Where to swim, surf and eat according to the North Straddie Lifeguards - Visit Brisbane

Where to swim, surf and eat according to the North Straddie Lifeguards

Looking for a beach day with a difference? Jump on the ferry or grab a water taxi over to North Stradbroke Island to seek out the sun, surf and sand – with a good slice of island life, naturally. 

Visit Brisbane caught up with Lifeguard Supervisor Calan Lovitt to find out where to swim or surf, plus get top local tips and a serve of beach safety.

Best beaches for swimming

Cylinder Beach

Cylinder Beach, North Stradbroke Island

Cylinder Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island, with more family-friendly conditions than most of the other beaches. It’s patrolled 365 days a year by the North Straddie Lifeguards (part of the Australian Lifeguard Service Queensland) and volunteer surf lifesavers from Point Lookout SLSC on summer weekends. It’s usually protected from the predominantly south-easterly winds, with crystal-clear water, clean white sand and a nice gentle wave – great for learn-to-surfers, body surfers and body boarders.

Main Beach

Main Beach, North Stradbroke Island

Main Beach is a popular beach on the northerly winds, as it’s protected by a large headland. Main Beach is usually the pick if Cylinder Beach has onshore winds and is choppy. Main Beach does get larger waves and usually has a lot more power than Cylinder Beach, however on the perfect day it has great conditions for swimming and surfing. 

If you are unsure about the conditions, please ask a friendly lifeguard or lifesaver and they will inform you of what to look out for. The headland that overlooks Main Beach offers great views looking towards the Gold Coast, and on clear days you can see Point Danger (Coolangatta area). 

North Stradbroke Island
Sit across the road from Oceanic Gelato here and enjoy the views.

A short walk from Main Beach is the Oceanic Gelato Bar. The Gelato Bar is a family favourite, which offers a wide variety of gelati, smoothies, fresh juices, coffee and other fresh treats! You can eat your gelati overlooking Frenchmans Beach on the headland across the road from the Gelati Bar. It’s another great vantage point to look at any dolphins, whales, manta rays and turtles that may be passing by. 

Where to catch a surf break

Main Beach 

Main Beach has some good beach breaks, and has a fair few banks from the surf club headland 1km south. Main Beach is for experienced surfers only.

Frenchmans Beach 

Frenchmans Beach is usually the pick in winter with the westerly winds. It’s a short walk down a set of stairs (about 150-200 stairs). Frenchmans Beach is unsuitable for swimming and has no lifeguards or lifesavers on duty. 

Cylinder Beach 

Cylinder Beach has great waves for long boarders and can get a good wave when the swell is on. For any learn-to-surfers who would like a lesson, you can tee up a lesson with the North Stradbroke Island Learn to Surf School.

Little-known island secrets

The Gorge Walk

North Gorge Walk, North Stradbroke Island

The gorge walk is 1.2km long and offers fantastic views. It has some great whale-watching vantage points, and has had some recent upgrades to make it more accessible. It’s a short walk from Fishes, the Point, Lookout Bakery, and the Oceanic Gelato Bar.

The Point Bar

The Point Bar is a little-known bar at Point Lookout SLSC, with some of the best views on the island. It’s open most weekend afternoons from about 2pm. It has a great vantage point on the back deck, looking out at South Gorge all the way to Main Beach.

Stop for a bite to eat

Fishes at the Point has some great seafood and burgers on offer – the best is the salt & pepper calamari or the mega sized beef burger. For quick and easy takeaway fish and chips, Fins 'N' Fries is a local favourite – just don't forget to ask for chicken salt. While a little further away, Straddie Roadhouse’s crispy Flathead wrap is fresh, great value and delicious.

Although these are our three top picks, honourable mention must go to Chillers Cafe (next to the bowls club) for their great pizzas, and to the Straddie Pub (Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel) for a great view to eat!

Beach safety tips

Cylinder Beach, North Stradbroke Island
Cylinder Beach

We encourage beachgoers to follow these simple steps to help protect themselves in the water:

• Always swim between the red and yellow flags
• Read and follow the safety signs
• If you’re unsure of the conditions, ask a lifesaver or lifeguard for advice before entering the water
• Always swim with a friend where possible
• If you find yourself in trouble, stick your hand up to attract the attention of lifeguards or lifesavers
• Never swim at night or at unpatrolled locations
• Never swim under the influence of alcohol
• Keep a close eye on children, and always keep them within arm’s reach in the water

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