One day trip that had been our list for a while was Moreton Island. The island is only an hour ferry ride from Brisbane but somehow it took us 9 months and finally having a visitor to make it there.
Our Moreton Island experience started off a little rocky. First, there was a 90% chance of thunderstorms on the day we had purchased our non-refundable tickets for. Then, on the morning of, we arrived at the ferry terminal at 6:45 for our 7am ferry only to realize I had looked up the wrong terminal and the correct one was exactly 15 minutes away. We made it by a hair and ran on board only to realize we had left behind one of our bags (that had the go pro in it).
The whole way over on the ferry the sky looked bleak and we were praying for at least a little sunshine so we could do at least one of the activities we had already paid for. We booked our trip through the Tangalooma Resort on Moreton Island. Our tickets included a round trip ferry ticket, dessert safari and sand tobogganing, $20 lunch voucher, and dolphin feeding but there are many different options you can choose from.
The one activity we knew we wanted to do that wasn’t included was snorkeling. For $40 each we were able to rent equipment for the entire day but if you have your own I would recommend bringing it and saving yourself some money. Moreton Island is home to the Tangalooma Wrecks- a group of 15 ships that were intentionally sunk to create an artificial reef and safe anchorage for smaller boats. You can snorkel or scuba dive through the wrecks on your own or with a guided group to see the hundreds of tropical fish and other marine life.
We chose to go on our own and lucked out as the sun was poking out of the clouds just as we were heading into the ocean. It was my sister’s first time snorkeling so I was so excited to experience it with her.
I wish I could share pictures of the wrecks and fish we saw butttt as I mentioned before the go pro did not make the trip. We had a blast swimming around and poking through the wreckage to see schools of bright colored fish swarming around. It was a surreal feeling and definitely different than any other snorkeling I have done.
Once we emerged from the ocean, the sun was out in full force and we thought for sure our prayers had been answered and those thunderstorms had decided not to show up. We lay down on the beach and soaked up the morning sunshine until it was time for lunch. The water was the most gorgeous shades of blue and the sand perfectly white. Pretty much paradise.
As we were walking to return our equipment, the clouds started to darken and the bottom fell out of the sky. It continued to pour as we ate our lunch at the beach cafe (not worth the $20 voucher, I would bring my own in the future or try the other restaurant) and we began having serious doubts about our dessert safari/sand taboggoning that was up next on the agenda. Luckily, the sun reappeared and we were told that the show would go on.
We piled in a bus with about 20 other people and started the drive across the island to the dessert. I was really surprised at the size of the dessert, although I guess I shouldn’t have been considering that Moreton Island is the third largest sand island in the world, but I had just assumed it would be one little sand dune.
Our guide explained exactly how we were going to climb the ten story sand dune and then slide down it face first on a flimsy piece of wood, and I began to get a little nervous. I am not much of a thrill seeker.
Sliding down the dune was so much fun especially when you began to pick up more speed. You just have to remember to keep your mouth closed or you will wind up chewing on sand for days (just ask Caroline). We wanted to do it again and began the trek back up, as we were getting closer raindrops began beating down on us, progressively getting harder. Right before our turn, it began full on raining. The toboggons wouldn’t budge an inch in the wet sand so we had to walk (sink) down the dune in the pouring rain. So much fun. I am glad we at least got one ride down and want to do it again with our next visitors!
Unfortunately that is when our luck with the weather ended. We spent the majority of the afternoon hanging out in the run down resort watching the colorful lightning and regretting not purchasing the 4pm ferry home. The dolphin feeding doesn’t happen until 7pm so we had to wait around for that.
When it was time for the dolphin feeding, HUNDREDS of people showed up and they explain the process- you put your fish in the water, the dophin takes it out of your hand, photographer snaps a picture and you walk away. Since you are feeding them in the wild you are not allowed to touch them at all. We waited for what seemed like forever for our turn. When it was finally time to stick our fish in the water, the photographer was nowhere to be found. So they let us feed them then and then another time once the the photographer reemerged. It was cool getting to feed them but at that point we were pretty wiped and ready to head home.
I wish that the weather was better and we were able to enjoy the beaches and other activities. There are over 80 different tours and activities on the island so I would love to go back and try my hand at stand up paddle boarding or cruise around on the back of a banana boat. If you are in or around Brisbane and looking for a place with TONS of activities and breathtaking waters, Moreton Island is your place. Just make sure you check the weather forecast in advance. 😉
Linking up with Travel Tuesday!