It started out with Maddie wanting to go to Straddie….
Maddie was Swedish, in high school, and on an student exchange to experience Aussie culture, language, and the few contemporary traditions, we Australians have. She wanted to see Straddie, aka Stradbroke Island, a secluded beach paradise off the coast of north eastern Australia. This is how we came to meet Bill, but more about that later.
As Australians are oft to shorten names, Stradbroke Island is affectionately called Straddie, even though it’s name has anything but humble beginnings, being named as it was, after the British Lord of Stradbroke.
Aboriginal communities have long existed on Straddie, as has a plethora of wildlife and flora, including the much-loved koala, kangaroo and ‘Gin–gin,’ otherwise known as a Grass tree.
Add to this, miles of pristine white sandy surf beaches, and you have a swimming meccas for locals, and occasionally, sharks.
“Maddie” wanted to see “Straddie”, so we booked in at the Backpacker’s Manta lodge, situated just a few kilometres back from the famous Point Lookout, and took an early morning ferry to Dunwich. This was actually called the ‘Flyer’ and the fare also included the bus to our lodge, which has a convenient timetable that coincides with the arrival of the ferries.
Desperately hoping the name Adder Rock was not synonymous with the highly venomous snake, the Death Adder, we arrived at Manta lodge, an accredited scuba dive centre and above average Backpackers in a 4 share room. This backpacker is in an excellent location, step outside and you are on the beach, also reasonably close to Point Lookout by road, but we chose to walk along the beach for the scenic journey over the rocks and beach verges.
If you visit Stradbroke and stay here, I would caution you that the beach trail to Point Lookout takes over an hour, and we found later that it is more direct to take the road, or catch the bus, but, of course, it was a lot less scenic. You can also find toilets along the way at Cylinders beach Caravan Park and a small shop and Post Office. We ever saw a Beach wedding taking place. High Heels in the sand… can you imagine the difficulties???
A nice diversion along the way is the Point Lookout Hotel, good for a hearty/ liquid lunch, or refreshment, or two… the view from there is simply amazing, from anywhere in the hotel. After we were suitably refreshed, we continued on, exploring the headland at Point Lookout, named by Captain Cook as he sailed along the East Coast in 1770.
The views from Point Lookout afford amazing views along Thirty Mile Beach…..or or was it Sixty MileBeach…. plenty of it anyway! Take the Gorge walk for a long and very scenic view of this cove and the turbulent surf hitting the headland in front of the Surf club and you will see views like this….
As for amenities, Point Lookout has a number of eateries to suit a variety of palettes. You will find a small collection of avant-garde gift and boutique fashion shops. Their opening times are various, but you could be lucky. One that caught my eye seem so ‘Straddie’…. laid back…. not always open and simple but good… the Fresh local Seafood shop called “The Prawn Shack.”
But this is where Bill comes in, our local tour guide – the quiet achiever Bill who would take us on a 4 hour 4WD tour of the Island.
As I am linking to Restless Jo’s Monday Walks, I will talk more about Bill’s fabulous adventures in another post.