South Stradbroke Island is a twenty-kilometre-long, narrow strip of sand, separated from North Stradbroke Island by the 1896 cyclone and, as apartment buildings edge closer, doomed to become an extension of the Gold Coast. For now, though, South Stradbroke's relatively isolated and quiet beaches offer something of an escape from the mainland, though most day-trippers come over simply to get plastered in the bar at South Stradbroke Island Resort (Tel:07/5577 3311, Web: www.ssir.com.au ; Price: hotel $131-160; Price: selfcat $201-250). Alternative accommodation is available at the new Couran Cove Resort (Tel:1800 268 726, Web: www.couran.com ; Price: $161-200), which offers a much more exclusive atmosphere, and doesn't welcome day-guests. There's also some of the coast's finest surf to ride along the southeast shore, though local surfies are notoriously protective.
Day-trippers can get to South Stradbroke on the South Stradbroke Island Resort fast ferry (daily 10.30am, return between 2.30pm and 5pm depending on the day; $49 includes BBQ lunch) from Runaway Bay Marina, 5km north of Surfers on Bayview Street – bookings (through the Resort) are essential.