Long weekends are the perfect excuse to explore another corner of this vast country I live in, and so thanks to the Queen having a birthday, we headed North from the Gold Coast for an island adventure. Moreton island is the world’s third largest sand island meaning you can only get around with a 4WD and so for that reason we booked a tour to see the magic of the place. My expectations were low, I mean it’s just a small island off the coast of Brisbane, nothing special right? Boy was I wrong.
There’s nothing like getting back to basics and living simply for the weekend with nothing but the backpack on your shoulders, your best friend by your side, no cell-phone reception and certainly no wi-fi. Sandy toes, salty skin and a bikini close-by were the only things I was sure of. I was pleasantly surprised with the mountain of things to do on Moreton Island, and the awe I experienced and knowledge I gained while doing so.
Pulling up to the island on the ferry I was already blown away and felt I had my money’s worth. The colour of the water and the stark contrast of the dense green bush and white sand was just jaw-dropping. The Tangalooma Shipwrecks were in perfect view and are a major part of the island’s attraction. I learnt they were deliberately sunk to create a breakwall and mooring lagoon for small boats stopping by the island. The sunken ships are now home to an abundance of marine life including coral, tropical fish and even turtles and are pretty spectacular to snorkel around!
We ventured 20mins into the middle of the island to a place aptly named ‘The Desert’ and had a sand smorgasboard. I was actually quite nervous to fly down a dune on nothing but a flimsy piece of wood but after one go I passed on the wax so I could go faster. Daredevil I know…. I quickly learnt it’s best not to laugh with your mouth wide open and it’s better to scream silently. Less sand in mouth you see.
The rest of the day was spent basking in the glorious Spring sun and kayaking in the crystal clear waters and lagoons before making our way to the North end of the Island to the campsite. Fizzing along the waters edge as the sun was setting was another pinch myself moment; spotting starfish plonked on the sand, whales breaching and dolphins frolicking in the fading light made me feel so grateful to be in this tropical paradise.
As night fell we showered under the tree canopies, feasted on a true Aussie styled BBQ, shared stories around the campfire and made wishes on shooting stars before resting our weary heads. A 4am start meant we were pretty pooped come 9pm.
The next day we spent more time on land than in the water and explored the whole North End of the island. First up we did the short walk to Five Hills lookout and took in the 360 degree views before making our way to the Champagne Pools; named due to the sparkling effect created as ocean waves crash over the volcanic rock and into the lagoon.
Honeymoon Bay is a picturesque beach where tiny waves lap the shore and a good spot to park up for the day. No rest for the wicked though we were off to the first lighthouse built in Queensland, and built by convicts for that matter. We learnt that each lighthouse has a different paintjob and light sequence so ships know exactly where they are day and night.
The rest of the afternoon we spent face painting with clay from Harper’s Rock which feels like you teleported to the moon with the red rock formations hugging the cliff face. We dipped our toes in the Coral Sea before making our way to the Blue Lagoon which is a sand bottomed fresh water lake where the water table meets the grounds surface. It’s even infused with natural tea tree oils so makes for a very refreshing dip!
Overall the two days felt like a week due to how much we crammed into the trip. If you are up for adventure then I cannot recommend Sunset Safaris enough – our guide was an absolute legend and let us run amuck on Moreton. If you have your own 4WD then pack up the tent and take off pronto…Just one of the many islands of Oz I can now tick off my never-ending bucket list.
There’s more to Moreton
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