Meg Forbes is a mum, freelance writer, and photographer living in the Redlands, South of Brisbane.
Published August 29th 2020
A new, eco-friendly way to explore North Stradbroke Island
Yura Banji Scooters are the newest, innovative way to explore local areas on Minjerribah / North Stradbroke Island! These fantastic, electric scooters are the perfect answer for the many visitors to the island (known affectionately by locals as "Straddie") who leave their vehicles on the mainland and come over by public transport.
Yura Banji's electric scooters - the awesome new way to explore beautiful Straddie!
The name "Yura Banji" means "Hello Friend" in the Jandai language, which is the language of the Quandamooka Nation who have lived on and cared for Minjerribah since time immemorial. The founders and owners of Yura Banji Scooters bridge Aboriginal and European cultures, with Elisha being of Aboriginal descent, Tim of European descent, and both connected by family.
Yura Banji is a locally owned and operated business that highlights the island's natural and cultural heritage
Yura Banji's electric scooters are comfortable to ride on bitumen, concrete, lawn, or gravel paths, and can go as fast as 25km/h! Additionally, Yura Banji Scooters will soon be adding soft-seated electric scooters to their fleet from September 2020. Mindful of the environment, Yura Banji is working towards becoming an eco-accredited business and charge all of their scooters via solar power.
The scooters are easy to operate, and comfortable to ride on a variety of surfaces
They are easy to operate, with a simple throttle pushed by the rider's right thumb, and a bicycle-style brake lever on the left-hand side of the handlebars. Tours and scooter hire are available to visitors aged 12 and over.
Easy to operate, the scooters are a dream to drive!
Scooter hire and tours have launched at Point Lookout, which has many spectacular sites to visit, including Cylinder Beach (voted Queensland's best beach in 2018 and 2019!) and Main Beach - both of which are patrolled for safe swimming by Point Lookout's Surf Life Saving Club.
Visit Straddie's stunning beaches with ease on Yura Banji's electric scooters
The Gorge Walk and the Whale Track both provide visitors with spectacular views and the opportunity to watch dolphins surfing in the waves all year round, and yalingbila (humpback whales) on their migration between June and October each year.
Watch dolphins surfing from the Gorge Walk's lookouts
Yura Banji Scooters provides the answer to the challenge facing many visitors to the island on how to take it all in by foot and public transport. Their eco-friendly scooters are available for hire for $20 an hour, and can go as far as 65km within set locations before they need to be recharged.
With a range of up to 65km, exploring Straddie has never been easier!
This beautiful area right on Moreton Bay is home to each of the ferry terminals, so no bus transfers are required. As with Point Lookout, there are many opportunities here to enjoy the local birds and wildlife.
This beautiful foreshore area is home to many birds and an abundance of wildlife
In addition to scooter hire by the hour, Yura Banji Scooters is offering their Cultural Tour for $89. Run by Elisha, these tours include much of the knowledge she inherited from her grandparents, Margaret and Pat Iselin, who contributed to "The Flora of North Stradbroke Island" book published by Consolidated Rutile Limited with the aim of keeping Quandamooka culture alive for future generations.
Welcoming and knowledgeable tour guide, Elisha, with the North Stradbroke Island flora book her grandparents informed
The Cultural Tours are fabulous and include 30 minutes of scooter hire to further explore the area at the end. Elisha began by introducing me to a number of traditional food plants close to the beach, including some that could be ground into flour for bread, and a delicious native blueberry.
Tasting traditional flour with Elisha on the Yura Banji Scooter Tour
We then headed up the hill towards the Whale Track, where we stopped to look out across beautiful Frenchman's Beach from one of the viewing platforms. Elisha shared the importance of the yalingbila - humpback whales - while a large manta ray swam through the surf beneath us.
Visit the stunning Whale Track's elevated platforms on a cultural tour or independently when hiring one of Yura Banji's scooters
Although the yalingbila pass along this coastline during their entire migration from June to October, Elisha described how they often stop in the shallows around Frenchman's Beach and Main Beach while their calves gain the strength they need for the rest of their migration south to Antarctica.
Yalingbila! A humpback whale mother turns to check in with her calf as they pass beneath Point Lookout
Elisha then guided us up onto part of the Gorge Walk track. Although the scooters are unable to access the central part of the track (which includes a number of stairs along the boardwalk), they are able to access the first sections of the track from both sides.
These each includes fabulous lookouts that can be reached on the scooters from which dolphins, turtles, manta rays and eagle rays are often seen throughout each day, and that the whales can be seen from during their migration.
One of the stunning lookouts that can be visited with Yura Banji's scooters
The idea behind Yura Banji Scooters is innovative and helps to fill a gap for visitors who don't bring their vehicles over to the island but would like to be able to explore more easily than just on foot or by public transport, and for those who would like to learn more about Quandamooka culture and the flora and wildlife of the island.
Yura Banji's scooters are a low impact, eco-friendly way to explore the island
Yura Banji Scooters is a business run from a deeply respectful perspective, with its owners sharing meaningful aspects of their culture and lives through it. Their logo was inspired by the island lifestyle of Minjerribah, and the icon riding the scooter, Banji, represents Darryl Iselin, who was the father and father-in-law of the owners. Finally, the logo's colours represent the ochre of the earth and the amazing sunsets seen from Minjerribah.
Yura Banji's logo is deeply meaningful and respectful, highlighting the bridging between Quandamooka and European cultures
Yuri Banji Scooters is located at the Point Lookout Bowls Club at 75 Dickson Way, Point Lookout. To get here by public transport, take either the Stradbroke Ferries Water Taxi, or the Gold Cats Flyer, both of which have timetables that meet the island's bus service at Dunwich, and catch the bus to "The Domain" bus stop opposite the Point Lookout Bowls Club.
Once on Straddie, catch the bus to The Domain bus stop at Point Lookout