The North Gorge walk is one of the best things to do on Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island). It’s an easy and scenic 1.6-kilometre circuit at Point Lookout suitable for anyone who can go up and down a few stairs. And the walk is even better if you know what to look for. So I’m sharing a few tips to help you make the most out of the North Gorge walk.
Distance: 1.6 km
Time: 45 minutes
Tips to see wildlife on Minjerribah North Gorge Walk
When I bring our visitors to the North Gorge walk and tell them all the wildlife we may see during the walk, they often think I’m exaggerating. But Minjerribah is one of the best places in Australia to see wildlife and one of the best islands near Brisbane. We have a 100% success rate at spotting kangaroos plus at least one type of marine animal from the walk. And most of the time, we see more than one.
But keep in mind that wildlife is unpredictable, so don’t be disappointed if you don’t see many animals during your walk. To maximise your chances of spotting wildlife, you should:
- Take your time to complete the walk: the more time you spend looking for wildlife, the higher chances you’ll have of seeing many animals. We allow at least 45 minutes to complete the 1.6-kilometre loop.
- Bring binoculars: you’ll see marine animals a lot better with them, and you should also bring a camera with a zoom if you have one.
- Stay on the path and approach slowly
Responsible travel tip: It is tempting but for their safety, it is better not to feed wildlife. It can change their behaviour, make them sick and also unbalance the entire ecosystem. New South Wales Parks even write, “feeding native animals is the worst thing you can do”. Click here to know why.
Wildlife you can see on the Minjerribah North Gorge Walk
So, what animals should you look for and where? I hope the below tips will make you as lucky as we are every time we go for a walk on Minjerribah!
There are many kangaroos in Point Lookout. We sometimes see them before even starting the walk. Many people only look at the breathtaking sea views on the boardwalk. But if you take time to sometimes look away from the ocean and turn to the grass, you should see kangaroos at some point. They also often chill at the end of the walk, near the toilets and carpark.
You can spot dolphins cruising along the coast. If you’re lucky, you may see them surfing Main Beach waves, just before the end of the boardwalk. They are so fast when they have fun in the waves!
Turtles love coming into the gorge, even when the waves crash on the rocks and it looks uncomfortable. The bottom is stirred by the waves which bring food for turtles. They regularly come up for air for a few seconds, so the best way to spot them is to watch the gorge for a few minutes. They usually are in the area where the waves are breaking, and they’re easy to spot when they swim in the non-foamy zone.
You’re looking from the top of the cliffs, so they will appear very small. If you want to take photos of them, you’ll need a good zoom.
Manta rays come to Minjerribah when the water gets warmer (November to April). It’s wonderful to dive with them. But if you don’t want to get wet, you can also try to spot them in the water. They don’t come far into the gorge but if you look a bit further in the ocean, you may see the pointy end of their fins out of the water. They are usually cruising along the cliffs at the beginning and end of the walk or at the entrance of the gorge. They are black in a sort of triangular shape. Don’t expect to get a photo of them if you don’t have a zoom though.
In winter, humpback whales migrate along Australia’s coast. The headland is one of the best spots for whale watching from June to October. Look for blows out of the water. You may even see them breach or splash their fins or tails.
I’ve seen koalas many times on Minjerribah, but never on the Gorge Walk. I’ve read in tourist brochures that they can be seen there, but I haven’t been lucky so far. I’ve spotted koalas mostly in or near the cemetery in Dunwich (where you board the passenger ferry) and at Cylinder Beach between the campground and the carpark.
Don’t miss the blowhole
The steps to go down to the blowhole are a bit steeper than the rest of the walk. But it’s worth the small effort. Although you cannot really see the blowhole itself, the sound of the waves crashing into it is very impressive.
Where to stay on Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island)
We like to camp on Minjerribah*. You can even upgrade to a glamping option or a cabin near the beach.
If you don’t like camping, Point Lookout offers many comfortable accommodation options. If you’re travelling as a group, you may find a good deal for an apartment at Whale Watch Resort*. We had a lovely stay there.
If you’re looking for budget accommodation, Manta Lodge* can be a great option very close to the beach.
Where is Minjerribah North Gorge Walk?
The North Gorge Walk is in Point Lookout. It’s easy to access by bus from the water taxi that will take you from the mainland (Cleveland) to Dunwich.