Across the Ditch to Stradbroke Island (QLD)

Across the Ditch to Stradbroke Island (QLD)
Close proximity to Brisbane Multiple transport options Abundance of beautiful beaches Island full of adventures
5.0Microadventure Rating

When I thought of going to Stradbroke Island for just a weekend, my initial thought was too hard. But then I thought why? Why am I straight away thinking it’s too hard without actually giving it ago?

Putting all thoughts behind me and just going for it. Two friends and I drove 40mins to Cleveland and jumped on a water taxi with two surf boards, 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 was $19 return and there was a friendly bus driver waiting on arrival to take you to any stop from Dunwich to the other side of island – Point lookout for $4.80. Plus, I managed to get my 9ft Malibu on the bus without anyone second guessing it, score!

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, you know the important things.

Luckily, by the afternoon the sun poked its way through just in time show off a spectacular, colourful sun set. So 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 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.

Day 2 was full on adventure day! We caught the bus from Cylinder beach to Dunwich. 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 hrs, going from Dunwich to 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. So I suggest only really hiring the bikes and going from Dunwich to Blue Lake if you are quite an active person (which I’m sure all you adventurers are!). First hill was a struggle and the last hill was even more of a struggle, but after 45mins of riding we reach the walking track that leads to Blue Lake.

The walk to Blue Lake is 6km return, so just under 30mins one way. The walk was worth it, once we 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, finishing it in 37mins. Along the way you can also stop at Brown Lake and the Golf Club for refreshments or an awesome view.

The last climb of the ride brings you to a stop-you-in-your-tracks view. 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 breaths with this spectacular view. The thing I realised about the day of adventuring, was the little things, life’s little beauty’s 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 keep returning.

If you’re a keen microadventurer and photographer who would like to be become an official explorer for We are Explorers, then click here.

Essential gear required

  • Togs
  • Camping supplies (tent, cooking gear, torch, sleeping bag etc.)
  • Phone (to use map etc.)
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
  • Fishing gear
  • Surf board/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 look out (map here), or if you took your car over just drive.

Note: Riding from Dunwich to Blue lake is just over 15km but could take anywhere between 1hr 20mins to 2 hours, depending on your fitness level.


  • Camping
  • 4wd
  • Bike riding
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Snorkelling
  • SUP boarding
  • Fishing
  • Photography