“In the end that was the choice you made, and it doesn’t matter how hard it was to make it. It matters that you did.”
― Cassandra Clare
Not everyone is keen on leaving Brisbane city area after arriving from a long flight but for me, I was going to do something extraordinary and take a short trip to North Stradbroke Island for a night. Since I was spending a night day at North Stradbroke Island before catching a domestic flight home, I decided to visit this tiny island just off mainland Brisbane city. Like many other places I have visited, I have a passion, that I like to do a bit of research and learn about the history of a particular place before I set my foot on it. In brief history, Stradbroke Island, also known as Minjerribah is a large sand island that formed much of the eastern side of Moreton Bay near Brisbane, Queensland until the late 19th century. Today the island is split into two by the Jumpinpin Channel. Archaeological evidence suggests the Quandamooka people lived on the island for at least 21,000 years prior to European settlement. It was also a traditional meeting place between the Quandamooka and the Nunukul and Gorenpul people. North Stradbroke is the more developed than South Stradbroke, with the three small townships of Dunwich, Amity Point and Point Lookout offering vacation rentals, shops and a range of eateries. It also has a sealed, bitumen road network.
Though I have experienced the magical High Life of Brisbane city, bustle and hustle many times, nothing was compared to Stradbroke Island. For me to have that ultimate, authentic and relaxing experience, I decided choose Stradbroke Island over Brisbane city for my one-night-only getaway – The island was sure to delight. I was very surprised to learn that it was inexpensive to take a trip to North Stradbroke Island.
Though I was physically strained after arriving from a long flight from London, my day begun by catching a citytrain from the Brisbane international terminal to Roma station in the early hours of the morning. During that 45 minutes train ride I was totally exhausted and soon I was sleeping. Luckily, no-one was sitting next to me which made it even more comfortable for me. After arriving at the city train station, I then took a Cleveland Line train to Cleveland to catch a ferry across to Stradbroke island. I then, disembark the train at the end of the Cleveland train line and board the bus that was a waiting to pick-up passengers to the Cleveland Marina. The North Stradbroke Island Bus service meets most of the ferries.
I then caught a ferry from Cleveland Marina in Middle St and the process was very straight forward and I didn’t have to wait around for long period. However, there are a number of companies that you can choose from depending on the time you are ready to depart. The ferry ride from Cleveland to Stradbroke island cost me around $10 dollars one way. The short ride on the ferry was very pleasant and within few minutes we were on the island. I just felt like, I was walking off on a boat in one of the Caribbean islands.
I noticed that, it was quite easy to get around Straddie on foot and via the bus but I was welcomed by my driver which I arranged prior to my arrival on the island. The driver, who I knew him as Mr Atalanta was a local who was raised there all his life. Yes, I was about to get a local treat and it surely didn’t disappoint me. During my travels to various places around the world, I always try to use locals as my guide or drivers because I personally believe that locals know better and always travel with them. To the locals, when you visit Stradie, it means “Slowing Down”.
After loading all my luggage at the back of the car, he then told me, it is time see what the island has to offer. We drove along low land areas on the way to high level area, where whales can be see on shores – but it seasonal on whale watching. We explore almost the full-length of the island––from the jaw-dropping cliffs, ocean and sandy beaches. It was absolutely just breathtaking. We did venture off into beaten tracks where many locals and residents get away camping or simply want to enjoy the outdoors. This certainly not only enable me to explore the beauty of the place and the island but gave me a rare insight into the past, the present and the future.
As we drew closer to the end of my exploration, he took me to a lookout that over-looks out to the wide blue ocean and the white sandy beaches that goes for miles and miles away, totally untouched. The locals want to keep it that way without any major tourism developments. It is a very peaceful little island where everyone knows everybody but it is so relaxing and you really experience the welcomeness of the area. To me, this is a great destination for honeymooners and any travellers that want to indulge themselves in an environment where quietness, peaceful, relaxing and stunning views of the ocean and beaches are experienced at the same time. I certainly did and will not be the last.
From a personal perspective: For me travelling to big cities are quite very similar in many ways – the night life, bustle and hustle of the city, the buildings, wining and dining, shopping and so on but there is a big contrast when you visit small islands and it is quite the opposite. The people are more friendly and you feel and experience the welcomeness and the friendliness of the people around you. This vibe of relaxing, quietness, exploring the untouched environment and meeting local people keeps me going to visit and explore more tiny islands around the world. I certainly felt it when I visited Tahiti, Bora-Bora, Moorea, Cook Islands, Western and American Samoa, Vanuatu, Fiji and Solomon Islands.