South Stradbroke Island

A superb natural reserve, South Stradbroke Island offers calm inner waterways on one side, virtually untouched native bushland in the centre, and on the other side, 22kms of pristine surf beach. The surf beach offers spectacular views of the beautiful Gold Coast, and you can catch glimpses of the majestic humpback whales migrating north to breed during whale watching season, which starts in June and runs through to late October.

South Stradbroke Island is largely undeveloped, and its main activities focus on enjoying the outdoors: surfing, bushwalking, swimming and canoeing. It is this aspect of ‘South Straddie’, as the locals fondly call it, that offers a welcome diversion from the city lifestyle. There’s an abundance of native wildlife to explore, as well as hiking, rock climbing and ocean fishing. The island has hundreds of wild wallabies that are usually human orientated. They are also well known for stealing bread from tents and cabins, and joining campers at their fires.

The southern end fronts the Broadwater on the Gold Coast, and the tip marks the Gold Coast Seaway, only a matter of metres from the mainland at Southport Spit. In the northeast you’ll find the Tipplers Passage that separates the island from many small islands near the mainland. The east coast borders the Coral Sea.

Gold Coast Ferries operates a ferry service to the island. Cruises to the island by tall ship or catamaran depart daily from Main Beach on the Gold Coast. An array of activities (charges apply) are available upon arrival, including parasailing, jet skiing, speedboat & doofa rides, kayaks, paddle boats, wallaby feeding, seaplane flights, sand duning and wilderness eco tours. Ph. (07) 5532 2444.

The island has numerous quiet campsites. The western beaches are known as quiet and lagoon-like and the eastern beaches are known as a surfer’s paradise. There are numerous campsites such as an anchorage for the Southport Yacht Club and Dux Campsite.

Currigee Cup

One of the much loved and fiercely challenged sporting battles on the island is the annual Currigee Cup, held each year on New Years Day, and has been running since 1965. The origin of the race was supposed to be a bet amongst two local residents – Messrs Beckman and Knowlman, who decided to take their on-shore differences to sea, and have now created what is now one of the most unknown, yet most tightly challenged nautical battles in South-East Queensland. Almost all the families staying on the southern part of the island take part in the races, of which there are many for each class of boat, including lasers, hobie cats and trailer-sailers. The course weaves its way through the Broadwater, part of Moreton Bay and finishes up in various parties along the island. A sandcastle competition is held in the afternoon. The main award is the prestigious Currigee Cup, awarded to the most gallant crew, not necessarily the fastest.

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About Moreton Bay

Moreton Bay, to the east of the city of Brisbane and its suburbs, is very much the city’s playground, a wide expanse of relatively calm water dotted with many surprisingly unspoilt islands of different sizes and varying character. The bay extends some 160 km from Caloundra in the north almost to Surfers Paradise in the south.

The bay’s southern navigation entrance is the Gold Coast Seaway. It is a haven for wildlife – spotting dolphins, whales, turtles and manta rays, and its vast array of birdlife is a popular pass time. The bay’s heritage protected wetlands, mudflats, and waterways are some of the healthiest in the region, supporting seasonally up to 25 % of Australia’s bird species. Moreton Bay is also a popular destination for recreational anglers and is used by commercial operators who provide seafood to market. A number of ferry and water-taxi services travel over the bay either to and from islands or on day and half-day sightseeing and fishing tours.

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