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North Stradbroke lures many beyond fishing

Drive off the barge from Cleveland in Brisbane’s east onto North Stradbroke Island and you are immediately on ‘island time’.

Just 90 minutes from downtown Brisbane, the largest of Moreton Bay’s islands, covers 27,530 hectares.

Affectionately referred to as ‘Straddie’, the sand island shields much of the southern part of Moreton Bay and the smaller islands from the ocean swells.

Once on the island, we travel along the road, with bush encroaching on either side before pulling into the tiny fishing village of Amity Point.

Lunch is at Seashells Café which offers beautiful fresh fare all day in the shade of two grand-old poincianas. Try the calamari, lightly battered with a simple salad, just how it should be.

Fresh-from-the-boat seafood can be found at Amity Point’s Rufus King Seafoods. Beautiful fresh fish and juicy prawns will leave your mouth watering!

Moving on to the town of Point Lookout we head to North Gorge and South Gorge to walk off lunch. Along the edge of majestic rocky outcrops staring down at the crystal-clear water below, we spot a giant manta ray flapping its ‘wings’ as it glides through the water.

This is also a great spot for dolphin and whale watching with Humpbacks migrating past the island on their way north starting every June.

Looking out over the Pacific Ocean and the surf breaking on Main Beach you feel like are a million miles away from the pressures of everyday life.

Join the locals for a surf, a swim or dig up some pippies for bait and go fishing.

From here, many of the island’s secrets can be found by four-wheel-drive. If you haven’t got your own, don’t worry because experienced operators like Stradbroke Island Beach Tours or Straddie Kingfisher Tours will take you along the many hidden tracks behind the dunes.

If you want to up the excitement even further, Straddie Adventures will take you sea kayaking or inland to the sand dune for some sandboarding. Here we take in spectacular views from the top before hurtling down the slope, sand spraying in every direction as we go.

After cruising along muddy tracks, we take in the pristine natural beauty of the island’s interior at the Keyhole Lagoons and Brown Lake.

Native ducks swim lazily on the water’s mirror-perfect surface looking for their next meal as the sun sets over the wetlands.

We then head for our next meal at Amis Restaurant at Pandanus Palms Resort, Point Lookout.

With sweeping views of the local beaches, over the Coral Sea and across the bay to the sand dunes of Moreton Island - head chefs and proprietors, Peter Roelfes and Cameron Tobin, bring together decades of experience from all around the world.

The style of the food is a combination of classic and contemporary methods utilising the local fishing industry, providing fresh seafood fare.

We then make the trip back to Stradbroke Domain Resort - a collection of 82 stylish beach shacks and villas. The resort is adjacent to Main Beach, close to Point Lookout in the island’s north east.

Waking up refreshed in the loft bedroom of the deceptively roomy shack I decide to stroll across the road and get some sand between my toes as the world is waking up before breakfast at Domain’s café.

Heading back to Cleveland on the barge, a few days on Straddie has rubbed the tension out of tired shoulders and the last refreshing blast of salt air hits the lungs as we hit the shore.

Even though you can see it from the ‘mainland’ North Stradbroke Island is worlds away.

For more information on Brisbane holiday ideas:

Experience Brisbane
Tel +61 7 3006 6200

For more information on Queensland Holidays, visit http://www.queenslandholidays.com.au
To order Queensland images go to http://www.tq.com.au/imagelibrary.

About the author
Damien Condon wrote this article

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