The Road Ahead Sampler : April May 2014
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 44 IMAGES: NORTH GORGE ON THE POINT LOOKOUT GORGE WALK (DAVID MAY). DOLPHIN (THINKSTOCK). TRAVEL | QLD GREAT ESCAPE THE ROAD AHEAD APR/MAY 2014 life's a beach at 'straddie' THERE ARE FEW CAPITAL CITIES ON EARTH WHERE A 90-MINUTE DRIVE WILL TAKE YOU TO A SOUTH SEA ISLAND PARADISE. BRISBANE IS ONE. STORY DAVID MAY SOFT SANDY BEACHES, limpid tidal lagoons, secluded rocky coves, photogenic scenery and three distinctly different villages have for decades made North Stradbroke Island south-east Queensland's favourite island hideaway. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first vehicle ferry service from the mainland to 'Straddie'. The crossing takes 50 minutes on the fast vehicle ferry (25 minutes on a water taxi) to the second largest sand island in the world, perfect for day trips or extended family escapes with accommodation ranging from hostels and beachside camping grounds to self-catering holiday houses and luxury resorts. Experience the exhilaration of cruising down 'Straddie's' main beach at low tide in a 4WD, sharing the sea and sand with oyster catchers, terns and gulls and the dunes with the island's resident wallabies and kangaroos. Surfers work the world- class beach breaks and anglers go after dart, bream and whiting from Point Lookout, 33km south to Jumpinpin. But you don't need a 4WD to enjoy this beautiful place -- bitumen roads crisscrossing the northern part of the island access just about every place of interest. Indigenous Quandamooka people have inhabited North Stradbroke Island for at least 21,000 years and about 50 percent of the island is now the Naree Budjong Djara National Park encompassing freshwater lakes, Myora Springs, extensive kangaroo and koala habitats, some 250 species of native birds and one of the world's most ecologically significant wetlands. For an adventure break, 'Straddie' has all the possibilities, sea kayaking, sandboarding, snorkelling and surfboard, bodyboard and cycle hire (straddieadventures.com.au), while Manta Lodge and Stradbroke Island Scuba Centre at Point Lookout is the island's only PADI dive centre offering daily scuba dive and snorkel trips (mantalodge.com.au). For the less daring, Point Lookout's breathtaking North Gorge walk is an easy way to see 'Straddie's' most dramatic scenery and wildlife. Dolphins, turtles, manta rays, sea eagles, kangaroos and humpback whales (from June to October) are regularly spotted from this spectacular headland. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first vehicle ferry service from the mainland to 'Straddie'.
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