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The Best Things to do on North Stradbroke Island with Kids

Brisbane is truly blessed to have a wealth of gorgeous islands within a stone’s throw of the mainland. One of our favourite beach holidays is going to North Stradbroke Island with kids.

We can safely assert, however, that North Stradbroke Island is truly the jewel in the crown of the Moreton Bay region islands.  So whether you’re looking for an interesting day trip, or a great place for your next family holiday, we’ve got you covered with all the best things to do on Stradbroke Island.

What to do on North Stradbroke Island

North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) is the second largest sand island in the world, and it has something for everyone in the family.  From crystal lakes, towering lookouts, cliff-side journeys and secluded beaches to fascinating wildlife, a captivating cultural side, and a friendly community, ‘Straddie’ delivers on every level.

If you’re looking for a fairly relaxed getaway, make your way to the island’s social hub, Point Lookout, to enjoy relaxing spas, delicious eateries, beautiful views, and pristine beaches. Or take the kids down to Dunwich to explore lush bushland and fresh lakes, keeping an eye out for the island’s diverse bird and wildlife.

Looking for kids activities on North Stradbroke Island? Try your hand at a huge range of water activities from surfing and stand-up paddle-boarding to fishing, diving and dolphin or whale watching. You can take part in sports like tennis, golf and bowls, or kick up the adrenalin with a little four-wheel driving.

In fact, with so much on offer, it’s hard to know where to start. So we’ve put together a list of the best things to do on Stradbroke Island with kids

Things to do on Stradbroke Island with kids

With a diverse range of vibrant landscapes to explore, Stradbroke Island truly is a natural playground for the entire family, and our list takes you to all the best spots.

Brown Lake

Brown Lake North Stradbroke

A brown-tinted body of water, made of pure rainwater, Brown Lake is a must-visit destination of North Stradbroke Island with kids. The water’s brown colour is due to the native tea trees surrounding the lake. Although ‘Straddie’ is a sand island, Brown Lake is able to retain its water because of the many leaves that line the floor of the lake.

The secluded destination has perfect swimming conditions, or you can rent a paddleboard to go exploring. If you’re visiting in spring, you’ll be treated to the view of countless wildflowers surrounding the entire lake. Brown Lake is only 10 minutes from Dunwich and has picnic and BBQ areas.

Cylinder Beach

Brown Lake North Stradbroke
Cylinder Beach

One of North Stradbroke Island’s most recognised beaches, Cylinder Beach is the perfect spot for a swim or a fish. Visitors can enjoy the cool water, or head up to an adjacent, rocky hill to admire ever stretching views of the beach, lush bushland looming in the distance, and the clear water. To top it off, the area hosts shady campgrounds and is conveniently located near fishing spots, general stores, markets, and much more.

The Gorge Walk

Stardbroke Island
Gorge Walk

The Gorge Walk of Point Lookout is highly acclaimed among North Stradbroke Island visitors. The hike guides travellers along the edge of a towering cliff and above powerful waves. If you continue the journey, you’ll be led to the other side of the gorge, past the unique rock formations and the ‘Blow Hole’, finishing conveniently close to the initial starting point.

Overall, the entire hike is very easy to follow, with the majority of the journey extending over a boardwalk. The Gorge is also the perfect place to keep an eye out for pods of dolphins, sea turtles, and whales. As for land-dwelling creatures, you may be lucky enough to cross paths with a kangaroo. Prepare for the hike by packing a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water.

Flinders Beach

If you’re looking for beachfront camping grounds to accompany your stay in North Stradbroke Island, Flinders Beach can deliver. The campgrounds are situated in natural settings and can only be accessed via bush tracks, or from the beach outside of high tide times. The area is dog-friendly, offers fishing locations, bushwalking opportunities, and is the perfect spot for whale watching,

Point Lookout

A peaceful social hub of Stradbroke Island, Point Lookout has everything you’ll need. The area is home to various eateries, accommodation options, spas, beaches, markets, grocery stores, camping facilities, and much more. Not to mention, Point Lookout also offers cliff-top views to admire, and the famous Gorge Walk. While you’re exploring North Stradbroke Island, you’ll likely find yourself visiting Point Lookout time and time again due to its convenient location, sheer beauty, and abundance of facilities.

Terra Bulla Leumeah Conservation Area

Stretching across 1.5 hectares of bushland, the Terra Bulla Leumeah Conservation Area is the perfect spot to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Stradbroke Island’s cultural side. The area has a link back to the past of the local Aboriginal people, as it was once the old Myora Mission site. Aboriginal elders often tell stories of their grandparents living on this land, using it as a gathering place. The park is home to bush tucker and a garden trail. Not to mention, it also houses cultural exchange programs, including talks and dance performances.

Frenchman’s Beach

Frenchmans Beach North Stradbroke
Frenchmans Beach

While standing above Point Lookout, you’ll notice a peaceful, secluded beach below: Frenchman’s Beach. The 500m sandy stretch faces east and sits between two towering cliffs, and below a dense field of vegetation. To access the beach, simply follow the stairway down from the main road, through the vegetation. When you reach the bottom, you’re welcome to relax upon the sand, explore the nearby rock pools, and admire the surrounding cliffs from below.

Swimming at Frenchman’s Beach is not recommended as the beach is not patrolled, averages large waves, and is home to permanent rips (against the dune rocks). That being said, it’s the perfect spot to lounge upon the sand and embrace the serenity.

Blue Lake

Blue Lake

Located within the Naree Budjong Djara National Park, Blue Lake is a treasure of North Stradbroke Island. The lake holds a cultural significance among the Quandamooka people, who refer to the lake as the ‘deep silent pool’. Compared to Brown Lake, Blue Lake is much more secluded.

To reach the lake, hike through dense bushland for 5.2 km (return), among towering eucalyptus trees and vibrant shrubbery. Once you reach the lake, relax in the shade and admire the clear water. Out of respect for the Quandamooka people, guests are asked not to swim in the lake.

As the track is quite sandy, good walking shoes are recommended, along with plenty of water, a hat, and sunscreen.

Neembeeba Lookout

Those looking for some impressive views overlooking Blue Lake can venture over to the Neembeeba Lookout. The track is approximately 6 km (return), winding among lush, colourful vegetation, with slight glimpses of the ocean peeking through the trees.

Once the lookout is reached, appreciate the stretching views over the Pacific Ocean and the Gold Coast. As the walk itself involves a gradual climb, taking approximately 1.5 to 2.5 hours to complete, good fitness level, quality walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water is recommended, especially in Summer.

Quandamooka Festival

If you’re visiting North Stradbroke Island during the winter months, then there’s an extra treat in store. The Quandamooka Festival is held from June to August each year, giving visitors to Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) the opportunity to become immersed in one of the oldest living cultures on earth. The festival celebrates the living history, knowledge, stories, arts and culture of the Nughi, Nunukul and Gorenpul clans, known collectively as the Quandamooka People of South East Queensland.

Experience the continuing culture of the Nughi, Nunukul and Gorenpul clans of Quandamooka People first-hand with a packed program of events including concerts, dance, markets, traditional ceremonies, storytelling and cultural tours. It’s a perfect winter day trip. Find out more about the Quandamooka Festval here.

How to get to North Stradbroke Island from Brisbane

Located approximately 30 km southeast of Brisbane, North Stradbroke Island is effortless to reach. Water ferries depart from Cleveland 7 days a week, all year round, making the island very accessible for vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Booking offices are located on Emmett Drive.

The ferries depart between 5:30 am and 5 pm from Monday to Sunday, with additional trips available from Friday to Sunday. The trip itself takes from 45 to 50 minutes, with air-conditioning and cafes on board. See the full timetable on the Stradbroke Island website. Alternatively, leave the car in Cleveland and take the water taxi for a quicker crossing.

Getting around North Stradbroke Island

Getting around is super easy. Sealed roads offer access to the three towns of North Stradbroke Island: Amity Point, Dunwich, and Point Lookout. You can bring your own vehicle over on the ferry or use the public bus system. With no traffic lights, the journey is as quick and easy as ever.

The buses operate daily, between Dunwich and Point Lookout, with a stop at Amity Point. Adult single fares vary between $2.30 and $4.80. Concession prices are also available. Buses depart each hour from Dunwich and Point Lookout, with a total of 11 services each day. For a full bus timetable, visit the Stradbroke Island Buses website.

Alternatively, the Stradbroke Cab Service is also available to transport passengers. This option can be slightly more expensive than the bus, although the journey will be much quicker. Bookings can be made over the phone.

There are also 4WD tracks for those looking to get off the beaten track. Permits are required.

Where to Stay on Stradbroke Island

North Stradbroke Island’s accommodation comes in all shapes and sizes, making it easy to find a spot to suit the whole family. The best option will obviously depend on your budget, how many people are staying, and the experience you’re looking for.

Most of the island’s accommodation is situated throughout Point Lookout, where the wide range of attractions and facilities make the day-to-day aspects of a holiday very convenient. Options include resorts, hotels, holiday homes and apartments.

For a quieter alternative you might consider Amity Point. Although there are far fewer options for accommodation, there are some lovely holiday homes and bungalows on offer. And of course, you can always strip back to the bare minimum with plenty of campsites.

To help you figure out where to stay on Stradbroke Island we’ve compiled a list of some of the main offerings. You can find out more about these properties, and others options below.

Resorts and hotels

If you are chasing accommodation with all of the facilities and amenities you will ever need, then the list below is for you.

  • Allure Stradbroke Resort
  • Anchorage on Straddie
  • Pandanus Palms
  • Samarinda Jewel
  • Whale Watch Ocean Beach Resort
  • Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel
  • The Islander Holiday Resort

Find all the best prices and style of accommodation on North Stradbroke Island here.

Holiday rentals

Looking for more of a ‘home away from home’ feeling? Try a holiday rental. From holiday houses and apartments to cottages and bungalows, these are a great option to ensure the whole family feels comfortable and at home on holiday.

  • Cosy Cottages
  • Discover Stradbroke Accommodation
  • Dolphin Holiday Accommodating
  • Ray White North Stradbroke Island
  • Sunset at Straddie View
  • Straddie Sales Rentals
  • Grass Trees on Straddie
  • Stradbroke Island Holidays
  • Sea Shanties
  • Straddie Bay Views

Find all the best prices for holiday rentals on North Stradbroke Island here.

Air BnB’s

Apart from the list above, many more properties can be found through AirBnB. From houses that will home your whole family and maybe even the extended family, to beach shacks, apartments, and even retreat style accommodation, there is sure to be something that will fit your budget and needs.

Follow this link to browse the many options available.

Camping on North Stradbroke Island

Another popular attraction of North Stradbroke Island with kids is the abundance of beachside camping experiences on offer. Visitors can step out from their tent and effortlessly embrace the  clean, sweeping beaches for which ‘Straddie’ is aclaimed.

Some popular spots to pitch a tent near Point Lookout include:

  • Flinders Beach Campsite
  • Cylinder Beach Camping Ground
  • Adder Rock Camping Ground
  • Homes Beach Camping Ground

Those interested in staying toward Amity Point can take a look at:

  • Amity Point Camp Ground
  • Flinders Beach Camp 7
  • Flinders Beach Camp 8

Finally, if you’re interested in spending most of your time towards Dunwich, your options are:

  • Bradbury Beach Camping Ground
  • Adams Beach Camping Ground
  • Minjerribah Camping Ground

Find out more about camping on Stradbroke Island here.

It’s important to remember that while you’re camping on North Stradbroke Island, you should be respecting the surrounding environment. The island is home to a range of beautiful creatures and plant life, and by leaving behind rubbish or removing aspects of the ecosystem, you can be severely damaging the environment.

During your stay, be sure to take all your rubbish with you and to leave the campsite as you found it. Secondly, avoid removing any plants or animals from the environment as a ’souvenir’. You may be unaware of the role that these species play. Just by following these simple rules, you can help keep North Stradbroke Island a pristine, subtropical paradise.

Some final cool facts about Stradbroke Island

  • Evidence points to occupation by the Quandamooka people from about 21,000 years ago
  • It has, at various points in European settlement, been an asylum, a convict outstation, a quarantine station and a Catholic mission
  • In the 1800’s it was thought to be one solid landmass that was split in half by a combination of a boat crashing into the sand that was then detonated, and then a series of very strong winds
  • Ferry tourist cruises started to Stradbroke Island in 1935
  • A Japanese submarine sent a torpedo and blew off a hospital ship just off the Coast in 1945

Have you been to North Stradbroke Island with kids?

It’s one of our tip-top favourite places to go! What’s YOUR favourite thing to do on Straddie?

This article featured in Issue 34 of our printed magazine, published June 2019.

Photo of author

Joanne Crane

Joanne loves speaking directly to people of all ages through the medium of writing, sharing tips and knowledge for families and kids to help everyone get the most out of life. Her focus is on the development of resilience, confidence and independence in children, and on helping families engage and create lasting memories. Self-esteem, self-respect and self-worth are vital skills that Joanne believes children need to learn early to help them grow as adults.

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