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 (and the kids too); Straddie bliss is yours for the taking.
Friday Evening: Ferry to (Weekend) Freedom
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 Cylinder Beach to grab some dinner from the best pizza joint on the island at Straddie Woodfire Pizza, open until 8pm Friday – Sunday (don’t let the unassuming pizza truck fool you, this is the real Italian deal). 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
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. BYO tent or ‘glamp’ in the terrific Eco Shacks.
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).
10:00am: 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?
11:30am: 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! Manta rays have also been spotted from the shore here, so keep you eyes peeled.
1pm: Beach, please
If you started from the north end, your Gorge Walk adventure will end right by South Gorge Beach – a protected little cove perfect for a splash or a game of beach cricket. If the kids are keen for another surf or swim, head on over the headland to Main Beach which is patrolled by Point Lookout SLSC.
Prefer to hit the sand with wheels instead? Main Beach is the spot to explore with your 4WD (ensure you pick up a vehicle access permit beforehand).
3pm: Swap sunscreen for ice cream
After you’ve taken a dip, let your sweet tooth guide you to Oceanic Gelati Bar in Point Lookout. Choosing your scoop will be tough though, with homemade Italian ice creams showcasing local fruits in flavours like lychee, strawberry & basil and iced vovo. The solution: get a triple scoop. 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
Grab the kids and head out for a twilight stroll along the headlands: rush hour looks a little different on Straddie.
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?
8am: Breakfast of Champions
It seems like every Straddie local meets at Blue Room for its beach shack vibes and island-style brekky – and we suggest you do the same. Head there early to snag a spot, and if it’s full just grab your food and coffee to go, head across the street and settle in for a Point Lookout picnic. It won’t feel like second best at all.
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 lunch snack fodder.
10:30am: Get Beached (again)
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 August 2019.