The Sea Life of North Stradbroke Island

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The waters surrounding Brisbane are scattered with picturesque islands that are alive with wildlife and incredible scenery. North Stradbroke Island is one of the more popular islands, sitting snug in Moreton Bay just 30 kilometres from the coast of Brisbane.

Here, sprawling lakes meet lush mangrove forests, while native flora and fauna thrive on the expansive beaches and in the surrounding ocean. Animal lovers will enjoy the incredible array of species, while the landscape provides a beautiful backdrop to explore against.Stradbroke island

There are five main beaches on Stradbroke, each of which boast a great selection of activities, from fishing and surfing, to water sports and relaxing. The surrounding rock pools are home to numerous critters, but it is the marine life of Stradbroke that draws in most visitors.

The waters surrounding Stradbroke Island show an eclectic and vibrant display of the area’s stunning wildlife. Whales and dolphins mix with ancient turtles and dugongs, while colourful species of fish flit in and out of the reefs and corals that flank the shores.

Diving and snorkelling are popular activities in Moreton Bay, simply because of the vast array of species you can spot below the water’s surface.

humpback whale 1The Marine Life of Stradbroke Island

The bay and waters that surround North Stradbroke Island are home to no less than six of the world’s seven species of marine turtles. These centuries-old creatures glide effortlessly through the water, basking in the warmer shallows and nesting on the collection of pristine beaches.

Spring marks the start of breeding season, where the turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. When they’ve hatched, the baby turtles find their way to the sea to start explorations of their own.

Marine turtlesElsewhere in the waters, you can marvel at the stunning collection of fish species. Dip below the water’s surface, and you’ll be exposed to a magical world of exotic and native species.

If you’re looking for larger marine species, keep your eyes peeled for whales, dolphins, and dugongs that bask in the shallows around Stradbroke Island.

Stradbroke Island is famed for its extensive array of unique and wonderful wildlife species, many of which prefer the warm, shallow waters of the island to the rougher seas off the coast of the mainland.

There are many ways you can experience what’s on offer, too, from boat trips out into the depths of the ocean, to snorkelling, scuba diving, and simply watching the action from the safety of the shoreline.

The Wildlife of Moreton Island

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moreton island michaelSet just off the coast of Brisbane, Moreton Island is a haven of wildlife that’s renowned for its pristine sprawling beaches and impressive sand dunes. Throughout the island, there are plenty of wildlife watching opportunities, from spotting the unique marine life in designated dive sites, to dolphin feeding spots, and birdwatching opportunities in the lush forests that sit further inland.

Moreton Island is home to over 180 bird species, making it a popular hotspot for keen birdwatchers. As well as plenty of seabirds, there are forest birds and birds of prey. Between September and April, wading birds take to the shores after migrating from other countries, and the influx of eugaries and beach shellfish attracts numerous unique species of birdlife. moreton birds michael

You might be able to catch a glimpse of the pied oyster-catcher as they hunt in pairs, or the masked lapwing, eastern curlew, silver gull, and the pelican in and around the shoreline.
Elsewhere on the island, bandicoots, bats, and gliders form the majority of native mammal life, and can be found in the forests surrounding the beaches. Keep your eyes peeled if you head inland on a hike for some of the island’s best-loved native species.

When it comes to reptiles, Moreton Island seems to have it all. There are more than 40 species of reptiles that live on the island, including rare and unique species that are endemic to Australia. See if you can spot blue-tongued lizards, bearded dragons, major skinks, numerous moreton lizard michaelspecies of snakes, and marine turtles that have resided in the region for centuries.
Between November and February, large populations of Green and Loggerhead Turtles nest on the beaches of Moreton Island, making it the perfect time of year to get to know the animal lifecyles.

The mixed nature of the landscape on the island means there are plenty of other species to spot, too, including frogs and fish in the freshwater lakes, creeks, and swamps.
The sea surrounding Moreton Island is also a haven for wildlife. From Cape Moreton, you have the perfect vantage point for watching marine life, including the majestic humpback whales during their migration from June to November. As well as whales, you can also see dolphins, sharks, and turtles. moreton dolphin michael

If you’re looking to discover the colourful array of wildlife of Moreton Island, there are plenty of tours that let you get up close and personal with the diverse selection of species that call the island home.

The Top 3 Things to Do at Cylinder Beach

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Cylinder beach mickSitting between Cylinder and Home Beach Headlands near the bustle of Brisbane, Cylinder Beach offers a slice of Australian paradise renowned for its excellent swimming conditions and its surfing prowess.

The beach is wide and long, offering the perfect backdrop for a family day out. There’s also a carpark located just a few metres from the beach, making it easily accessible to all travellers.

When it comes to the waves, expect small waves and calm waters that are ideal for sunbathing and swimming in during good weather conditions. 

The Top 3 Things to Do at Cylinder Beach

There are plenty of things to do on Cylinder Beach, just like any other beach in and around Brisbane. So, if you find yourself in the area, plan to spend a day or so relaxing on the pretty sands and taking in the views.

Take a Swim

Though the waves are small, there can often be a strong westerly drift. However, the beach is well patrolled by lifeguards and, during better weather conditions, is the ideal place to take the family for a refreshing swim. Not only can you bask in the warm, shallow waters, you can also look out at incredible views of the ocean and beyond. 

Try Your Hand at Surfing
cylinder beach surfing mick

Cylinder Beach is renowned for its excellent surfing opportunities. Waves can often reach 10 foot, and there are plenty of large swells that hit the sand bars in just the right way. Keen surfers can regularly be found on the beach throwing shapes in the waves, while beginners can try their hand at the sport without worrying about the shallow water being too dangerous. 

cylinder beach fishing mickGo Fishing

Alongside surfing and swimming, you can also fish at Cylinder Beach. Often, holes and gutters form under the waves, bringing in a range of different fish species to catch, but the popularity of surfing and swimming on-site means that you might be better placed fishing elsewhere.

Cylinder Beach is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Brisbane. Its languishing sands and calm waters make it ideal for a fun family day out where there’s a little something for everyone – whether you want to try your hand at surfing at one of the region’s most popular surf beaches, take a swim in the beautiful waters, or simply kick back and relax against a stunning backdrop, the surroundings of Cylinder Beach have you covered.

The Different Personalities of Brisbane’s Southbank

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brisbane river michaelSet on the pretty banks of the Brisbane River, Brisbane’s Southbank boasts 17 hectares of sprawling parkland filled with top-notch restaurants and incredible river views. It’s a prime location for festivals and cultural events throughout the year, making it the ideal place to chill out and soak up the laidback atmosphere of the city.

The Different Parts of Brisbane’s Southbank

The Parklands

The parklands area is best-known for its sprawling expanse of green lawns that are characterised by tall ficus trees and colourful plant life. Here, you can indulge in a range of activities that are fun for all the family. You can enjoy free swimming, take a ride on the Wheel of Brisbane, hike along one of the many walking tracks, or simply kick back and relax in one of the picnic or barbecue areas.wheel of brisbane michael

The parklands are also home to a selection of eateries, which you can find at River Quay, Stanley Street Plaza, and at the Central and Arbour View Cafes.

Little Stanley and Grey Streets

Elsewhere, Brisbane Southbank comes to life in a show of retail stores and dining options that overlook the pretty parklands scenery. There are a huge amount of eating choices in this part of the region, including international restaurants and cosy cafes. Grey Street is also home to a cinema if you fancy catching a film while you’re in town.

QLD museum michaelCultural Precinct

Brisbane’s Southbank is home to a number of major cultural institutions in Queensland, including the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Queensland Art Gallery, and the Gallery of Modern Art. You can also find the State Library of Queensland and Queensland Museum and Sciencentre in this part of the Southbank.

This is also the area that plays host to several lively events and exhibitions throughout the year. As well as street parties and themed events, there are a number of shows that take place at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre every year.

Brisbane’s Southbank has something to offer every kind of traveller. Whether you’re looking to enjoy any of the free activities on offer, like swimming, walking, or picnicking, or whether you want to soak up the cultural atmosphere of the city, this part of Brisbane has you covered.

What’s more, you’ll get to enjoy stunning views of the Brisbane River while you explore, and be surrounded by the lush plant life that characterises the popular parklands area and beyond.

Dolphins and Sand Dunes at Tangalooma Resort

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tangalooma michaelThe stunning resort of Tangalooma is set 75-minutes from Brisbane by catamaran. If you’re looking for a unique adventure that lets you soak up the amazing wildlife and scenery of Australia, it might just be the place for you.

Here, natural encounters are part of the package on this protected and treasured part of Moreton Island. There is so much to see and do, too, from watching wild dolphins come to the shore for feeding time, relaxing on the pristine sandy beaches, and getting stuck into adrenalin-pumping adventures like quad bike tours and desert safaris.

Accommodation at Tangalooma Resort

There is plenty of accommodation to choose from at Tangalooma – and something for everyone. Pick from plush hotel rooms, suites, and villas, to modern apartments and fully-equipped holiday homes. All of the accommodation at the resort is excellently located next to one of Australia’s best beaches.

Wild Dolphin Feeding at Tangalooma

The most unique thing about Tangalooma Resort is the pod of dolphins that swim up to the shoreline every day for feeding time. Visitors can get involved in the feed and learn more about these majestic creatures while they get up close and personal on this once-in-a-lifetime wildlife encounter.  dolphins michael

Other Things to Do at Tangalooma Resort

But it’s not just dolphin feeds that keep people busy at Tangalooma – there are plenty of other fun activities to get stuck into during your time there. There are a whopping 75 different tours to sign-up for, meaning there’s something for every kind of traveller.

You can explore the beautiful scenery of Moreton Island, learning all about the rich array of flora and fauna as you go.

sandboarding michaelAlternatively, you can get your adventurous kicks via sand tobogganing (yes, that’s a thing!) on the jutting dunes by the ocean, discover the vibrant underwater world that surrounds the island through snorkelling or scuba diving, or take a quad bike adventure through the lush landscape.

Tangalooma Resort is best-known for its dolphin pod and their feeding time every evening as the sun sets, but it’s also the perfect place to discover a unique side to Australia – one that’s filled with calm oceans, rich marine life, island scenery, and adventure. The best part? You can make your own fun at the resort with the huge selection of activities that give you the chance to explore the resort and beyond in unique and fun ways.

How to Explore Moreton Island

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moreton michaelMoreton Island can be found 25km off the coast of Brisbane, and is the world’s third largest sand island. Here, you can marvel at pebble-smooth lakes and lagoons that are nestled amongst sand dunes, wildflower fields, and sprawling white-sand beaches. There is plenty to do on the island, from spotting native wildlife to exploring the rich history. Here are some of the best things to do.


Things to Do on Moreton Island

Sand Tobogganing

The entirety of Moreton Island is made up of sand, so there is plenty of opportunity to whizz down the numerous dunes on a wooden board. You can reach up to 60 km an hour, so if you want to get your adrenalin fix, this is the way to do it.  

Snorkel the Tangalooma Wrecks

In 1962, 15 boats were deliberately sunk off of Moreton Island in order to create a breakwall. Now, those boats have become a hive of activity and wonder for snorkelers, offering a glimpse back into the island’s past, as well as an array of colourful marine life to discover.

Feed Wild Dolphins dolphin michael

One of the most popular activities on the island is feeding wild dolphins at sunset. Almost like clockwork every day, ten wild bottlenose dolphins come in to feed at the Tangalooma Island Resort, where eager visitors wait to see these magnificent creatures up close.

Cape Moreton Lighthouse

Moreton Island boasts the very first lighthouse built in Queensland – and it’s still standing today. The iconic red-striped attraction was erected in 1857 on a rocky outcrop, and today forms a fantastic viewing point from which you can spot whales, dolphins, sharks, and dugongs. Inside, you can check out the Visitor Information Centre to learn more about the island and its fascinating history.

Climb Mount Tempest

If you fancy something a bit more adventurous, try your hand at climbing Mount Tempest – the island’s highest sand dune. At the top, you’ll be greeted by breath-taking panoramic views of both the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.

moreton dolphin michaelGetting to Moreton Island

There are numerous ways you can get to Moreton Island, including by boat, plane, and even swimming (yes, it’s been done before!). The easiest way is by ferry or barge, both of which leave regularly from Brisbane throughout the day.
Moreton Island makes the perfect day trip from Brisbane, but you might want to extend your stay

7 Things to Do On Brisbane’s South Bank

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Set on the pretty southern banks of the Brisbane River, the South Bank is one of the city’s premier cultural hotspots, boasting tonnes of great restaurants, bars, shops, and events.Brisbane River Michael

Here, the Parklands provide the perfect place to relax, promising visitors an eclectic mix of rainforest, grassland, and plazas, as well as a number of great attractions to explore while in the area. South Bank and its parklands regularly play host to large city festivals, with around 11 million people visiting the region every single year.
What to See and Do in South Bank

1.    The Arbour
Formed of 433 impressive steel columns covered in colourful bougainvillea, the Arbour is a pedestrianised walkway that connects up Vulture Street and the Cultural Forecourt.

2.    Courier Mail Piazza
The Parklands has plenty of piazzas for visitors to enjoy, and the Courier Mail Piazza is one of the more popular. Boasting an open-air amphitheatre, it is regularly the spot for community events. When it is not being used for a festival, you can watch sporting events or the news on big screens that are suspended around it.

3.    Wheel of Brisbane
Discover the city of Brisbane from a different perspective on the Wheel of Brisbane, a 60 metre Ferris wheel that was put in place to celebrate the 20th anniversary of World Expo 88. While in the air, you can enjoy seriously stunning views of the surrounding area on the 15-minute ride.

4.    Markets
There are a number of markets held throughout South Bank including the Young Designers Market, which takes place on the first Sunday of each month. During this event, local creatives display their wares such as cutting edge garments and intricate accessories.

5.    Nepal Peace Pagoda
Originally found on the old Expo site, the Nepal Peace Pagoda was moved to the South Bank Parklands. It features traditional architecture and a meditation area that makes it a popular attraction in the area.

6.    Restaurants and Cafes
The South Bank boasts many local and international restaurants, featuring food from all over the world. It’s one of the premier dining spots in the city and includes tasty gems like Café San Marco, Gandhi Curry House, Wang Dynasty, Chez Laila, and The Plough Inn. If you want to try some seafood, head to the South Bank Surf Club where celebrity chef Ben O’Donoghue has created a menu filled with delicious fresh fish.

7.    Streets Beach
One major feature of the Parklands is Streets Beach, a manmade stretch of sand that acts as a picturesque backdrop for all sorts of fun activities. Kick back and relax with a book, try one of the surrounding cafes, or enjoy the lagoon. streets beach Michael

The Cultural Significance of Brown Lake

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On picturesque North Stradbroke Island, just outside of Brisbane, Brown Lake promises visitors a unique experience. Considered a perched lake (just like many of the other lakes on the selection of sandy islands around Queensland), it maintains its water levels via a thick layer of leaves lining the lake floor.

brown lakeThis is what gives Brown Lake its name – the tannin from the leaves of the surrounding Paperbarks and Tea-trees turns the water a rich brown colour that has been likened to tea.

The lake itself is a prominent part of the landscape for the people of Quandamooka, particularly the Dandrubin-Gorenpul and Noonucal Aborignal groups. They associate Brown Lake with women and children, where only women are allowed to speak for the natural wonder and are responsible by law to care for and manage the lake and its resources.

The History of Brown Lake
Brown Lake is one of the two largest and most culturally significant lakes on Stradbroke Island (it’s also known as Bummiera, alongside its counterpart, Kaboora). It is thought to be home to a large spirit snake called yuri Kabool, who can travel from one lake to the other without any hindrance.

Legend has it that the Quandamooka people warned visitors who swam in the lakes and, for the locals, the natural pools of water were to be approached with special acknowledgement. Elders would sing out before they got too close to the waters and stood back to wait for a sign that they could approach – usually, this took the form of the waters being calm.

brownlakeTo the local community, this ritual of stopping, singing out, and waiting for a sign became common practice when approaching either of the two largest lakes on Stradbroke Island, including Brown Lake, in order to show respect for yuri Kabool.

Today, the lake is still imbued with a fascinating cultural history that spans generations, but it is also a popular hotspot for visitors looking for the perfect place to picnic or soak up the spectacular scenery that this part of Australia has to offer.

The picturesque backdrop that surrounds the lake lends itself perfectly to a day spent kicking back, relaxing, and enjoying some food. Then you can explore the local area, enjoy the other sights on Stradbroke Island, and learn more about the Aboriginal legends that run deep through the ground on the island.


The Top 5 Things to Do on North Stradbroke Island

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Stradbroke islandSet off the coast of Brisbane, North Stradbroke Island is a place full of adventures, whether you’re looking to explore the underwater world of Australia or simply take a stroll around the spectacular coastline that edges the island. Here are some of the best things to do.

1. Explore the Wildlife
The wildlife on Stradbroke Island is second to none. Throughout the island you can spot kangaroos on the North Gorge walk, koalas resting up the high trees, and even dolphins that come right up close to Amity Point’s popular jetty.

2. Whale Watching
Continuing on the wildlife vibe, you can also catch a glimpse of the whale migration as it takes place between June and November. Grab one of the many vantage points between Cylinder Beach and North Gorge and keep your eyes peeled for these magnificent creatures.

Stradbroke Island I3. Get to Know the Cultural Heritage
North Stradbroke Island boasts a fascinating cultural heritage, and you can dive into it on a tour with a local Aboriginal guide. While on the walk, you can learn about the Quandamooka people, their artefacts, including the traditional hunting methods they use, and the range of bush medicines they produce.

4. Scuba Diving
Explore the spectacular marine life off Stradbroke Island with a spot of scuba diving. In summer, visibility is around 15-20 metres, so make the most of the clear waters and the life it holds. For the best experiences, head to Shag Rock or Flat Rock to see the Manta Ray pod, leopard sharks, ancient turtles, and hundreds of species of colourful fish. 

Stradbroke Island II5. Take a Stroll
Getting to know Stradbroke Island by foot is one of the best ways to discover everything it has to offer. The most popular walk, the North Gorge Walk, takes you 1.2 kilometres around the island, where you can soak up views of the rocky outcrops and the ocean. Keep your eyes peeled for sea creatures, like dolphins, manta rays, and the occasional shark.

North Stradbroke Island really does have a little something for everyone. There are the adventurous pursuits, like scuba diving and hiking, as well as more cultural endeavours that take in the local wildlife and the fascinating history. If you’re in the area in winter, be sure to keep a look out for the whale migration, which really is one of the best things the island has to offer.