Moreton Island might just be Brisbane’s closest ultimate offroad destination. Pristine scenery, plenty to explore, great driving, fishing, swimming or just relaxing. There’s something for everyone whether it be a family holiday or a boys fishing trip. With the ferry terminal only about 25 minutes from Brisbane CBD you can easily head over for a long weekend. The island is small but it packs a punch and there is plenty to experience over a longer trip also.
The Moreton Island Adventures MICAT ferry, departing from the Port of Brisbane, is the only way to get a vehicle over to the island. Heading along Howard Smith Drive, its easy to spot the Moreton Island Adventures sign, which leads you to the ferry loading area. Turning right upon departing the ferry you will reach Middle Road which takes you over to the east coast or allows you to bypass Tangalooma and continue down the western coast. You can also continue along the beach past Middle Road to head further north.
Being the third largest sand island in the world, you can safely expect plenty of sand driving. Drop your tyre pressures while travelling on the ferry. Around the ferry landing the beach is easily drivable at low tide. The sand above high tide in front of the wrecks can get a little soft and chewed up. Travelling along the west coast at low tide is very easy going, towards the southern end of the island there are some softer patches that will slow you but shouldn’t present any problems with correct tyre pressures. At high tide sections of the north and west coasts may be impassable due to the narrow beaches and creeks.
The east coast at low tide is like cruising a highway, however as the tide rises you will be pushed further up the beach into rougher and softer sand, around high tide some sections may be impassable. There is no driving above the high tide mark around the Short Point area, you’ll need to take the Kooringal track if the beach is impassable at low tide. Be mindful the cut-in for the Kooringal track is reasonably long and usually quite soft.
The inland tracks of the island are all fairly easy driving but are a little rough. Middle Road can become very rough in parts and soft at times of heavy traffic. Apart from Middle Road all other inland tracks are two-way so take caution in narrow sections or coming over crests.
Standard National Parks camping fees apply for all camping zones and you’ll need a Moreton Island vehicle access permit. Both need to be purchased before getting on the island. Return vehicle tickets on the ferry start at $199 off-peak and include driver and 1 passenger.
Keep an eye out for ferry specials, sign up to the Moreton Island Adventures newsletter on their website.
Information and Map www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/moreton-island
Permit Booking phone 13 74 68 or www.parks.nprsr.qld.gov.au/permits
Ferry Information moretonislandadventures.com.au
Limited supplies are available on the island. Castaways Store & Cafe in Bulwer offers many grocery essentials, ice, firewood, newpaper, bait/tackle as well as some recovery items. The Kooringal General Store and Café offers similar supplies as well as meat and fresh local seafood. Castaways also offers fuel available in 20L jerry cans, be prepared to spend a small fortune though. It’s recommended to be well prepared with all supplies, drinking water & fuel from the mainland.
Things to do
Moreton Island has to many activities and it’s safe to say there will be something for everyone. The island is a popular fishing destination, Tangalooma Wrecks provides a great spot for snorkelling and the sand dunes all around the island offer some spectacular views and for the thrill seeker, come flying back down on a sand board. If you’re up for a short hike, the walk up Mount Tempest really pays off with 360° views of the island and Moreton Bay.
There are different styles of camping located all around the island to suit what you like or what you want to experience. Camp areas stretch along most of the east coast for great beachfront camping with no facilities apart from Blue Lagoon camp area, which is situation behind the dunes and has drop toilets and cold showers.
The south-western camp sites offer a more remote style camping in a lesser travelled part of the island. Untreated water is located near the Big Sand Hills and the closest facilities are at the Tangalooma Wrecks. The campsites provide a stunning bay outlook right near the waters edge. North-west camping areas stretch from Ben-Ewa to Comboyuro. Sites are slightly more open to the bay waters but are very easily accessible.
To the north of the island Yellow Patch camping zone offers sites facing north-west and surf beach. The sites are set well back from the waters edge amongst the trees providing shelter. North Point camp ground offers large grassy defined sites with water, toilets and cold showers.
Ben-Ewa, Comboyuro Point, Blue Lagoon and North Point camping areas all offer more defined camping with marked sites and situated off the exposed beaches. All sites have water, toilet and cold shower facilities.
You can’t miss the glow of Brisbane at night, however Moreton is probably the closest you can get to the city and still feel so remote. There is plenty to explore and much of the area will make you feel as if you have travelled great distances from the urban hustle and bustle. We give Moreton Island a 4/5 on the adventure scale.