MU-X driving along Moreton Island Beach MU-X driving along Moreton Island Beach

Cedar and Suede Caravanning Holiday at Straddie

WRITTEN BY: CARLENE DUFFY

You would’ve had to have been on a committed Instagram hiatus to have missed our Summer holiday adventure across January 2019 — sorry — not sorry. 

Nestled off the coastline of Brisbane is the iconic North Stradbroke Island, a leisurely 60-minute barge ride from Cleveland, in Brisbane’s bayside. We’ve traditionally marked this destination in our calendars a year in advance, and every year after a typically crazy Christmas lead up, we’re always hankering for this trip. Michael and I have been holidaying at Straddie since we were babies and this year, again, it did not disappoint.  It’s our spirit place and breathes life into us after increasingly fast-paced years. 

The water is crystal-clear and you can usually always find a protected beach with slow, rolling waves. As soon as we land on the island you can feel a shift in the air and our attitudes. We love that it has barely changed in 36 years, apart from a few more cafes and a health food shop. Here on Straddie, there are few decisions to make, other than what ice cream flavour do I want, or which beach shall we visit today? And nowhere else do I go into full and complete holiday mode. Here, my mind instantly clears itself and I hit the off-switch on our beloved Cedar and Suede, that is until I hit the mainland again.

Michael and Carlene Duffy with family on Moreton Island Ferry
Last year, we caravanned at Adder Rock, in our back then un-renovated Dolly. So it was a treat this year to take the old girl back over, all done up and considerably more comfortable. I’ll camp or caravan but I have to be comfortable and it can’t involve too much effort. We work hard through the year so I don’t want my holiday to involve more work than necessary. I want to be comfortable and have running water and ideally, power, is high on the list of desires. I also steer clear of inflatable mattresses — taking my bed situation seriously, complete with eye mask and white noise. You might argue we’re more like ‘glampers’ and you’d probably be right.
Cedar and Suede Dolly Caravan
Cedar and Suede MU-X on Moreton Island Ferry
This was also the first time we’ve been also able to travel in comfort. Last year we partnered with Isuzu UTE Australia and we’ve been driving their 4x4 MU-X LS-T, which is worlds apart from Michael’s unloved work ute, which has been our mode of camping transport up until now. You should know too that Dolly is a 22-foot vintage van, so she’s far from petite and the MU-X tows like a boss. You have to have your wits about you when towing anything really, but this is especially true with a big van like Dolly. However, in this vehicle, Michael feels really confident and more importantly, safe. For me, I’m just happy to be enjoying the comfort of leather seats, a DVD player, reversing camera and automatic transmission.

"FOR ME, I'M JUST HAPPY TO BE ENJOYING THE COMFORT OF LEATHER SEATS, A DVD PLAYER, REVERSING CAMERA AND AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION."

Whilst on the Island we took the opportunity to do some beach driving. Straddie’s beaches provide great pippies-seeking opportunities and one arvo we even found an idyllic spot amongst the sand dunes to BBQ some kebabs and marshmallows. It looks too good to be true, right?! On a side note, if you’re driving on the beach please slow down if you see children because despite our incessant, neurotic reminders to them to look left and right on vehicle beaches, kids are just not expecting cars on the beach and they can’t hear you coming over the sound of the ocean. Also, when kids get on a beach they run. Everywhere. Fast.
Michael and Carlene Stradebroke Island
It sounds very indulgent, I know, but we squeezed in one more, different Island adventure before we dragged our sorry selves back to work, this time to a different island. We were back on the mainland for two days before we boarded our second barge destined to Moreton Island (a 90 minute barge ride from the Port of Brisbane), which locals already know is a 100% sand island (no bitumen roads) so you actually can’t drive on to the island without a 4WD. Most visitors to the Island come to drive, fish and snorkel and we can vouch for the array of marine life because from our balcony we watched a 5-foot shark casually swimming horizontally along the shoreline 10 metres from the beach. I’m not exaggerating, people!

If you’re an avid four-wheel-driver like Michael and the kids (I prefer my car trips sans the rock n rolling) then Moreton Island is where you want to be. Some of the beach tracks on Moreton provide some serious sand driving, which I think visitors to this island drive along for the sheer fun of the challenge. Any male reading this right now is thinking, ‘yeah dah!’ But I’m more of a ‘let’s just get from A to B’ kinda gal, which is how I enjoy the MU-X day to day, but that’s a post for another day.

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