A Detours & Diversions piece on who first discovered Moreton Island, QLD, and what the destination is famous for now.

Where: 40km east of the Brisbane coast, Qld
Who: Thomas Pamphlett, Richard Parsons and John Finnegan
How: As business trips go, they don’t get much more disastrous. The three former convicts were on a trip from Sydney to the Wollongong area in 1823, looking for cedar. However, horrendous sea conditions saw them blown ever so slightly off course, and they ended up crashing into Moreton Island off the south Queensland coast.

Parsons didn’t last long, but thanks to a lot of nursing from the local Aboriginals, Pamphlett and Finnegan survived. After making it back to the mainland, they soon came across surveyor-general Sir John Oxley, who was having a nosy around. They showed him the Brisbane River, which later became the foundation point for the Queensland capital. Ironically – and tragically – the European settlement eventually wiped out the Aboriginal community on the island that had saved the waylaid timber hunters.

Now: Moreton is an alternative to Fraser Island, with 4WD access to the beaches, huge sand dunes and beautiful freshwater swimming holes. You can take a one- or two-day tour with Goanna Adventures ([07] 4125 2343 or http://www.goannaadventures.com.au/) at a cost of $119 and $229 respectively. Alternatively, you can stay at the Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort ([07] 3268 6333 or http://www.tangalooma.com/). Accommodation starts at $230 per night and includes a ticket to the dolphin feeding, which happens at the beach every evening.

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