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One of the jewels of South East Queensland and only one hour drive from my home on the Gold Coast, plus a 75 minute ride on the Moreton Island barge, is the pristine and relatively underdeveloped island of Moreton Island. Geographically it lies 58 kilometres northeast of the Queensland capital, Brisbane in Moreton Bay and is an idyllic place to become marooned.
Moreton Island is the third largest sand island in the world and is a haven for fisherman, boaties and divers alike. This little slice of paradise is mainly uninhabited except for Tangalooma Resort on the Moreton Bay side of the island and three small settlements namely, Bulwer, Cowan Cowan and Kooringal which consist mainly of holiday rental homes and a couple of general stores.
It is extremely popular for four-wheel driving, camping and during the winter months, whale watching. On the oceanside of the island there are some of the most pristine untouched expanses of beaches, where campers set up their campsites amongst the casuarinas that fringe the beach.
If you are into free camping or rustic style camping with absolutely no facilities – just you and Mother Nature, then this is the place for you. There are five beach camping zones on Moreton Island: north-west, north-east, south-west, south-east and Yellow Patch. Because there are no facilities in these camping zones, you must bring all essentials including drinking water and a shovel for going to the toilet!
4WD down the surfside of the island, a long 40km stretch of white sandy beach, or pass trough the thick bush of the Moreton Island National Park where you will see an abundance of flora and fauna.
There are plenty of recreational activities including sand tobogganing which Moreton is famous for, snorkelling & diving, bird watching, feeding dolphins, whale watching from land and of course fishing.
Sand tobogganing is extremely popular on the island because of its steep and smooth sand dunes. The highest point on the island is named Mount Tempest, which at 280 metres is reputedly the highest, stabilised, coastal sandhill in the world.
Moreton Island has a few freshwater lakes perfect for a swim to cool off with Blue Lagoon being the largest and most popular. Or try the champagne pools, which is a natural foamy ocean pool hollowed out amongst the rocks at North Point.
Fort Cowan Cowan, an old World War II bunker and fortification complex that was used to protect the approaches to Moreton Bay, is located north of Cape Cowan Cowan.
On the north eastern tip of the island at the rocky outcrop of Cape Moreton stands Queensland’s oldest lighthouse, Cape Moreton Lighthouse, which was first lit in 1857. This is a scenic vantage point for views to the north of Moreton Island.
Tangalooma was the site of an old whaling station and now features the Tangalooma Marine Education and Conservation Centre (TMECC) and is known for its dolphin feeding and shipwreck diving.
The Tangalooma Wrecks consist of fifteen vessels which were deliberately sunk to form a breakwall for small boats and a wreck dive and snorkel site. Snorkelling and scuba diving at this site is an amazing experience as you can swim inside the shipwrecks.
Moreton Bay is home to approximately 600 bottlenose dolphins and each evening as the sun begins to set, a small pod makes their way to the shores of Tangalooma Island Resort, where you can experience a dolphin feeding encounter if you are lucky.
Access to the island is by vehicular barge or passenger ferry services and once ashore you need a four-wheel drive vehicle to drive around the island as there are no sealed roads.
We have very happily been marooned on Moreton Island on two separate occasions; once beach camping in a tent and the other time we rented a holiday home at Cowan Cowan. Both times were a memorable experience and one that I can highly recommend, particularly if you have small children. However it would also be a great place for an escape to paradise for just the two of you.
For more information regarding camping on Moreton Island visit Department of National Parks for a permit. The Moreton Island Ferry service departs from Port of Brisbane. For barge transportation to the island visit MICAT. If you wish to book a holiday home at Moreton Island a great place to start is with Stayz or Airbnb.
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Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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