Beaches of Point Lookout
Becoming familiar with the wonderful beaches scalloped around Point Lookout is a holiday highlight. The beaches can be easily accessed by walking or car from the Green House.
As you enter the beach opposite the Green House, Home Beach is on your left and Cylinder Beach on your right. At times the two beaches are fully connected around the Home Rocks headland which is the location of the Stradbroke Island Hotel. If the ocean is up to the base of the rocks there is an easy path over the headland to Cylinder Beach. You are able to walk all the interconnected beaches discussed below in most conditions. Suitable footwear is advisable for all rock and path walking.
The local environment
Point Lookout is the most easterly part of Queensland and its beaches are prized for their pristine state and near perfect clarity and water quality.
Visibility in the water is usually very high and is often measured at greater than 20m at nearby offshore diving areas such as Flat Rock.
Moreton Bay is located behind the island and acts as a buffer protecting Stradbroke Island’s ocean beaches from urban storm water run-off. Ocean water quality along most of Stradbroke’s eastern beaches is not adversely affected by rivers that discharge turbid and silty water from the inland. This produces exceptionally clear and clean surf. Occasionally there is a brown natural algal material on the water surface that originates from offshore reefs. This is a natural phenomenon that was recorded as far back as Captain Cook’s times.
The foreshores have mostly been protected from development and the natural bushland goes to the water’s edge in many places. There are restrictions on development that mean the foreshores should be permanently protected and remain in their natural state.
Home Beach is a beautiful sight and runs down to Adder Rock at a distance of about 1.5km.
This is a great morning or evening walk where you can look out to sea to Shag Rock and Moreton Island and enjoy the sunrises and sunsets. You can also scale Adder Rock and see excellent views back across the beach, the frontal melaleuca forest and north to the South Passage Bar between Stradbroke and Moreton Islands.
Flinders Beach extends past Home Beach to Amity Point some 7km away. This beach is popular for 4WD (permits available locally). If you are an enthusiastic walker, it is possible to walk to Amity township (with adequate provisions) and catch the bus back to the Point, but check the bus timetables first and allow plenty of time.
The whole area is steeped in aboriginal history including their close relationship with the ocean and its wild life. There was also interaction with the aboriginals of Moreton Island which was closer to Stradbroke in pre European times when the channel was traversed by canoes.
In the 1830’s it was recorded that aboriginals waited on high ground for the seasonal shoals of mullet near Amity and would get to the water in numbers and vigorously beat the water with sticks. This would draw the local dolphins herding the mullet to shore which the aboriginals netted and speared and the dolphins fed from the catch. Much of the island coastline is dotted with eugarie (pippies) and other shell fish middens from antiquity.
When Amity and Dunwich were the sailing ship quarantine locations in the 1800s there were numerous shipping disasters in the treacherous channel (South Passage Bar) between the two islands. Local aboriginals performed many heroic deeds in rescue attempts and saved many lives. Since that time all shipping enters the Bay from north of Moreton Island.
Back to Home Beach and the entry opposite the Green House – to the right by beach or track around the headland leads to Cylinder Beach.
Often Home and Cylinder Beaches are joined with natural sand movement. Maps show the whole stretch as Cylinder Beach. In favourable conditions a beautiful lagoon forms along a large stretch of Home Beach that can be 500m long, 50m or more wide and up to 2m deep. The lagoon is bounded on the eastern side by a sand bar and surf and the water is excellent quality being replaced by the tides and action of the surf. The lagoon can be very safe and relaxing for swimming with good visibility provided the usual precautions and child supervision are taken. At other times the lagoon is too shallow or small or not present at all. The conditions on Home and Cylinder Beaches are continually changing depending on the prevailing weather and the beach line can intrude into the foreshore vegetation in the natural sand movement, erosion and deposition process. At other times the beach can be up to 200m wide.
Cylinder Beach is a patrolled beach and very popular for swimming and surfing with its protected northern aspect. Fresh water, showers, toilets and shaded areas are available.
The southern end is Cylinder Headland. A short rock climb up to the pathway and lookout platform provides beautiful views out to sea and back to South Passage Bar.
Deadman’s Beach is the next beautiful beach which is also well protected by headlands. It is easily accessed by walking the path on from Cylinder Headland. You can also drive. There is a carpark at the end of Cutter Street (turn into Hopewell Street off the main road) that leads to Deadman’s Beach.
The beach is about 600m long. The forest and frontal dunes are well vegetated and full of birds, particularly in the banksia trees. It is very relaxing to take a recliner, picnic and book to the tree cover at the edge of the sand and watch the surf and the world pass by.
Walking on from Deadman’s Beach you pass around Frenchman’s Headland and onto yet another beautiful beach, Frenchman’s Beach.
The headland is very spectacular with a high sand dune to scale and slide down, numerous sandy tracks and a short cave to explore and ocean views of the Group, Dune Rock and Flat Rock out to sea. Numerous rock pools form in the lower rocks just above sea level at the surf edge in this area. These pools can be explored for a wide variety of sea life including various crustaceans, red waratah anemones (red jelly like tentacles), barnacles, tubeworms, sea slugs, cunjevoi (sea squirts), limpets and colourful fish and crabs.
Frenchman’s Beach is another scenic treat. It is remote and can get very wild particularly at the northern end. It is isolated from help so think very carefully before entering the water. There is a made pathway with stairs from the southern end of the beach up the escarpment to the main road near the Mintee Street shopping area. This is a fairly steep walk but the stairs are a big help. If you go past the stairs and continue to the far south end of the beach there are two gorges. The most distant is not easily seen. It is a narrow gorge that is accessible only at low tide and periods when there is plenty of sand deposited and the beach is at its widest. There is a cave at the head of this unnamed gorge that you can explore but you will need a torch and be willing to climb through some small openings. Watch the tides and don’t get caught as easy access is often very short.
Excellent ocean and beach views can be seen from the picnic area along the main road south of the pathway at the top of the escarpment opposite the shopping area. This is the most popular place for whale watching and day trippers while enjoying an ice cream from the nearby shops.
Walking on from the shopping area is the Gorge Walk (see above) and the long, spectacular stretch of Main Beach. This beach runs unbroken for 35km from the Lifesavers Clubhouse to Jumpinpin Bar between North and South Stradbroke Islands. The beach area adjacent to the clubhouse is patrolled and popular for swimming and surfers and is used for major surfing competitions. You can swim (with care) in the adjacent and seriously beautiful South Gorge and surf off the Point.
Main Beach is uninhabited for its entire length and is largely untouched. The freshwater 18 Mile Swamp runs along most of its length behind the frontal dunes up to the vegetated sand hills. The chain of fresh water lakes that form part of the swamp are wonderful to explore (see below). It has been estimated that 500-600 million litres of fresh water seeps and discharges to the ocean daily from Stradbroke Island overflowing from the island’s groundwater resources.
The beach was a major food source for the traditional owners where large quantities of shellfish (pippies) were collected and cooked. Numerous archaeological middens (shellfish dumps) up to 5000 years old were present along the beach and the immediate interior but unfortunately many were destroyed by sand mining. The surf lifesaving club house has a midden on its southern side. Pippies are still plentiful along the beach at times and they can be found by the raised impressions they make in 4WD tyre tracks or by burrowing into the sand with your feet at the waters edge. They are good eating (but some trouble) if they are left in fresh water for about 12 hours to expel sand and then cooked. Please be aware there are legal limits on any catch. Otherwise they are good bait as are bloodworms which are present along the beach. You need an expert to show you how to catch these.
An amazing variety of wildlife can be observed including the annual winter and spring migration of the humpback whales from Antartica to calving grounds in the Great Barrier Reef. But there are also pods of up to 100 dolphins that can often be seen surfing the waves around the Point, huge manta rays, large leatherback turtles and a variety of larger fish. At times the bait fish gather in large shoals around the Point and sharks and other predatory fish can be seen in feeding frenzies as you look down from the headlands.