When it comes to white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, and picturesque sunsets over the ocean; Brisbane isn't exactly the destination that comes to mind. Hop on a ferry for 90 minutes and head east away from the city, however, and you reach Moreton Island, the third largest sand island in the world. A popular choice for backpackers, day trippers, and outdoor enthusiasts, Moreton Island is a hub of activity. Hike the National Park, feed the dolphins, kayak in glass-bottomed boats, relax on the golden sand, rent a bike, indulge in luxury spa treatments, enjoy a Segway tour, or choose from the many other adventures available - there's something for everyone.
Tangalooma is the place to be if you're spending time on Moreton Island, a resort most notable for the 15 shipwrecks sunk just off the coast, providing a safe breakwater for the island and a pristine environment for a coral reef to form, attracting a marine eco-system that's teeming with exotic fish and sea creatures. If you're staying in Brisbane and want to experience Tangalooma for a day, Adventure Moreton Island offers a 'design-your-own' package that includes return ferry transportation and your choice of three island activities. This is most definitely the ultimate way to experience the best of the island, so we were thrilled to be invited along for a chance to see what the fuss is all about!
The ferry leaves Holt Street Wharf in Brisbane promptly at 7am, giving ample time for the scenic 90 minute journey along the river and out into Moreton Bay. The captain provides commentary during the cruise, but no one will judge if you choose to nap instead - everyone needs their energy for the day ahead! On arrival, we headed straight for the tour booth along the beach, taking in the incredible panoramic views of the beach and ocean around us. Activities on offer include a beach Segway tour, stand-up paddle board hire, Tangalooma Wrecks snorkel tour, a banana boat ride, beach bike hire, a fish feeding tour and sightseeing cruise, kayaking, snorkel and wetsuit hire, and fishing rod hire for the day. After much deliberation we decided on a combination of land, above water, and underwater activities; the Segway tour, banana boat ride, and Tangalooma Wrecks snorkeling tour!
Up first was the Segway tour with Dave, who expertly demonstrated how to step on and off the machines, how to move forward, backward, side to side, and how to stop (very important), as well as where it was safe to ride the vehicles amongst the beachgoers. I've previously done Segway tours in woodland and in a city centre, so a beach tour was completely new to me - and swiftly became my favourite of the three! With few obstacles and a naturally undulating surface, the white sands of Moreton Island made for a seriously fun ride; we could push the Segways to top speed and race over the lumps and bumps of the beach with wild abandon! Over the 25 minute tour Dave lead us along the shoreline close to the wrecks, pointing out various landmarks and regaling us with stories of the island's history and unique geography, before heading back to the tour booth. Activity number 1 was a roaring success, and we couldn't wait to see what the rest of the day had in store.
After a quick stop for lunch at the Beach Café, it was time for the banana boat ride. We were fitted with wetsuits and life jackets on the beach before wading out into the water and (elegantly) clambering onto the inflatable raft, then being towed out to sea by the instructor on a jet-ski. Once we were safely past all the swimmers the jet-ski kicked it up a notch, and suddenly we were flying! No matter how old you are, banana boat rides never cease to be a whole load of fun - zooming over the wake of the jet-ski with the wind blowing through your hair and the sea spray whipping your face as you hold on for dear life... it's fifteen minutes of pure thrill!
Since we were already in our wetsuits, our third and final activity was a mere hop, skip and jump down the beach, boarding the sightseeing boat for a quick cruise towards the Tangalooma Wrecks where we'd be embarking on a snorkel tour. Our instructor, Taylor, showed us how to properly wear the snorkels and masks, and ran through some safety aspects and hand signals in case we got into any trouble. There was about ten of us in the group, and we one by one slid off the boat and into the water, following Taylor under, over, and in between the sunken ships. The clarity wasn't great but we still saw an amazing variety of fish, including an elusive pufferfish and a glittering rainbowfish, plus an abundance of coral blooming over the hulls of the rusted ships. Taylor lead the way whilst providing commentary on the history of the wrecks and the amazing eco-system that's sprung to life around them - although be prepared to miss most of the commentary if you're underwater the whole time. After around an hour of exploring we hopped back on the boat and cruised back to shore, highly content with the (literally) breath-taking scene we'd witnessed below the surface.
That was it for Tanga activities, but because we were special guests the crew treated us to a magical sunset cruise along the shoreline, watching the light drain from the shipwrecks and the dolphins come up to say hello. A fantastic way to end a perfect day on Moreton Island!
Huge thanks to the team at Adventure Moreton Island for inviting us along for such an unforgettable experience. We really can't recommend these guys enough for Moreton Island day trips, they do all the organising for you so you don't have to worry about transport reservations or logistics, making this experience ideal for solo travellers, young families, and Brisbane locals wanting to escape citylife for a day. Book your Tangalooma Wrecks Adventure Tour online or give the ultimate experience gift to a loved one!