On Monday I thought I’d knock off my first Lonely Planet ‘highlight’ of Queensland and check out Stradbroke Island, just off the coast in Moreton Bay, not far from Brisbane. In a nutshell, staying a couple of nights would have been way better. I left my camera at Claire’s place for all of Sunday so recovering that meant I didn’t leave Roma St station till 10.30. The train to Cleveland took most of an hour and by the time I got to the harbour I’d realised that I’d not be on the island till well after 1 as there was a break in the hourly-service over lunch, a feed I’d half-hoped to have in some nice cafe overlooking the pacific ocean. The Stradbroke Island View cafe filled a hole, and a half-hour, though, and gave me time to work out what the deal with all the ferry options was. There seem to be at least two companies that run a regular passenger service but the lady at the cafe told me the one that didn’t do the vehicle ferries ran to the island a bit quicker, which sounded like just what I needed.
So 3 hours after I’d left Brissy I was on the island, but of course now I had to get a bus to the other side to see the interesting stuff. Talking to Asaf – an Israeli who was day-tripping from Brisbane as well – about how I’d been travelling with an Israeli in Australia, it was funny to hear him ask for my friend’s name on the grounds that ‘it’s a small country, sometimes you know people’. Usually I’m explaining to people from outside the UK that Scotland is actually big enough that I don’t know everyone in it. The bus from from Dunwich to Point Lookout took about 20 minutes without much stopping so even if I’d been on the island overnight and had, say, a bike to explore the place on, I’d still have needed all my time to get round the island.
I didn’t really have much of a plan for the island, but luckily had been told at the info centre that the Gorge Walk was worth doing, and it was. The views down the beaches, the gorge and of the blowhole were pretty nice, and the blowhole really sounded like what I’d expect a whale to sound like. I checked out a bit of the village on the way back to the bus stop, there wasn’t a lot going on but then it is winter. With the sun now heading down I could either get the bus back to the ferry and be back in Brissy before dark, or check out Amity Point and be cruising back to the mainland at sunset, but I wasn’t really feeling like exploring what could just be another couple of beaches, in winter, so back to Brissy it was.