Moreton Island: Things To Do in Paradise Just Out Of Brisbane

I went to Moreton Island for a day trip for my first weekend in Brisbane. I was impressed by the number of things to do on Moreton Island.

I could not believe a gem like Moreton Island was so close to my new home.

Not only beautiful, but Moreton Island is also very fun with all the unusual activities available on the island. Don’t hesitate to extend your stay if you have the full weekend available!

My Moreton Island Things To Do List

Snorkelling on Tangalooma Wrecks is one of the best things to do on Moreton Island
Snorkelling on Tangalooma Wrecks is one of the best things to do on Moreton Island

Explore Tangalooma Wrecks

Snorkelling the Wrecks is one of my favourite things to do on Moreton Island. Many fish are living on the wrecks, including some big ones, and we even spotted a turtle once. If you are lucky, you will meet dolphins during your swim.

It’s also possible to do scuba diving at Tangalooma Wrecks (click here for more info).

Explore Moreton Island with a 4WD

Moreton is a sand island only accessible by foot or by 4WD. Driving on the beach is relatively easy, but inland was a bit more challenging – and more fun. Here’s a good itinerary for a 4WD and camping weekend on Moreton Island.

If you don’t have a 4WD, you may be interested in an overnight 4WD and camping trip* or this overnight 4WD tour with a resort stay*.

Enjoy the activities offered by Tangalooma Resort

If you are looking for things to do on Moreton Island, you cannot ignore from Tangalooma Resort. The resort offers various activities that could keep you busy for a week: there are over 40 free activities listed! You can also book tours or hire equipment for even more fun: kayaks, catamarans, quads, paddle boards, helicopter flight

The resort offers various activities that could keep you busy for a week: there are over 40 free activities listed! You can also book tours or hire equipment for even more fun: kayaks, catamarans, quads, paddle boards, helicopter flight… Alternatively, you can join a tour* that offers all this too.

Note that visitors that aren’t staying at the resort or travelling with the resort catamaran for a day tour will need to book a free casual access pass in advance to access the resort. And these visitor passes are hard to get.

Feed the wild dolphins

If you stay at the resort, you can pay to feed the wild dolphins that come for a visit at sunset. An experience that lost its charm from my point of view after learning more about it from people who watched it. It would be best described as queuing to give one fish quickly to a dolphin that was attracted by ultrasounds under big spots lighting the water.

Tin Can Bay, ran by volunteers, will offer you – and the dolphins – a better encounter for a lower price.

Watch the Sunset in Champagne Pools

Champagne Pools are the North East of Moreton Island, which make it a perfect spot to watch the sunset on the ocean.

The rocks form a pool with a wall on which the surf breaks to create bubbles in the pool. Some call it relaxing. Waves were a bit too strong during my visit to agree with this – but it was good fun!

Refresh in Blue Lagoon

The freshwater lake is a perfect quiet spot for a nice swim. Don’t expect too much from its name, though. It is a beautiful area, but I would not compare it to a blue lagoon.

Wrecks Moreton Island wSlide down the dunes

The massive sand dunes of Moreton Island are perfect for tobogganing. We ended up doing this while waiting for the boat to pick us up to go back to the continent. They sell on the ship a piece of board on which you can slide down. Don’t forget to buy the wax as well… and to close your mouth when you go down!

Visit the desert

The desert is approximately 1km away from Tangalooma Resort. The walk up there is not hard but has many steps so it can become more challenging in the heat. It took us a bit more than 1-hour return.

The dunes are impressive. When walking on the beach, we can see Brisbane on the horizon. Having a desert so close to it is unexpected.

If you have a 4WD or a boat, you can also go a bit further and check out the impressive Big and Little Sandhills.

Moreton Bay Things to do - Moreton Island Little Sandhills panorama

Sailing Moreton Island 02wSail Moreton Bay

The Moreton Bay is a great spot for sailing near Brisbane. I made a couple of sailing trips over long weekends (3 days).

It took us one small day to sail from Cleveland to Moreton Island the first time and about three hours the second time so that we could spend one day and two nights enjoying the island itself. We saw many dolphins while we were anchored near Tangalooma Wrecks, as they were making their way to the resort to get fed.

Read more about how to sail Moreton Bay here.

Are you ready to go to Moreton Island?

If you don’t want to drive and book a ferry, you also have the option to join one-day or two-day tours (click here for more info*).

How to avoid being disappointed by Moreton Island

Some promotional websites will compare Moreton Island to Fraser Island. Both are big sand islands but, from my point of view, I don’t think they should compare them. It is just not the same experience. As much as I love Moreton Island, I would totally recommend you to go to Fraser Island if you are hesitating between the two – unless you have less than two days from Brisbane or would like to add snorkelling and fun activities from the resort. Click here for more info on Fraser Island.

Some other promotional websites also compare the snorkelling at Moreton Island to the Great Barrier Reef. Seriously. It is true that there are plenty of fish on the Tangalooma Wrecks, and it is a fantastic location to spot marine life. However, the Great Barrier Reef is a lot larger, far more populated and has amazing corals. It plays in a higher league than the Tangalooma Wrecks you will likely explore when going to Moreton Island. There are other dive sites around Moreton Island that are more interesting than Tangalooma Wrecks, but organising a trip there is not as easy as visiting Moreton Island so if you are just around for a few days, it may be challenging to check them out.

Don’t get me wrong: it is worth going to Moreton Island and you won’t be disappointed…

… if you have the right expectations about it. It is a perfect destination if you live in Brisbane or travelling in the region and don’t have much time to visit Australia. Coupled with Stradbroke Island, you’ll get a great experience of Australia’s wildlife (on land and in the sea) and magnificent coastal landscapes.

Where to stay on Moreton Island

Tangalooma Resort

The most famous place to stay on Moreton Island is Tangalooma Resort*, but there are other options to suit all types of budget. Tangalooma Resort is at a walking distance from the boat landing area. If you don’t have a 4WD, it makes it very easy to reach for a great Moreton Experience.

If you have a 4WD and go off the main beach, there are accommodation options in the smaller towns (Bulwer, Cowan or Kooringal).

Camping

Also at a walking distance from the boat landing area, the Wrecks Campground is a more affordable solution for those on a budget. With a 4WD, you will get more options for camping on the beach or close to a lake. This post should help you figure it out.

You will need to book a camping permit online before arrival.

Airbnb

If you take your 4WD car to Moreton Island, then you may want to have a look at what’s available on Airbnb (this link will give you $55 discount for your first Airbnb booking!)*.

What are your favourite things to do on Moreton Island? Share your experience in the comments below!

Where is Moreton Island?

Moreton Island is located 40km offshore from Brisbane. There are boat services from Brisbane Port many times a day. It can get full on the weekends so you will need to book – sometimes well in advance.

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One thought on “Moreton Island: Things To Do in Paradise Just Out Of Brisbane

  1. Jolanta | Casual Travelers

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    I think I have to put Moreton Island on my itinerary for my epic trip to Australia coming… some time… preferably soon. Your photos make it look so appealing! And I’m definitely going to look up Tin Can Bay. My daughter loves dolphins.

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