5 Best Things To Do On North Stradbroke Island

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(Last Updated On: July 3, 2022)

Australia is famous for a few things – white sand beaches, beautiful oceans, unique wildlife and pristine wilderness. At North Stradbroke Island, you can enjoy it all in one place!

Known by the island’s inhabitants as Straddie, it is second only to Fraser Island (also in Australia) as the largest sand island in the world, and is absolutely packed with things to do! Thanks to the many ferries departing from nearby Brisbane, it’s also very easy to get to.

Let’s see what exactly there is to do over on North Stradbroke Island!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

water with green trees surrounding it

Where to Stay on North Stradbroke Island

Don’t forget to take the time to book your accommodation if you haven’t yet! Here’s a map with some excellent places to stay on North Stradbroke Island.

Visit The Freshwater Lakes

Being supplied with freshwater from underground perched aquifers, both Brown Lake and Blue Lake are two of the more popular spots on the island!

Brown Lake is adjacent to a number of Tea Trees, whose leaves fall into the water and stain it brown (hence the name!). Despite this, the water is perfectly fine for swimming – your skin and clothes won’t get dirty if you take a dip! It is a short drive from the ferry terminal and a great place for a swim on a hot day.

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Blue Lake, on the other hand, requires a bit of hiking and is not directly accessible by vehicle. If you can make it through the 45 minute hike out to the lake from the car park off the main road, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful oasis.

Remember that this isn’t a nicely paved walk, you are walking over sand. Expect it to be hard work and bring more water than you think you need!

beautiful blue water on the coast, things to do on north stradbroke island

North Gorge Walk

My pick for the best thing to do on North Stradbroke Island would have to be the North Gorge Walk. A 1,200 metre long boardwalk which winds its way around Point Lookout, this walk provides an excellent vantage point over the Pacific Ocean.

As you stand on the rocks overlooking the ocean, you’ll be able to feel the force of the waves as they pound into the coastline, often spraying whitewater high up into the air.

Don’t get too distracted by this, as there’s plenty to see down in the waters below. Lone turtles paddling through the waves and pods of dolphins leaping out of the water are not uncommon sights!

If you are lucky enough to visit the island between May and November, you might even be able to spot whales on the annual migration up and down the coastline. They often breach the surface, leaping high up into the air, before landing back in the water with an incredible splash. How awesome.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on the land as well, as there are usually kangaroos enjoying some shade under the trees adjacent to the walk!

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All told, the walk only takes about 30 minutes, so there’s no excuse for not doing it!

blue water on a beach with people swimming

Hit The Beach

By the time you’ve finished the North Gorge Walk, you will probably have worked up quite a sweat. There’s no better way to beat the heat than by hitting the beach!

The two best beaches on the island are Cylinder Beach and Main Beach. They are outstanding spots, with miles of stunning white sand stretching as far as the horizon.

Unlike many of the smaller beaches on the island, these two beaches are both patrolled by lifeguards, so they are suitable even for those who aren’t used to Australia’s rough surf.

Go Four Wheel Driving

One of the benefits of being a sand island is that North Stradbroke Island has tons of awesome 4WD trails. To get started, you’ll need a 4WD permit (you can purchase these online for about $50) as well as a suitable vehicle.

The ferries to and from the island accommodate vehicles, so you can easily take your ride of choice with you.

The permit gives you access to all of the trails on the island, plus the ability to get to the camping area on Main Beach, which is accessible by 4WD only. Camping here is dirt cheap, and you will get your very own patch of beach for the night.

If you do plan on spending the night here, make sure that you bring a pop up tent or similar for sleeping.

Also remember that there’s no electricity out here, so you’ll probably want to bring your portable camping fridge, pre-stocked with food and drink!

sand dune with people on it

Sandboard Down The Dunes

If you are a bit more of an adrenaline junkie, the massive sand dunes in the centre of the island are where you need to go!

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While skateboarding, surfing or snowboarding experience helps, it certainly isn’t essential. There are some tour operators which can pick you up from your accommodation and take you out to the dunes. They will supply the sandboards and wax, which is a necessity when sandboarding.

If balance isn’t your strong point and you find yourself face first in the sand after just a few metres of boarding, don’t fret – you can also treat the boards like toboggans and slide down that way instead!

In Summary

North Stradbroke Island is definitely one of the top places to go on the east coast of Australia!

There’s so much to see and do, you could easily spend the better part of a week here. The laid back nature of the island also makes it the perfect way to relax – especially if you are in the middle of a busy holiday through the rest of Australia!

If you find yourself in the South East Queensland area it’s a no-brainer – you have to check out Straddie!


This post was contributed by Louis from Outdoor Explorer. All imagery was also provided by Louis. Follow along with Louis’ adventures on Facebook and YouTube.

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