Situated in the clear, blue waters of Moreton Bay, Stradbroke or “Straddie,” is the largest island in the bay’s archipelago and also, the closest to Brisbane. The ferry ride only takes 40 minutes. It offers beach driving and sandy 4WD tracks, but also lots of basic bitumen roads, which lead to pristine beaches, freshwater lakes and gourmet cafes and restaurants.
Flash Camp, a pop-up glamping company based out of Byron Bay, took over Adams Beach camping ground in the main ferry town of Dunwich. Because of its close proximity to the ferry terminal (less than 5km), it was set up to provide for those with and without transport. We opted to bring our 4WD across and stay for two nights at Adams Beach, but then head north to Adder Rock and Point Lookout for some old fashioned camping. We booked the accommodation through Straddie Camping, the tourism body that operates all the campgrounds on the island. It was a painless internet booking, similar to a hotel.
A few days before our trip, I received a call from Flash Camp. They wanted to verify our arrival time and because of its luxury (cough, cough price) Flash Camp offers some unique services that regular old campgrounds and caravan parks do not provide. One of these services is to ensure that you have transport from the ferry. If not, they will pick you up and if you are bringing a vehicle, they will greet you upon arrival, similar to a hotel concierge.
Adams Beach campground is south of Dunwich, tucked quietly down a dirt road beside the calm, clear water of Moreton Bay. We booked a family package, which consisted of two, five-metre white, canvas bell tents: one with a king size bed for us, and another with two singles for the boys. Fashionably decorated with raw wooden tables, chests and bedded mattresses on pallets, each tent also came with solar powered USB outlets, lights, LED flashlights and most importantly toiletries from Biology, a natural skin and hair care line. We would also be visited by housekeeping daily for a turn-down and tidy-up. The other notable component of the campground was the renovated bathrooms. Freshly painted with hand soap and towels, rainwater showerheads and a resurfaced floor, I usually dislike communal bathing, but because of the clean, revamped facilities, I didn’t mind it a bit!
To add to the experience, Flash Camp also provides a café, which served excellent coffee and tea, as well as a breakfast, which could be ordered each day for the following morning. We borrowed stand-up-paddle boards and kayaks free of charge and also bikes with baskets for riding to town. The camp also supplied WeberQs for BBQing. Swimming in the bay and watching the sun go down across the water in the evening with the white bell tents silhouetted in the pink and blue sky was the highlight of the experience (besides climbing into a soft bed each night).
North to Adder Rock
After two relaxing days at Adams Beach, we left the cozy confines of Flash Camp for the council-operated campground of Adder Rock. Along the way we stopped at Brown Lake, a freshwater lake about 5km east of Dunwich stained brown from fallen leaves off the paper bark trees surrounding the sandy shores. The water, despite its strange color, is refreshing and contains diluted tea tree oil, which if you are sunburned or suffering from any skin condition, is purported to be extremely healing. There is also a 4WD track around the lake, which is fun to explore.
Access to Main Beach, on the eastern side of the island is further down the Alfred Martin Way road. You need a vehicle access permit to drive on the beach, which can be purchased from the Visitors Centre in Dunwich (located near the ferry terminal). As it was a full moon, we had to make sure we were two hours on either side of the high tide. It was easy going in the FJ, clear, sunny skies and hard packed sand, as we cruised north to Point Lookout passing groups of parked 4WDs and plenty of people beach fishing along the way.
We booked in for two nights at Adder Rock, a lovely campsite along Flinders Beach and the East Coast Road. It was full to capacity and, compared to Flash Camp, lacking in clean amenities.
It was a short walk to a lovely protected beach, which with the wind coming from the southeast, kicked up great swell for the surf crowd. We climbed up Adder Rock and watched the full moon rise over the ocean, looking east towards Cylinder Beach and across the Coral Sea. We also visited Point Lookout for the stunning North Gore Walk and some yummy fish and chips.
On the way back to Dunwich, we opted for the sandy Tripod Track through the centre of the island for some fun. The track was easy to navigate with the tyres down and came out near Brown Lake on the bitumen road, which led back to the ferry depot. In conclusion, Straddie is a great destination for the family, offering easy camping and 4WDing, stunning beaches and delicious food. What couldn’t you love!
Fruit Barn, best coffee in Dunwich
Little Ship Club, great for a sunset drink and boating action
Fishes at the Point, best fish and chips on the island
North Gorge Walk, blowholes, dolphins, crashing waves, all around amazing views!
North Stradbroke Island golf club, kids can put-put for free!
Adder Rock General Store, the best cheapest brekkie in town ($6)
All camping must be booked in advance through Straddie Camping. Prices depend on the type of site and campground. Flash Camp will be set up at Adams Beach during the Easter holiday, prices start at $66 per person, per night.
Vehicle access permits must be pre-purchased from the Visitors Centre and other Straddie Camping locations on the island.
For all the details, visit www.straddiecamping.com.au
There is plenty of food and fuel on the island!
To get there, visit www.stradbrokeferries.com.au to book a ride across the bay.