Experiences

Fitness & Sport

Couran Cove Island Resort invites you to enjoy a fantastic array of sporting facilities and recreational activities.

You can choose to spend hours at the Sports Centre or lounge by the pools on Spa Island. Many of the facilities and equipment here at the Resort are complimentary for our in-house guests, while we also work with a range of activities providers to enhance your stay.

Whether you are looking for relaxation, indulgence, health or adventure, Couran Cove Island Resort offers you a diverse range of pursuits to discover:

  • 25m Lap Pool
  • Children’s Pool
  • Running Tracks
  • Half-Court Basketball
  • Bike Hire (fees apply)
  • Stand-Up Paddle Boards
  • Kayaking
  • Tennis
  • Ping Pong
  • Giant Outdoor Chess
  • Mini Golf Course
  • Shuffle Board
  • Beach Volleyball
  • Children’s Play Ground
  • Lawn bowls
  • Indoor Cricket

Nature

Couran Cove Island Resort has nature at its heart. The waters surrounding the Resort are pristine and full of marine life. The island itself is natural tropical beauty offering rainforest trails and wildlife experiences.

We have a number of native bushland locations for you to discover and explore on your stay. These locations include the mangrove swamp, the Banksian Rainforest, the Melaleuca Wetlands, the Eucalypt Woodlands and the coastal sand dunes.

The island is also a sanctuary for the native Golden Swamp Wallaby. At sundown every day, up to a dozen wallabies will gather on the Village Green to collect their food for the evening. Other mammals on the island include the Northern Brown Bandicoot, Echidnas, Squirrel Gliders and Fawn-Footed Melomys.

The island is a bird-watcher’s paradise with Kookaburras, Rainbow Lorikeets, Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos, Egrets, Curlews and Sea Eagles all in residence. The rich diversity of habitats at Couran Cove Island Resort also supports over 205 species of birds.

For all the bird-watchers, enjoy the list below to what you might have the opportunity to see:

  • Whistling Kites
  • Ospreys
  • Brahminy Kites
  • White-Bellied Sea Eagles
  • Rufous Night Heron
  • Eastern Curlew
  • Whimbrel
  • Pied Oyster Catcher
  • Little Terns
  • Pelicans
  • Scarlet Honeyeaters
  • Rainbow Bee-Eaters
  • Noisy Pitta
  • Eastern Yellow Robin
  • Tawny Frogmouth
  • White-Throated Nightjar
  • Southern Boobook Owl
  • Bush Thick Knee

The island is also home to 17 species of lizards, 15 species of snakes and six species of turtles. The largest lizard on the island is the Lace Monitor or Goanna that can be found in bushland and up the trees. From June through to October, you can also catch a glimpse of majestic Humpback Whales migrating north to breed.

Please click here to view the Resort Map, or see our friendly Reception team for a printed copy.

Alcheringa Trail

What is Alcheringa?
Alcheringa is one of the many different words for “The Dreamtime” or
“Heaven”.
The Dreamtime or Alcheringa, is the legendary time referred to in many of the
stories told by Aboriginal people. The stories are used as part of a lifelong
learning process encompassing the tribal laws, methods of finding food,
navigating skills for traversing long distances on foot and other skills necessary
to survive in a harsh environment such as Australia. Previously there was no
written language and all Aboriginal knowledge had to be passed down orally.
The site now occupied by Couran Cove was once a meeting place for the
Kombumerri and Noonuccal tribes where stories were told and retold over
thousands of years.
Follow the Alcheringa Trail to see evidence of the periodic Aboriginal
occupation of South Stradbroke Island. Learn a little about the tools and
methods they developed for survival here, well before the rise of the Roman
Empire.
The families who lived here are the ones around whose lives the legends are
woven. They still live in the area and regularly visit this special place.
This is an ongoing history of the oldest culture this planet has to offer.

1. Canoe Tree
Maritime freedom, fishing and fun.
This tree bears the scars of having its bark removed by Aborigines in
preparation for making a bark canoe.
The canoe would have been approximately three metres in length – a
suitable size to accommodate a single individual.
Its probably use would have been to collect shellfish from the myriad of
sandbanks and mud flats in the area. The process by which a canoe was
made may have taken up to two weeks.
It involved driving some wedges into the trunk and gradually prizing a slab
of bark from the tree (looks carefully and you will see where the wedges
were driven). The tree has attempted to heal the wound by growing new
bark over the injured area.
By soaking, heating and bending the required shape was achieved and this
was secured and sealed at the ends to finish the canoe. The canoes used by
the people of Stradbroke Island were of simple but robust construction.

2. Mangroves
One of nature’s storehouses and
a pharmacy too!
The mangroves represent a great
resource to the Aboriginal people.
One of the mangroves greatest
gifts is that it is the nursery for
many fish species ensuring
renewal of stocks.
Tools such as “killing sticks” and
waddies (clubs) were fashioned
from the hard wood of root
formations called “knees”.
Boomerangs were fashioned from
buttresses at the base of the tree.
Shields were made from trunks
and branches.
Seeds and pods of the mangrove
although poisonous when
gathered, were leached and
processed to remove toxins,
ground into a starchy flour and
cooked as a staple.
The mangrove has many
medicinal properties including
treatments for skin disorders and
infections.

3. Coolamon Tree
A handy reservoir that stayed cool and protected.
The fork of this tree has been shaped to form a hollow where water collects.
The Aboriginal name for such a tree is “Coolamon” which literally means
“water tree”.
Swamp boxes (Lophostemon suaveolens) were chosen for their low tannin
content. Tannin leeching into the collected water would make it
unpalatable.
It was so shaped to allow rainwater to run down the branches and collect in
a burnt out hollow in the fork. The hollow would have been plugged with
clay.
The lightest of rain and even fogs would condense on the leaves and trunk
and run down into this sturdy reservoir out of the reach of many animals.
Bark from the nearby paper-bark trees could be used to scoop out the water
for drinking.
Cuts were placed in the trunk to allow even a child to climb up easily.

4. Buttress Tree
High tensile structural timber – Ideal for Boomerangs.
The buttress roof of the fig tree would have been sought after as a suitable
raw material from which to carve a boomerang.
Note that the curve of the roots forms the perfect angle for the boomerang
shape and the grain of timber inside means the finished product will be
reasonably resistant to damage through impact. Early Aborigines would
have excised the boomerang from the curve of the root using stone
implements brought to the island from the mainland. Only one side of the
boomerang would have been ground down and made flat with the opposite
side maintaining its natural curve.
The aerodynamics of different shaped surfaces cause “lift” on one side only
when the implement is launched. If thrown with the plane of the
boomerang at a slight angle to the vertical, the lift produced on the upper
surfaces causes the trajectory to curve back to the thrower.

5. Bush Tucker
BE CAREFUL – BRACKEN FERN IS
TOXIC IF EATEN
First white settlers lost cattle stock!
Aboriginals found it useful – Burn
green fronds in smoke-houses made
from paperbark to smoke fish. The
fern’s roots contain lots of starch
but poisonous tannins have to be
leached from the starchy tissue to
make them edible.
Fruit was harvested from trees and
shrubs including Lillie pillies, figs,
wild ginger, blue tongue and many
more. Seeds were collected from the
seed heads of grasses and sedges.
Flowers from wattles, tea-trees,
cottonwood trees, banksia and other
plants were eaten or soaked in
water to make sweet drinks.
Every plant was either used for food
or tools.

6. Shield Trees
Corkwoods (Endiandra sieberi)
The hard wood just under the bark of certain trees could be
used to make shields because it kept the natural curvature of
the trunk. The surface where the wood was usually smooth and
required little working.
The bark itself was a very useful commodity. It could be
removed without killing the tree. Depending upon the way it
was removed it had many uses. Strips of bark could be woven
or plaited to make baskets or rope. Larger slabs could e used
for making bowls or plates.
Corkwoods were chosen because their timber was easy to work
and the finished product was very light and easy to carry.

7. Fire Trees
A guide and a signal to ceremony and ritual.
A fire lit at the base of a tree was usually protected by the bulk of the trunk.
The tree acted like a chimney and provided fuel from its woody heart.
As the fire burnt into the tree a small cavern was formed.
Over time, new bark attempted to grow around the charred heart creating a
fireplace that was well contained and protected from the rain.
Such fires would be allowed to burn throughout the night and gave
adequate light by which to navigate in the darkness.
There are several other examples of the fire tree in this vicinity.
How many can you see?

8. Bora Ring
For well over 20,000 years people have inhabited
Stradbroke Island.
The sand depression in this locality was once a “bora
ring”, a broad, shallow excavation in soft soil forming
an amphitheatre in which tribal rituals and
ceremonies were conducted.
Bora rings had special significance to the Aboriginal
people. There were separate rings for men and
women. “Men’s business” was conducted without
the women present and vice versa. A man or woman
who wandered into the other’s secret ceremony
risked being vanished or killed. Bullroarers (ancient
ritual musical instrument, historically used for
communication over great distances) were hung
from trees, indicating a sacred ceremony and telling
all not involved to keep well away.
The location of the bora ring was the site for male
ceremonies and rituals such a initiation and
circumcision. Another ring lies on the southern =p of
North Stradbroke Island, which may have been
associated with this site back when the two islands
were joined.

9. The Great Midden
The “garbage disposal” of ceremonial
feasts.
For well over 20,000 years, people have
occupied Stradbroke Island.
Shellfish and crabs collected from the
local waterways were often brought back
to camp for cooking and feasting. Once
their contents were consumed the empty
shells were cast onto a common rubbish
heap (midden).
Over the years of repeat visitation, the
rubbish heap continued to grow. The
Great Midden was established when the
Noonuccal People from the North and the
Kombemerri people from the Mainland
started using this place as a meeting
ground.
Carbon dating of remnants from this site
indicates an aged of over 8,000 years! It
was last added to as recently as the midto-
late 19th Century.
The Great Midden itself contains an
invaluable record of the past occupation
of this site.

10. Gwondabah
Welcoming place.
This sculpture welcomes you to a place of GWONDA – a special place (please treat this land with respect).
The people of the Jandarwal Nation have come to this place for ceremonial purposes to meet and share the
annual mullet catch for over 8,000 years – that is more than 6,000 years before the Roman Empire was at its
height!
The sculpture depicts two shields, their steel structure representing the strength of the Aboriginal culture in
this country, the vibrant design on the shield is indicative of the strengthening of their culture in this place
through an associated between Couran Cove Island Resort and the Kombemerri and Noonuccal people.
This design is the “Diamond Scale Mullet Dreaming”, a traditional design of the Noonuccal people.
When fishing with the dolphin, the coastal people called the dolphin by banging their spears on the surface of
the water and thrusting them into sand as represented here. We have also symbolically left the spears outside
the place of GWONDA and hope all who enter ,here leave outside thoughts and words that are not conducive
to harmony between all people and reconciliation between the traditional owners of this country and those
people who share it.
Performance of traditional dances and legends is again practiced on this land and young people from the
Jandarwal Nation are actively engaged in environmental training and interpretation of the traditions and
legends of this land to visitors.