Our North Stradbroke Island tours will start running again from August 8th. For now, enjoy a taste of what you will see on this exciting day trip from Brisbane via our virtual tour.
North Stradbroke Island is a large sand island close to Brisbane off the coast of Queensland. The picturesque island is a popular spot for travellers who enjoy the pristine beaches, unique wildlife spotting opportunities and extraordinary cultural heritage. It can only be reached by ferry, so climb aboard and join our virtual tour to explore this spectacular attraction.
The island we are visiting was part of the larger Stradbroke Island until, incredibly, it was separated during a storm in 1896. The disconnection of the island created North and South Stradbroke Islands which are separated by the Jumpinpin Channel.
The Noonuccal, Goenpul and Ngugi tribes, known collectively as the Quandamooka people, have inhabited Stradbroke Island, traditionally called Minjerribah, for over 20 thousand years. Minjerribah, meaning ‘island in the sun’, was the subject of a successful native title claim in 2011, returning the island to the traditional owners.
Departing from Brisbane and taking the ferry across Moreton Bay, we arrive on North Stradbroke Island where our exploration begins. Just outside the town of Dunwich sits the popular picnic and swimming spot Brown Lake. Like many of the lakes on the sandy islands off the Queensland coast, Brown Lake is a perched lake. This means that instead of filling from a spring or underground water source, the lake contains only rainwater which is retained in the basin by the layer of leaf litter on the lake floor. The leaves from the native tea-tree and melaleuca trees that surround the lake release tannins into the water, giving it the light brown colour similar to tea.
Brown Lake, also known as Lake Bummiera to the local Quandamooka people, is strongly associated with women’s business in the local Aboriginal culture. Only women can speak of and manage the lake, which is said to be home to the spirit snake Yuri Kabool.
For some of the best wildlife spotting opportunities on the island, head to Point Lookout and meander along the boardwalks of the Gorge Walk. The 1.2 kilometres of boardwalk follow the headland for an easy 45 minute walk taking in spectacular views over the Coral Sea. Gazing out to the waters you might be lucky enough to observe any number of marine animals including dolphins, sea turtles, manta rays and even whales during the cooler months. Meanwhile, if you can pry your eyes away from the water, kangaroos, wallabies and koalas can be spotted on the land.
Next up is the picturesque stop of Myora Springs, known as Moongalba, meaning sitting down place, to the local Aboriginal people. The area has been a popular camping place for the local Aborigines for thousands of years due to the abundant supply of freshwater shellfish, molluscs and other bush tucker. The area is also home to a rare nocturnal mammal, the false water rat, which was thought to be extinct. Wander the boardwalks and admire the surroundings from the viewing platforms to appreciate the unique natural beauty of such a rich and important ecosystem.
Our final stop is Cylinder Beach, a stunning sandy beach between the Home Beach and Cylinder headlands. The beach is a popular swimming spot, frequently voted amongst the top Australian beaches. Surfers can also take advantage of the moderate waves during the right conditions, but fishers will find the beach’s popularity a hinderance to any successful fishing.
You may notice the Hope Plaque as you arrive at the beach, commemorating the first contact between the Quandamooka people and European settlers. Matthew Flinders stopped at the beach in 1803 whilst on a rescue mission and the local Aboriginal people helped his crew find water.
Then it’s back on the ferry to return to Brisbane. While this whirlwind tour offers you an introduction into the natural treasures of North Stradbroke Island, we hope you will join us in real life once tours start again in August.
Related article: The Unique and Fascinating Backdrop of Brown Lake