Surrounded by national park on Moreton Island, Tangalooma Beach Resort offers a great base for watersports and natural adventures.
By Stephanie Williams
Tangalooma Island Resort is on Moreton Island, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) off the coast of Brisbane. White sandy beaches line the island's ocean side and are ideal for swimming, surfing and fishing, while the sheltered western side is more relaxed, with crystal clear blue water gently lapping against its shore. The Moreton Island National Park covers 98 per cent of the island's area.
There’s so much to do at Tangalooma Island Resort. Enjoy the hiking and walking trails traversing the island, join a 4WD tour or go on a desert journey, which includes an exhilarating toboggan ride down the sand dunes. In the impossibly clear water, you can kayak, snorkel, parasail or even go on an underwater safari. Every evening, hand-feed the wild bottlenose dolphins that visit the beach and watch the sun set over the water.
From villas and suites, to luxury apartments, all accommodation options put the island's dazzling beaches front and centre. Or check into one of the exclusive island holiday houses with million dollar views over Moreton Bay and the Glass House Mountains. There are five restaurants and cafes on the island, Whaler’s Bar and barbecues if you prefer to cook for yourself. The Resort Shop has all the supplies you’ll need.
- Enjoy watching the sun set over the water
- Feed the wild bottlenose dolphins by hand
- Burn down the sand dunes on a toboggan
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Top things to do at Tangalooma
Feed wild dolphins by hand
The star attraction at Tangalooma is the opportunity to hand-feed the bottlenose dolphins which visit the beach each evening. Tangalooma Island Resort has a licensed feeding program and is the only place in the bay where dolphin feeding is allowed. Learn all about these loveable animals from marine biologists at the Marine Education and Conservation Centre.
Dive and snorkel the Wrecks
To create a safe mooring area, boat owners got together in 1963 and proposed to deliberately sink a line of 15 old Harbours and Marine Department steam driven dredges and barges on the edge of a sandbank to create a breakwall. The Tangalooma Wrecks are now an amazing man-made wreck dive and snorkel site. The wrecks are not far off the beach so it is possible to swim out to explore them. It is a great vantage point to enjoy the spectacular sunsets back across Moreton Bay, the mainland mountain ranges and Glass House Mountains.
See passing whales as they migrate
During the 1950s Tangalooma was the site for one of the largest whaling stations in the southern hemisphere. Today during the annual whale migration from June to October, you can witness these gentle giants up close from a purpose-built luxury catamaran. You can also get a great view from the Moreton Island Lighthouse. To learn about the island's history, visit the Moreton Island National Park Information Centre, near the lighthouse in one of the old light-keeper's cottages.
Enjoy a 4WD sand safari
Moreton Island consists entirely of sand and is home to the highest coastal sand dune in the world, Mount Tempest. Join a 4WD desert safari and take a thrilling toboggan or quad bike ride down the sand dunes. Speeds of up to 40 kilometres an hour (25 miles) can be reached.
Walk and hike Moreton Island
Moreton Island has many walking and hiking trails ranging from easy strolls to half-day hikes. Walking is one of the best ways to appreciate the island's environmental features and discover some of the various wildlife habitats. The 20 minute Blue Lagoon walk is great for children because there is a swim at the end. Walk to the top of Cape Moreton to see Queensland's first lighthouse, built of sandstone in 1857. For something a little more challenging, walk to the summit of Mount Tempest, the highest sand dune on the island. You'll be rewarded with 360 degree views across the coastline. Experienced hikers will love the 16 kilometre (10 mile) Telegraph Track which, during spring (September to November), is lined with heathland flowers.
Explore the Moreton Bay Marine Park
The Moreton Bay Marine Park stretches for 125 kilometres (78 miles) along the coastline from the Gold Coast to Caloundra. The park is internationally listed as a RAMSAR wetland and provides a vitally important site for migratory birds. More than 180 different bird species have been recorded on Moreton Island. You can join a wildlife eco cruise to see a range of birds, and you might also be lucky enough to see dugongs and turtles.
How to get there
Tangalooma is about one hour from Brisbane. You can visit on a day cruise, take a car on the daily ferry, or arrive in style by helicopter. Brisbane Airport has links to most Australian capital cities as well as international ports. The three settlements on Moreton Island are all on the western side, at Kooringal in the south, Cowan in the middle and northern Bulwer.