Summer announced its arrival this year in the only way it knows how: a surprise attack. People who live in Brisbane are well aware that the weather likes to sneak up on us and have us saying, ‘when did it become summer??’ After a rather warm winter, it is guaranteed to be a horrifically hot summer ahead, already surpassing 30 degrees Celsius by the end of November.
So I ran away to Straddie for a weekend.
If you don’t know, Stradbroke Island is the easy escape into paradise for many Queenslanders. Endless sandy beaches, long bush drives and four wheel driving… it has something from everyone! I unfortunately didn’t get to take my camera, as a DSLR and the beach is a bad combination, so I relied heavily on my phone. You’re only 100 kms away from the centre of Brisbane, even though it definitely doesn’t feel like it! It’s such easy access as well; to get to Straddie, you need to take a ferry ride of about half an hour from Cleveland. You can catch a bus from Cleveland station if you don’t want to drive (I recommend the public transport route. The parking is always full).
What is there to do?
Personally, I love how clear and cool the water is. I’m not a fan of dark murky water due to a slightly over-active imagination that imagines sharks, stingrays, poisonous octopi… you name it. Thankfully the water is usually clear enough to see through, which is helpful when you keep an eye out for jellyfish. Bluebottles come out at summer time. It’s usually pretty easy to avoid them in clear water.
I love seeing how far I can wander along the beach and what I see along the way. When the beaches stretch as far as the eye can see, I like to walk and talk and explore my surroundings. If there’s a little path, I will follow it. I’ve found some pretty cute nooks this way. I’ve learned that if I walk one way, I come across bleached skeletal trees and little swimming pools caused by the tide receding. If I walk the other way, I find rock-pools, a giant sand dune, an area of rocks filled with cairns and a little valley whose rocky walls drip (apparently drinkable…) water.
I love the routine of an early wake-up, breakfast then down to the beach for a few hours before taking a ‘siesta’ to nap or read, then heading back down to the beach for the afternoon. And I love seeing kangaroos hopping through the campsite and the curlews raising their chicks (though their cries at night can be really creepy!)
The beach isn’t the only thing you can do, though Straddie is famous for their beaches. I normally camp at Cylander Beach, though I have also camped down on main beach in one of the ‘no utilities’ campgrounds. That was fun, though a bit strange for someone used to at least having a flushing toilet nearby (we had a camp one. It’s all good!)
Something that usually happens on a Straddie trip, for me at least, is the Gorge walk. The North Gorge Walk winds around Point Lookout, offering views of sealife, waves and boats. It isn’t uncommon to see a turtle lazily swimming around the little inlet or a pod of dolphins leaping about. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen this year, but I still got the treat at the end! The gelato store has the best gelato I’ve ever tasted. It tastes authentic, not like some icecreams that have added flavouring. My favourite is the lychee. This year I got lychee and dragonfruit, with cherry ripe. Delicious.
You do need to be careful in the heat, especially if you aren’t used to it. Unfortunately I got a headache and slept away my last day, while the others went down to the rockpools to explore. I usually love seeing the anenomes and little crabs and fish, but leaving the campsite wasn’t fun so I had to head back early and missed out. As usual while at the beach, you can fish, or dig for eugaries by pretending you are at a wiggles concert: just point your fingers and do the twist! Or just be very quick when you dig.
Camping is the number one thing to do at Stradbroke Island but unless you are driving down the beach to get to your campground, it’s likely you will be living in close quarters with many other people. Always be considerate. Some campsites are a bit squishy! Bearable, but you do need to book in advance to get the good sites. And keep an eye out for any lovely Australian animals or insects that decide they want to kill you. Try to stay away.
~***~ Have you been to Stradbroke Island? What do you normally do there?~***~