Last weekend I finally got my shit together and caught the boat over to Stradbroke Island. I had been planning this trip for about 2 months but due to life being crazy it just wasn’t happening. Finally I had a spare weekend, the weather forecast was looking perfect, so I did it!

I have lived in Brisbane for 17 years and I am embarrassed to say this was only my second trip to Stradbroke Island. ? It is only a 40 minute drive to where the boat leaves at Cleveland and about a 20 minute boat ride. So I really have no excuse! Probably the main reason I never ventured over there was because I thought that you had to take your car which costs about $140. I didn’t realise that you can jump on the boat as a passenger for $20 return and head over for the day.

Once you arrive on North Stradbroke Island there is a bus waiting for you and you just need to grab a day pass on the bus which costs $10 and the bus will take you all the way up to Point Lookout which is the most beautiful spot on the island. The bus ride is about 15 minutes through the middle of the island.

So let me show you how to have the perfect day trip to North Stradbroke Island.


Cruising along on the bus you will go passed Cylinder Beach with views of aqua blue water and white sand. This is your first glimpse of how stunning this island really is. You can get off the bus here and spend the day but I wanted to check out Point Lookout which was a bit further up the road.

Point Lookout

Once you get to Point Lookout, there are a couple of food shops that you can stop at to get water and snacks if you need them. Then you can walk directly across the road for views over Frenchmans Bay which is the picture above. You can swim at Frenchmans Bay but it’s not a patrolled beach. If you want to see some real beauty you need to do the walk known as The Gorge walk. This walk takes you passed the stunningly beautiful gorge and the blow hole a bit further along before ending up at Main Beach, Point Lookout.

The entire walk takes about 30 minutes if you aren’t stopping to take pictures or swim anywhere. The aqua blue water is a little bit irresistible and after spending an hour rescuing a guy that almost drowned who was fishing on the rock,s I couldn’t resist jumping into the water at The Gorge.

Frenchmans Bay

Just a little bit passed Frenchmans Bay my partner and I stopped to watch 3 guys that were fishing down on the rocks and had caught a big fish. As he was reeling it in his friend got hit from behind by a massive wave and was knocked into the water. Where they were fishing was like a washing machine between two big rock shelves. He was getting smashed into the rocks and pounded by the waves. After realising that he couldn’t get out I rang the police and another guy that was there ran to get a buoy from down the track. These buoys are placed all around the island. Once he arrived back with the buoy he scrambled down the rocks to throw it to the drowning guy. In the meantime his two friends fell in trying to get him out. They somehow managed to scramble up onto the rocks with blood pouring out of them everywhere.

I ran back to the shops to get a rope to pull him in but by the time I got back he was floating in the buoy out in the calm part of the ocean thanks to the advice of my partner. I rang the police again because they still hadn’t shown up and asked them to send a boat to come and pick him up. After about another 10 minutes the lifeguards came around on there little dingy to pick him up and take him to the hospital.

It was a scary experience and he honestly would have drowned if he didn’t received that buoy to float in. Thankfully everyone was safe and I don’t think they will ever go rock fishing again.

The Gorge

We kept walking along the paved path until we found the gorge about 5 minutes down the track. It was low tide and I was so hot that I had to go for a swim.

Swim time at The Gorge, North Stradbroke Island
Swim time at The Gorge, North Stradbroke Island

PLEASE NOTE: This beach is not patrolled. There is no access to it. I scrambled down the cliff to get to it and there is a VERY strong current between these cliffs. I was only swimming in the shallow part and I was still getting sucked out to sea. Luckily I know how to read the waves and was being very careful. If you are not a good swimmer and don’t know the ocean, please don’t swim here. You will drown!

It was very cool having this little piece of paradise all to myself though and the water was amazing.

Running away from the waves that kept sucking me out to see! North Stradbroke Island.
Running away from the waves that kept sucking me out to sea! North Stradbroke Island.

After cooling off I climbed back up to the path to take in the breathtaking views from above!

Views over The Gorge, North Stradbroke Island
Views over The Gorge, North Stradbroke Island

Main Beach

There were dolphins frolicking out in the ocean and so many sea turtles. This island is full of beautiful wild life and sea creatures! Further along the track you come to Main Beach. The views from the gorge walk are incredible and I highly recommend doing this walk rather than walking straight to main beach at Point Lookout.

Looking across to Main Beach, North Stradbroke Island.
Looking across to Main Beach, North Stradbroke Island.

The water here on a beautiful day is absolutely stunning. It’s really hard to believe that this place is only 20 minutes from Brisbane. Don’t get me wrong, Brisbane has its good points. But it lacks beaches. We have mud beaches or the fake beach at Southbank. They really don’t compare. But knowing this is only a 20 minute boat ride away, I will be spending more days on North Stradbroke Island.

Lunch Time!

After swimming, it was time for lunch so we walked to the end of the track and up the hill to the shops. It gets really busy at lunch time on the weekends so get in early. The bakery does really nice chicken and salad rolls. Otherwise there is a fish and chip shop or an icecream shop!

With full bellies it was time to hit the beach again. We wandered down to the left hand side of Main Beach and jumped into that gorgeous water again.

Main Beach, Point Lookout, North Stradbroke Island
Main Beach, Point Lookout, North Stradbroke Island

The water temperature was perfect. Then I had a little nap on the sand before walking back to the bus stop near the shops to catch the bus back to the boat. The boat was waiting and I had another sleep on the boat ride back! Haha. The sun always takes it out of me.

It truly was the perfect day! So for $30 it’s a not a bad way to spend the day. Who knew paradise was so close to Brisbane! ?I think I will be heading back there again this weekend!

You are able to stay for the weekend as there is plenty of accomodation around. The roads are completely sealed so you don’t need a 4wd to get around the island.

Ferry timetable:

Have you been to Stradbroke Island before? If so, leave a comment below. I would love to know what your experience was like!

12 thoughts on “The perfect day trip to North Stradbroke Island

  1. Looks like paradise…! I think your blog will inspire all of Brisbane to start heading over there! Would you recommend staying on the island or just a day trip?

    1. Haha, maybe Ive given away a well kept secret for the locals! If you are short on time, a day trip is perfect but if you have more time especially if you are a photographer I would go for longer. There are lots of beautiful spots for sunrise and sunset shots! 🙂

  2. This is a beautiful place and gorgeous photos. I haven’t been there yet but I will have the experience soon. By the way I keep saying myself that to get wonderful shots of any place they don’t have to be necessarily on sunrise or sunset and these photos are a very good proof of that.

    1. Thanks so much. You will absolutely love your time there. I hope you get perfect weather like we’ve been having the last few months. And yes, you are right, you can get beautiful shot outside of sunrise and sunset times. It helps when you are in a beautiful location like this! Haha! 🙂

  3. Great read Larissa! I thought you had to take your car as well, now you’ve motivated me to get over there! A fantastic collection of images as always!

    1. Thanks Steve! Yeah, its great that you don’t need to to take your car! You need to get over there before Summer ends. Although we have pretty damn good weather here in SE QLD Im sure its beautiful all year round over there! 🙂

  4. Wow, the photos remind me of Noosa! I love that shot where you’re running out of the Gorge!! Was that a drone shot or did your partner scrambled up the rocks to take that?

    1. Haha, Thanks Kati! It is a lot like Noosa actually! Yeah, when I was swimming I saw that there was a lookout point up there and sent my partner up. I was trying to do a floating shot but it wasn’t calm enough! I like the running shot better anyway! I really do need to get a drone though! 🙂

  5. Stradbroke looks amazing, great idea also about heading over on the passenger ferry and using the public transport! The colour of that water is unbelievable!!

    1. Thanks so much Ella! Its such an amazing place and so close to Brisbane. I might head over this weekend actually! 🙂

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