Moreton Island, Australia
Moreton Island is by far one of the best places we’ve been to the whole way down the east coast of Australia. It is such a beautiful island and we’re both so sad that most people miss it off their agenda and go to the much more popular Fraser Island instead. Having been to both we can say that Moreton Island is far more action packed than Fraser, whereas Fraser features a lot more sightseeing so I guess it depends what you’re after!
Having had a bad experience with our Fraser Island tour we decided to go on a bus rather than in a 4WD, choosing to go with a company called Sunset Safaris. On the day of our trip there had been hardly any bookings for some strange reason. There was one other couple who were supposed to be going with us on the tour, but unfortunately they missed the ferry (which is included in the price of the trip, but they had decided to make their own plans), meaning we had a completely private tour! We were both so excited and thankful that the tour still went ahead and we had the best time ever.
There are not many hostels at all on Moreton Island but the one we stayed in was great! The hostel you stay at will depend entirely on your tour operator, but normally there is a choice between a dorm room (4-8 people) or an upgrade to a double room. We say embrace the dorms and save some money, it’s a great way to meet new friends!
What to do on Moreton Island
Our first activity on Moreton Island was sand boarding! Sand boarding is sooooo much fun! If you’ve never tried it you’ve just got to! It’s like sledging except you go way faster and face first. Remember to keep your mouth closed or you’ll be eating a lot of sand! We had heaps of fun going down the steep hill although the trek back to the top is very challenging… you just have to see it as a fitness challenge which is rewarded with lots of fun!
You can go kayaking around the Tangalooma ship wrecks! The boats are truly unique – clear plastic all over including in the bottom, so while you’re paddling you can see straight down. The shipwrecks are just off the shore, maybe 20 metres out. The series of 15 wrecks were purposely sunk to create a tidal/wave break for ships to anchor behind, like a harbour. We paddled around them absolutely blown away by all the fish we could see, the coral, and the shapes of the ships below us. It was by far our favourite flat water kayak session ever! We highly, highly recommend it.
If you can’t go for a kayak make sure you go for a snorkel/scuba dive, although even if you did get to kayak make sure you do this too! We had so much fun free diving to the bottom of the ocean looking closely at all of the wrecks and beautiful fish. Our guide brought along some bread to feed to the fish; it was truly amazing to be surrounded by so many at one time! It’s something we’ll never forget, that’s for sure.
Go and watch the sunset over the wrecks. It’s absolutely breathtaking, especially if you get a good sunset, as the sun sets right over the ocean! We’ve seen some great sunsets in our time travelling Australia but this one was so unique, plus in the right season you might even be able to see whales and dolphins splashing in the waves.
You can even go kayaking at night. Yes, you heard me right… night kayaking! If you don’t do anything else on Moreton Island make sure you do this activity! It cost us a little bit extra but it’s so worth the money. The design for the night kayaks is simple but so efficient. It was the same boats as earlier but these had strip LED lights glued to the bottom (facing downwards)
They shone really brightly – I think we could even see more at night than in the daylight! We started off paddling out and immediately spotted a shape in the water in front of us. At it came past us we realised it was a ray! We were able to float directly over the top of Mr Ray taking in his majestic swim.
The ray set the bar high for the rest of the paddle and it’s safe to say we weren’t disappointed. The coral glowed in bright blues and greens, even some reds and we were constantly followed by fish of all sizes as moved along the wrecks. Towards the end of the paddle, our guide took us close to where we had seen the ray and called us over – turtle! We followed him until we lost sight, only to stumble on another one straight away! In total I think we saw 4, although any 4 of them might have been the same one but in a different place! They seemed totally chilled as we floated over the top of them – we think they were as curious about our lights as we were amazed by them. The whole experience was truly stunning.
Go for a walk up to the five hills look out where you will be met with the most tremendous views. It was 360 degree views of amazing scenery. From up there we could see the hills in the distance, the tidal flats (flat sand that fills with water when the tide comes in and empties as it goes back out) and the bonsai garden (trees and shrubs that have had their growth stunted to under 2 metres because of salt water and the strong winds.
Next on the list is the tidal flats themselves. We went for a walk through the water, which came up no higher than just above our knees. It was so cool to be able to see where the water became deeper as you could see the darker aqua colour in contrast to the light blue. Our guide told us lots of stories along the walk and kept us really entertained, the water was such a refreshing temperature; it was hard not to just go for a swim!
Go for a walk to the lighthouse and on your way make sure you check out honeymoon bay, it was breathtakingly beautiful. The bay looks like something out of a film and you can just imagine a picture of it on a holiday brochure! The lighthouse itself is pretty amazing to see, as well as the views from the base of it. We looked out to see and saw turtles coming up for breath. Our guide told us that it’s not unusual to see whales at the right time of year (June to November) … how amazing would that be?!
Check out Harpers rock, it’s really strange experience and we promise that you will feel like you’re on Mars! It’s so bizarre to see such red rocks in such a green place.
Take a dip in the blue lagoon, although the name makes it sound like a bright blue beautiful lagoon, in reality it’s slightly brown due to the tea tree! So, although not truly blue it is actually really good for you. Tea tree lakes are said to help to heal wounds quickly and are really good for your skin, so soak up!
Visit the champagne pools. Much like the pools at Fraser Island you can bask in the pools and watch the water fizz over the rocks. It’s a really cool experience and one you should definitely tick off if you ever get the chance.
There is heaps to do on Moreton island, some other things you can do include:
- Hand feeding wild dolphins! Each night 10-bottlenose dolphins come and visit the pier at Tangalooma resort, where guests can feed them. It sounds like a really unique and exciting experience, although you do need to stay over at the resort to be able to do this.
- Go on a whale watch cruise! You can go on a boat tour to see some beautiful Blue whales if you’re on Moreton any time from June – November.
- See the wrecks up in the air! Tangalooma Heli Tours do daily helicopter tours over the ship wrecks giving breath-taking views. It’s probably one of the best ways to see how vast the wrecks are.
- Drive a 4×4 on the beach! You can hire your own car to get the chance to drive on sand yourself. What an awesome memory to have, especially if you’d missed out on Fraser!
There are heaps of other exciting activities to explore such as quad biking, parasailing, banana boating, surfing and scuba diving! We can say for sure that you will not get chance to be bored on Moreton Island weather you decide to go on a tour or book by yourself!
So there you have it. Your full and complete guide to Moreton Island and all the things you can get up to, so what are you waiting for… get booking!
Kay and Dom
* All views and opinions are our own, we are not sponsored by of affiliated with any company(s) we just want to create great guides for people to enjoy their time travelling in Australia.