I hadn't heard of Stradbrook Island.
I didn't technically have a place to go
& I had way too many bags
I flipped through my YHA guidebook and looked at which of their other locations were relatively close to Brisbane. After being in a city for a few days, I was really looking onward to finally living out my vagabond dirty hippie Los Angeles detox. Stradebrook YHA also had a dive shop, which I was stoked on because I was lugging all of my SCUBA diving gear around which was heavy AF. Scuba diving off Straddie is supposed to be heaven sent with wild dolphins, turtles, whales and like just epic amounts of ocean ecosystem. Unfortunately, I just snorkeled because of their boat scheduling but if you go to Straddie, def look into scuba diving.
From what I read about Straddie, it was an extremely sacred place to the Aboriginals and was still home to many of them today. The island hosted two natural lakes that were especially sacred for their uniqueness. My pilgrimage focus and ultimate appeal was the Brown Lake. Brown Lake is an Eucalyptus oil infused sunken lake on the top of a mountain. The Eucalyptus tree forest surrounding the lake leaks oil from its roots into the lake while their branches are home to "drop bears" or as they are formally known as, Koala Bears. Soaking in Australian Eucalyptus tree oil, soothing and healing my skin the in Aboringial sacredness. Dirty Hippie spa day. I was sold.
Off to Straddie it was.
I could really tell I was planning my trip right when a few of my Australian friends had no idea where I was going.
After vaguely googling, I concluded that I had to take a bus. Confidently and with 6 bags in tow, I asked the friendly front desk girl which bus to take to Stradbrook Island.
Her response - "Well, it's a bit of a trek"
She whipped out a paper in type writer font. This paper was my life line.
On it was enlisted the exact times for the bus to the train to the bus to the ferry to the bus. YES...you heard that right. My spoiled ass was about to take multiple public transportations and lug my 50 pounds of luggage along for the ride.
This paper did save my life and I was a hott mess with all my bags and like misunderstanding that I needed cash for buses, so I was like just getting on shit for free because I looked like such a struggle. Once I arrived at Stradbrook, I added some extra days to my stay, changed into my bikini, walked from my hotel to the beach and I cried. It was so gorgeous crying was the only natural reaction I could have. I was silent just feeling the feels on the beach. I had the beach to myself. The water was warm, the nature was alive, I didn't have cell phone service. I was so thankful and full of gratitude this place came to my life. This place was a feeling. I was trying to find some cell service when my current boy called. He told me "Sweetheart, you have nothing to be crying about"... to which I replied "Its just so overwhelmingly beautiful".
The hostile I stayed out was right on the beach. I didn't really leave except to walk to the store. I literally had a private beach on an island off the coast of Australia for 5 days. I just read, played with my cards, hula hooped, journaled my life.
So one day at Stradbrook I got offered a ride into town, to which I had planned to take a bus up to that Brown Lake I mentioned earlier. Everyone on Straddie drives these like badass European off roading beach trucks. So this man, pulls up in his truck, offers me a ride which turns into a tour of the whole island. To be totally honest I was sketched out. The only reason why I trusted him was because his name was Neil, just like my brother.
Neil had grown up on Straddie and referred to it as "his playground". He worked a few days a week back in Brisbane cutting trees. Honestly, God couldn't have sent me a better tour guide. The only thing that made it weird was I was so like Anti -rape even though he didn't try anything that I was like tense haha. First he took me up to the Brown Lake and we swam and saw some wild koala bears. Then he took me down an old electrical/construction dirt road to the other side of the island (see anti - rape guard was like K THIS IS WHERE U DIE ON THE REMOTE ISLAND ELECTRICAL DIRT ROAD WITH NO CELL SERVICE). At this beach, we also had it to ourselves, and we went driving down the beach in his badass truck. The whole time he was looking for some type of shell fish you can just dig up and cook later. We didn't find any so he took me back to the other side of the island. We stopped so he could cut down some wild dragon fruit (anti rape guard at first was like WHY IS HE GETTING OUT HIS MACHETE PULLED OVER ON THE DIRT ROAD WITH NO CELL SERVICE?!?!?! We randomly stopped at this house like equivalent to a rednecks house, with all this shit in the yard and like a torn down barn, once again rape guard was like HES TAKING YOU TO THIS REMOTE REDNECK HOUSE WITH ALL THE SHIT IN THE YARD TO RAPE YOU. The reality was he took me to this house to show me some wild eels that lived in the creek on the property. These things were fucking huge. I like deeply contemplated the consciousness of an eel, their lives seemed so simple considering they don't move that much and don't talk. Ya, contemplating eel consciousness is what happens when you are alone traveling for too long. After seeing the wild eels, we stopped to see some wild kangaroos, which I was very excited about, more so than the wild eels (seriously so random lol like fucking eels?).
After seeing the wildlife and eating the wild life and exploring the wildlife we stopped by Neil's trailer ( once again anti rape like K U ESCAPED THE REDNECK HOUSE BUT NOW U GET RAPED IN THE TRAILER) turns out he handed me a soda and a fishing pole. We went down to the beach and caught 8 fish. I was fucking stoked on that because I had tried and failed to find a grocery store on the island so I had no food.
I ate fish that I caught with Neil for the next 4 days, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Why do you think I was looking so good in that bikini photo up top? Backpacking and solid oceanic fish diet baby.
Also like don't get into cars with strangers, but in Australia...I did it like 9 times, it saved my ass, it wasn't sketch, it was the opposite of rape/murder. But ya don't like follow my example.
I really didn't want to leave Stradbrook, but I was just laying on a beach and reading for days so I needed to keep my travels moving. There really was something special about that place. I believe it attracted me for a reason, called to me, so that I could experience Australia in its entire vast untouched natural glory. Neil was sent to me so I could see the island by car and through a locals eyes....also so I could actually have food.
I will never forget this place and how it made me feel. It is truly one of the most special places in the entire world. It captured my heart and a piece of it is still there. TBH I probably left some crystals there lol like transporting energy. Straddie was one of the highlights of my trip and one of the best spur of the moment decisions I've made ever.