Exploring the Moreton Island

Moreton Island can be found 25km off the coast of Brisbane, and is the world’s third largest sand island. Here, you can marvel at pebble-smooth lakes and lagoons that are nestled amongst sand dunes, wildflower fields, and sprawling white-sand beaches. Perfect for any kind of traveller, including families with young children, senior couples wanting to relax, or even backpackers looking for an adventure.

Moreton Island, QLD

The Wildlife of Moreton Island

Moreton Island is a haven of wildlife that’s renowned for its pristine sprawling beaches and impressive sand dunes. Throughout the island, there are plenty of wildlife watching opportunities, from spotting the unique marine life in designated dive sites, to dolphin feeding spots, and birdwatching opportunities in the lush forests that sit further inland.

Moreton Island is home to over 180 bird species, making it a popular hotspot for keen birdwatchers. As well as plenty of seabirds, there are forest birds and birds of prey. Between September and April, wading birds take to the shores after migrating from other countries, and the influx of eugaries and beach shellfish attracts numerous unique species of birdlife.

You might be able to catch a glimpse of the pied oyster-catcher as they hunt in pairs, or the masked lapwing, eastern curlew, silver gull, and the pelican in and around the shoreline.
Elsewhere on the island, bandicoots, bats, and gliders form the majority of native mammal life, and can be found in the forests surrounding the beaches. Keep your eyes peeled if you head inland on a hike for some of the island’s best-loved native species.

When it comes to reptiles, Moreton Island seems to have it all. There are more than 40 species of reptiles that live on the island, including rare and unique species that are endemic to Australia. See if you can spot blue-tongued lizards, bearded dragons, major skinks, numerous species of snakes, and marine turtles that have resided in the region for centuries.

Between November and February, large populations of Green and Loggerhead Turtles nest on the beaches of Moreton Island, making it the perfect time of year to get to know the animal lifecyles.

The mixed nature of the landscape on the island means there are plenty of other species to spot, too, including frogs and fish in the freshwater lakes, creeks, and swamps.

The sea surrounding Moreton Island is also a haven for wildlife. From Cape Moreton, you have the perfect vantage point for watching marine life, including the majestic humpback whales during their migration from June to November. As well as whales, you can also see dolphins, sharks, and turtles.

The mixed nature of the landscape on the island means there are plenty of other species to spot, too, including frogs and fish in the freshwater lakes, creeks, and swamps.

The sea surrounding Moreton Island is also a haven for wildlife. From Cape Moreton, you have the perfect vantage point for watching marine life, including the majestic humpback whales during their migration from June to November. As well as whales, you can also see dolphins, sharks, and turtles.

Things to Do on Moreton Island

There is plenty to do on the island, from spotting native wildlife to exploring the rich history. Here are some of the best things to do.

Sand Tobogganing

The entirety of Moreton Island is made up of sand, so there is plenty of opportunity to whizz down the numerous dunes on a wooden board. Feel the need for speed when you climb up the tallest coastal sand dunes in the world. Grab a board and jump on however you like, feet first, tummy on the floor, or for the bravest ones in the group, surfing down standing up. You can reach up to 60 km an hour, so if you want to get your adrenalin fix, this is the way to do it.

Snorkel the Tangalooma Wrecks

In 1962, 15 boats were deliberately sunk off of Moreton Island in order to create a breakwall. As the years have past coral and wildlife have moved in and around the boats. Now, those boats have become a hive of activity and wonder for snorkelers, offering a glimpse back into the island’s past, as well as an array of colourful marine life to discover at the Tangalooma Wrecks. A great example of how nature can thrive anywhere.

Feed Wild Dolphins

One of the most popular activities on the island is feeding wild dolphins at sunset. Almost like clockwork every day, ten wild bottlenose dolphins come in to feed at the Tangalooma Island Resort, where eager visitors wait to see these magnificent creatures up close.  Learn about the world of dolphins at the Marine Education Centre before heading off on the jetty to view the friendly dolphins’ frolic ashore for their nightly feeding.

Whale Watching

You can also jump on board the Whale watching cruise see the mighty whales leap above the water during the winter season (June-October.)

4WD Drive

To really see the entire island, why not try out the 4WD tracks on the island. Speed down the beaches on the wet sand and bounce around as you cruise over the rough rocky areas. The Island holds more than 420kms of area suitable for a 4WD adventure.

Walking Trails

Explore the island by walking the many trails scattered throughout the island. You can find countless amazing sights on your journey. Trek to the amazing Blue Lagoon, a large freshwater lake great for swimming or bird watching. The water seeps out from underground, causing excellent quality water some locals even drink!

Cape Moreton Lighthouse

Moreton Island boasts the very first lighthouse built in Queensland – and it’s still standing today. The iconic red-striped attraction was erected in 1857 on a rocky outcrop, and today forms a fantastic viewing point from which you can spot whales, dolphins, sharks, and dugongs. Inside, you can check out the Visitor Information Centre to learn more about the island and its fascinating history. Visit the artefacts left by the war dispersed around the island. Spot concrete bunkers, shelters and gun batteries are overgrown with moss and sand.

Climb Mount Tempest

If you fancy something a bit more adventurous, try your hand at climbing Mount Tempest – the island’s highest sand dune. At the top, you’ll be greeted by breath-taking panoramic views of both the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.

Getting to Moreton Island

There are numerous ways you can get to Moreton Island, including by boat, plane, and even swimming (yes, it’s been done before!). The easiest way is by ferry or barge, both of which leave regularly from Brisbane throughout the day.

Moreton Island makes the perfect day trip from Brisbane, but you might want to extend your stay. Also, if you’re looking to discover the colourful array of wildlife of Moreton Island, there are plenty of tours that let you get up close and personal with the diverse selection of species that call the island home.

Language »