35 things to do on Moreton Island
Magical Moreton Island - a natural wonder and the third largest sand island in the world - is just a 75-minute ferry ride from Brisbane. Make some time around the NRL Magic Round to visit this island paradise on a day trip or book a longer stay to make the most of it.
From exploring its natural beauty (most of it is National Park) to adrenaline-pumping adventures, there is plenty to do. Bring your friends or family and let the island cast its spell on you.
We spent a day doing a lot of the fun activities offered by Tangalooma Island Resort. Check it out below.
1. Go sand tobogganing
All of Moreton Island is made of sand, and there is no way to avoid getting sand in everything you own – so you may as well embrace it! Climb to the top of big sand dunes, wax up a wooden board and launch yourself off the edge – you can reach speeds of up to 60km/h. Australian Sunset Safaris, Tangalooma and Sunrover all run this activity tour in The Desert.
2. Snorkel the Moreton Island Wrecks
Fifteen vessels were deliberately sunk in 1963 to create a breakwall for small boats stopping by the island. Fast forward more than 50 years and the rusty ships have become a great attraction for snorkellers with plenty of coral, tropical fish and, if you're lucky, turtles. Australian Sunset Safaris, TangaTours, Sunrover and See Moreton all run this activity.
3. Feed wild dolphins at sunset
Each evening as the sun is about to set, like clockwork up to 10 wild bottlenose dolphins visit the jetty at Tangalooma Island Resort. The experience is free if you're a guest of the resort, otherwise you'll need to be part of the Dolphin Feeding package where you catch the late Tangalooma Flyer back to Brisbane.
4. Cape Moreton Lighthouse
The island is home to the first lighthouse built in Queensland. Still standing at Cape Moreton, this red-striped sandstone beauty was made by tradesmen and convicts in 1857 on a rare rocky outcrop. The Cape is worth a visit not just to see the lighthouse but also as a great viewing point to spot migrating whales, dolphins, manta rays, dugongs, turtles and sharks below. One of the buildings at the lighthouse has been turned into a Visitor Information Centre and is filled with plenty of facts about the island and its history.
5. Climb up Mt Tempest
Looking for a challenge? If you haven't already forgotten, all of Moreton is made of sand so the climb up its tallest mountain isn't easy. Once you reach the top of the 285m climb you'll be treated to breathtaking 360-degree views ranging from the Sunshine Coast to the Gold Coast that make it all worthwhile.
6. Swim in Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon is a sand-bottomed lake in the middle of the island formed through the natural catchment of rainwater over thousands of years when the water table meets the ground surface. Infused with natural tea tree oils, the fresh water and white sand make it a great place to cool off.
7. Whale-watching cruise (June to November)
Every year, thousands of humpback whales migrate by Moreton Island and Tangalooma Whale Watch Cruises run a whale-watching tour that gets up close and personal with the majestic creatures.
8. Kayak the wrecks by night
Launch clear kayaks from the shore by night with Australian Sunset Safaris. In the dark, kayaking is a whole new experience with fish and curious turtles attracted to the bright LED strips that light your way.
9. View the island from the air
Get up and above with Tangalooma Heli Tours. The service offer joy rides of the island starting from $65 per person.
10. Explore a slice of war history
Moreton Island played its part as one of Australia's major coastal defence bases during both World Wars – at its peak 900 troops called the island home. What remains of this history is a number of concrete bunkers, shelters and gun batteries throughout the island. Check out the bunkers at Cowan Cowan or Rous Battery.
11. Roast marshmallows over a camp fire
If you're camping on the island, the Park Rangers allow fires to be lit at pre-existing fireplaces or pits at some campgrounds. These campgrounds include Comboyuro Point, Ben-Ewa and Blue Lagoon campgrounds and the five camping zones. Pack marshmallows and your own firewood – collecting firewood on the island is prohibited.
12. Hit the sand tracks in a 4WD
If you're not lazing about Tangalooma Island Resort, or camping at The Wrecks campground, you'll need a 4WD to see the island. If you haven't got your own, you can rent one from the resort.
13. Wallow in the Champagne Pools
Near Cape Moreton on the north-east tip of the island, the Champagne Pools get their name from the sparkling effect created as ocean waves crash over the volcanic rock breakwall.
13. Walk the Rous Battery track
Discover interesting remnants of World War II scattered along the 9.8km Rous Battery track. The walk on the southern end of the island takes approximately 3.5 hours each way as you wind through scribbly gum forests.
14. Get pampered at the Massage Hut
Treat yourself to a special massage, facial or detox body treatment at the Tangalooma Massage and Beauty Hut. It is located within the resort grounds and is open to resort guests.
15. Take a photo at Honeymoon Bay
Between the rocky Cape Moreton and North Point (where the Champagne Pools are) lies Honeymoon Bay – a picturesque half-moon shaped 50m-wide beach.
16. Jump on a quad bike
Explore beyond the beach with a quad biking tour. Tangalooma Island Resort runs tours that'll take you on the beach and over dunes for a thrilling adventure like no other.
17. Discover dolphins, marine life and more
See Moreton runs a marine discovery tour around Moreton Island with commentary, fish feeding, a buffet lunch, bar and the option to snorkel the wrecks.
18. Tour the island with a guide
Australian Sunset Safaris and Moreton Bay Escapes all run one-day and multi-day tours of the island that will help you get to some of the hard-to-reach places on this list.
19. Up away on the water – go parasailing
Fly high above the shorelines of Moreton Island by trying parasailing. Keep an eye out for dugongs, turtles and dolphins as you zip along behind a boat. This activity is run by Tangalooma Island Resort.
From squash and archery, to soccer and basketball – guests of Tangalooma Island Resort can enjoy plenty of free recreational activities. Read the full list of free fun here.
21. Check out Harper's Rock
At the base of Cape Moreton on the eastern side of the island is a fascinating cluster of red sand formations. Step onto the set of Star Wars and keep an eye out for Looney Tunes' Road Runner as you climb through an area that must be seen to be believed.
22. Scuba dive at Flinders Reef
Off the shore of Cape Moreton, Flinders Reef is a well-known scuba diving spot with excellent marine life diversity, including more than 175 species of fish, turtles and migrating whales (June to November).
Grab a drink and feast on fresh seafood at the Gutter Bar on the southern end of Moreton Island.
24. Do the short climb to Five Hills Lookout
On the road to Cape Moreton, stop and check out this prime spot. It's an easy 1km return walk to Five Hills Lookout that gives you 360-degree views of Moreton Island.
Explore the coastline of Moreton Island in search of dolphins, dugongs, green sea turtles, sea cucumbers, manta rays and more. Tangalooma Island Resort has a purpose-built catamaran and runs eco ranger-guided tours in Moreton Bay.
26. Glamp at Castaways
If camping is too primitive, but you don't want to stay at the resort – give Castaways a try. The accommodation has nine glamping tents with hot showers, flushing toilets and king-size beds to relax on.
27. Go for a banana boat ride
One for adults and kids alike, strap on a life vest and let TangaTours take you out for a ride.
28. Catch a fish
Moreton Island is a fisherman's paradise – try beach, ocean or spear fishing. The area surrounding the island is Moreton Bay Marine Park – be aware of the four sections of beach that are green zoned (no fishing) and two yellow zones (restricted to two lines and two hooks per person).
Tangalooma Island Resort is home to three restaurants, two cafes and a bar that are open to those staying at the resort and also to day guests.
30. Surf's up
The eastern side of the island meets the full force of the Pacific Ocean. Bring your surfboard and catch a wave off one of the beaches.
31. Hire a boat
Hire a boat and head out to the island, or if you're wanting to navigate your own journey on the sea, hire one from Tangalooma Island Resort.
32. Spot of bird-watching
Moreton Island is 98 per cent national park and is perfect for nature lovers. More than 180 species of birds have been recorded on the island – try and spot them all.
33. Explore the Aarhus Dive Site
North of Moreton Island lies a 50m iron barque which sank in 1894 after a 122-day sail from New York, carrying a cargo of kerosene, glassware, wire bails and alarm clocks. Timber artifacts under the sand have been preserved from being drenched in kerosene.
34. View historic grave sites
History buffs will appreciate viewing the historic graves of two children – one who died at sea in 1883, and another in 1895. These are some of the oldest sites in Queensland.
35. Check out the other wrecks
Three ships were deliberately sunk by Robert Alexander Gow in the 1930s to shelter his 12m boat. Known as the Bulwer Wrecks, this makes another great snorkelling and sheltered swimming spot.
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