The Gorge Walk

The main headland at Point Lookout is located opposite the shops at the end of the main road (Mooloomba Road). You can enter the walk from the parkland behind the bus stop shelter or from the near the toilet block opposite the shops (see map). This walk is easy for the great majority of people and can be done in just over an hour with comfortable stops.

The walk is spectacular with beautiful headlands, gorges and views down the 35km Main Beach. As you enter the walk from the bus shelter, parts of North Gorge are visible on your left. The path takes you south initially where there is an outstanding view across South Gorge and the Surf Lifesaver Clubhouse down the totally uninhabited stretch of Main Beach that leads to Jumpinpin Bar between North and South Stradbroke Islands. Some bench seating is available to enjoy the view.

While walking you can look down into the clear, beautifully coloured water and frequently observe turtles, dolphins, manta rays, sharks and other wildlife. Waves roll in around the Point and dolphins often surf these and breach as the waves break. In winter and spring, pods of humpback whales pass close by the Point. Some whales come very close to the Headland for wonderful viewing and observation of their amazing behaviours like group tail slapping and breaching. Cows with calves are more likely to be seen on their return from the north in the spring months. Keep scanning the ocean watching for the whales and you will first see the puffs of water vapour and white water when they surface and breach.

In summer months you may also be lucky enough to observe sharks and other predatory fish in feeding sessions on large shoals of baitfish. The shoals mill around the Point and the predators work together to break of sections of the shoal, often herding them into South Gorge for feeding. Sharks have been observed temporarily beached on the sand at the breakers edge in pursuit of the smaller clumps of baitfish.

As you continue the walk you reach the main headland with a blow hole that will sound in most weather conditions. The headland has a separated rock called Whale Rock. Climbing down the headland for rock fishing or for closer observation of this area may look tempting but many people have lost their lives, particularly in rough weather.

The walk continues back around to the relative quiet at the head of North Gorge and then back out to the Northernmost point called the Cascades due to the rivulets of water that run down its ocean face after wave impact. As you finish the walk and return to the shop area, beautiful ocean views can be seen to the East and North across Frenchman’s Beach.

Beaches of Point Lookout

Becoming familiar with the wonderful beaches scalloped around Point Lookout is a holiday highlight.

The local environment

Point Lookout is the most easterly part of Queensland and its beaches are renown 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, in the main, 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 the beach in front of the Green House and is visible from the whale watching towers at the Keep. Entry is from the track at the base of the Hotel. Turning left, the beach 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 and the frontal melaleuca forest.

The beach past Home Beach is Flinders Beach that extends 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.

Back to Home Beach and the entry at the base of the Hotel. The track to the right leads to Cylinder Beach around the small rocky headland on which the hotel is located. Light footwear is advisable for all rock walking.

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 beach 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.

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 that provides beautiful views out to sea and back to South Passage Bar between Stradbroke and Moreton Islands. The Keep whale watching towers are visible from the Headland.

Walking the made paths around the headland leads to Deadman’s Beach that is also well protected by headlands. 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 forest and frontal dunes are well vegetated and full of birds, particularly in the banksia trees. It is very relaxing to take a banana lounge, 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 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 despite the stairs. If you go past the stairs and continue to the far south end of the beach there is a narrow gorge that is accessible at low tide at times when there is plenty of sand deposited and the beach is at its widest. There is a cave at the head of this 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 a popular place for whale watching and day trippers.

Walking on from the shopping area is the Gorge Walk (see above) and the long and 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 beautiful in 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. 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.

Ocean wildlife

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.