North Stradbroke Island

TOOT TOOT!!! All aboard matey, The Big Red Cat is ready for its maiden voyage….. We have got Stradbroke on our mind and the ferry is departing the city of Cleveland (not Ohio folks)  for Stradbroke Island (or Straddie, as the locals call it) here come the Nomads!!   A hop skip and jump for the locals of Brisbane, this scenic island is very ideal for the city folk to flee for a few days… or weeks!  While a large part of the island consists of 4WD access along the beaches, there’s still plenty to see on the paved roads.

Amazing Grace more like Amazing Shelby! Lucky for us Shelby was kind enough to take pity on some wheelless Americans and let us borrow her Landcruiser Ute while she’s away on her own off roading adventure!  With the perfect transportation for camping and potential off roading, we set out for an early morning ferry to Straddie.  Note to self:  If it’s a Monday and you are heading towards the city, chances are you will hit rush hour traffic.  I didn’t really think about that until we were already on the road at 6:30 a.m.  A 2.5 hour drive to our 9 a.m. ferry…. we will be very lucky to make it! Pedal to the medal, Patrick was not messing around.  Speeding like a bat out of hell and running a red light… not his finest hour of driving, but he got us there 10 minutes before the ferry left!  WHOOO!  A quick 50 minute ferry ride and we have arrived!!!

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I can’t tell you how excited I was for our island adventure!  When I was planning this trip a few weeks back, I didn’t realise it would be school holidays.  This was a giant “MY BAD” moment.  Not only do the kids in this country have school holidays for everything imaginable (I wish I had grown up here!)  but it’s complete hell for everyone else!  Especially those of us WITHOUT kids.  UGH.  Since school holidays are considered the “Peak Season”,  everything was more expensive than usual.

The island has 3 very small townships: Dunwich, Amity Point, and Point Lookout–  consisting of restaurants, cafes’, shops, and tourists galore!  We checked in and set up camp at Adder Rock Campground in the town of Point Lookout.  With a beautiful ocean view, we had a pretty awesome spot.  Minus the fact every camper was right on top of each other and the bloody kids were screaming- That was rather annoying.   On that note, it was time to go explore!

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After driving around and exploring the Myora Springs in Dunwich and Amity Point, we headed to the beach.  The turquoise clear water and never ending stretch of beaches make for a perfect ALL day walk.  Literally, all day.  With beers in hand, my camera snapping away, and walking along with my favourite person in the world, the day seemed to pass very fast.  By the time we walked back to camp, the sun was about to set.  Front row seats for our first Straddie sunset on the beach.  Three beers and walking in the sun all day, I was literally pickled.  Buzzed Kylie does not do very well with a camera, so never mind any good shots of sunset!  🙂    (Bloody lightweight, I know!)

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Myora Springs

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Sharks won't be eating any kids today with that enclosure.
Sharks won’t be eating any kids today with that enclosure.

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That water though!
That water though!

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What’s camping without a campfire?  That’s like a s’more with no marshmallow, or Kool-Aid with no sugar…. it’s just not the same!  With no campfires allowed on this campground, we were very disappointed.  We quickly cooked our meal in the overly busy camp kitchen (with kids running all around us) and quickly took our anti social asses back to our tent.  With a bright full moon above us, we fell asleep nestled together in our cozy hammock.  It was seriously bliss.

Ahhhh… rise and shine!  Instead of the peaceful sounds of birds chirping… or the waves crashing, it’s children screaming.  I can’t tell you how many times Patrick and I looked at each other and said “We are NEVER going anywhere on school holidays….. and we are never having kids!”    I’m so happy we can agree on that!   🙂  Best contraception ever.

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sleeping soundly

On this beautiful blue sky day, we drove to the famous Brown Lake.  North Stradbroke has two large lakes- Brown and Blue (Creative names hey?).  Trip Adviser comments made Brown Lake sound more appealing then Blue Lake, but I do not understand why.  Probably because you can drive to it and there are BBQs and picnic tables.  Whereas Blue Lake, you have to hike to and there are no facilities.     The name is surely correct… It’s a very brown/yellow/orange lake.  Not very alluring to swim or even look at, but of course there were kids everywhere, again we find ourselves asking- Do Aussies not believe in contraception?  Lets hope Blue Lake is a bit nicer?

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This guy was pissed I took his picture.

Just down the road from Brown Lake is the beginning of the track to Blue Lake.   An easy 2.5 kilometre hike to the crystal clear waters of Blue Lake.  There were a few people there swimming, but it was much more peaceful here.  Once the others dried off and started hiking back,  we had the lake to ourselves. YAY…. solitude!!!!   There’s something about Australia lakes that freak me the fuck out.  Probably because of the water snakes, leaches, crocodiles, eels… yeah that’s enough to steer me away from fresh water.  BUT, this time I could not resist.  I used to be a sucker for jumping into any body of water, so this lake was screaming my name!   It was the perfect temperature for this hot Spring day.

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Blissful Blue Lake
Blissful Blue Lake

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I'm so MANLY
I’m so MANLY…. but do I look fat?

 

Driving down the road… windows down… wind through my hair… blasting the music…. we were in our own freedom bliss.  We decided not to buy the vehicle permit pass that would allow us to drive on the beach because at the end of the day, this isn’t our car.  If we get stuck in the sand or washed out to shore, who knows how much that’s going to cost.   While we were on a joy ride coming back from the lakes, we heard a terrible scraping and crashing noise coming from the truck.  Oh shit… what happened?? Patrick hopped out and said “Welp, I see why she told us not to use the rear gas tank!  Come look!”  Sure enough, the rusted gas tank was on the ground, but still attached to a hose.   My very feminine boyfriend got to have a MAN moment.  He pulled out some spare straps and a ratchet and climbed underneath.  We were stopped in the road with numerous cars driving past.  One fellow car could clearly see we were in a pickle, so they stopped.  A nice man, his wife, and their teenage son greeted us with warm smiles.  The man kind of laughed at the situation and climbed underneath the truck.  He tied that sucker up pretty damn well.  We shook their hand with so much gratitude, then hopped in the truck to carry on the day (crossing our fingers the whole way).  Watch out for those bumps mate!

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Amity Point was our destination for sunset.   As soon as we arrived, it started pissing down.  We holed up under a canopy, snuggling to keep warm.  It did not look like it was passing, but I was determined to stay here.  I noticed a couple of people standing near a tree and pointing up…. and sure enough, there were two peacefully sleeping koala bears high above!!!  Not only that, there was ANOTHER one in the tree next to them.  At this point I didn’t even care about the sunset.  I was so excited to see these guys!    The rain started to slowly stop, but I was completely entranced watching these guys.  The sun was turning an incredible orange and pink… WOW!  Now as I stared out at the sun setting, I quickly glanced up to see where my fury friend was, and he was climbing down the tree towards us!  Oh my gosh, I almost wet myself with excitement!! He stopped and stared at me taking his picture, and then quickly made his way back up the tree.  We were within 3 feet of the beautiful little guy- It was amazing!! While all of that happened (realistically it was probably 60 seconds)  I turned back around to find the sky on fire!   Patience definitely paid off in this case.  Sunsets after a storm are indescribable.    What a perfect ending to today!

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Oyster beauty
Oyster beauty

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We quickly cooked our meal while I got hit by a ball and almost ran over by a child on her scooter in the process.  After that, we rushed back to our small solitude for the night.  Swaying in the hammock, nestled up to Patty, listening to our music and staring up at the sky… Ah this trip was much needed!!

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After packing everything up, we treated ourselves to a breakfast at a local cafe.  We have been saving the famous Gorge Walk for our last day.  Everyone has been telling us it’s a MUST DO.  Supposedly you can see sharks, turtles, whales, etc. all from this beautiful gorge.  Well, I got really sick before our breakfast even came out.  Call me a fat ass, but I was devastated that I couldn’t hold down my breakfast.  Haha.  I literally could not move after that, so the gorge walk was out.  🙁  We caught an earlier ferry back to Brisbane so I could get home and rest.  BOOOOOO.  Oh well, another reason to come back again! Handy man Patty secured another strap to the falling gas tank (I think even Kyle Chandler would approve) before our 2 hour journey back to Noosa.   Phew!

Whether it’s a day trip, a few days, or even a few weeks, Stradbroke is definitely an epic spot to be!   I can’t wait to come back here with our own 4WD and tear up that beach!  🙂

 

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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