As Brisbane’s closest island, Moreton Island makes a quick and easy coastal escape. Just a ferry ride away from the Queensland mainland, this nature haven is the third-largest sand island in the world.
Filled with sun-drenched beaches, soaring sand dunes and heritage-protected bushland and lagoons, it’s a prime area to connect with nature or get your adrenaline pumping.
History buffs will also be lured in by two defence batteries built on Moreton Island and other World War II relics while on the ocean floor, Tangalooma Wrecks provide excellent snorkelling and diving opportunities.
Getting to Moreton Island
A mere 40 kilometres from the Queensland mainland, getting to Moreton Island is easy. From Brisbane, travel by ferry, cruise, barge or boat. Alternatively, join a cruise to Moreton Island from Sydney with P&O Cruises and Carnival Cruise. For a grand entrance, opt to fly. Moreton Island is just 15 minutes from Brisbane Airport by plane and 30 minutes from both the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast Airports. Choose from two privately-owned airstrips to land at either Kooringal or Cowan Cowan.
The most popular way to get to Moreton Island is by ferry. The Tangalooma Launch is a scenic 75-minute catamaran cruise from Pinkenba, Brisbane to Tangalooma Resort. Planning on taking your own vehicle? Book around to six months in advance to guarantee a spot on the 90-minute Micat Brisbane to Moreton Island ferry.
Where to eat, stay and play on Moreton Island
Leaving city life far behind isn’t hard when Brisbane’s Moreton Island is involved.
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Best Things to Do on Moreton Island
Glamping, pampering & 4WDing island combo
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The crystal clear waters of Moreton Bay is one of the most stunning spots in Queensland to embark on a water adventure. Get up close and see humpback whales along their migration route with Tangalooma Whale Watch Cruises. Come sunset, you’ll want to be below the jetty at Tangalooma Island Resort to feed wild bottlenose dolphins their dinner and bid them goodnight.
Historical Sites and Wrecks
Pack your snorkel and your fins, deep in the waters off the coast of Moreton Island are 15 shipwrecks to explore. Bulwer Wrecks is where Robert Alexander Gow sunk three vessels to shelter his 12-metre boat. Almost 90 years later, it’s a fine spot for swimming with a kaleidoscope of coral, fish and turtles. On shore is the first lighthouse built in the Queensland, Cape Moreton Lighthouse. Distinguishable by its red striped sandstone, this iconic attraction is perfect for spotting migrating whales, dolphins, manta rays and dugongs.
If you want to delve beyond the surface, you’ll need a 4WD to see the best this all-sand haven has to offer. Rent wheels from Tangalooma Island Resort to hit the tracks or jump on a quad bike to traverse over the dunes. Non-drivers can still get in on the fun. Wax your board and climb atop a mound to launch yourself down at speeds of up to 60 kilometres per hour.
Walks and Hikes
Looking for serenity? Reinstate your zen as you discover the many delights of Moreton Island. Wander the Rous Battery track on the southern end of the archipelago to sight smatterings of World War II remnants. Cool down at Honeymoon Bay, then hike from the crescent-shaped beach to before taking a dip at Champagne Pools, an area of glistening waters formed by the Pacific Ocean crashing over volcanic rock.
Top Places to Eat on Moreton Island
While many visitors pack supplies from the mainland to cook their own feasts, there are still a number of Moreton Island cafes and restaurants if you’re in the mood to dine out. Located in Kooringal on the southern end of the island, Gutter Bar is renowned for its fresh oysters and seafood caught from the surrounding waters. For a lazy brunch, replenish your stomach, as well as your soul at Castaways Cafe within Moreton Island National Park.
Best Places to Stay on Moreton Island
Camping and Glamping
The cheapest beachfront accommodation that money can buy – even after purchasing your Moreton Island camping permit – is a campsite. First-timers should pitch their tent at Ben-Ewa, where the Wi-Fi is strong and the Bulwer General Store is a short drive away while experienced campers will feel at ease at Cowan Cowan. Reluctant to give up creature comforts? You’ll be converted by the safari-style glamping hideaways at Castaways where the mod cons of a hot shower, flushing toilet and king-size bed will make you feel right at home.
From woodland huts to beachside shacks, Moreton Island is home to a host of cabins to base yourself while you explore unspoilt paradise. Our pick of the lot are the understated Cowan Huts where you can experience the outdoors without skimping on luxury.
Holiday and Private Homes
Moreton Island accommodation is wide and varied, offering everything from humble abodes and luxurious villas for you to retire each evening. Among the top areas to stay on Moreton Island are Bulwer, Cowan Cowan and Kooringal. Your best bet is to scout Airbnb or local website, Moreton Island Accommodation Services to find an abode that suits your needs.
Tangalooma Island Resort, Moreton Island
Tangalooma Island Resort is one of 2014’s Ultimate Family Breaks, a supplement Australian Traveller proudly produced in partnership with our sponsor...
Tours and Packages Moreton Island
Whether your heart is set on a Moreton Island day trip or an extended stay, there are a myriad of tour and packages to help you make the most of your visit. Australian Sunset Safari and Moreton Bay Escapes offer a range of tours, guiding adventure seekers to the island’s hidden gems. Board the Marine Discovery Cruise to explore the Moreton Island coast in search of sea turtles, dugongs and dolphins.