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 as a family.

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

Friday Evening: Ferry to (Weekend) Freedom

You can still fit in a full day of fun 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.

Pssst! Parents: 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 and your family 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 – everybody’s happy!

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 accommodation with four walls and surrounded by white sandy beaches and natural bushland, the iconic Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel is the place be.

On the other hand, if you and the family prefer to get out in nature, stay with Minjerribah Camping which operates six beachfront campsites on the island and Amity Point or ‘glamp’ in the terrific Eco Shacks.

Saturday

7am: Salute the Sun with a Surf

More of a grommet than a pro when it comes to surfing? The gnarly crew at North Stradbroke Island Surf School will have you hanging ten in no time.

Operating all year round in the crystal clear waters of Point Lookout, dolphins and whales are often seen during lessons. With all ages welcome, why not hit the shores at this iconic spot in Queensland?

8:30am: Pastry Pit Stop

Swing past Loaves at the Point for a quick recharge post-surf with some coffee (for the adults) and croissants (for the kids).

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 has more than its fair share of cute. Did we mention they have cake?

11:30pm: Oh, my gorge

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

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: Drink in the sunset

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

Fresh seafood abounds but who can pass up a Caesar salad with fresh prawns, and a perfectly cooked rib eye?

Sunday

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.

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.

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

You and your family still have 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.