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There are many things that are firmly etched on to the East Coast backpacker trail, many with good reason. Curiously, Moreton Island is not one of those places but with Sandboarding, Shipwrecks, wild dolphins and beautiful beaches for all to visit, I wonder whether more tourists should make the trip.
I caught the 7am ferry from Brisbane to the Moreton Island’s Tangalooma Island Resort – a hotel offering everything from day trips to extended stays. It was an early start, leaving the hostel shortly after 6am, and as the heavens opened half way through our short journey to the island, I wondered whether we were in for a miserable day under a dripping wet parasol. How wrong I was!
Just before strolling down the pier on to Moreton Island, the rain stopped and although dark clouds loomed for the rest of the morning, they couldn’t stop of us from beaming as we walked along the white sandy beaches. A 20 minute wander down the main beach takes you to the sight that had first interested me in Moreton Island: a series of ships, deliberately wrecked a couple of hundred metres off the coast. The rusty pieces of metal jutting through the surface of the water create an incredible picture, like nothing I’ve seen before!
I love hopping in the water at the best of times, but with a shipwreck to explore, this was my first priority when arriving on Moreton Island! Swimming through the strong current between the beach and the shipwreck was harder than it looked, so I put my head down and pretended I was the 16 year old me, swimming in competitions again! Swimming over, between and around these huge vessels felt amazing. Waves crashed against the orange, rusty boats as I ducked down under the water to get a closer look! Fish swam through portholes and over the hull as I glided past boat after boat. What a feeling!
By now, the sun had begun to show its head again, and as we walked along the nearly deserted white sandy beach we were given plenty of opportunities to take some amazing pictures. We sat down for lunch in an Asian restaurant which offered a very reasonable lunch deal before heading in to the “desert”. It was time to go sandboarding.
We clambered in to the fully equipped 4×4 “bus” that would guide us along tree lined, sandy trails in to the centre of the island. As we emerged from the trees, the bright light reflecting off the sand lit up the bus and we all knew we had arrived at the desert. The skies were completely blue and the sun blinding by this point. After a quick briefing, we scaled the huge sand dune (which is harder than you think with the sand moving under every step) and lined up at the top for our turn at sliding down!
When my turn came, I laid down, pulled up the front of the of my board and stretched my legs out as straight as I possibly could: the position for optimum speed! Leaning forward I picked up pace quickly and sped down to the bottom of the slope, going faster and smoother than I expected, not even a single bit of sand hit my face, leading me to believe that I could have just set a new land speed record. The second attempt wasn’t quite so impressive as I hit a bump, narrowly avoiding losing control and tumbling down, finding it impossible to miss out on a mouthful of sand!
The only thing left to do at Tangalooma was to meet the locals. Every night, wild dolphins swim up to the beach like clock work to be fed and so we waded out to hand feed them some fish before we headed home! After disinfecting our hands, we pulled a couple of fish out of a big bucket and strolled in to the water. After being instructed how to hold the fish to let the dolphins take them, we waited for our new friends to arrive, before offering them dinner! These dolphins were much bigger than I had seen before, bumping in to each other, having fun in the shallow water and plucking the fish right out of our hands! We fed a few different dolphins and got a real buzz out of it – how amazing to be able to see these beautiful creatures in such close proximity! With that, we hopped on to the boat and our time at the Tangalooma Island Resort had come to an end.
Moreton Island is the fastest moving island in the world, travelling at a rapid one inch a year! Such speeds were reflective of the feeling you get while on the beaches there, offering the perfect place to get away from city life, have some fairly unique adventures and relax!