Stradbroke Island

Stradbroke Island (including the North and South Islands and Dunwich)
Fascinating islands lying to the east of Brisbane.
Located 30 km southeast of Brisbane, North and South Stradbroke Islands and the historic settlements at Dunwich and Amity Point have become popular holiday destinations and day tripper locations for Brisbane people wanting to escape from the city. The islands, they were separated by a storm in 1896, are only 13 km from the seaside suburbs of Cleveland and Redland Bay by regular ferry services.

North Stradbroke Island is about 38 km long and 11 km wide while South Stradbroke is smaller being only 22 km long and about 2.5 km wide.

Although the islands (at the time it was just one island) were sighted by both Captain James Cook and Matthew Flinders it wasn't until 1827 that the name Stradbroke, after the then Earl of Stradbroke, was given to the island by his son, Captain H. J. Rous, the commander of the HMS Rainbow.

That same year there was a proposal to move the convict settlement in Moreton Bay out to the island. The argument was that mooring was difficult in the bay and that the island would provide better facilities. This was not correct. The settlement, which saw the construction of the historic township of Dunwich, was abandoned in 1831 partly because of the difficulty unloading supplies in rough weather. Hostile local Aborigines and an unsatisfactory water supply compounded the problems.

Stradbroke Island's most famous resident was the late Kath Walker (Oodgeroo Noonuccal), the highly regarded Aboriginal poet, who was born on North Stradbroke, established the Noonuccal Nughie Education and Cultural Centre on the island, and who has been at the forefront of attempts to curb the large scale sandmining which has occurred.

Things to see:

North Stradbroke Island
Today North Stradbroke Island is an island paradise only a few hours from central Brisbane. It is one of the great sand islands being formed by the same forces which created South Stradbroke, Moreton, Bribie and Fraser Islands. It is noted for the long, clean white beaches of its eastern coastline, the rich diversity of its flora which includes wild orchids, and its isolation and peacefulness.

The ferries, barges and water taxis from the mainland arrive at Dunwich on the western side of North Stradbroke Island. This old settlement was first established in 1827 as a convict outstation. The shallow waters of Moreton Bay made shipping goods up the Brisbane River difficult and ships arriving (most of them from Sydney) would off-load their supplies at Dunwich. In turn the good would be ferried across to the mainland and up the Brisbane river in vessels with shallow draughts. In these early days the township of Dunwich was no more than a large warehouse and quarters for the convicts employed to load and unload the produce. It is possible to see the old stone wall of the original jetty on the northern side of the modern barge ramp.

One of the most interesting areas of Dunwich is the cemetery (listed by the National Trust) which has graves which date from as early as 1847. It was the burial site for the 42 typhus victims who arrived aboard the Emigrant in 1849 and were quarantined on the island. The graves include both those of Dr George Mitchell and Dr David Bellow, the ship's doctor and the local surgeon. The cemetery is now one of the few reminders of the early settlement which was established at Dunwich.

Dunwich was the site for isolated medical facilities for over a century. At various times it was home to a quarantine station, an infectious diseases hospital and a benevolent asylum. Visitors interested in pursuing this history should visit the island's Historical Museum in Welsby Street where photographs and artefacts recall the island's colourful history. There is also a record of the shipwrecks which have occurred along the island's coast.


Blue Lake National Park
Today the island's greatest attractions are undoubtedly its natural attractions. The beautiful 445 ha Blue Lake National Park, located 10 km east of Dunwich, has an unusual freshwater water table lake set in sand dunes. The lake itself covers 7.3 hectares and is 9.4 metres at its greatest depth and is incredibly blue. The fauna in the park includes swamp wallabies, skinks, ospreys and the mottled tree frog and the flora ranges from dry sclerophyll forest through heath, swamps, marshes, and scrub. It is possible, although rare, to see the golden wallabies in the area.

The Blue Lake (the native name is Lake Kaboora) can be reached by taking a 2.5 kilometre walk from the Trans-Island Road. If this walk is done either in the early morning or the late afternoon visitors are likely to see the fauna of the area. For more information check out:

Brown Lake
Brown Lake (the native name is Bumeira) offers freshwater swimming and Eighteen Mile Swamp supports a rich variety of native fauna.

Brown Lake is only five minutes from Dunwich. It can be reached by taking a short gravel road which turns off the main Trans-Island road. There are good picnic and barbeque facilities around the lake's edges and it offers excellent freshwater swimming. There are walking trails around the edge of the lake and it is possible to see a range of orchids growing wild.

The main settlements - Dunwich, Amity Point, and Point Lookout - all on North Stradbroke Island, have become popular holiday resorts with camping and caravan facilities.

Point Lookout
Point Lookout is Queensland's most easterly point. Many people tend to think that the coast bends eastward north of Brisbane but in fact North Stradbroke Island is the state's most easterly island. In recent times, with whale watching becoming one of Queensland's major attractions, Point Lookout has become a popular destination. Its steep cliffs afford an excellent vantage point between June and September when the Humpback whales make their way past the island on their way to the breeding grounds further north. There are a number of excellent walking tracks in the area.

Twenty-Two Mile Beach
To the south of Point Lookout is Twenty-Two Mile Beach with its extensive Aboriginal middens of shells where, long before the arrival of Europeans, Aborigines feasted on the molluscs they collected in the area.

Amity Point
The northern island's northern tip is called Amity Point. The first settlement of this important location occurred in 1825 when a pilot station was built to help shipping into Moreton Bay and the Brisbane River. By the 1950s Amity Point was the main access to the island and visitors would arrive and then make their way to Point Lookout, usually on the island's only bus.

Amity Point's critical location means that it is vulnerable to tidal action. This has caused considerable beach erosion in recent times. A number of houses and a kiosk have been victims of beach erosion in recent times. The township has a particularly delightful park which not only is ideal for picnics but also provides excellent views over Moreton Bay.

Now a popular tourist destination (although hardly in the same class as the Gold and Sunshine coasts) the popular activities include swimming and fishing.

South Stradbroke Island
South Stradbroke Island features 22 km of ocean beaches along with remnant livistona rainforest and melaleuca wetlands. It is accessible via a ferry which departs from Runaway Bay marina, about 9 km north of Surfers Paradise. The ferry takes passengers directly to a campsite but there are also several resorts offering facilities such as guided tours and water sports for day-trippers. Those wanting to travel more privately can hire a boat or a water taxi from Mariner's Cove or Couran Cove.

Stradbroke Island Visitor Centre
Ferry Terminal Dunwich
Stradbroke Island QLD
Telephone: (07) 3409 9555

Couran Cove Island Resort
Stradbroke Island
Stradbroke Island QLD
Telephone: (07) 5597 9000
Facsimile: (07) 5597 9090

Samarinda Jewel by the Sea
1 Samarinda Dve, Point Lookout
Stradbroke Island QLD
Telephone: (07) 3409 8785
Rating: ****

Dolphin Holiday Accomodation-Seachange
35 George Nothling Dve Point Lookout
Stradbroke Island QLD 4183
Telephone: (07) 3409 8455
Facsimile: (07) 3409 8606
Rating: ***

The Islander
East Coast Rd Point Lookout
Stradbroke Island QLD 4183
Telephone: (07) 3409 8388
Facsimile: (07) 3409 8730
Rating: ***1/2

Whale Watch Ocean Beach Resort
7 Samarinda Dve Point Lookout
Stradbroke Island QLD 4183
Telephone: (07) 3409 8555
Facsimile: (07) 3409 8666
Rating: ****1/2

Amity Bungalows
33 Ballow St Amity Point
Stradbroke Island QLD 4183
Telephone: (07) 3409 7017
Facsimile: (07) 3409 7018

Couran Cove Island Resort
Stradbroke Island
Stradbroke Island QLD
Telephone: (07) 5597 9000
Facsimile: (07) 5597 9090

Point Lookout Beach House
76 Mooloomba Rd
Stradbroke Island QLD
Telephone: (07) 3409 8679