If you’ve grown up in SE Qld as I have, you’ll recall family trip’s made to Bribie, partied/camped/chilled on Straddie and found any reason you can to visit Fraser. Few of us it seems (yours truly included) have made the journey across the bay to Moreton Island, seemingly a forgotten cousin of the aforementioned islands.
Proximity is hardly an excuse given it’s appearance on the near horizon from nearly anywhere on Moreton Bay’s coastline. Perhaps it’s the long ferry journey, lack of infrastructure and roads or even a marketable identity?
Moreton Island Day 1
The majority of the Island’s visitors will arrive via 4WD, accessing the beach at low tide and crossing the island to find a suitable campsite. Others will walk the short distance from the ferry to stay at Tangalooma Resort.
We’ve chosen to explore – on foot over two days – this under loved wonder right on our doorstep. Walking south from the ferry landing – adjacent to several shipwrecks, their rusting frames rising from the water some 100m offshore, providing ideal snorkelling – we pass the Tangalooma resort and begin our journey south along the western shoreline.
I discover that Moreton Island is the world’s 3rd largest sand island, played a role as a defence installation in WW2, was the site for Queensland’s only whaling station and even mined for it’s mineral rich sand.
Despite a persistent headwind, the low tide provides easy walking on the hard sand, providing endless opportunities to explore the tidal flats and the creatures that inhabit it – including soldier crabs and numerous starfish.
At the ‘Big Sandhills’ we cross the island interior to the eastern shoreline, the calm water lapping the western beach, now replaced with loud beach surf whipped up by the high winds.
We’ve seen few of the 4WD’s that accompanied us on the barge across from the mainland, the majority preferring the northern end of Moreton Island.
Walking north along the beach, we make camp at the ‘Rous Battery’ campsite. Atop the dunes behind the campsite are what remains of several concrete bunkers used by the military during WW2 to protect the approaches to the port of Brisbane.
Moreton Island Day 2
Leaving the beach again, we return on a track that meanders some 10 klm’s north-west through the wild interior of Moreton Island, returning us to the beach just south of Tangalooma resort.
Just prior to reaching the beach, we traverse a section of exposed sand dune appropriately called ‘The Desert’. This is a popular sand tobogganing location, an opportunity to slide down one of the high steep sided sand dunes.
Coffee, beer and hot food at the resort reward our two days of walking, while we wait for the return ferry back to the mainland.
Beautiful beaches, tranquility and a fascinating history are all reasons for you to visit Moreton Island; you’ll wonder why you left it so long.
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