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Frenchman's Beach on Minjerribah / North Stradbroke Island

Home > Brisbane > Animals and Wildlife | Beaches | Day Trips | Escape the City | Walks
by Meg Forbes (subscribe)
Meg Forbes is a mum, freelance writer, and photographer living in the Redlands, South of Brisbane. https://www.instagram.com/megforbesphotography/
Published June 1st 2020
Stunning seclusion & landbased whale watching near Brisbane
Frenchman's Beach is one of the idyllic beaches on Quandamooka Country, Minjerribah / North Stradbroke Island near Brisbane.

A view of idyllic Frenchman's Beach
A view of idyllic Frenchman's Beach


Frenchman's beach is a stunning beach at Point Lookout, accessed by a well-maintained but steep staircase. For this reason, access to Frenchman's Beach is rated "difficult", although anyone who has been would agree that it was worth the climb.

The entrance to Frenchman's Beach from Mooloomba Rd via stairs
The entrance to Frenchman's Beach from Mooloomba Rd via stairs


Frenchman's Beach is a rare find in that it is close to Brisbane, stunning, and yet frequently visitors who do descend the staircase will find that they have the entire beach to themselves. There are rocky headlands at each end of the beach with rock pools just waiting to be explored. There are also sand dunes that make ideal slides for kids, especially in a little sandy cove towards the southern end of the beach.

All alone on stunning Frenchman's Beach
All alone on stunning Frenchman's Beach


Frenchman's Beach is home to a diverse range of wildlife. While descending the stairs visitors can look out for eastern grey kangaroos in the vegetation at all times of the year.
Dolphins can also frequently be seen from here as they travel up and down the coastline feeding. Raptors such as white-bellied sea eagles and Brahminy kites are also often seen soaring above the beach hunting for their next catch of fish.

The stairs themselves make a great viewing platform for wildlife
The stairs themselves make a great viewing platform for wildlife


The stairs also make a great lookout point for land-based whale watching. Migrating humpback whales are frequently seen swimming past Frenchmen's Beach between June and October on their way from their feeding grounds in Antarctica to Hervey Bay where they give birth to their young.

Humpback whales migrating past Frenchman's Beach
Humpback whales migrating past Frenchman's Beach


Although idyllic in appearance, Frenchman's Beach is east-facing and therefore largely unprotected from the prevailing south-east waves. There are warnings at the top of the stairs, and again at the bottom, with an emergency beacon and life-ring that was installed after the most recent drowning of a man in 2019. There are no patrols on this beach, and it takes some time for surf lifesavers to reach Frenchman's Beach from Main Beach around the other side of the gorge. For this reason, Frenchman's Beach is best enjoyed for its seclusion and stunning views, but visitors should avoid the temptation to swim here. Thankfully there are patrolled beaches manned by the Point Lookout Surf Life Saving Club at Main Beach to the south of here, and Cylinder Beach to the north. These beaches are both within easy walking distance of Frenchman's Beach - although the staircase needs to be ascended first!

An emergency beacon and floatation device are located at the bottom of the stairs
An emergency beacon and floatation device are located at the bottom of the stairs


Frenchman's Beach features on the North Stradbroke Island Heritage Trail (#28) and was named after four French-speaking men who sailed west from a South Pacific Island and landed here - some of their descendants are still residents on Straddie to this day. More information on the North Stradbroke Island Heritage Trail can be sourced from the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum near the ferry at Dunwich.

The beach is named after four French-speaking men who were stranded here in the 19th century
The beach is named after four French-speaking men who were stranded here in the 19th century


The easiest way to reach Frenchman's Beach is to catch a water taxi across to Dunwich from Cleveland with either the Gold Cats Flyer or the Stradbroke Ferries Water Taxi. These water taxis each take only about 20 minutes and meet up with the island's bus service which can take you all the way to Frenchman's Beach at Point Lookout (the second last stop on the bus). Alternatively, you can bring your own car over to the island on a vehicle barge and drive to the informal 6-bay parking along the road at Frenchman's Beach, opposite the T-Junction between Mooloomba Rd on which you will be travelling, and Midjimberry Rd. There are a variety of shops and cafes about 100m from the parking area, and public toilets are located just beyond them past the bus stop.

Reaching Frenchman's Beach couldn't be made easier with multiple ferry services and a bus stop right near the top of the stairs
Reaching Frenchman's Beach couldn't be easier with multiple ferry services and a bus stop right near the top of the stairs



Things every visitor should bring with them to Frenchman's Beach include:


Drinking water
Sunscreen and a hat
Insect repellant
A camera, Frenchman's Beach is truly spectacular

Come equipped to spend a day in paradise with the locals at Frenchman's Beach
Come equipped to spend a day with the locals at Frenchman's Beach
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Why? Find stunning seclusion and land-based whale watching on this beach near Brisbane
When: Anytime, with land-based whale watching between June and October
Phone: 07 3829 8999
Where: Minjerribah / North Stradbroke Island
Cost: Free
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