Moreton Island (part 2)

So yes we have returned back home from holidays and already looking forward to the next!  We had a great time away and spent a lot of time catching up with all our Queensland based friends.  We enjoyed our first visit to Moreton Island, it’s very different to Fraser Island, a lot smaller, fewer people and less ‘things’ to see.

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So how do you get to Moreton Island you might ask?  Well it’s on this ferry below, the MICAT. We arrived at the Port of Brisbane early in the morning and were loaded on to the ferry.  Once you are parked up you can set about deflating your tyres ready for your adventure ahead.  To help on your return back to the mainland, they even have air hoses on board the ferry.

Once that’s done its time to head upstairs where you can relax and enjoy the 1 1/2 hour journey to the island.  Snacks, tea, coffee, alcohol and souvenirs are all available for purchase on board.  The ferry ticket was by far the most expensive part of the trip at about $250 per vehicle, then factor in that we were towing the trailer so we had to double that cost, it was a fairly expensive journey! 

We spent 4 days on the island and saw most of it during that time.  It really is a beautiful place.

The main thing people know about Moreton Island is the Tangalooma Wrecks and who doesn’t love a shipwreck!

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Here you will find 15 shipwrecks which were deliberately sunk to form a breakwall for small boats and to also create a dive and snorkel site, Brisbane’s only shipwreck snorkelling site.

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In recent years the tops of the wrecks were cut off for safety reasons, but the ship hulls are still there waiting to be explored.  The waters are clear and full of marine life and coral and only a very short swim from the shore and you can be amongst this.

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There seems to be quite a bit of history associated with Moreton Island and I guess we will have to explore this during our next visit!  From 1952 to 1962 a whaling station, Queensland’s only whaling station, operated on the western side of the island and the remains now form part of the Tangalooma Resort facilities.   Each season up to 600 humpback whales were harvested, with a maximum of 11 whales per day.  Thankfully these actions don’t take place today, but it’s still an interesting part of history.

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During the wars, major coastal defence bases were located on Moreton Island with the purpose of protecting the approaches to the port of Brisbane.  Cowan Cowan Point provided a main defence base in World War I and World War II saw two defence battery complexes built at Cowan Cowan and another on the eastern side of the island.  Remains of the batteries and other relics still remain on the island and hopefully during our next visit we can explore these.

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Moreton Island offers the most stunning sunsets, every day is different and the colours can vary so significantly.  It was so beautiful to watch the sun set over the calm waters after a fun filled day of exploring.

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Below is the view from our camp ground.  We were camped in the Ben Ewa camping zone and it was very central to everywhere.  It was your typical National Parks campground with facilities and they do allow you to have your own campfires on site.  There are numerous different camping zones available on the island, some basically on the beach and some more remote, as well as accommodation at the resort and various holiday houses.

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Below is the photo of Blue Lagoon.  This lagoon is a natural fresh water lake on the north-eastern side of the island.  The interesting thing about Blue Lagoon is that it features equal parts of cool clear water and tea tree oil.

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Next up it was on to visit the Cape Moreton Lighthouse.

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Cape Moreton lighthouse was built from local sandstone in 1857 by the NSW Government (Queensland was not declared a separate state until two years later).

It stands 23 meters high and is the only example of a stone lighthouse in Queensland.

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The walk up to the lighthouse from the car park is relatively short and well worth it for the views, these are spectacular.

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After leaving the lighthouse we made our way to the township of Bulwer for lunch and this is where you’ll find ‘Castaways at Bulwer’.

This little township consists of holidays houses and permanent residents, but the main drawcard is the cafe/bar.  We had lunch and beers here and the food was great, highly recommended.

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After leaving the town you head back down to the beach for a short while and this is where we came across the Bulwer shipwrecks, these we had not heard about so looked to google to find out about them!  It turns out that 3 ships were deliberately sunk there back in the early 1930’s by a gentleman named Robert Alexander Gow.  Why would he do this? …. well apparently it was so he could have a sheltered area to load and unload his 12 metre boat!

If you head towards the southern end of the island you will find yourself in the township of Kooringal, home to the ‘Gutter Bar’.  We found this end of the island to be a lot more secluded, not too many people on the beach or tracks.

We stopped at the Gutter Bar for a beer, great little pub.  At the time we were the only ones there, but when it was busy it would have a great atmosphere.

After leaving the pub we had to make our way back to camp via the eastern beach, before cutting across the island half way up.  As it turns out, this trip ended up being a little concerning as we ended up having to race the tide.  It was starting to get dark and we were still a fair way from the road that cuts across the island.  As we were driving and the light was fading it became harder to see any drop offs in the sand and our  spotlights got a good work out that night!  It was really just a matter of trying to follow the water line, which in places was very narrow, or waiting for the wave to go back out.  With us monitoring our progress via phone maps I think we were all relieved when we reached that turn off and we were off the beach!  Getting stuck on the wrong side of the island, at night, with the tide coming in was not really our idea of fun!

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After a great few days exploring the island and spending time with great friends it was our time to leave and head back to Sydney.  As always, we had a great holiday and glad we were able to share it with all of you.

Would we head to Moreton Island every year like we do with Fraser? ….. probably not.  Would we go back to visit again at some point …. definitely.

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