seafood (so if you haven’t caught your own fresh fish you can’t go wrong here!) to unique locally made gifts
- And if camping is not for you, there is lots of other accommodation to choose from: From resorts to apartments, there are plenty of options that give you the chance to sit back and take in the ocean breeze and view.
Anything else I need to know:
Above everything else, Straddie is stunningly picturesque! While you don’t need a 4×4 to get around (the main roads are sealed) – remember to organise a permit if you do have a 4×4 and are planning to explore off-road or put your vehicle to the test on the beach!
And finally, as a place that adventures are made of – both big and small – what are you waiting for? Fuel up, pack your tent, check those Vitora’s and it’s time to take that short trip of a Lifetime! Travel safely.