With its miles of sun-bleached sandy beaches, towering sand dunes, shimmering lagoons, and pockets of wild bushland, Moreton Island feels a world away from nearby Brisbane. As the third largest sand island in the world and a national park, Moreton Island makes for a perfect day trip when you want to get in touch with nature.
Reached by ferry from Brisbane, the Moreton Island National Park is a popular weekend retreat for visitors and city dwellers, and it’s easy to take in the highlights on a day trip. For the best experience, book a tour to soak up the scenery while spotting whales and dolphins on a cruise around Moreton Bay; swim or snorkel at Tangalooma beach; zip along the sand tracks and dunes on a quad bike; or get your adrenaline fix with activities like sand tobogganing, parasailing, paddleboarding, riding a glass-bottom boat, or kayaking.
Things to Know Before You Go
Temperatures can reach upwards of 86°F (30°C) in summer, so pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat, as well as a swimsuit and towel.
Bring picnic supplies and bottled water with you from the mainland, as there is only one shop on Moreton Island.
Moreton Island is a sand island, so trails and beaches are only accessible by 4WD. A vehicle permit is also required.
The Tangalooma Island Resort is wheelchair accessible and offers beach wheelchairs, but not all island activities are fully accessible to those with limited mobility.
How to Get to Moreton Island
Moreton Island is located about 36 miles (58 kilometers) northeast of Brisbane on the southeast coast of Queensland and is reachable only by boat or private plane. Daily ferries leave from the Port of Brisbane and Eagle Farm, and it’s about a one hour and 15-minute ride. Tours typically leave from Brisbane, the Gold Coast, or the Sunshine Coast.
When to Get There
Water temperatures rarely drop below 70°F (21°C), making it comfortable to swim year-round at Moreton Island. The summer months (November to February) are warmest and busiest. Visiting out of season can mean cooler temperatures, fewer crowds, and better deals on tours and accommodations, while wildlife enthusiasts may want to visit during the whale-watching season (June to October).
Off-Road on Moreton Island
Snorkeling the Tangalooma Wrecks and feeding wild dolphins are popular activities, but there are island adventures to be had off the beaten track. Climb the Mount Tempest sand dune for an unforgettable coastal view; visit the historic Cape Moreton Lighthouse; take a dip in the Blue Lagoon or the Champagne Pools; or hike among World War II ruins along the Rous Battery track.