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Motorama 4X4XMORE Best Beaches: Moreton Island

Moreton Island is one of the most picturesque islands in South East Queensland, sitting right in the heart of Moreton Bay.

Just a quick ferry ride from bayside Brisbane, get your slice of tropical paradise within earshot of your house.

The Motorama 4X4XMORE Team sat down with Moreton Island Adventures to get the inside tips on where to go and what to do on Moreton.

Motorama 4X4XMORE: Hi guys! Tell us a little about the island.

Moreton Island Adventures: Moreton Island?  Is that somewhere on the Great Barrier Reef you say?  No!  Moreton Island is Brisbane’s forgotten paradise – hidden just 40km across the bay from Brisbane, most Brisbanites don’t even know it exists – which makes it the perfect destination to get unplugged and off-road!

Moreton doesn’t just have a 4WD track; it’s a whole 4WD island playground!  With just over 200km of 4WD accessible tracks and beaches, there is plenty to explore.  So whether you’re after the thrill of seemingly endless, smooth open beach horizons, or you prefer the challenge of tracking overland and inland, you can test your 4WD skills as little or as much as you like.

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Getting there

4X4XMORE: So, how do we start to even get to Moreton Island?

MIA: Being an island, the only way to Moreton is by ferry.  Moreton Island Adventures runs the MICAT vehicle ferry to the island and the terminal is only a 20-minute drive from the Brisbane CBD.  With easy access from the Gateway Motorway onto the Port of Brisbane Motorway from both North and South, you’ll be kicking back with a beer cruising towards paradise in no time!  The trip takes around 1.5 hours which gives you plenty of time to decrease your tyre pressure and grab a coffee from the on-board café – no sitting in your car watching the salt hit the windscreen on this ferry – we’ll have a latte, thanks!

What you really need to know

  • Book your ferry trip on the MICAT online at www.moretonislandadventures.com.au
  • Bring a 4WD – preferably with low range and decent clearance. 
  • Bring basic recovery gear and the know how to use it.  At a minimum a pair of MaxTrax, Snatch Strap, D-Shackles and a shovel.
  • Book your National Park Vehicle Permit & Camping Permits online with the Department of National Parks, Sport & Racing (NPSR).  You can book permits for either 1 month ($46.65) or 1 year ($234)

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What to do

4X4XMORE: So, we’re coming with our 4WDs! What can we do out there?

MIA: Of course there are plenty of 4WD tracks to explore and have a bit of fun on – but if the kids get bored with riding around in the backseat, why not get them involved in some adventure outside of the car!  Along with Moreton’s unique ecosystem of desert, lakes and wildlife, what really gets people talking is:

  • Snorkelling around Brisbane’s only shipwrecks and seeing the masses of fish and coral living in this interesting ecosystem
  • Reaching speeds of up to 35km/hr with Brisbane’s closest sandboarding
  • Visiting historical WW2 bunkers at Rous Battery and Cowan Battery
  • Comparing your catch to some of the records set in the Moreton Island Fishing Classic
  • Visiting Queensland’s oldest (and prettiest) lighthouse at Cape Moreton

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  • Seeing countless whales pass The Cape (minus the seasickness!) July to October
  • Watching the sunset (with a drink or two) set over the water just steps from your tent
  • Climbing the world’s tallest coastal sand dune, Mt Tempest, and drinking in the 360 degree views
  • Soaking in the tea tree laden waters of Blue Lagoon
  • Unplugging the kids (and yourself) and getting them back to what holidays are really about!

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Where to stay?

4X4XMORE: Where are your accommodation options on Moreton Island?

MIA: At only $5.95 per person per night, and with a view of crystal clear water right from your tent, you absolutely have to try camping on Moreton at least once. Depending on what you’re after, there are campsites ranging from beach camping (BYO toilet) to sites with eco toilets and cold showers and the best place to do your research is to head to the NPRSR website (just google ‘Moreton Island Camping’) and check the maps – or give Moreton Island Adventures a call to chat about your options and book in your campsite.

If you’re not into camping, there are several other options available ranging from the four-star Tangalooma Island Resort to private houses or even Glamping Tents – perfect if you love the idea of the great outdoors but can’t stand sand in your bed!

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What to bring?

4X4XMORE: What should we bring with us?

MIA: Moreton Island is 98% National Park and largely undeveloped (that’s why we like it!)  Because of this, it’s advisable to come prepared for any situation.  There are some locations where you can pick up supplies, these include Castaways Store at Bulwer and a small shop & restaurants at Tangalooma Resort – but bear in mind that you must pre-book a ‘casual day pass’ to enter into the resort so it’s not great choice for emergency supplies.  Kooringal also has a cool little island bar called The Gutter Bar, which is open on weekends, and select times during the week, which is well worth a visit for lunch (just pick your tides so you don’t get stuck there for dinner too!!)

The Essentials

  • Food & water, although the stores mentioned above do have general supplies to pump up your stocks.  There are water collection points at established campgrounds throughout the island but it is recommended that you boil or treat all water prior to drinking.
  • Firewood – must be purchased at the store or brought with you.
  • Fuel – fill up both tanks and bring an extra jerry can with you.  Only 50L of fuel can be kept at developed campsites at one time so if you need more you can head to Castaways Store at Bulwer to pick some more up in 20L drums.  You can either fill up straight away or pay a $50 deposit to take the drum with you (refundable on return of the container).
  • A camp cupboard or box to secure your food is highly recommended.  Feral pigs exist on the island as well as other native wildlife and you do not want to wake up to all your food strewn across the campsite and a bandicoot with a brownie hangover!  If in doubt store it in your vehicle overnight.
  • A gas or fuel stove.  Open fires are permitted at several campgrounds & beach camping (check NPSR for more details) but you don’t want to rely on the weather being fine for your hard earned tucker.
  • Extra batteries!  There is no power supply to the island so unless you’re staying in a house you’ll need to provide any you need.  Low decibel generators (max 60dB) are allowed in certain zones between 8am and 7pm but check if your campsite allows it before lugging one over.
  • First Aid Kit – including basic burn, bite and sting first aid. There is a full time Queensland Ambulance Service located at Tangalooma and in an emergency you should call 000 or 112 (if you have no reception) to get the ambulance sent out to you.
  • A note about mobile reception: Telstra is the strongest mobile network on the island followed by Optus.  Generally reception is greatest on the western side and only Telstra will have sporadic coverage on the Eastern Beach.  At a pinch there is a payphone in the southern township of Kooringal if you desperately need to call someone (or perhaps make friends with a local?)
  • Of course as mentioned above, bring your basic recovery gear and your vehicle permits to make sure the rangers don’t give you a hard time.

4X4XMORE: How can we get more information on the island and taking our next adventure on Moreton?

MIA: Head to www.moretonislandadventures.com.au for more information on how to get there and everything else you need to know, or call one of the Moreton Island Adventures Experts if you prefer to talk to a real person (we only employ real people!) If you’d like to answer that eternal holiday question – “are we there yet?” with a resounding YES, then why not explore your own backyard this year and give Moreton Island a go – we’re sure you won’t be disappointed with Brisbane’s secret slice of paradise. 

Special thanks to the team from Moreton Island Adventures for their insight into one of Brisbane’s less travelled islands – and make sure you chat with the friendly crew on-board the MICAT on the way over.

Remember, the expert team at Motorama 4X4XMORE can help you find the perfect vehicle for your next off-road adventure, and give helpful tips and tricks on how to make the most of your four-wheel drive.