In late November/early December 2010, the place I was working decided to have a corporate retreat on North Stradbroke Island, or Straddie. Despite having lived close to it for half my life, I’d never been over there. Unfortunately, work activities took up most of the four days there. We had breakfast with all staff at 7am, planning sessions, morning teas, lunches, “passion map” sessions, afternoon teas, team building activities, dinners & after-dinner activities…usually there was only one to two hours a day of actual free time. (I’m not a corporate retreat type of person. I can work with almost anyone, but four days with only colleagues isn’t exactly my cup of tea.)
All staff were supposed to get the car ferry across, but due to some issues (mainly the driver of my car getting lost & showing up at the wrong ferry, missing the car ferry) I ended up going across on the passenger-only ferry. It was quick, only took about half an hour (compared to an hour plus on the car ferry) and the boats reminded me of a Brisbane City Council CityCat.
We stayed at the Stradbroke Island Beach Resort. I had heard from acquaintances that it could be a loud, rowdy place so I wasn’t looking forward to it. However, we were in the apartments, not the hotel section. (Note that even on their website, it states that hotel rooms may be affected by noise.) Our 3 bedroom apartment was quite large, very clean & had a great view of the pool & the ocean.
It had a fantastic kitchen that I was sad not to have had the chance to cook in. All of our meals were paid for (one of the reasons for the lack of free time during the retreat) but with the exception to breakfast, were quite nice. Being a prawn lover, I made the most of paid-for meals & had lots of prawn dishes!! I found the breakfasts to be a bit skimpy and plain. There were no options for breakfast (apart from how you preferred your eggs cooked), so unless you liked your single egg and single rasher of bacon, alongside a small fruit salad, it wasn’t the greatest. After the first day, I just staying in my apartment and ate the 2 minute noodles I’d stuffed in my suitcase at the last second when I was packing. Not exactly a great alternative, but as we didn’t have milk or anything provided (there are grocery shops/supermarkets on the island, but with tightly scheduled days, there was no guarantee of me getting to them), I couldn’t take any healthy cereals or similar with me. The lunches and dinners were all very nice though. I don’t remember anyone complaining about the quality. My biggest complaint was that the dinners didn’t really come with vegetables. We had a budget for meals, and could order whatever we wanted within that amount. Most people had enough for a main & a desert. Some people went without desert and got an entree to share with the table. I preferred the main, with a side of vegetables, which meant no desert. But the vegetables were very nice. All fresh, seasonal and not over-cooked. I like my veggies crisp!
The resort had a pool central to the apartments. It wasn’t bad and it wasn’t good, a bit backyard-sized for a resort in my opinion, but when we were there, not too many people were using it, so it really didn’t matter. The resort was very close to the beach, about two minutes walk down a little trail, and then this is your view
Very beautiful to go for an afternoon walk on. Before leaving on this trip, I’d done a little research to see where I wanted to visit, but due to the lack of free time, I didn’t get to go to those places. The main thing I had wanted to do was go to the North Gorge Walk at sunrise. Maybe next time!
However, for a few hours one day two colleagues & I borrowed a work car & took a short drive. The intent was to get more goodies for the team afternoon tea we were hosting, but as that didn’t take long, we decided to have a look around the area. This is one of those ‘photo says a thousand words’ moments, so I’ll let the photos speak for me:
I did get slightly attacked by a wave taking some of these photos – I kept wandering out and then the water came in suddenly above my knees. Gave my colleagues a lot to laugh at. After I had dried off a little we kept driving and came across a little walkway. Unfortunately, it started raining (the La Nina that caused the gigantic Brisbane floods not long afterwards) and we were supposed to be back at the resort, so we didn’t get to spend long on the path:
I am definitely going to be returning to North Stradbroke Island, it is such a beautiful place.