f you’re not going much further north in Queensland than Brisbane but want a slice of tropical paradise, slip over to blissful Moreton Island. If you are contemplating a trip to this beautiful paradise island, you’ve come to the right place. This article has great information on Moreton Island including interesting facts about the island, top ten activities to do there, as well as accommodation and transport options to the island. So read on…
Interesting Facts About Moreton Island
- Moreton Island lies 35 km (20 miles) off the coast of Queensland
- The island is shifting at an estimated 3 ¼ feet a year towards the Queensland coast
- At more than 200 sq. km (78 sq. miles), Moreton Island is the second-largest sand mass in the world (after Queensland’s Fraser Island)
- The world’s largest sand hill, Mount Tempest (280m) is located on Moreton Island
- The best part about the island is its lack of development, with 95% of it a designated national park
- Moreton Island can be visited on a day trip or on a longer holiday
- The island sees far fewer visitors than neighbouring Stradbroke, with mostly families, Asian tourists and grey nomads dropping anchor
- Moreton Island can be accessed via ferry from Brisbane; the trip takes about 75 minutes
- The main arrival point and accommodation on the island is at Tangalooma along the west coast
- Camping within Moreton Island National Park is possible (camping permit required)
- Moreton Island has no paved roads; if you’d like to drive, you’ll need to bring a 4WD vehicle across (vehicle permit required)
Where is Moreton Island located?
Moreton Island is one of the main islands in Moreton Bay, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. In terms of distance, it is situated 85 km northeast of Brisbane and 152 km northeast of the Gold Coast.
Moreton Island Map
Top 10 Moreton Island Activities
Wondering about what to do on Moreton Island? Check out our list of Moreton Island activities so you don’t miss out on the best attractions.
1. Moreton Island Beach
One of the main reasons to visit Moreton Island is for its dazzling white beaches backed by Australian bush tumbling down to the sands. The beaches are made even more beautiful thanks to the surrounding crystal clear waters which is coloured patchy jade and indigo. What makes the beaches here even more desirable is that they are underpopulated for much of the year, making them a perfect spot for lounging, surfing or fishing.
2. Moreton Island Wrecks
Known as the Tangalooma Wrecks, the Moreton Island wrecks are 15 man-made wrecks deliberately sunk off the coast of Tangalooma to create an artificial reef. This is the best place on the island for snorkelling as the wrecks are located in shallow water making it the perfect place for snorkelling at high tide. This artificial reef is filled with beautiful tropical fish and the clear waters make it easy to spot them even a mile away.
3. Moreton Island Dolphins
There’s a good reason to stay at Tangalooma Island Resort especially if you or your kids love dolphins. The resort organises daily dolphin feeding for wild dolphins that rock up every evening for a handout. If you’re a guest at the resort, you might get a chance to hand-feed the dolphins; outsiders are welcome to be onlookers.
In addition to seeing the wild dolphins at sunset, there are also full-day dolphin tours run by Dolphin Wild from Moreton Island. These full-day eco tours have commentary from a marine naturalist and guided snorkel tours around the Tangalooma wrecks. Transfers from Brisbane and the Gold Coast are also available.
4. Moreton Island Snorkeling
Snorkeling the Tangalooma wrecks are one of the most popular activities on Moreton Island. If you’re keen to go snorkelling, you can either choose to go on a tour or by yourself.
Located at Tangalooma Island Resort, Tangatours offers good snorkelling trips around the wrecks as well as guided paddleboarding and dusk kayaking tours.
Dolphin Wild also has guided snorkel tours around the Tangalooma wrecks in addition to dolphin eco tours.
If you choose to snorkel on your own, you can hire snorkelling gear from Tangalooma Island Resort.
5. Moreton Island Diving
If you’re an experienced diver, you can choose to dive the Tangalooma wrecks with Get Wet Sports located at the Tangalooma Island Resort. In addition to snorkelling trips they also have introductory diving trips for qualified divers. If you’re not a qualified diver and interested in diving, you can also do an open-water PADI dive course here.
6. Moreton Island Sand Dunes
Located not far from Tangalooma is a place known as the “desert” which is popular for its sand dunes. These 42 hectares of sand dunes are a great place to try sand-tobogganing which is a popular activity on the island especially with the young folks. To get here, take the 3km track heading south from Tangalooma to the desert.
7. Moreton Island Whale Watching
Tangalooma on Moreton Island is a former whaling station but, today, the only shooting of whales that people do are with their cameras. Whale watching tours are a popular activity on Moreton Island as humpback whales swim close to shore on their migratory path to and from the cold Antarctic waters. They make their way to the warm waters off the coast of Queensland to give birth.
Whale watching cruises are organised during the whale migratory season (June to October) by Tangalooma Island Resort.
8. Moreton Island Hiking Trails
The best thing about the hiking trails around Moreton Island is that you can choose to travel on foot or in your own vehicle. While there are a few tracks around the island, the best trail is the one from Tangalooma to the eastern side of the island.
Take the 10km track from Tangalooma across to Moreton’s more attractive eastern side, where the beach has good surf and it’s less crowded. Before reaching the eastern coast at Eagers Creek, a sandy track branches off, winding its way to Mount Tempest’s 280m peak – it’s an exhausting 2.5km climb but the view from the top is outstanding. Back at Eagers Creek, head 10km north up the beach and you’ll find Blue Lagoon, the largest of the island’s freshwater lakes, only 500m from the beach campsite and adjacent to the smaller, picturesque Honeyeater Lake. Blessed with shady trees, the dunes behind the beach make an ideal place to camp, and the site is supplied with water, showers and toilets. Dolphins come in close to shore so keep a look out for them.
The other popular walking track is a hike to the sandstone lighthouse at Cape Moreton located at the northern tip of the island. Built in 1857, the lighthouse is worth inspecting as is the spectacular views from the top.
9. Moreton Island Adventures
Operated in association with Tangatours at Tangalooma Island Resort, Adventure Moreton Island is one of the best adventure tours on the island. These tours offer a range of activities including paddleboarding, snorkelling, sailing, kayaking, fishing and more. Departing from Brisbane, the tour also has overnight resort accommodation packages.
10. Moreton Island Water Sports
If you’re into more adventurous playthings, check out Club Toys who hire out catamarans, surf skis and motorboats by the hour. Located at Tangalooma Island Resort, Club Toys are open daily from 8am to 5pm.
Moreton Island Resort
The only resort on Moreton Island is Tangalooma Island Resort Fringed with grass leading onto the beach and thatched umbrellas and swaying palm trees providing shade, this luxurious modern resort is the only formal setup on the island. There’s a plethora of options available, starting with pretty standard hotel-style rooms in Kookaburra Lodge. If you go for one of these, get a room near the top for the sensational views from your balcony. A step up are the units and suites – refurbished B and D blocks offer your best options here, where you’ll get beachside access and rooms kitted out in cool, contemporary décor with good facilities. Both include kitchens in an open-plan living style. The main difference is that suites sleep more people, with a separate double bedroom, so are better for families.
The resort also offers a number of eating options, including The Coffeeshop for sandwiches, wraps and pies; the Beach Café for something more substantial, or Tursiops Restaurant if you’ve worked up a healthy appetite – this buffet-style place has beef, chicken and seafood dishes.
Moreton Island Camping
There are nine national park camping grounds, all with water, toilets and cold showers; of these, four are on the beach. For information and camping permits, contact the Naturally QLD office in Brisbane. Camping permits must be arranged before you get to the island.
Moreton Island Permits
Permits for vehicle access and camping are available from national park rangers and ferry operators, or online at www.derm.qld.gov.au
Moreton Island Camping Map
How to get to Moreton Island?
Getting to Moreton Island is easy – the closest access point is Brisbane.
Moreton Island Ferry
High-speed catamarans leave Brisbane’s Holt Street wharf at Pinkenba for Tangalooma Island Resort on Moreton Island three times daily, at 7:30 and 10am, and 5pm (12:30pm on Mon and Sat–Sun). The trip takes 75 minutes. Return transfers leave Tangalooma at 9am and 4pm and after the evening dolphin feeding session at 7pm every day. On weekends and Mondays, they also leave at 2pm. For an extra fee, each way, coaches pick up passengers at the Roma Street Transit Centre, the Brisbane airport, and city hotels to connect with the 10am and 4pm launches.
Moreton Island Ferries’ MiCat vehicular and passenger ferry (www.moretonventure.com) departs from the Port of Brisbane (14 Howard Smith Dr.) for Tangalooma Monday to Saturday at 8:30am and 1pm, returning at 10:30am and 3:30pm, and on Sundays at 8:30am and 2:30pm, returning at 1 and 4:30pm. The trip takes about 2 hours.
Tell us what you think. Are you planning a trip to Moreton Island? If you’ve been here before, what activities did you partake in? Please share with us your experiences on the island.
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