Every backpacker in Australia has heard of Fraser Island, Magnetic Island, The Whitsunday Islands but I believe there’s more to Australia than following Peter Pan’s / Tribal Travels tour guide. After four weeks of city life, when a friend offered to show me around Stradbroke Island, known as Straddie to the locals I jumped at the chance.
Taking the train from Brisbane to Cleveland takes about 45 minutes and costs the sandard single fare $2.70, the free bus from the station to the ferry port and the ferry across to the island. On the way over to the Island surrounded by surfers and families escaping the city for the Easter weekend, I spotted my first sea turtle; brown backed and about the size of two footballs, the ferry went straight over the poor things head; hopefully he swam south and survived the ferry.
We took the island bus to Cylinder Beach; a beautiful stretch of powdery squeaky white sand and crashing blue waves pounding the shells onto the shore; it was beautiful. We soaked up the sun on the desolate beach and watched the coastal guards training to save lives surrounded by tea-tree pools; I’ve seen these before in Byron Bay but they’re basically pools of water that have filled with tea-tree from the trees, Although they look a bit uninviting the brown silky water glistens under the sunlight and feels remarkable on your skin. Tea-tree oil is revitalizing for the skin so if you see one of these pools take the opportunity of a free spa and jump right in. You could essentially extend this to exfoliation by sand, cleansing by salt water…yeah?
Heading up the hill away from the beach there’s a small strip of cafesand restaurants but nothing too overwhelming preserving the quaint beauty of the island. ‘Fishes,’ the restaurant sparked a familiar localised aura with the combination of happy holidaymakers and proud locals sharing in the ambience of the island. A cold beer and an amazing burger with fat chips and sweet chilli sauce made the perfect compliment for the relaxed morning on the beach.
There is also opportunity for the more active holiday-maker/traveller on the island with an almost fully walkable coastline alongside the cliffs; spotting great brown sea turtles and watching the waves crash against the sandy cliffs whilst the surfers battled to stand up against the current makes an exciting afternoon.
Taking in the stretch of ocean against the silvery sand made the bright city lights of Brisbane seem so far away. I would reccomend taking the ferry back to Cleveland after dark, sailing across the Bay in the moonlit sky was magical. Stradbroke Island is a definite must for anyone staying in/around Brisbane area. A beautiful day or weekend trip falsifying a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of city life.