Site Information

 Loading... Please wait...

You Recently Viewed...

Queensland's Other Islands

Ben Hall

If someone tells you they’ve booked a holiday on a Queensland island, the likelihood is it will be somewhere on the Great Barrier Reef. From the glamour of Hayman, to the rugged seclusion of Lizard, this diverse collection of island paradises are famous the world over - and for good reason. But the Sunshine State has a number of other islands which, if you mention them in conversation to anyone but a local, are likely draw a response of “where is that?”. North Stradbroke and Moreton Islands off the coast of Brisbane, and Magnetic Island off the coast of Townsville and are three of them.  Rich in natural beauty, these islands also boast pristine beaches, balmy waters, and a wealth of diverse things to see and do. And forget any ideas about having to rough it. They also have plenty of those man-made necessities many of us have come to demand, including a variety of accommodation options, and places to eat.

North Stradbroke Island

It’s a place with a reputation for having one of the most stunning landscapes in Queensland, and seen from the air North Stradbroke Island is pure sensory overload. Down below, white sand beaches framed by rugged surf stretch to the horizon and inland freshwater lakes reflect the sunlight - and from 350 metres in a helicopter, picnickers and swimmers can be seen at the water’s edge. Further inland and a puff of dust gives away the presence of a four wheel drive on a bush track as it heads further and further away from civilisation. It’s the perfect introduction to “Straddie”, as it’s known to locals, and gives a real sense of scale to the world’s second largest sand island, which stretches 37 kilometres by 11 kilometres.

Down at ground level and Straddie is a laid-back place with genuinely friendly locals, and landing at Dunwich Airport by helicopter, the equally friendly local dogs turn out to greet new arrivals. Straddie itself is the ultimate outdoor enthusiasts’ paradise and offers world class surfing, great fishing, snorkeling, diving, kayaking, kite boarding, four wheel driving, camping and wildlife spotting. Some of the roads on the northern end of the island are sealed and link the three main townships, and accommodation ranges from camping to the luxury of the Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel. The old “Straddie Pub” underwent a major redevelopment several years ago which divided the locals, but they still turn out for the fabulous sunsets overlooking the ocean, armed with a cold beer. 

Moreton Island

If you’re after destination where you can go from beach bumming in the morning, to adrenaline charged action in the afternoon, and everything in between, it’s hard to beat this hidden gem. Also one of the world’s largest sand islands, and comprised almost entirely of National Park, Moreton is only an hour-and-a-half by boat from the mainland; at night, you can sit on the beach at Tangalooma, and see Brisbane’s city lights twinkling on the horizon. Nature lovers of both land and water, and who are in know, come here for many reasons. For one, fishing in the shallow waters off Moreton Island is excellent, and with mysterious wrecks and colourful coral reefs dotting the area, scuba diving and snorkeling are popular additions to the usual aquatic pursuits of swimming and surfing. 

But the area is also a haven for marine life including bottle nose dolphins, green turtles, and the endangered and engaging dugong, making an afternoon eco-cruise of its sheltered bays both a popular and educational tour option. And if you want to get really up close and personal with the wild dolphins, you can get into the water and feed them every night at sunset at Tangalooma Island Resort. Landlubbers are not forgotten on Moreton either. There are a number of established tracks for bushwalking, and unsealed roads for exploring the island by 4WD, and towards the northern end of the island, the freshwater lake of Blue Lagoon offers a host of bird life and wildflowers especially during spring. And for a unique experience, thrill seekers can go sand-tobogganing down the world’s tallest stabilised sand dune, Mt Tempest, and there’s also hour-long quad biking tours along the beach’s less hair-raising dunes.

Magnetic Island 

Just eight kilometres off the coast of one of Australia’s fastest growing cities, Magnetic Island can be excused for letting the pace of modern life slip by, and “Maggie” as she’s known to locals is the type of place that demands nothing of you except that you kick back and chill out. The Townsville locals naturally have known about the escape on their doorstep for years, and the 25 minute cruise across the bay to Magnetic Island is a ritual which is now also becoming familiar to visitors from further afield in Australia and from overseas. The arrival into Nelly Bay sets the scene for the unique atmosphere of this World Heritage listed island: you cruise across the sparkling deep blue water and ahead looms the stunning physical presence of huge boulders set against tropical forests and a mountainous backdrop. Rocky headlands rise up over beautiful unspoiled beaches which are dotted with magnificent pine trees. Snorkelers, swimmers and kayakers enjoy the balmy waters and small reefs that ring the island.

They say that first impressions are crucial and Maggie turns on the charm right from the start but that doesn’t mean she’s only skin deep - the stunning headlands link 23 bays and beaches and two thirds of the island is National Park with 24 kilometres of stunning bush walks which provide access to remote swimming spots and the native wildlife which includes koalas, rock wallabies and more than 100 species of birds. Exploring the island independently is a great way to experience its natural beauty and hiring a ubiquitous mini-moke, even for just a day, will provide enough time to cruise around the major bays including Alma, Picnic and Horseshoe and get you close to walking tracks which lead to more secluded beaches including Balding Bay, Florence Bay and Rocky Bay.

Send Me More Info - I'm Okay To Be Contacted Directly By a 3rd Party

   Full Name
Email Address


Write Review

This article hasn't received any reviews yet. Be the first to review this article!

  1. Posted by on 17th Sep 2018 Verified Customer

    Love Moreton 4 Star Review

    We've been to Moreton several times with the kids as it's easy to get to from west of Brissie, and it's great fun but expensive. Hence the 4 stars only :)

Other users also viewed