Things to do on North Stradbroke Island – Ultimate Planning Guide

Looking for things to do on North Stradbroke Island?

Head just East of Brisbane and you’ll discover a real hidden gem. North Stradbroke Island a.k.a. Straddie, is a magical place to visit and soak up island life for a few days.

I found its beauty not only in its natural setting and abundant wildlife (I spotted lots of turtles, dolphins and kangaroos), but the fact there isn’t much going on. Or at least, there’s enough to keep you entertained for a few days. Just at a much slower pace of life. 

Read on for what I discovered were the best things to do on this beautiful island.

Where: Sunshine Coast, QLD, Australia

Getting there: 9hrs 30mins drive North of Sydney or 30mins drive from Brisbane airport to Cleveland ferry port + 50mins car ferry.

North Stradbroke Island, QLD

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Getting to the island

Take the Sealink ferry from Cleveland. It takes 50 minutes and ferries leave every 1-1.5 hours. Book online to get a $5 discount (if you book a return but are not sure which time to book, just guess which ferry you may take and then call up to reschedule anytime up until your booked ferry leaves). Prices range from $58.90 – $91.50 (one way) depending on the season and time of day.


Things to do on North Stradbroke Island

First of all, the marine life on Straddie is an absolute highlight! So whatever you do, enjoy exploring the island and all the chances it offers to see nature at its best.

Make sure to complete the North Gorge Walk. I saw so many turtles in the water surfacing to take a breath (bring your binos), and dolphins paid me a visit in the water when I was surfing at Point Lookout. There is also a resident pod of dolphins that come up to the shallows around Amity Point (so a local told me) at sunset. I wasn’t there at the right time of year but I can see how the top end of the island is perfect as well, for spotting Whales between May and September. 

Read on for the best things to do when living island life on Straddie.


Point Lookout, North Stradbroke Island, QLD
Surfers at Point Lookout


Complete the North Gorge Walk at sunset

A must-do is the North Gorge Walk at Point Lookout. It’s not a long or challenging walk but allow up to an hour for it. You will want to stop along the way. Multiple times. The start and end points for the walk are not that far from each other because the path winds around two headlands. So it doesn’t matter where you start or end, either way, is good. The path itself is a well-managed boardwalk and hugs the coastline so you get stunning ocean views all the way. If you can, do the walk at sunset. It is quite simply, magical.


The best time to do the walk is at sunset

North Gorge Walk, North Stradbroke Island, QLD


North Gorge Walk, North Stradbroke Island, QLD
The walk hugs the coastline with a boardwalk all the way

North Gorge Walk, North Stradbroke Island, QLD


North Gorge Walk, North Stradbroke Island, QLD
There is so much wildlife to be seen on Straddie


Cylinders Beach, North Stradbroke Island, QLD


Visit one of many stunning beaches

Deadmans was a favourite. Cylinder is popular with families. Main Beach by Point Lookout Surf Lifesaving Club was the best for morning walks (think kangaroos on the beach if you’re early enough) and surfing. You can also drive on select beaches around the island (a permit is required and costs $53.65 for one month).


Main Beach, North Stradbroke Island, QLD
Roos on the beach at sunrise


Watch the sunset from Stradbroke Beach Hotel

The Stradbroke Beach Hotel is a big establishment but nicely fitted out and you can’t beat the views out over Cylinder Beach. Pretty lights above you as it grows dark, make it a really lovely evening out.


Stradbroke Beach Hotel, North Stradbroke Island, QLD
Enjoy a sunset drink overlooking Cylinders Beach


Spot resident dolphins at Amity Point

Drive to Amity Point around sunset and walk down to the wharf to spot resident dolphins. I spotted a couple when there but a local told me they come into the bay regularly at sunset. There are a few benches and public BBQs, plus the wharf is a popular spot for fishing so you can happily while away a few hours in the late afternoon here.


Amity Point, North Stradbroke Island, QLD
Visit Amity Point at sunset to spot resident dolphins


5. Visit the Brown and Blue Lakes

Swim at Brown Lake and visit Blue Lake (everyone is asked not to swim here out of respect for the local Quandamooka people).


Where to stay on the island

In my opinion Point Lookout area in the North East of the island is where you want to be. Either next to Cylinder Beach and the Cylinder Beach Hotel. Stay at the hotel or if you’re camping, the Cylinder Beach Camping Ground looks good. It’s both in a great location by the beach and within walking distance of the hotel and a few cafes.

Or, there is another section of cafes and a fish and chip shop (served up in really good, light batter. The crumbed prawns were particularly tasty too) around the Point Lookout Surf Life Saving Club. This is the area where I stayed and enjoyed it for being near Main Beach. This is a less sheltered beach but has fun waves for surfing. It’s a big open, sweeping beach and when I went for a morning run, I was lucky enough to spot kangaroos on it.


Camping on North Stradbroke Island

I didn’t camp whilst staying on the island but there are six campgrounds to choose from, as well as two designated areas to camp on the beach (you will need a permit to do this). From what I saw, Cylinder Beach Camping Ground looked to be in the best location but check out the island’s own website for all camping options here


Whale Watch Resort, North Stradbroke Island, QLD
Views over Main Beach from Whale Watch Resort


Accommodation on the island

I stayed at Whale Watch Resort while on the island. It has nice big, airy apartments with a full kitchen set up. I stayed in an Oceanside apartment which had a huge balcony and views of Main Beach in the distance. Its location is good. Only a couple of minutes walk to the beach patrolled by Point Lookout Surf Life Saving Club, as well as a couple of cafes and Fishes at the Point fish and chip shop. This place also sells the local Straddie beer!

Best of all the accommodation was close to Fever for takeaway coffees and The Blue Room café which has the loveliest, open area for looking out to sea and watching the world go by. Particularly enjoyable whilst tucking into an amazing acai bowl with a morning coffee.


So when are you heading to North Stradbroke Island?

I loved my time on North Stradbroke Island. I went with no expectations and left wishing I could stay a few days longer.

With enough to keep you entertained for a few days it makes for a great long weekend stay. Or as part of a longer East Coast road trip like I did from Sydney to Fraser Island.

No matter how much time you get here, I’m sure you will enjoy your trip!