Heck, that was over 10 years ago, our inspiration to become a fatbike family came from those rides on Straddy. The bike that started it for us began right here in this story (that bike is still in service):
http://troyszczurkowski.blogspot.com/p/surly-moonlander-build.html and from there I've done some other rides 'here and there' on my other fatbikes.
Wifey got herself a new bike, a Norco Bigfoot VLT 1. An e-fatbike. Woah, don't hate on me - this bike opens up new routes for us together and I can inflict more type 2 fun on my wife with zero complaints. Yeeeeeeaaaaahhhhh!!!
This story isn't about a bike though, it's about the places we can now go together. My wife doesn't get the opportunity to ride as much as I do, so there was always a disparity with speed, distance and endurance - her new bike totally levels that playing field.
I hope this story might give you some intel on planning a fatbike trip to Straddy. Being the closest and cheapest island to access from Brisbane, doing a day trip or overnighter is a simple thing.
The water taxi leaves from Cleveland, it's only a few minutes ride from Cleveland train station to the dock, if you didn't want to drive there. Ticket is $20 return and bikes go on free, on the bow deck and it's generally a pretty smooth and dry trip over, around 20 minutes or so. You land at Dunwich, from there you have a few road and trail options - this trip we headed East on the road towards Blue Lake. This road has a few hills, so be prepared for it! Other routes I'll cover in future trips and blog posts.
The turn off to Blue Lake is well signposted. There is a vehicle maintenance track to the lake, as well as a walking track.
Blue Lake is a window lake, with a white sandy bottom and clear, fresh water. Great for a swim, play on the packraft, sit on a hammock and read a book. Very peaceful with loads of birdlife, shade and a few mosquitoes.
We followed the track on from the lake, crossing the outflow of the lake. I sent wifey in first for a depth check. Sandy base with a bit of leaf litter, approx knee deep.
Shoes off, carry the bikes across. Sure, you could ride it, but today we didn't need to.
The trail leads to the edge of Eighteen Mile Swamp, fed by the freshwater outflow of Blue Lake, but at the southern end of the swamp it opens to Swan bay near Jumpinpin.
We travel North back to the road, the track continues North on the Keyholes track. This track can be hit and miss with passability - there are quite a few deep waterholes and low water areas to traverse. We headed to the surfside to explore some of the secluded beach campsites (totally empty during the COVID lockdown) and have lunch on the dunes. Minimal traffic on the island, a slight offshore breeze and the day was ultra clear.
Size wise for the curious - wifey is 150cm and her bike is a small, fits her perfectly.
Despite the small tailwind, wifey half wheeled me all day, proud of the fact she could just put it into BOOST mode and haul off the front.
Point Lookout for a snack, the place was so quiet, very few vehicle barges were running (mostly just for locals) and pedestrian tourists were only on the water taxi (there is a regular bus service from Dunwich servicing Amity and Point Lookout).
From there we dropped onto Cylinders Beach, skipped around Adder Rock headland with perfect wave timing and onto Flinders Beach. Bit woody in places but we didn't have to HAB, just time it right.
A few fresh and tidal/brackish lagoon outflows here and there, tide was on our side.
Just before Amity township we got off the beach, onto a short bit of road through the township and then a right hander onto the bush track that would cut out most of the hilly road section between Amity and Dunwich.
A few km of road, we didn't stop at Myora Springs though - a nice place to pause for a swim and wash off after a days ride in summer. The swimming spot is right next to the road, a fresh water outflow that is fed from a spring, only a few km from Dunwich.
Here's some reference material. All up the loop was around 60km. The biggest amount of elevation change is getting to Blue Lake from Dunwich, but by following the bush track from Blue Lake to the back of the swamp, you avoid the last climb out of the valley via the road. We got a late start and did the loop at a fairly relaxed pace. Do you really need a fatbike? Well, a plus bike could give you the float for some of the sandy back tracks and an mtb would do the hard sand at low tide. A fatbike will allow you to ride more places, instead of pushing, and explore further more efficiently.
There are heaps more routes to cover in future blog posts, more ways to explore this bay island gem. With sand mining on the decrease on Straddy, low impact recreation is tipped to be the next best export, the island is criss-crossed with old 4x4 trails, forestry and maintenance tracks.
This is all a very loose account of this trip, I purposely leave out a lot of things that may alter your own expectation of adventure or depth of exploration. Use it as a foundation and go as deep as you like - sometimes too much information can ruin the simple pleasure of going off track and exploring.
Here is a handy GPX file of the route: CLICK HERE then download the file and upload to your device.
Amazing where riding a bike will take you.