Itching for a winter vaycay? Make the most of whale watching season and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of a North Stradbroke (Minjerribah) Island winter.
Much more than just a summer destination, Straddie, as the locals call it, is the perfect winter vacation spot on Coast of the Red Lands. Whether you’re an explorer, a thrill seeker, a collector of experiences, or just interested in the sights, there’s plenty to do in the cooler months. Think wildlife spotting, 4×4 tours, surfing, snorkeling, bushwalking, guided tours, art trails and cultural festivals.
Best of all, the ferry to Minjerribah is just 40 minutes from Brisbane and an hour from the Gold Coast. Where else can you discover giant sea mammals and experience epic island adventures so close to home?
Start planning your next weekend. Here are the top reasons to plan a winter trip to North Stradbroke Island on the Redlands coast.
Catch some of the best land-based whale sightings on Australia’s east coast
From June to November, you can spot some of Australia’s best land whales from Straddie’s Point Lookout. The high views from the iconic Gorge Walk span crystal clear waters, marking the most easterly point in Queensland.
Follow the Whale Track, a leisurely coastal walk that includes viewing platforms and picnic areas overlooking the Coral Sea. It’s a great place to watch as more than 40,000 humpback whales (yalingbila) are set to migrate north this year, breaching and playing as they go. Book a tour with Elisha from Tours in Yura to learn more about the majestic creatures and their significance to the culture and land of North Stradbroke Island.
See Straddie’s marine life up close and personal
You can see more than whales from the shores of North Stradbroke Island. The surrounding ocean teems with marine life, from turtles and tropical fish to dugongs and dolphins.
Spot local swimmers from the top of the Gorge Walk or get in on the action by joining one of Straddie’s many diving and snorkeling adventures. You can book them through Manta Lodge and Dive Center. We recommend hitting Manta Bommie. One of the best dive sites in the country, this location is known as a great place to find endangered nurse sharks throughout the winter.
Soak up breathtaking sites
Much of Straddie’s beautiful scenery is away from the main road. From beautiful bushland to pristine hidden beaches, discover all the insider spots by taking a 4×4 tour across the island with Straddie Kingfisher Tours. Not only will you get a glimpse of the best vantage points on Minjerribah, with a dip in the perched natural freshwater lake, Brown Lake (Bummiera), but you will also discover unspoiled natural gems that regular travelers usually cannot. reach.
Another hidden gem is the North Stradbroke Island Golf Club, a short distance from Dunwich (Goompi), which offers stunning views of Brown’s Lake, Moreton Bay and Brisbane stretching to the Glasshouse Mountains. The beautiful 9-hole course is shared with local kangaroos and a host of birds. While you’re there, be sure to stop for a bite to eat on the dining room terrace at Bistro Seymours which serve excellent lunch and dinner – reservations are essential, so be sure to book.
Support local artists
Ready to expand your art collection? Straddie is home to epic local artists selling their wares all year round. To hit Delvene Cockatoo-Collins studio in Dunwich this winter to view stunning Yalingbilla (whale) artwork. Along with his creative storytelling works, you’ll find a treasure trove of local wares, memorabilia, and keepsakes to peruse.
This month, from August 12 to 21, the Straddie Arts Trail composes the inspiration to take you around the island visiting local artists’ open studios and pop-up galleries as well as a host of interactive events. Think cultural experiences, hands-on workshops, art talks, talent shows, parties, music and more.
The directory Whenamooka Festival is also back this month from August 26-28. Each of the three action-packed days features an exceptional program of First Nations music and activities to immerse visitors in Quandamooka culture.
Grab a board, hit the waves and ride the dunes
Whether you board by land or by sea, find the best waves and dunes at North Stradbroke Island. Surfing conditions at Straddie are some of the best in South East Queensland, offering everything from gentle swells for beginners to powerful waves for the pros – head to the North Stradbroke Island Surf School for a lesson or to rent a board. If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, head to the ‘desert’ of Straddie where you can ride the epic dunes, sliding your board over the soft, silky sand. Straddie’s Kingfisher Excursions offer next-level sand boarding excursions with all the necessary sandboards and speed wax.
Go wildlife watching
Did you know that Straddie is home to a wide range of terrestrial Australian animals? Each winter, as the crowds dwindle, furry island inhabitants such as koalas and kangaroos begin to make regular appearances. You won’t have to search hard either. Kangaroos with Joey regularly bask in the shade in front of the main strip at Point Lookout (Mulumba). At certain times of the day, you might even catch them jumping along the shores of the island’s pristine beaches.
Or, strap on your hiking boots and explore the plethora of coastal walks, including six trails in the Naree Budjong Djara National Park which feature stunning trails filled with wildflowers, some leading to the scenic Blue Lake (Kaboora). If you’re up for a challenge, look no further than the Jarlo beetle trail, which offers spectacular ocean views from the top of Mount Vane.
Book an Extended Luxury Stay
Change up the typical backcountry stays and book a deluxe ocean view stay this winter. Straddie’s top vacation spots have taken their accommodation offerings up a notch over the past decade. Of glamping by the sea at luxury homes, some even have their own whale watching tours, choose from the best Straddie stays you won’t want to leave.
Looking for more winter vacation spots? Make the most of the cooler months and discover Visit the Redlands Coast for the best stays and experiences near you.
Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Visit the Redlands Coast and proudly endorsed by The Urban List. To learn more about who we work with and why, read our editorial policy here.
Image Credit: Redlands Coast via Instagram