48 hours on North Stradbroke Island

If there were a beauty pageant where all of Queensland’s stunning islands were the contestants, North Stradbroke Island (Straddie to the locals), would be a shoo-in for Miss Congeniality.

The ultimate all-rounder, a triple threat – brains, beauty and brawn – this gem of a sand island is not just a pretty face. In classic more-than-meets-the-eye fashion, North Stradbroke Island throws up a delightful array of things to do, see, and taste, all just a one-hour ferry ride from Brisbane.

While you could easily spend more than two days on Straddie and never get bored (um, have you seen Cylinder Beach?), 48 hours is more than enough time to sidle up to this beauty and get to know her best-kept secrets.

Pack the sunscreen, GoPro and your adventurous spirit; Straddie bliss is yours for the taking.

Friday Evening: Ferry to (Weekend) Freedom

You can still fit in a full day of fun (or work) in Brisbane before heading east to Cleveland to hitch a ride on one of two ferries departing on the hour from 5.30am until 7pm.

Four-wheel-drive or not, heading to the island (and getting around) is easy peasy thanks to Stradbroke Island Ferries and a network of well-maintained, paved roads connecting the beachside townships dotted across the island.

There’s just enough time to finish a local Straddie Honey Cream Lager before the ferry docks!

7-8pm: Dinner Date

Hightail it to CJ’s Island Pizza in Dunwich to grab some dinner on the go; island time is a thing around here so you may go hungry if you aren’t prepared.

If you make it to Point Lookout before 8pm, then dinner at local café Fishes is the best way to knock that hunger on the head. Opt for the fresh prawns and salad, or grab a fish and chip combo pack and some wine to take back to your digs for the weekend.

8pm-LATE: Stay your way

Photo by Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel & Spa Resort

When it comes to Straddie, rest assured you’ve got your pick of accommodation options to suit your style.

If you like your accom with four walls and surrounded by white sandy beaches and natural bushland, the iconic Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel is the place be.

On the otherhand, if you prefer to get amongst what Mother Nature has to offer, hit up Minjerribah Camping which operates six beachfront campsites on the island and Amity Point or ‘glamp’ in the terrific Eco Shacks.


7am: Salute the Sun

Photo by Stradbroke Island Yoga

Sure, sleep-ins are great but why dream of sheep when you can watch dolphins play while practising your down dog? Make like a true yogi and roll out your mat for sunrise yoga on the headland as the sets roll in below you. How zen!

Seeking nirvana not your thing? The gnarly crew at North Stradbroke Island Surf School will have you hanging ten in no time.

8:30am: Pastry Pit Stop

Swing past Loaves at the Point for a quick recharge post-yoga and surf with some coffee and croissants.

10:30am: Have Your Cake… And Eat It

Locals know it as the perfect spot for a brekkie catch up, but whether you’re stocking a picnic basket with fresh produce and deli items, or looking for another hit of caffeine, The Island Barn is your jam.

This flower-covered deli/market/café slashie has more than its fair share of cute. Did we mention they have cake?

11:30am: Be Thrifty

St Marks Thrift Store in Dunwich is the kind of place that vintage lovers and bric-a-brac collectors dream of.

Clothes, homewares, books, toys…You just never know what you are going to find at ‘the thrifty’.  To sweeten the deal, all profits go to St Mark’s Anglican Church initiatives.

1:30pm: Oh, my gorge

North Gorge Walk Stradbroke
Walk off the morning’s indulgences with a brisk but jaw-droppingly beautiful North Gorge Walk.

Stretching for 1.5 kilometres, the easy walk loops past the picturesque gorge with access to the two main headlands so you can step off the beaten track. If you’re lucky, the turtles will take time out of their busy schedules to frolic above the waves for a close-up!

3pm: Swap sunscreen for ice cream

After you’ve taken a dip at North Gorge Beach, let your sweet tooth guide you to Oceanic Gelati Bar. You’ve earned it.

4pm: Take a sneaky selfie at Point Lookout

Photo by @shonnyquaid

The deep blue hues of the Pacific Ocean surrounding Straddie make for a picture perfect background. Make sure you stop in at Point Lookout for a photo (or two) to make your followers jealous.

5pm: Sippin’ on Sundowners

Photo by The Beach Hotel Stradbroke Island

Consider all the holiday sunset drinks boxes ticked (and then some) as you head to The Beach Hotel for sundowners with a killer view.

Grab a frosty and set up camp on the perfectly positioned deck before grabbing some classic pub grub from the bistro. Fresh seafood abounds but who can pass up a Caesar salad with fresh prawns, and a perfectly cooked rib eye?


8am: Breakfast of Champions

The eggs florentine and an old-fashioned milkshake at French Ease in Point Lookout are calling your name so head there early to snag a spot.

Prawn Shack | 48 hours on North Stradbroke Island
Once you’ve licked the plate, head across the road to fresh seafood masters The Prawn Shack and grocery store the Green Room, for some picnic fodder.

9:30am: Market Sweet Spot

Every second Sunday, locals take over the Stradbroke Island Community Centre with a fab’ array of pickles, preserves, clothing, homewares and art.

Guaranteed you’ll walk away with some amazing fudge, honey and some pretty interesting bee knowledge.

10:30am: Get Beached

Beach time! Cylinder Beach is a clear winner—and fully patrolled. If you want deserted island solitude, then check out Frenchman Beach (to the east) and Home Beach to the west.

12pm: Bring Out the Basket

Picnic at Cylinder Beach | 48 hours on North Stradbroke Island

Once you’ve soaked up all the salt and Vitamin D you can handle, make your way to the headland between Cylinder and Frenchman for a casual little picnic.

The view north to the mainland is the perfect way to toast a weekend well-spent. A quick dip in the ocean again, and you’re ready to hit the road.

1pm: On the Road Home

A quick stop to check if there are any dolphins to feed at Amity Point Jetty but alas, the flipper is frolicking elsewhere.

To escape the heat, grab a cold drink and sit in the shade of Seashells Café’s lovely alfresco deck, nestled into the trees in Amity Point’s main (and only) street.

1:30pm: Don’t cry though, the holiday’s not done yet!

You’ve still got some time to kill before the ferry home… and freshwater swimming hole Brown Lake is accessible by car and only seven minutes away from Dunwich – so don’t pack that swimsuit away yet. The weekend ain’t finished ‘til you say so, adventurer!

Have you stayed on Straddie before? What else would you include in your perfect weekend?

This post was originally published in 2015 and was updated on 22 March 2018.