The Quandamooka people, who have native title on Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah), are ‘the people of the sand and water’. Jumping on the ferry for the weekend, Jacquie Tapsall shows us how to make the most of the opportunity to share this sandy, watery playground.
- Close proximity to Brisbane
- Multiple transport options
- Abundance of beautiful beaches
- Island full of adventures
Stradbroke Island For The Weekend
When I thought of going to Stradbroke Island for just a weekend, my initial thought was, ‘too hard.’ But then I wondered why. Why am I straight away thinking it’s too hard without actually giving it a go?
Putting all our doubts behind us and just going for it, two friends and I drove for 40 minutes to Cleveland and jumped on a water taxi with two surfboards, a Canon camera and quite a bit of GoPro equipment. Oh and of course the most important accessory to take to Straddie – togs!
It is actually surprising easily and relatively cheap to get over to Straddie if you’re not taking a car. The walk-on water taxi is around $19 return and there’s a friendly bus driver waiting on arrival to take you to any stop from Dunwich to the other side of island. To get to Point Lookout was only $4.80. Plus, I managed to get my 9ft Malibu surfboard on the bus without anyone second guessing it. Score!
The weather on the first day was not too good, with an annoying stubborn drizzle. Not letting that deter us, we still went for a swim at Cylinder Beach. Even with dark clouds and rain, the beach was beautiful. If you’re staying at Cylinder Beach, everything is within walking distance. Multiple beaches, the pub, corner store and bottle-o. All the important things.
Luckily, by the afternoon the sun poked its way through just in time show off a spectacular, colourful sunset. We went exploring along the headland and found a near-enough-comfy rock to watch the beautiful sunset.
Another massive positive about Straddie is the stars! Somehow, despite my usual luck the clouds disappeared and the stars were on show for me. Even though Straddie isn’t far from Brisbane city it still has an amazing night sky.
Karboora/Blue Lake And Bummiera/Brown Lake
Day 2 was full-on adventure day! We caught the bus from Cylinder Beach to Dunwich and hired three mountain bikes, from a lovely local who owns Straddie Super Sports. The bikes we hired were $10 per hour per bike. So off we set with the plan to only be 3 hours, going from Dunwich to Karboora/Blue Lake.
Now I’ve been to Straddie before, but when you are driving roads you don’t quite realise how intense some hills are. Let’s just say I suggest only really doing the ride from Dunwich to Blue Lake if you are quite an active person (which I’m sure all you adventurers are!). For me, the first hill was a struggle and the last hill was even more so, but after 45 minutes of riding we reached the walking track that leads to Karboora/Blue Lake.
The walk to Karboora/Blue Lake is 6km return, so just under 30 minutes one way. The walk was worth it, once we had had a nice swim in the lake. However, it did look more green than blue, but maybe that’s just my perspective…
The ride back to Dunwich was a little bit easier and we finished it in 37 minutes. Along the way you can also stop at Bummiera/Brown Lake which, although not so enticingly named, is full of fresh, tea tree-stained rainwater to swim in. There’s also the golf club for refreshments or an awesome view.
These lakes both have special significance for the Quandamooka people and would traditionally have been approached with reverence and caution; it’s worth taking a moment to stop and appreciate the wonder of these places, before charging off to the next spot on your list.
A View To Stop You In Your (Mountain Biking) Tracks
If the lakes slow you down then the view from the top of the last climb of the ride will stop you in your tracks. You’ll find yourself looking out over Dunwich, the ocean and then Cleveland itself (possibly even a little bit of Brisbane in the distance).
It was nice to gain our breath with this spectacular view. The thing I really took in about this day of adventuring was the beauty of the little things, all life’s little moments that you just have to stop and take in.
Even after the strenuous biking/hiking adventure, we went for a surf in the afternoon to top off the day before heading home.
There are so many more activities and places to explore that will have me returning to Straddie. Plus, it’s hands down one of the prettiest places ever, so even once I’ve seen everything, I’ll come back to see it all again.
- Camping supplies (tent, cooking gear, torch, sleeping bag etc.)
- Phone (to use map etc.)
- Fishing gear
- Surfboard/boogie board
How To Get There
From Brisbane you can either drive to Cleveland (map here) or catch a train to Cleveland. You catch either the Stradbroke Ferry, Big Red Cat or the passenger water taxi over to Dunwich. From Dunwich jump on the connecting bus to Point Lookout (map here), or if you took your car over, just drive.
Note: The ride from Dunwich to Karboora/Blue Lake is just over 15km but could take anywhere between 1hr 20mins to 2 hours, depending on your fitness level.
- Bike riding
- SUP boarding