ISLAND DREAMS

Published date11 August 2022
Publication titleKatikati Advertiser
Departing Holt St wharf, my 60-minute ferry ride whisked me across to Tangalooma Resort on Moreton Island, an unpretentious bolt-hole for some blissed-out island time. Lassoed by vivid blue waters teeming with marine life, Moreton Island happens to be the third largest sand island in the world, surprisingly draped in verdant, steep-sloped forest and a wealth of colourful flora. An astonishing 96percent of the island enjoys national park status

It’s also home to the highest coastal sand dune in the world, Mount Tempest, which at 285 metres high, delivers unrivalled views across the glittering waters of Moreton Bay. There’s all manner of historic nuggets to admire on Moreton Island. You’ll definitely want to head to the bright red Cape Moreton Lighthouse, built by convicts in 1857 from local sandstone. During World War II there were 900 troops stationed on the island.

Post-war, Tangalooma was first developed as a whaling station, finally closing in 1962. A brutal harpoon is on display, as a memorial to the grisly whaling days. You can join a whaling station talk and tour to learn about the history and operations of the station and how the island did a spectacular about-face, switching from exploiting these giant mammals to becoming one of Australia’s great homes to sustainable whale watching.

At this time of the year, it’s migration season, with an estimated 36,000 humpback whales cruising from Antarctica to Queensland (and back again) between June and October. The resort guarantees you will see a whale on their cruise, with juveniles frequently breaching alongside the boat.

In 1963 the Tangalooma Whaling Station was sold to a syndicate of Gold Coast businessmen and since 1980, the resort has been owned by the Osborne family, who are passionate about providing great-value island holidays, while pursuing their passionate commitment for supporting the wondrous natural environment.

I headed north up the vast sweep of white sand beach from the resort to the Tangalooma Wrecks. Just offshore, 15 ships were sunk between the 1960s and 1980s to create a protected channel for boats to moor. This drowned fleet of retired steam-driven dredges and barges...

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