North Stradbroke Island (or “Straddie” to the locals) is located off the coast from Brisbane and is a bit of a local secret as a place to escape to for old style beach holidays. The largest town, Dunwich, has a small airfield with a grass and gravel strip. The local aeroclub likes to attract air tourists with a breakfast “fly in” held on the third Saturday morning each month. On Saturday 16th October 2021 my sister Liz and brother in law David joined me for a blue sky flight to the monthly breakfast. You may have seen further down the list of postings that one of my early flights was for breakfast at Straddie, a few years ago. I also flew there once on my way to Coffs Harbour. We’ve been quite a few places since but it’s always nice to go back and this was the first time in MSF.
Liz and David had flown with me before but we still did a preflight briefing including a description of the route I intended to fly. We’d be flying over water so there was a brief instruction on the wearing of the life jackets as well.
Taking off on RWY25 into a strong westerly wind, we followed the coast to Woorim on Bribie Island then crossed the bay to overhead the Tangalooma Resort on the west coast of Moreton Island.
The 15knot westerly caused a few bumps over the land but it was smooth as we crossed the bay and flew down the west coast of Moreton Island to Dunwich.
I mentioned that we’d have to inspect the windsock first to confirm the cross wind at the Dunwich strip wasn’t too bad. If it was too strong we would have to give the landing (and breakfast) a miss. We flew over the top of the airfield at 2500ft and the wind looked fairly calm. Another aircraft was taking off from RWY33 as we descended to circuit height and joined midfield crosswind. On final the windsock showed almost no wind and we touched down lightly, using most of the 800m long grass strip to pull up.
Liz had originally thought we’d go for a taxi ride to a cafe at Point Lookout on the north east corner of the island but I think she found the unique atmosphere at the Dunwich AeroClub just as much to her liking! Unfortunately Pat the owner had told me to arrive at 9am for breakfast but by the time we touched down just before 9 the food was almost all gone. Apparently the first plane touched down at 6:30! and breakfast was on just after 8am. At least we could watch most of the other 26 aircraft depart while we sat and drank our coffee.
By the time we were ready to leave there were almost no other planes left so we had plenty of time to backtrack the runway.
We took off from RWY33 and climbed out over Dunwich township then continued our orbit of the bay. First we flew to Russell Island and Mount Cotton and obtained a clearance to fly through the Archerfield controlled airspace.
From there we flew between the Brisbane CBD and Mount Coottha before doing an orbit over The Gap and passing over Mount Glorious on our way back to Redcliffe.
It was a truly glorious flight.