Moreton Island is a sand island which is home to Mt Tempest, the highest coastal sandhill in the world at the height of 280 metres. The Island occupies 17 000 hectares of land, and at a length of 38km is made up mostly of the island being National Park, lush forests, and glistening lakes and lagoons. The swampy regions are towards the north of the island with the ‘Desert’ being towards the south.
There is evidence on the Island of Aboriginal inhabitance, with the first European settlement in 1848. Moreton Island was also home to the only whaling station in Queensland, which was in operation between 1952 - 1962 at Tangalooma. Sandmining also began on Moreton Island, although has since stopped due to campaigning against it.
Many types of natural environments can be found at various points across Moreton Island. Beautiful forest land can be seen along Middle Road, heathlands can be found along Bulwer-North Point Road, swamps can be seen along the Cowan Bypass Road (with the largest reaching from Comboyuro Point in the north to Ben Ewa along the west coast), and both Perched Lakes and Window Lakes can be found around the Island, with the spectacular Blue Lagoon situated towards the north.
There is a whole host of wildlife on Moreton Island which you can see on the numerous beaches, and along the walking and 4WD trails. Many wading birds can be found on the island, in particular between September and April when many birds migrate from other countries. You may also be lucky enough to see Green and Loggerhead Turtles which often nest between November - February.
In the waters surrounding Moreton Island (part of the Moreton Bay Marine Park) is more wildlife. Creatures you are likely to see include many Dolphins, Dugongs, and also Humpback Whales which can be viewed from Cape Moreton. There is also plenty of different fish species in this area, including Bream, Dart, Flathead, Tailor and Whiting.
The main resort on the island is at Tangalooma on the western coast of the island. There are plenty of activities you can get involved in whilst at the resort, including snorkelling, diving, fishing, or just relaxing by the pool. The main attraction, however, is the dolphin feeding which happens early every evening. Unfortunately this is only available to the resort guests, although anyone can go to watch.
Other settlements include Bulwer to the north of the island, Cowan Cowan between Bulwer and Tangalooma and Kooringal to the south of the island. The only accommodation at these settlements are holiday houses and flats, although camping is also available on the island at Ben-Ewa and Comboyuro Point and The Wrecks on the mid west coast and at Blue Lagoon and Eagers Creek on the east coast. You can buy camping permits in Brisbane from the QPWS Ph:(07) 3227 8186, or from the ranger on Moreton Island Ph:(07) 3408 2710.
There are some fabulous 4WD trails around the island, as well as some great walking trails. However, you will need to stay a few days, at least, to explore the island. Walking trails include the Big Sandhills and Little Sandhills where you will see various lakes and wildlife.
Guided tours to the sand dunes enables you to take part in downhill sand tobogganing. Blue Lagoon offers a host of birdlife and wildflowers during Spring. Cape Moreton has nice views across the beautiful sea, North Point offers good fishing as well as swimming, and the Old Telegraph Road offers interesting scenery.
If you are walking you should make sure that you carry a compass, a small first aid kit, and plenty of water. For any keen divers there is also a ship wreck on the western coast which you can visit. If you don't have your own 4WD then you can join a 4WD tour.
There are 4 ferries operating to the island. Both the Moreton Venture and the Tangalooma Flyer run to Tangalooma. The Moreton Venture is a vehicle ferry which leaves from Lytton 6 days a week and also travels to Reeders Point, while the Tangalooma Flyer leaves daily from Holt Street, Pinkenba. Another vehicle ferry is the Combie Trader which leaves daily from Scarborough, travelling to Bulwer, with the M.V. Sirenia leaving fom Redland Point and travelling to Reeders Point.