Overnight stays: Cylinder Beach Camp Ground, Point Lookout (North Stradbroke Island) (3 nights); MacManus Manor, Bracken Ridge
For years I’ve heard of the infamous ‘Straddie’ and ‘Moreton’; raved about by Brisbanites, but surely they can’t be as good as I’ve heard. We decided to find out for ourselves and booked in on the car ferry to Straddie and snagged the last of the eight sites at Cylinder Beach for a few nights.
North Stradbroke Island
The WomBatmobile survived its first car ferry, a short trip across Moreton Bay on a beautiful day into North Straddie.
When we arrived at our campsite we knew straight away this place was special; a stone’s throw from the gorgeous patrolled beach, with a Byron-esq vibe.
Accompanied by what can only be described as lanky Kookaburras, we soon hit the beach after another sophisticated setup. The beach was one of the best of the trip, and the water was hands down the warmest and clearest to-date. And there we remained until the sun went hiding quicker than David Warner and any mention of ball tampering.
I believe that every child has the right to cut their own hair at least once in their short window of opportunity. Just as kids should eat healthy, watch minimal tv, and visit the Gold Coast theme parks, they should be able to have a hack at their locks.
Liv’s such moment was here at Straddie, when she found her small window of mum and dad relaxing outside, reading, to have a go with the nail scissors in her makeshift cubby-house under the inside dining table.
She managed to take quite a length off before Loz realised what was going on on a routine checkup.
Liv felt immediately remorseful and embarrassed, and we’re certain this incident was isolated. A week or so on and we decided to balance the hair out, and she now sports a curly ‘bob’.
Every now and then you meet people and you know they’re just legends, and you’ll get on like yellow tape and a red ball. This happened when we met our Cylinder Beach neighbours, The Percys, from Noosa. Scott, Heidi, Eden (4) and Jack (2) were the most beautiful family, and they made our stay that much better.
Eden and Liv particularly clicked, and spent hours together, riding bikes and waves, and splashing more than five drunk fellas at the casino after a day at the Grand Prix.
Our initial introduction was quite entertaining, as Liv was busting for kid company and dubbed the boys immediately her friends when they arrived, prior to meeting them. She spotted that they too had their bikes, so decided she would encourage them to ride with her. In doing so she paraded around in front of their campsite for endless minutes like a peacock waving its feathers, looking for a mate, staring silently in their direction. Her move did work and I must give full credit 👌🏻.
We’re looking forward to catching up with the Percys again in Noosa.
North Straddie Gorge Walk
Our friend Claire from Newy had recommended both Straddie and the Gorge Walk, which runs from just near Cylinder Beach to the Point Lookout Surf Life Saving Club. With a mean sunset looking on the cards we made hay trekked for a Sunday arvo sunset cerveza with an all-time wander along the way.
The views were perfect, and our non-stop ‘ahhhhh’ moments confirmed it for Loz as her favourite walk of the Wombatical so far, and possibly ever.
With another ripping sunset seemingly surfacing, on our last night we packed up and shipped off to Amity Point, where we had heard the dolphins love the sunset more than Aussies love the big four banks.
On the northernmost point of Straddie this place was a whole new paradise. The water was calmer than Peter Handscomb relaying an on-field message, and the dolphins delivered 🐬, with a couple swimming by the sunset just as I was backtracking to the motorhome to grab a brolly. Loz and Liv managed to see the magic and I hope the image sits in their mind forever more, as I stupidly had the camera with me.
Amity Point would have to be the most tempting place for a relaxing swim. But the lady who was mauled by three bull sharks in 2006 would disagree if she were here today. Add to that the jellies and stingrays we spotted, and we’ll leave it for anyone else but us.
We couldn’t have asked Straddie for any more than she delivered; good weather, friends, water, beaches, wildlife, and memories 😀.
Another island with so much talk, yet we knew so little. I had heard of the Tangalooma wrecks that existed somewhere near Moreton, but a bit of Facebook polling suggested it wasn’t to be missed. The hot tip was to park the WomBatmobile (the island is 4WD only, and watching the motorhome attempt sand driving would be about as funny as Trump responding to questions about Stormy Daniels), and jump on the barge with a packed lunch for a day of sun, sand, and snorkelling.
It sounds strange, given we’re having a whole year off, but we only had a tiny window of opportunity as it turned out. We had left Straddie, and only had one full day, Wednesday, to make our trip, as I was flying out of Brisbane on Thursday for the Grand Prix. Murphy’s Law decided that the only day the barge doesn’t run is on Wednesdays and our only way to get to the island, bar buying a boat, was on the Tangalooma official boat, along with the bus loads of international tourists and exorbitant prices.
Didn’t matter to be honest, as it meant the island was as quiet as someone who bought into the Bitcoin bubble at $20k.
Moreton Island is nothing short of paradise. As soon as we arrived it felt like a tropical island, seemingly distant in the Pacific but really only a stone’s throw from the ugly Brisbane coastline. When our feet hit the soft sand we knew we’d made the right decision, despite the ordinary weather. Thankfully the swell and winds were coming from the south-east, and with Tangalooma on the western coast we were largely protected.
The place was so quiet I actually had the entire Tangalooma wrecks/reef to snorkel to myself, ridiculous. I have seen photos of the place flooded with boats and snorkels on a sunny weekend, but this was the exact opposite.
Under the water the sea life was in abundance around the wrecks, and it was one of the better snorkels I’ve had in my life (top of the list are Borneo, Mexico and Great Barrier Reef). Visibility was only a few metres due to the weather so the photos and videos do little justice.
Between islands we were fortunate enough to stay with my long-time good friend, Pat and his beautiful wife, Kylie. Their 2017 wedding at Yandina Estate in the Sunny Coast was as good as it gets, and we were excited to see them again. They live in a wonderful A-Frame in Brissie and were incredibly hospitable. We had a fantastic night hearing stories of their time in remote Dumadgee and getting tips on little-known places to visit from their weekend adventures. It was also Kylie’s comment that Moreton is her favourite place to snorkel that inspired me to buy the boat tickets.
Moreton Bay’s islands are as amazing as Brisbanites’ allude to. They offer remote paradise, only a short boat rideaway.