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About The Island

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Moreton Island is one of the largest sand islands in the world and forms much of the eastern side of Moreton Bay. Situated 40km's from Brisbane, the island is 38km long, and 9km across at its widest point and covers 185 sq. km.

Moreton Island has three small townships which are Bulwer, Cowan and Kooringal, also has a large tourist resort called Tangalooma.

The island is serviced by a vehicle and passenger barge the Micat that leaves from Whyte Island at the mouth of the Brisbane River ( more information on this site ), a fast passenger ferry that services Tangalooma Resort, and a passenger boat Big Cat Realty that leaves from Newport Waterways Marina Scarborough and travels to Bulwer.

Moreton Island is also part of the southern Queensland sand mass which includes the Cooloola coast, and islands of Fraser, Bribie and North Stradbroke.

The island consists entirely of sand apart from a small area of sandstone and rhyolite at Cape Moreton. Several different dune types, of differing ages are recognised by their form and soil development. Mt. Tempest is considered the highest coastal sand dune in the world at 285m.

One of the striking features of Moreton Island are the bare sand areas. The northern west coastline is dominated by a large sand-slip named "Yellow Patch" and the bare sand hills behind Tangalooma are a major tourist attraction.

Moreton Island supports a number of habitats - beach and dune communities, the rocky headland, lakes, streams, sedge and paperbark swamps, banksia heathlands, open woodlands, forests, mangroves and salt marshes.

The island is home to a variety of wildlife including birds such as the red-capped dotterell and thousands of waders which live along the beaches and in the wetlands and scrub.

Most of Moreton island has been declared a National Park to conserve and protect the natural areas, wildlife and historical sites and is also a recreation area managed for public use and enjoyment.

ISLAND HISTORY

Aborigines have lived on Moreton Island for 20,000 years, though most of the dated middens are much younger. Over 200 sites of importance have been identified, especially to the descendants of the local tribe of Ngugi.

Moreton Island was a key centre during the early days of Brisbane's penal settlement

European settlement began in 1848 with a pilot station at Bulwer. Following several shipping disasters in the South Passage area, the northern channel became the main route to Brisbane.

Land sales started in 1863, and though a few cottages were built on the western side, most of the island was left to a few fisherman and oyster farmers.

Goats and pigs were introduced in 1865 to provide food for shipwrecked sailors.

Cape Moreton lighthouse was the first lighthouse made from local sandstone and still operates today: By 1920, five more lighthouses were built, though only two now operate. in 1890 a telegraph line was built down the island to link Bulwer with Amity Point on North Stradbroke Island.

Moreton Island was the centre for major coastal defense bases during World War I and II.

Remains of gun emplacements, fortifications and controlled mine facilities protecting Brisbane from sea attacks, can still be seen at Cowan Cowan and at Toompani Beach on the eastern side.

Between 1952 and 1962, Tangalooma operated a whaling station processing about 600 whales a year, mostly humpback. When the whaling station closed, the buildings were redeveloped into what now is Tangalooma Resort.

From 1947 to 1992 small areas of Moreton Island were mined but, mining operations ceased when leases were relinquished and the lands were added to the national park.

Moreton Island is globally famous for the spectacular array of sea life that continually cruise its coast line. From the Cape Moreton lighthouse or sight-seeing boats, you can expect to see manta rays, dugongs and turtles gliding in the crystal clear water while dolphins frolic and feed in the waves.

Even more amazing is the chance to spot the humpback whales as they migrate north in June-July and return with their calves in September-November. These awesome giants are guaranteed to make every-ones holiday an unforgettable experience.

If you are looking for a taste of adventure on your holiday there is nothing like speeding down a giant sandhill clinging onto a waxed up toboggan board. For the real thrill seeker, the Big Sand-hills reach up to 80 metres high and speeds have been clocked up to 50 km per hour, while for the not-so-daring and the kids, the small sand-hills and The Desert are perfect for giving this fun sport a try. Not only perfect for tobogganing, the sand-hills and The Desert are a spectacular sight and a must see for any visitor to the island.

If fishing is your thing then Moreton Island is the place to be. The famous "Tailor Run" occurs from August to December as these hard fighting fish migrate north for breeding then run back down along Moreton Islands' beaches. Also off the beach Jew, Trevally, Whiting, Bream, Flathead and Dart can be caught all year round, while just off-shore, and from the rocks, big Snapper, King Fish, Tuna and Mackerel are there to challenge the serious fisherman.

As if Moreton Island wasn't beautiful enough on the surface, below the water is a whole new visual paradise. There are many reefs surrounding the Island, which are home to a prolific range of dazzling reef fish and coral formations that can be experienced by all. Snorkelling or diving around the Tangalooma 'Wrecks' is an opportunity not to be missed. Scuba diving expeditions leave daily from"Get Wet" Dive Shop, Tangalooma Resort for bay reefs, or simply hire a boat and diving gear.

The waters surrounding Moreton Island are always clean, and usually crystal clear. Swimmers can enjoy a dip from any of the beaches, but Honeymoon bay, just around the corner from Cape Moreton, is an especially delightful spot, and the sheltered foreshore at Tangalooma is another favourite. Water temperatures usually remain above 17 degrees Celsius even in mid winter.

Moreton Island has five national parks managed camp sites around the Island with toilets, showers, BBQ facilities and picnic grounds. However one of Moreton Islands' main attractions is the freedom to stop and make camp virtually wherever you desire. Pick a blue lake or the beach-front to pitch your tent, or for those seeking solitude, a bush hide-away is a perfect retreat.

This is a rare experience that is not to be missed. Enjoy the challenge and fun of off-road driving along the bush sand tracks and open beaches while you explore the Island.

Moreton Island is home to a wide variety of bird life. The majestic Sea Eagle can be found all around the island while the bird sanctuary at Mirapool is a favourite habitat for resident and migratory wading birds. The islands bush is filled with prolific bird life, which add colour and song to an already beautiful setting.

Throughout the island there are defined walking tracks, and for the more adventurous overlander, hiking is a wonderful way to experience pristine Australian Bush land at its best in complete solitude.

HISTORIC SITES

The Island has a number of interesting sites, including Aboriginal middens (sea shell mounds), early settlement works and grave sites, and World War II military emplacements.

Most famous is the old whaling station at Tangalooma, where the huge flensing deck is preserved in remarkably good condition

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