Time to catch up on another reprint of one of my Australia and New Zealand magazine articles. I know we’ve had a bit of a run of them lately, but that just shows how far I got behind. This article is about one of two fantastic islands we have just off of Brisbane that are ideal for long weekends in either rented accommodation or camping.
I’ve done both, often, Morton Island is the one that would be most likely described as a ‘Paradise’ as you will see from the video on my post called Our Moreton Island Weekend. But Stradbroke, or Straddie as it’s known, that’s much more rugged and without doubt, my favourite of the two.
Assuming you are reading this magazine reasonably fresh off the shelves, it’s possibly quite cold in the UK at this moment. You are probably in the depths of winter and the last thing you want to hear about is the breaking of spring here in Brisbane. But spring does break here, every year, about September time, regular as clockwork.
Last September, with spring just three weeks old, we decided to go camping on North Stradbroke, an island just a one hour ferry journey from Brisbane’s Bayside. I talked four other families into coming too, but 10 days before our trip it was still so cold we were putting the heating on in our houses after dark.
With no campfires allowed, it really could end up being a long weekend with all 16 of us huddled around the portable gas stove. “What have I done?” I thought, as I wondered how I might find myself some new friends in time for summer. Come the weekend though, hot, sunny, clear blue skies and around 25° C during the day. Good old Brisbane.
So, what are the five things I love about Straddie?
First, it’s interesting to note, a very popular website that gives trip advice has a list of “Things to do on North Stradbroke Island”. There are only five things in total on this list, and in fourth position is a visit to the cemetery. And that’s what I love about Straddie the most, there’s really not much to do.
The campsite we chose is 30 seconds from the beach and three minutes from the pub. We set up our tents in one block with a communal gazebo in the middle and cooking facilities to the side. We’d start the day with a hearty breakfast and eat out later.
At number three on my list is technology.
It doesn’t work; not very well anyway. Sometimes you might get a phone signal, sometimes not. This is so ‘Straddie’; remember, all mobile phones were like this 20 years ago and Stradbroke Island is like a land that is still stuck in the 90s.
So it’s perfect.
No cinema, no traffic lights and no shopping mall. I did find a small store that sold bags of ice for my Esky so I could keep my tinnies cold. What more could I want? It’s so refreshing to escape technology for a while now and again.
In fourth place it’s the beaches themselves.
Australia is one great big wrap-around beach, but not every one of us lives by the seaside. So to be camping pretty much on the beach is just glorious. I’m not a ‘lying on my back on the beach’ kind of person; I’m not interested in a suntan. But I do love walking along the beach early evening at around sunset. During this trip though I did discover lying on my back on the beach at midnight staring at the stars, it’s just incredible.
No light pollution at all. Yes, I saw a shooting star; just spectacular.
Finally, in fifth place and probably Stradbroke’s crowning glory, North Gorge Walk at Point Lookout. Here’s what you can look out for; dolphins, whales, sea turtles, kangaroos, koalas, seals, manta rays and much more. Stradbroke; there really is nothing to do.