day trip to Moreton Island

How To Plan A Day Trip To Moreton Island With Tangalooma Island Resort

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Looking to do a day trip to Moreton Island but unsure how to plan your day? In this guide, we’re going to help you make the most of your day trip from Brisbane or from Gold Coast so you can enjoy one of the best gems in South East Queensland!

Let’s get things straight! While you can bring your 4wd over on the Micat Ferry to Moreton Island, you don’t need one to see the highlights of this amazing island near Brisbane. So in this guide we’re going to talk about how to do a day trip to Moreton Island with Tangalooma Island Resort, just like we did!

Did you know Moreton Island is the third largest sand island in the world?

If you were wondering, Fraser Island gets the top spot, then Stradroke Island, Moreton Island and then Bribie Island. This means you can’t bring a normal 2WD car onto the island as the roads are full of sand.

Even though the island is stunning, the highlights really are the activities led by Tangalooma Island Resort. You don’t need to stay at the resort to book the activities and best of all, you don’t need a car to do them either.

So, in this day trip to Moreton Island guide, we’re sharing the activities you can book with Tangalooma Island Resort. You’ll need to either book one of their packages or book the Beach Day Cruise, and go to the Tour Desk when you arrive to see what availability there is to take part in the activities on the day. You can’t just turn up to the island and book the activities without being a guest of the resort.


Why do a day trip to Moreton Island?

day trip to Moreton Island

There’s so much more to Moreton Island than you think. We had no idea how many activities there are to fit into a day trip with Tangalooma Island Resort that you’ll be ending your day planning your next trip here.

The beaches are beautiful with white sand, crystal clear waters and plenty of palm trees to make you feel like you’re a million miles away from the city.

There are heaps of activities to do here, from massage to snorkelling the famous Tangalooma Wrecks, sand boarding and quad biking too. Honestly, the list goes on and on for awesome things to do in Moreton Island with Tangalooma Island Resort.

Here’s a Moreton Island itinerary to plan your day trip from Brisbane.


Pre-book your day trip package

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As we mentioned above, you’ll need to pre-book your day trip package with Tangalooma Island Resort. They offer loads of packages that include your ferry transfers, lunch vouchers and activities so you don’t need to think about how to book when you get to the island.

These include a Desert Safari Day Cruise, Snorkel the Wrecks Day Cruise and ATV Quad Biking Day Cruise, plus more! The packages offer inclusions like the famous dolphin feeding experience. Luckily, the last ferry departs from the same location as the dolphin feeding after it finishes at 7pm.

You’ll be given a package when you jump on the ferry which includes a map of the island, vouchers for your tours and lunch and more.

Just reminding you that you can only do the activities mentioned in this guide with Tangalooma Island Resort. You’ll need to book the Beach Day Cruise and then book the activities at the Tour Desk when you arrive, or book one of the packages mentioned above.


Jump on the Tangalooma Island ferry

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You’ll need to get over to Holt Street Wharf in Pinkenba to jump on the Tangalooma ferry. We wondered if we were heading the wrong way on the way there, but you’ll see the sign for the ferry when you reach the water.

There’s a coffee shop converted from a shipping container at the ferry port so you can get a coffee while you’re waiting for the ferry. It’s advised to arrive an hour early and you can safely park your car in a secure car park for the duration of your visit.

There’s three ferries running to the island and we ended up being on the largest one which has a deck up the top. Bring sea sickness tablets if you don’t fare well on boats as it is a 75 minute ferry ride.

Check the ferry schedule times for the Tangalooma ferry.


Head straight for the tour desk

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If you’ve only booked the Beach Day Cruise, then head straight to the reception desk at Tangalooma Island Resort. It’s wise to do some research on the activities you’re interested in before you arrive because there are so many to choose from and also you might run the risk of some of the activities being booked up. If you’re keen to do certain activities, I would book one of the packages instead.

Some of Tangalooma Island Resort’s unique attractions include; snorkelling the Tangalooma Wrecks which is not far from the resort, ATV quad biking, sand boarding the massive dunes and feeding the wild bottlenose dolphins. The unforgettable kayaking experiences in the transparent kayaks around the sunken shipwrecks to see some sea turtles and unbelievable local marine life are not to be missed.


Snorkel the Tangalooma wrecks first

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We recommend starting your day snorkelling the famous Tangalooma Wrecks when you first arrive on your day trip from Brisbane. We spoke to some of the tour guides and they suggested the best time to snorkel the wrecks is in the morning as the fish are waking up and it’s completely full of life.

day-trip-to-moreton-island-tangalooma-wrecks

When we went snorkelling, it was around 1pm and the water was super choppy that we didn’t see much because of the visibility. When we woke up the next day, the water was flat as a pancake. Personally we would have gone in the morning as the water was calmer and clearer so we would have had a better chance at seeing the hidden underwater wonders that lie beneath the water.

When you go snorkelling, there are lockers you can pay $10 to put your belongings in, or leave them above the lockers for free. We were told only to take our GoPro as the boat can get quite wet.


Got time for one more activity?

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If you arrive early to Moreton Island and have time for another activity then you must do the 4wd Desert Safari Tour. Be careful with planning your trip because you might find the activities run for a little longer between getting changed for them and getting to and from each activity.

But, if you arrive on the early boat, you might have time to squeeze in another activity before lunch. We recommend doing the 4WD Desert Safari tour, which takes about 45m. You’ll get to see some of the island while driven in a 4WD bus before landing on the amazing Tangalooma sand dunes.

4wd-desert-safari-tour-moreton-island

The dunes are much bigger than we were expecting and although I’m not a fan of heights, I found courage and went down the dunes, which was great fun. The adults were having more fun than the kids! It’s one of those must do activities in Moreton Island with Tangalooma Island Resort for sure.


Lunch at The Beach Cafe

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When you’ve dried off, head over to The Beach Cafe for lunch. The outside is nicer than indoors so grab a seat in the sunshine and enjoy the ocean views. The menu is quite simple with salads, fish & chips, burgers and pizzas. I ordered the beef nachos which were pretty good to be honest!


Afternoon quad biking

ATV-quad-biking-moreton-island

After lunch, I would get ready to go on the ATV quad biking tour. Although I was a little apprehensive about quad biking initially, we had a brilliant time. Honestly, I would go as far to say the quad biking is the best Moreton Island activity – and that’s coming from someone who isn’t even into quad biking.

There’s a whole route designed for quad biking on the sand and it’s full of bends and paths up high so you’ve got an amazing view of the ocean.

day-trip-to-moreton-island-atv-quad-biking

I wish we could have gone a little slower purely because I wanted to take it all in but I suppose quad biking is all about the adrenaline and adventure! If you’re worried about keeping up with the others in your group (you’ll be grouped with other people), you might end up splitting up mid tour with another guide like we did.

While I thought we were going slow, turns out we were faster than everyone else and the entire group ended up splitting up with separate guides.

The quad biking tour takes about 1h30m total so it will leave you enough time to come back and chill out at one of the swimming pools you can use or on the beach for the day.


Dinner at Fire & Stone

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We recommend heading for an early dinner at Fire & Stone which is an Asian restaurant serving up Chinese and Vietnamese food. You can then head over to The Wheelhouse Deck for a cocktail and watch the sunset from there.

We must admit, the sunset we saw was one of the best sunsets we’ve seen in ages. The sun sets over the water and it sure will be a memorable one!


Feed Wild Dolphins

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Just after sunset, the wild dolphins come over to the jetty and wait patiently to be feed by the resort guests. You’ll need to book in for this once in a lifetime experience but it’s totally worth it. I was a little unsure how I felt about the idea of feeding wild dolphins but it’s actually quite an amazing experience.

day-trip-to-moreton-island-wild-dolphin-feeding

When lights were fitted onto the jetty in 1980, the dolphins would turn up to hunt over fish. While fishermen would throw in their reject fish, the Tangalooma Island Resort owners decided to start feeding them fresh fish instead, while being mindful that it was regarded as more of a snack rather than their main meals of the day.

When the owner started hand feeding the dolphins, they have continued it on to this day and allow up to two guests and a guide to feed a dolphin at any one time. It’s a must do experience when you’re visiting Moreton Island and Tangalooma Island Resort.


Catch the ferry back

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Like I said earlier, you can jump on the last ferry of the day at 7pm after the dolphin feeding has finished back to Brisbane so you can tick it off your bucket list. You’ll be back in Brisbane at 8:15pm ready to end an amazing day trip to Moreton Island with Tangalooma Island Resort.


Things to know before doing a day trip to Moreton Island

There are a couple of things you should know before doing a day trip to Moreton Island with Tangalooma Island Resort which we’ll mention below.

Bring warm clothes

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You’ll need some warm clothes for the ferry ride (if you end up getting the big ferry) as it can get chilly if you’re sitting up at the top deck like we did. We visited in June which was actually quite warm in the day time but cold at night.

Lockers at the resort

tangalooma-island-resort-lockers

There are lockers behind the reception desk at Tangalooma Island Resort you can use for $2. If you open the locker at anytime, you’ll need to pop another $2 into it to keep your belongings secure. If you’re going on any of the activities, you might want to use the lockers to secure your things.

There is a photographer on-site for most of the activities, so you can purchase photos of yourself doing the dolphin feeding, quad biking, sand tobogganing etc.

Leave your drone at home

day-trip-to-moreton-island

You can’t fly your drone within 5km of Tangalooma Island Resort and that includes the famous Tangalooma Wrecks too. There are helicopter flights taking place throughout the day so you can’t fly your drone because of it (we were granted approval from the marketing department as we visited Moreton Island to bring you our guides).

No dogs on Moreton Island

day-trip-to-moreton-island

Unfortunately you can’t bring your dog to Moreton Island as it’s part of the Moreton Island National Park. We always use Mad Paws for pet sitting in our local area which has worked out really well.


Is it really one of the best day trips from Brisbane?

day-trip-to-moreton-island

We’ve visited a lot of islands in Queensland and we were totally blown away by Moreton Island given its proximity to Brisbane. If you’re looking for unique things to do in Brisbane and bored of going to the shops or to the beach, look no further.

A Moreton Island day trip with Tangalooma Island Resort is much more than just going to another beach, it’s an adventurers paradise with so many unique activities you’ll come away wondering why you hadn’t visited sooner.

If you want to make the most of the island, we recommend staying at the resort, so check out our review of What Is It Really Like To Stay At Tangalooma Island Resort so you can make up your own mind.

Day Trip To Moreton Island

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