Wowee it took me some time to actually get over to North Stradbroke Island! Not only am I 26 and have never been there, but I booked this for Michael's 30th LAST YEAR in 2020 but of course the pandemic had other ideas so we were only able to go February 2021.
Luckily it was all worth the wait!
Getting to North Stradbroke Island is pretty simple. You basically just have to head here to book either a passenger or vehicle ferry over to the island. These ferries depart from Brisbane and take about 50 minutes to get from the mainland to the island. We got the vehicle ferry so I'm not entirely sure how long the passenger ferry takes or if it would be the same amount of time.
This is where it gets fun! As I mentioned, I booked this trip for Michael's 30th birthday so I wanted to make it a little more special than just camping in a $10 K-Mart tent (which is what I'm usually accustomed to). So, I booked us in for three nights at Adder Rock Camp Ground through Minjerribah Camping in one of their 'Eco Island' tents (pictured above).
This tent was great! It had nice floors, a big bed, a fridge, cooking utensils, towels and even its own electric BBQ. It was nice and close to the shared amenities which was perfect for me and my tiny bladder. They also provide you with a padlock and key so you can lock your tent up whenever you leave.
Adder Rock camp ground is right on the beach and is in the perfect location to go for an early morning swim and avoid the crowds. There were larger Eco tents for families as well or alternatively you could just bring your own tent like a normal camp ground, but this is all decided in the booking process.
I would suggest doing your shopping on the mainland before heading over to the island as there is limited groceries available once you get there. There's a small Foodworks that has the necessities and a range of food however it isn't as cheap as getting your supplies from somewhere like Coles or Woolworths.
Outside of groceries it's pretty much all standard pricing on dining out and drinking etc.
To be honest I wasn't all that impressed with the general range of food on the island. You've got a couple of bakeries (which have pretty much the exact same food), a few cafes, a gelato place and a couple of smaller restaurants. Due to the pandemic (I can only assume) a lot of places weren't actually open when we were there which was in February 2021. I really struggled to find somewhere I could get a fresh juice on our morning walk which I was surprised by considering the location.
Now don't get me wrong, I was only there for 3 night so I understand I may have missed a lot of places but we did a fair bit of exploring and just ended up eating simpler meals like hot chips and having a BBQ at home. By the way... the hot chips were delicious, you can get them from a place called Fins N Fries.
One of our days there we did go to Manta Ray for lunch and an afternoon drink and it was stunning! There was a great view of the water and the food was really nice. I would recommend booking if you are going to go here as it was quite busy when we got there and were very lucky to score a nice spot in the shade with a good view.
South Gorge sunset picnic: South Gorge is one of the most beautiful spots on the island. Michael and I set up a picnic there one afternoon and played some games, had some drinks and I took some photos and videos of the beautiful scenery. We were literally the only people down there at this time which I found so hard to believe.
Gelato on the hill: There is a cool little gelato place (there's two of them actually) across the road from this beautiful little spot that overlooks the ocean and you can actually sit there with kangaroos and take it all in as they graze.
North Gorge Walk: This is the nicest walk all along the cliffs and ocean. We went first thing in the morning which was amazing, the path wasn't crowded and the morning light hitting the ocean was something special. It's a nice handmade foot path with occasional stairs rather than being on an incline. It is worth noting that it may not be pram or wheelchair friendly (unless you are prepared to lift the pram every set of steps then in which case it would be lovely).
Swimming in Brown Lake: This lake is... you guessed it, brown! But don't be deterred. It is brown from the tea trees and it makes some really beautiful shades of red and yellow the closer to the shore you are. We opted to swim here the day there was bluebottles in the beaches and I'm so glad we did! We set up our umbrella on the sand and played music and relaxed between swims.
There's so much more to do at Straddie so I've made a link here for you to go check it out.
- Take your car. Personally, I couldn't have imagined seeing the island by foot or bus. I much preferred to have the freedom of stopping and starting wherever we wanted. It's also much easier to have your car when you want to go buy some supplies from the grocery store for example.
- Go during the week. We were at Straddie from Thursday to Sunday and noticed a significant change in the amount of people on the island once it hit the weekend. Don't get me wrong I do think it's good to be there on the weekend as well for the social aspect, but if you want some nice private moments it might be worth considering coming a day or two just before the weekend crowds arrive.
- If you get car sick or sea sick I would advise going up to the top of the ferry when it's taking you to or from the island. A lot of people stay in their cars but I much preferred the views from up top! - It's common sense I know, but WEAR SUNSCREEN. Someone warned me to do the same and I thought to myself that I'd be fine. Sure enough, I was having so much fun I got complacent and burnt my poor skin. We all know sunburn sucks and it is not a guest we want to invite on our holiday so just be proactive and wear sunscreen.
THING'S I'D DO DIFFERENTLY
It's not that I was necessarily bothered by it but in hindsight I would've done my groceries before getting to the island. It would've been easier and less expensive with more range to choose from but it wasn't really a big deal.
I really enjoyed my romantic weekend with Michael but I did mention to him that I'm looking forward to going back with friends as well!
Other than that I really enjoyed my long weekend here and can't wait to get back.