North Gorge Walk | North Stradbroke Island
The North Gorge Walk on North Stradbroke Island is easily one of the most spectacular walks in the whole of Queensland. The scenery is stunning, the views are second to none, and the wildlife will blow your mind! You will come back to do this walk again and again, and every time you will have a unique and awe-inspiring experience.
About North Stradbroke Island
North Stradbroke Island, or Straddie as it is known locally, is located 30km southeast of Brisbane in Moreton Bay. At around 38km long and 11km wide, it is the second-largest sand island in the world. Straddie offers everything you could want from an island getaway, from unspoilt beaches and turquoise waters with great surfing, fishing and camping, to beautiful bushwalks and amazing natural wildlife experiences.
There are regular water taxis and car ferries to Straddie from Cleveland, and plenty of accommodation options on the island, often self-contained units and holiday houses. You can visit for a day or stay for a week! You can read all about North Stradbroke Island for Kids here for more information on getting there and things to see and do.
About North Gorge Walk
Following the rugged coastline around two rocky outcrops that surround the North Gorge, the North Gorge Walk is a stunning headland walk. This is where the bush meets the ocean, and you get the best of both worlds, with all the iconic Aussie animals to spot on land, as well as the most stunning array of marine life in the sea. There are viewing points along the way to make the most of the various vantage points, and you can also walk out onto the rocks at either side of the gorge for a closer view.
Unique pandanus palms frame perfect views of pristine beaches, turquoise waters crash and foam against the rocks, dolphins frolic in the surf and kangaroos nibble calmly at the grass on the edge of unspoilt bushland. You can also see lace monitors, echidnas and sea eagles, turtles, sharks and giant manta rays. Plus, between June and November, humpback whales frequently pass by, often coming up close around the rocks. It is like Mother Nature is putting on a show and you have front row seats!
What you need to know
Distance: 1.2km Time: 1 hour Level: Easy
The North Gorge Walk is located at Point Lookout on the northeastern tip of North Stradbroke Island. The walk begins at Mooloomba Road, across the road from the Oceanic Gelati and Coffee Bar and Fishes at the Point, and ends just a little further down the road. You can do the full circuit, or just go as far as you wish then turn back.
There is plenty of parking at Headland Park, and the local bus also stops here if you are coming without car (get off at the last stop). There are also public toilets here, picnic facilities and water bubbler.
It is an easy walk, much of which is along boardwalks. However, there are quite a number of steps along the route so it can be a little tricky with prams. To avoid little legs getting tired, make sure you stop at all of the wonderful vantage points along the way, to take in the spectacular views and spot the amazing wildlife.
Being a headland walk, there are steep cliffs and rocky outcrops, so children must be supervised closely at all times. Remember to also wear hats and suncream and bring plenty of water.
As you set off along the first stretch of the walk, you can enjoy beautiful views down over Frenchman’s Bay.
You will then come to the first lookout point, which is a perfect spot for spotting marine life. We saw a really cool shark and two huge manta rays gracefully gliding through the water.
We also saw some large schools of dolphins who delighted us with their playful antics, riding waves like pro surfers and leaping out of the water. Watching wild animals expend so much energy purely for the own sheer enjoyment is a truly spectacular sight to witness!
From here, a series of steps take you down to the rocks on the west side of the gorge, which is a great spot for seeing dolphins close-up, and sitting to watch for whales during whale season.
Then you follow the boardwalk around the gorge. When the waters are calm, this is a great place for spotting some of the many sea turtles that live in and around the gorge. Take your time and keep your eyes peeled!
Along the way, look out for kangaroos and other wildlife. We’ve followed a giant lace monitor as it did its crazy diagonal leg walk along the boardwalk, and have even seen an echidna right next to the path, nibbling the bottom of a pandanus root to have a drink!
On the east side of the gorge, you can head down some steps to the rocks. With little kids, we often miss out this part as the steps are a little steep and the rocks more jagged. One attraction though is ‘Whale Rock’, which often makes the sound of spray from a whale’s blowhole!
From here, you follow the headland around till you come to the most amazing view of one of the longest and most unspoilt stretches of coastline, Main Beach.
Locals hit the surf while this sea eagle perched on a branch to enjoy its catch.
Then it is just a short stroll back to the car park at Headland Park.
After the walk
Why not round off your walk with a picnic at Headland Park or a play in the little playground by the bus stop? Our favourite treat is to head across the road for a delicious gelato after all the hard work of marvelling at the many wonders of this unique and special place.
For more things to see and do on North Stradbroke Island, see North Stradbroke Island for Kids.
To find out more about the island and accommodation opportunities see http://stradbrokeisland.com/