The secret side of Stradbroke Island

But what if you stopped to explore Goompi/Dunwich? What if you didn’t even bring the car, but arrived by passenger ferry for a low-stress, family-friendly glamping holiday where your transport was your own two legs?

The island’s eastern side is a quieter, gentler place. It’s where the locals live and were the original settlement site. History runs deep here and there are stories of shipwrecks, quarantine, and asylum that reveal the Quandamooka people’s deep connection to the place.

You can explore Dunwich at your own pace on a North Stradbroke Island Museum Follow Laddie walking tour that turns the familiar into something quite unexpected. It starts at the museum, where displays represent some 25,000 years of Aboriginal history and European settlement over the past 200 years.

North Stradbroke Island Museum, Minjerribah
North Stradbroke Island Museum, Minjerribah. Picture: Jacqueline Bawtree

Take your inner child or any inquisitive youngster on this journey. They will be a great help in unlocking the treasure map clues that guide the walk. You’ll be following in the footsteps of Laddie, an adventurous boy who tells the island’s history through his own eyes.

It’s a bit like hide and seeks. There are clues to help you find tiny bar codes hidden around the museum – it’s quite a quest. The day-pass kit includes a small speaker that, when linked to your smartphone, shares the story.

The adventure continues by exiting the museum by the back gate. It’s just a short laneway walk to the studio of nationally renowned First Nations artist and designer Delvene Cockatoo-Collins. There’s plenty of time on this self-guided tour to browse Delvene’s hand-printed homewares, art, clothing, and earrings. Look up in the shop to see Quandamooka mermaid Warragamba. Continue down Ballow Road past buildings and artworks you have probably driven past countless times. Discovering the history behind St Mark’s Church and the Kabul Carpet Snake installation brings a new understanding of the island’s heritage. However, it’s not until the last trail stop, a convict-built privy pit on the water’s edge, that Laddie’s fate is revealed.

Stop in at The Barn Cafe
Stop in at The Barn Cafe. Picture: Jacqueline Bawtree

After all that walking, head to the Barn Cafe on Bingle Road. Try its battered local whiting, fresh-baked pies, and local prawns.

Where can you stay at Dunwich? Bradbury’s Beach has long been popular with boaties and fishing enthusiasts, but the secret is now out about the gentle joys of staying here. Minjerribah Camping has six tents that offer the island’s most luxurious glamping facilities. They all have internal ensuite bathrooms, a separate bedroom for children, and mini kitchens. With air-con, a TV, a coffee machine, and a microwave, it’s hard to remember that it’s all just one big tent.

Bradbury’s Beach campground also accommodates caravans and camper vans, but no camping tents are allowed.

You’ll feel a million miles away from the real world, but Dunwich is small and easily walkable.

Leave the car at home, take the passenger ferry and discover a relaxed walking holiday on a beautiful subtropical island that’s closer than you think.

Glamping on North Stradbroke Island
Glamping on North Stradbroke Island

This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of

About the author


Hi! I’m Ozzie!

Before joining Australia Exploring, I was a writer at Tripadvisor.

I'm looking for the best posts for you about travel adventures in Australia and around the world. This website has the purpose to inspire you to travel… travel more and better. I hope it can help you explore the world a little bit better.

I graduated from the University of Sydney. I live in California with my wife and two children.


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