Stradbroke Island (Straddie) is the second largest sand island in the world. With the location facing the Moreton Island and the coral sea, it is a popular destination for tourists to relax and enjoy the tropical holiday.
Summer (December to February) from 22 - 30 degrees
Winter (June to August) from 12 - 20 degrees
Getting to Straddie
From Brisbane CBD,
Drive: 40 mins drive for approx 30km to Toondah Harbour (Ferry Terminal)
Train: 60 mins to Cleveland Train Station & 5 mins bus ride to Toondah Harbour (Ferry Terminal)
From Ferry Terminal to Straddie
Stradbroke Ferries: 50 mins (Big Red Cat/ Minjerribah) to Dunwich Main Terminal
Stradbroke Flyer : 50 mins to One Mile Jetty, Dunwich
The Stradbroke Ferries & Flyers are vehicles ferry to take vehicles and passengers to Dunwich Main Terminal.
* There is cafe in the ferry if you need some refreshment.
* I would strongly recommend to book the tickets in advance to avoid tickets sold out and also you may get a discounted prices by booking it in advance.
* If you need to leave earlier with the advanced booking tickets from Dunwich Terminal, just present the ticket to request for a change. I did it and the ticket conductor was friendly to change it for us by just paying the fare difference.
Stradbroke Water Taxi: 25 mins (There are connecting local island buses travel to Cleveland and Point Lookout)
* Arrive at least 15mins prior to departure to avoid any delay
* Check the timetable online for the latest timetable changes
* There is no advance booking required
* Timetables may be different during public holidays
* Make sure you remember the last two rides from the timetable (Don't to be late to avoid being stranded in the Island)
Once you drive your car on to the ferry, you can pretty much just rest and relax to get ready for Straddie. Some passengers even brought along their dogs (kept on lead) to enjoy the ride and the sunshine.
Personally, I would advise to drive to the island for the ease of comfort and easier to navigate around the island. I saw some people waiting in the public bus station with the limited time schedules, it definitely takes a longer time to travel around.
Note: You may need to check if you need a licence to drive in the island if you are driving a 4WD.
Point Lookout - Most Easterly Point in Queensland
It takes approximately 20mins to drive from Dunwich to Point Lookout. Point Lookout is the most easterly point in Queensland. The North Gorge Walk is a must-do activity when you visit Straddie. It takes approximately 45mins to walk from one end to another (approx 1.5km). Bring along your camera gear or even binocular if you are lucky to spot marine life or birds.
If you are traveling to Stradbroke Island during May/Jun - Nov, you may be lucky to witness the Whale migration to the north to breed before returning to Antartica.
I went there in December 2018, I was luckly to encounter some dolphins around the Deadmans Beach. I was glad to have brought along my binocular, the sights were clear and hence an absolutely amazing experience.
You may expect these wildlife and marine life depends on your luck:
* Mantra Rays
* Humpback Whales
Main Beach, Cylinder Beach & Deadman Beach
Main beach is located on the northwestern tip of the island. With the strong waves condition, it is the playground for some experienced surfers. There is a pub just right between the North Gorge Walk and the Main Beach, definitely recommended to go for a drink if you need a break.
Cylinder Beach is just minutes drive away from the point lookout/ main beach. There were many families with kids (and some camping tents to get some shades for the young ones) and swimmers who enjoyed the ocean waves on the beach. With the lifeguards around and the safety flags and signs, many swimmers stay within the safety range to enjoy the cool water.
Deadmans Beach was where I spotted dolphins around. It is just minutes walking distance from many cafes and restaurants at the Point Lookout. You may find many surfers around waiting for the right waves for the surf.
Food and Beverage
Basically you can expect many cafes, restaurants and take away shops in Straddie. With the limited selections, you may expect pizza, pasta, fish & chips, burgers, gelato ice cream etc.
Besides queuing up in the cafe for seats, there are many people take away and eat in the nature such as the picnic spots nearby these beaches. When you get to the Cylinder beach at the right time, you may also find pop up coffee car or wood fire pizza tent (literally they set up a temporary stall and the wood fire equipment with pizza boxes on the tables.
I went for a day trip (tiring but good enough for me), you can certainly stay overnights in Straddie's accommodation for a longer holiday.
Below information maybe useful for your reference:
Montville is a vintage small town that full of European architectures such as Iris/ English Cottages, Swiss & Bavarian Chalets, Old Mill Water Wheel, Grandfather Clock shop etc. This is definitely a place to check out if you are a nature lover who enjoy walking in national parks, water falls, lakes, a short stroll to a romantic town with European design architecture.
It takes approximately 1.5 hours drive from Brisbane City to Montville Information Centre. Renting a car would be a better option to travel around Montville and it's surrounding. It is always a good idea to first go to Information Centre to enquire for the activities that you would like to do, they are really friendly and would advise accordingly. I always do that just in case if there is any local warning such as fire warning, flood etc just to ensure travel safely.
Montville Village - Shopping & Restaurants
Walking around the main street of the town from the Information Centre was a pleasant experience especially with such beautiful unique old houses. Right behind the Information Centre, you will find several shops and restaurants such as the Clock Shop (selling various clocks and watches that reminded of my travel to Germany), Chocolate Country (gourmet artisan handmade chocolate), accessories & gifts shops, clothing etc.
If you walk further, you will find the iconic Montrose Water Wheel attached to a building where many tourists enjoy taking photos.
Dining in with the Sunshine Coastal View
There are a number of restaurants provide awesome coastal view of the hinterland, namely Poets Restaurants and Cafe and Altitude. There are many restaurants, bars, cafes along the Main Street so you will not run out of options for your meals.
Some restaurants/ bars/ cafes provide acoustic live music performances along the Main Street which creates a relaxing atmosphere for Montville. If you are planning for a romanic getaway, Montville can be one of your options to impress your loved one.
Art Galleries & Shops
National Parks, Water Falls and Lakes
Kondalilla National Park is located in the Blackall Range of South East Queensland - 5 minutes drive from Montville. There are ample car park lots available at the entrance where you will find some picnic spots available for those who enjoy their meals in the National Park.
With a good weather, the Kondalilla waterfalls can be spotted from far and some would walk all the way down to the bottom and enjoy a different view.
*** Swimming ***
For those who enjoy swimming in rock pools, you may consider bringing your swimming attires and towels.
*** Sandflies Bites ***
Please ensure you have appropriate trekking attires or use insect repellent if it's necessary. I discovered severe sandflies bites marks on both arms and legs (I was wearing short and sleeveless top) after the trip. The crazy itch went on for a few weeks and the ugly marks/ scars took months to fade.
Day trip or Staying in Montville
If you are happy to check out the town and leave on the same day like me, a day trip was good enough to check out all "to do" in my check list:
* Walking around the cosy town (European style buildings)
* Enjoying meals (lunch, drinks and chocolate) with awesome coastal view
* Shopping/ window shopping for art craft, clock, fashion, accessories and gifts etc
* Checking out Art Gallery
* Trekking in Kondalilla National Park
Of course you can extend your trip for a few days if you would like to slowly check out all these. There are range of private cottages, cosy cabins, traditional lodges and of course some luxury accommodation in the town.
Hope you find these information useful for a romantic getaway!
Looking at the whales breaching/ chin slapping on the water surface is definitely one of the most incredible experience you can explore in Queensland.
Queensland's whale season is generally between Jun - Nov, the whales migrates through the Australia and New Zealand waters and give birth to their young before heading back to Antarctic.
Going to a whale watching cruise is great to watch whales up close - especially the humpback whale breaching from the water. I was glad to go to a larger vessel so that I could have a good view from the deck.
Some companies promote the tour as "Guaranteed Whale Sightings" which means they offer a seat on the next available departure if you don't see the whales on your trip. In that case, you may want to arrange your itinerary to have whale watching first so that you can rearrange the next departure if you really have no luck for the first trip.
Chin Slap (Head Slap)
This is one of my favorite shots, the humpback whale was doing the chin slap - raised its head clear of the water and slapped in on the water surface. With the lunging behavior as such, it appeared to be waving at us and that was facinating!
I was really fortunate to have seen a few humpback whales in my trip, the whales just enjoyed their swim around our vessel and continued slapping the water surface for a long period of time.
I paid for the buffet lunch and enjoyed the view from the window with humpback whales slapping the water surface over and over again. If the tour company allows, it is a good idea to bring your own lunch and beverage to enjoy the meal and watch whales in action.
The Moreton Bay Marine National Park is the home to abundant marine life such as humpback whales, bottle nose dolphins, Loggerhead turtles etc, hope you find your whale watching package and enjoy the experience.
Trip Check list:
* Good Camera
* Plenty of water
It is very convenient to travel to the Brisbane City or even Gold Coast when you arrive Brisbane Airport.
By Rental Car
Renting a car is in fact the best option for the travelers who enjoy the flexible free and easy itinerary. Unless you would prefer to stay in the city and sign up for tours to pick you up/ drop you off from your hotel, renting a car is essential to travel along the east coast's destination.
Brisbane Airport has rental car parking lots right in front of the arrival area, it is convenient to rent a car in Brisbane Airport.
There are plenty of taxi in the airport and they are all meter fare, it costs approximately $40-$50* for a normal hour (low-peak) to the Brisbane City.
* Price is estimated based on personal experience for reference, it may increase from time to time and also depends on your accommodation distance.
This is my favorite transportation to/ from Brisbane Airport. Airtrain stops at both International and Domestic Airport, it is merely minutes of walking distance to the airport train station. The trains services is approximately 15 mins in peak hours.
If you are a solo traveler/ group travelers/ arrive during the peak hours with horrible traffic delay, perhaps you can consider this option to take you to the city stops with no traffic problem.
Examples - Return tickets between International Airport and Central Station:
Fare: $35 - Online Discount $5.25
= $29.75 ($14.88 each way)
* this is definitely cheaper than taking a taxi of approx $50 each way (total approx $100 return)
For 4 people:
Fare $140 - Online Discount $50
= $90 ($45 each way)
* Even if you take a maxi taxi with more luggage space to get all into one taxi, it is still cheaper to take train.
Of course for those who would like the taxi to carry your luggage for you instead of dragging your luggage, AirTrain may not be your preference.
Please note that AirTrain's promotion and rates may change any time, hence please refer to their official websites for the more accurate rates.
Below is the map from AirTrain showing the train stations in the airport for your reference:
Save money on Train Ticket
If you would like to pay for a discounted ticket, you can make advance reservation online. I did so and bought cheaper tickets as well as proceed faster to the airport by simply letting the conductor to scan on the barcode on my phone. Alternatively, you can always join the queue at the counter and buy tickets on the spot.
Below is another map to show some hotels locations if you wonder which stop should you alight in the Brisbane City.
The parking rate in Brisbane airport is expensive, below are some rates as reference:
* Rates are updated as on 19 Mar 2018
International Airport Parking
~ Up to 15 minutes $4
~ 15-30 minutes $8
~ 30-60 minutes $17
~ 1-2 hours $21
~ 2-3 hours $26
~ 3-4 hours $27
~ Each additional day $55
Domestic Airport Parking
~ Up to 30 minutes $8
~ 30-60 minutes $17
~ 1-2 hours $21
~ 2-3 hours $26
~ 3-4 hours $27
~ Each additional day $55
For the latest information on parking rates, check out their official website: