When people come to Brisbane I always ask “How long are you staying for?” What I’m secretly wishing they’ll answer is: “at least a couple of days.” Then I get excited because I hope they make the leap across Moreton Bay and discover one of the best islands on the planet, North Stradbroke Island. It’s a total gem which surprises many who are expecting Brisbane to be just another metropolis.
“Straddie,” as we call it, is at the end of a train line and a short ferry ride away. When you get there you find pristine fine white sandy beaches and rolling surf, including 80 Mile Beach which comes into view if you can look up from the North Gorge walk. The reason why you might not want to drag your eyes away from the North Gorge is because it is stunning. In the gorge you see the waves crashing like a heavy duty washing machine. Bobbing up and down are often turtles and fish. Further out you might see large manta rays and dolphins. Growing all the way down the gorge’s steep sides are Pandanus trees. These trees are creepy – literally. Over the years their roots act like legs and they gradually move, creeping along. Not sure exactly where they are heading...
You also might be lucky enough to see various birds perched on a branch eating their freshly caught fish. Almost as fresh are the fish and chips available at Point Lookout just opposite the Gorge Walk entrance. If you have time at the end of the day, check out Dunwich Cemetery where many early settlers were buried. Some of their stories are very moving as Moreton Bay has some significant history including the existence of a penal colony (St Helena Island) and a leper colony (Peel Island) as well as a continuing vibrant Indigenous heritage.
Thanks Tamara! We always appreciate local insight into places we might otherwise miss on our travels. If any readers are headed to Australia’s Gold Coast for a Southern Hemisphere summer, consider getting in touch with Tamara to help make your holiday ‘Down Under’ all the more memorable.