LOOKING TO EXPLORE BEYOND OUR GOLDEN BEACHES? YOU’RE IN LUCK – WE’RE BLESSED WITH A NUMBER OF PICTURESQUE ISLANDS HERE IN SOUTHEAST QUEENSLAND, MOST OF WHICH ARE JUST A HOP, SKIP AND A JUMP FROM THE GOLD COAST.
Boasting over 123 kilometres of undisturbed rainforests and picturesque shorelines, it’s little wonder that Fraser Island was the destination of choice for a few notable royals not too long ago. The World Heritage-listed destination is the largest sand island in the world and the only place where tall rainforests grow on sand dunes. But the jewel in Fraser Island’s crown is no doubt Lake McKenzie, the perched lake with water so pure no fish or animals can live in it. Its particularly white sandy beaches – which are composed of pure, white silica – and clear aqua water make it a true tropical paradise, perfect for lazing about in a beach chair or snapping the dreamiest Insta photo. Take special care when you visit Fraser Island – such a natural wonder is well worth protecting and the local community take incredible measures to ensure it stays as pristine as it can be.
NORTH STRADBROKE ISLAND
Known to locals as “Straddie,” this is one place where time slows from a sprint to a leisurely stroll from the moment your car rolls off the barge. From the rocky headlands and sprawling beaches to the inland sand dunes and lakes, Straddie is best described as a little slice of paradise. Surf the breaks at the popular beaches (Main Beach if it’s a north-westerly wind, or Cylinder Beach and its neighbouring beaches if it’s a southerly), hurtle down the towering sand dune at Deadman’s Beach, fish off Adder Rock, or simply relax on any beach while the kids play. You’re sure to leave Straddie feeling relaxed and replenished, but beware of PSD (post-Straddie depression) – an infliction most commonly experienced as your barge or water taxi glides away from the Dunwich jetty and you watch the island shrink back into the horizon.
Many a Queenslander has fond memories of sunny summer days spent snorkelling the wrecks at Tangalooma – it’s practically a rite of passage. But it’s not just the snorkelling that will draw you to Moreton Island. The shoreline, restaurants, water sports and accommodation are all well worth the journey, but it will no doubt be the dolphin encounters that you’ll be raving about for years to come. A friendly pod of wild dolphins has been returning to the shallow waters at Tangalooma for years, giving people of all ages the once-in-a- lifetime opportunity to feed them by hand. And the dolphins aren’t all you’ll see – from wobbegongs in the shallows to humpback whales out at sea, Moreton Island is a natural playground for some of our region’s most breathtaking inhabitants. There aren’t many places you can soak up the island life, disconnect from the hustle and bustle and reconnect with nature, all just a couple of hours from Surfers Paradise.