Coming to Straddie can provide a multitude of feelings mainly excitment, anticipation and possibly a little trepidation, especially if it's your first time. But never fear, follow these five pointers and you'll never be banished for a Straddie faux pas!
1. Shoes are optional
Don't get me wrong, this ain't no hippy town but the frequent disposal of thongs for aquatic or sand purposes has resulted in years of free wheeling shoe use.
Not sure when you should put some on? If it's before 6pm and you're not entering a restaurant or shop, go fourth my bare footed friends; treat yourself to a Pedi when you get home to relieve the inevitable, Post Straddie Depression.
If you plan on venturing into an establishment, thongs and sandals are fine but don't wear heels. Take it from someone who knows the relentless and grueling besmirchment faced by those who dare to wear platforms on a sand island; I'm still trying to make friends, five years later.
2. Be well prepared for sunshine and heat and wind and rain and cyclones and Sharknados
Apart from being an absolute terrible budget film and atrocity to the art form that is cinematography, Sharknados are not such a ridiculous concept if you know anything about Queensland weather.
In all seriousness though Queensland weather is insane and one minute you're having a quick sunbake before lunch, the next you're dealing with some unruly windswept bangs and hail damage to your car. When packing for Straddie, I would recommend packing for all seasons. Nights can get chilly and windy but days are normally hot and humid. Umbrellas and snow chains are also a safe investment, just kidding.
3.You NEED to Tough Lap around the Point to pick the optimal beach
Talk to any longstanding local and they'll tell you the tradition of Tough Lapping is as old as some of these beach shacks! Basically the concept is to devote 10 minutes or so to survey our various beaches and see which ones suit your primary purpose. Many of you require patrolled beaches in which case you would only need to check out Main Beach, Cylinder or Adder Rock, if it's during school holidays. However if your objectives involve windless sunbaking, waveless bobbing in the ocean or surfing to your hearts' content, Point Lookout pretty much always has a beach to cater to your needs.
Drive up to Main Beach, pass by Frenchman's, do a lap around Deadman's, walk to Cylinder Headland, drive past Home Beach and pop into Adder as your final visit and then you can discuss with the squad about what will be the final decision. It should be noted that traditional tough laps are a great opportunity to pump the tunes and share a Golden Gay Time or a Slushie around the front and back seats.
4. Embrace Tie Dye, shells and crochet
You may remember me mentioning that this isn't a 'hippy town' and it isn't, most of the time. However, much like any coastal town in Australia, where you find pristine natural beauty, you find those that appreciate Mother Nature to their core and they often produce some of the most astounding art, clothing, food and products.
Call them what you want but the people here have an innate connection to this incredible island and one lap around the Point Lookout Markets or Noreen's Seaside Shop will show you all that is achieved by the people who call this island home. From hand knitted crochet pieces to natural soaps and skin care, to handmade candles, Straddie Tea or phenomenal landscape artworks, Straddie provides an unprecedented exhibition of art, culture and yes; just a little bit of Tie Dye.
5. Accept sand into your life like a long lost sibling
Some people seem to miss the concept of being on a 'sand island'. It is made of sand. Like all of it. The whole Island. If you were to dig under a garden bed or tree or house, chances are you will find sand. As such, it should come as no surprise that the constant battle of sand in the bed, floors, showers, cars and carpets is a constant an exhausting battle that I, along with the entire population of Straddie, have finally given up on.
I've embraced the sand, as best as I can and combat the battle with mats everywhere, hoses out the front and that's pretty much the limit to my caring about sand anymore. Don't get me wrong, it's taken me almost 2 years to relinquish the OCD that kept me in it's sand-despising wrath but if you're here (especially for a holiday) there's no point in stressing over the foundation of our stunning and impressive environment.
Sand reminds you of the wondrous place you are visiting, its past, its proximity to the ocean and the phenomenal times you will have playing beach cricket, building sandcastles and Four Wheel Driving on it. Embrace the sand; just don't put it in our mouth. There's no coming back from that one.
All in all, Straddie is a magnificent place to both visit and live (as you no doubt know, hence your visit). With a myriad of beaches to choose from, seafood to die for and an untapped utopia of culture and natural beauty, Straddie is a solace for all, void of structure or regulations.