An easy 30-minute ferry chug from the Brisbane suburb of Cleveland, this unpretentious holiday isle is like Noosa and Byron Bay rolled into one. There’s a string of glorious powdery white beaches, great surf and some quality places to stay and eat (catering to Brisbane's naughty-weekend-away set). It’s also a hot spot for spying dolphins, turtles, manta rays and, between June and November, hundreds of humpback whales. ‘Straddie’ also offers freshwater lakes and 4WD tracks.
There are only a few small settlements on the island, with a handful of accommodation and eating options – mostly near Point Lookout in the northeast. On the west coast, Dunwich is where the ferries dock. Amity is a small village on the northwestern corner. Much of the island’s southern section is closed to visitors due to sand mining.
Interestingly, North and South Stradbroke Islands used to be one single island, but a savage storm blew through the sand spit between the two in 1896.