At the time we went to Straddie, Ted was not yet desexed. We were just married and in need of relaxation, so of course we decided to bring our beloved extremely energetic, seven month old German Shepherd x Border Collie along on our honeymoon to North Stradbroke Island.
Where pooches are prohibited
Before we made that decision, we mapped out all the places we could see with a pet in tow, and acknowledged the fact that we would not be able to see these popular tourist sites: the North Gorge Walk, teatree stained Brown Lake, Blue Lake, freshwater Myora Springs or anywhere within Naree Budjong Djara National Park.
But, that’s okay because we aren’t that keen on crowds or tourists.
Pet friendly accommodation
First, we made sure there was pet friendly accommodation available on the island. We stayed in cabin number 6 of the Sea Shanties at Amity Point. There are two pet friendly cabins available to book, all kitted out with kitchen appliances and your own bathroom. There’s a communal kitchen that overlooks the water, too.
The cabins have a private grassy area where visitors can enjoy a picnic on the tables and chairs, or wet a line off the little jetty that juts out over the water.
At night, we saw dolphins swim up below the jetty while feeding on squid. During the day we saw a sea turtle poke her head out of the water just offshore.
Keep your eyes peeled for resident koalas that sleep in the trees above the Sea Shanties. Lisa, one of the owners, told us they have all been named Kevin.
The location in Amity Point is really close to a small convenience store and a cafe, but best of all, the cabins are just a short walk from a beach that looks out to Moreton Island (dogs must be on-lead).
We took a stroll with Ted along the sand at Amity Point foreshore (not to be confused with the non pet friendly beach at Amity Point, where there’s a netted swimming area). It’s a bit confusing, so when you get there just keep your eyes peeled for signs. The water is calm at Amity Point, as it shares the bay with Moreton Island to the north.
We relaxed by the car with Ted on the hard sand of Flinders Beach, where he was kept on the lead at all times. You can also drive on this beach, and the sand is hard so you don’t need to worry about getting bogged.
The water was calm when we were at Flinders Beach, and the three of us enjoyed paddling in the shallow water. We weren’t brave enough to swim out far, as there are many shark sightings off the coast.
My advice would be to stay shallow or get eaten.
Other beaches you can take your dog while on leash: Main Beach, Deadman’s Beach, Frenchman’s Beach.
Off-leash areas on North Stradbroke Island
As we boarded the ferry, a local woman advised the best off-lead area to take pets is Home Beach. Home Beach is located near Point Lookout, on the north-eastern side of North Stradbroke Island.
We took a short drive to Home Beach from Amity Point, and were pulled through the paperbark trees by Ted, who was charging like a bull to get to the water. For the first time in three days we unclipped the lead and threw the ball around the beach for him to exert some energy.
Home Beach does sit between two other beaches, Cylinder Beach to the right and Flinders Beach to the left. As there’s nothing separating these beaches, you need to keep a close eye on your pet to be sure they don’t run off and frolick on the other stretches of sand.
Keep in mind, Cylinder Beach doesn’t allow dogs at all, and on Flinders Beach you need to keep your pet on a lead.
According to the website, you can also let your dog off-leash at the Skatebowl Park in Dunwich.
Four wheel drive tracks
The best part about four wheel driving with a pet, is that your dog can stay in the car. So long as you aren’t driving for too long in areas where dogs are prohibited, you can see the sights within a national park from the window without breaking any rules.
It goes without saying, if you’re driving through areas that are classified as national park, don’t let your dog out of the car! We always carry a doggy water bottle with us so we can keep him hydrated without leaving the car.
We drove the Inland Track from the entrance on Alfred Martin Way, all the way north to the exit on East Coast Road. Along this route you are not allowed to let dogs out of the car, but it’s a really scenic drive, where at higher elevations we could see across the island and to the water.
We also drove almost the whole way down to the southern tip of North Stradbroke Island from the entrance at Main Beach. You can let dogs out of the car, but always keep them on the lead.
We didn’t drive the full distance as we were about two hours from high tide, and when we looked on the map, it didn’t look like there was much happening at Swan Bay.
Do not drive along this stretch of beach within one hour of high tide. The beach is narrow, and if caught at high tide you’ll be stuck for a while.
Should I bring my dog to North Stradbroke Island?
When people ask if we were glad to take Ted on our honeymoon to North Stradbroke, we are relieved to say we loved having him there, and wouldn’t have it any other way.
So, don’t leave your pooch in the care of a family friend, bring the dogs along to enjoy the pet friendly sights on the island.
Tips before getting to North Stradbroke
- Purchase beach permits from one of the campgrounds on the island. We bought ours from the campsite office at Amity Point.
- Book your return ferry tickets a few months prior to your planned visit. Ferries book out, and if you don’t book a spot on the ferry both ways, you might not have any luck getting off the island.
- Campsites are available, but dogs are not permitted at all of them, so if you’re camping with a dog, make sure they’re allowed.
- We went grocery shopping before arriving, and saved lots of money by doing so. We didn’t need to purchase any food while on the island, but I’ve heard prices are higher than mainland Australia, so save yourself the trouble and stock up near Brisbane.
- Fill up your car with diesel/petrol before getting on the island, as petrol and diesel prices are higher once you reach North Stradbroke.
- If there’s a wild storm around the time you plan to visit, check to make sure ferries are departing. In early 2019 a huge storm ceased ferries along the Queensland coast, and many travellers had to post-pone or cancel their trips.
- If you’re a keen hiker and want to bring your pet, be aware that none of the walking trails are pet friendly.
And yes, you should incorporate your dog into your wedding
Photos by our very talented wedding photographer, Stories With Mel.