MORETON ISLAND 4WD HIRE
Self-Drive Recreational 4WD Hire | Off-Road 4×4 Rental | Bush Camper Hire Moreton Island, Beach Camping, Fishing, Wildlife, Dugongs, Dolphins, Snorkeling, Shipwrecks and Helicopter Rides
All Camping Equipment is Complimentary - Please Refer to 4WD’s & Campers & Gallery Pages
With long ribbons of golden sand bordered by clear, blue waters on one side and lush, green forests on the other, Moreton Island is a pristine outdoor playground blessed by Mother Nature. Diverse terrains are home to rich flora and fauna while the warm waters of Moreton Bay teem with marine life, including whales, dolphins, and dugongs.
Best of all, this “mini Fraser Island” is less than 60 kms northeast of bustling Brisbane on Queensland’s Gold Coast, making it the perfect urban getaway, whether it’s just for a glorious day trip or a few relaxing days of getting back to Nature. For off-road enthusiasts, the fact that Moreton Island has no sealed roads and is all beach and sand driving make it a superb 4WD Adventure for the entire family.
While Captain James Cook was the first European to name the bay after James Douglas, the Earl of Morton and then president of Britain’s Royal Society, Moreton Island (the extra “e” coming from a clerical error that was never fixed) and the surrounding area had long been inhabited by the Ngugi people at least 2,000 years earlier. Even today, there are over 300 cultural sites as evidence of Aboriginal activity on the island.
Europeans first settled the island in the mid-19th century, taking advantage of its strategic location at the mouth of Moreton Bay to build a pilot’s station and whaling station and later in the mid-20th century, coastal defence bases, although the island today is strictly for civilian use.
Being so close to an urban centre, it’s miraculous that Moreton Island is still relatively untouched. In fact, up to 98% of its 192,600 hectares have been declared National Park land, including diverse ecosystems made up of some of the steepest sand dunes in the world, wetlands and freshwater lakes. Together with the protected marine zone around the island, Moreton Island is home to a number of animal species deemed rare or vulnerable under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.
Bring your binoculars and try to spot the island’s more than 180 bird species which call its forests, wetlands and coastal areas home. On land, you’re likely to come across more than 40 reptile species as you hike and drive the island’s interiors.
The waters surrounding Moreton Island are also rich in marine life, including sea turtles (which come ashore to nest between November and February), sharks, dolphins, and dugongs. Once home to Queensland’s only whaling station, the island is now a superb vantage point from which to peacefully observe the annual migration of thousands of humpback whales between June and November.
Part of the reason Moreton Island has remained in such pristine condition is that there has been minimal development on the island. There are only about 300 year-round residents who live in the island’s four small townships, making it the perfect destination for your Moreton Island 4WD Hire. Once off the ferry, the perimeter beaches serve as the islands “highway” while a few sandy tracks cross the island’s interior. Driving your 4WD Bush Camper on the island is not considered super-challenging, but you do need to beware of getting bogged in sand, making it good practice to have basic extraction tools including a shovel, tow rope and traction aids just in case. It’s also advisable to keep to 30 kph as you’ll need to share the narrow tracks with oncoming traffic and slow down at washouts caused by creeks flowing out onto the beaches as well as avoid driving during the two hours on either side of high tide when the sand is the softest. While there are a couple general stores on the island, there is no fuelling station, so you’ll want to gas up your Moreton Island 4WD Hire Vehicle before arriving.
While Moreton Island’s proximity to Brisbane (less than two hours by ferry) means it’s an easy day trip, the abundance of activities on the island as well as a wide range of camping grounds make it a worthy destination to spend a few days.
At Moreton Island 4WD Hire, we suggest these 4WD and Bush Camper configurations and categories:
- Small 4WD Jeep – best suited option for soft travel for a couple without camping gear
- Bush Camper Medium RTT 4WD – best suited option for a couple with camping gear
- Bush Camper Large GT 4WD – best suited option for a family with camping gear
- Bush Camper Large RTT 4WD – best suited option for a family with camping gear
Most visitors arrive on Moreton Island via one of three ferries. Visitors without cars who are staying at the Tangalooma Resort or who have booked a day-cruise option through the resort can take the resort ferry which leaves from Brisbane’s Holt Street Wharf in Pinkenba on the northern side of the Brisbane River. Otherwise, you can load up your Moreton Island 4WD Hire vehicle on one of two vehicle ferries: The Amity Trader, which runs between Stradbroke Island and Kooringal at the southern tip of Moreton Island or the MICAT Ferry which operates on a demand-based schedule, making the trip from the Port of Brisbane to Moreton Island’s western coast.
If arriving on the MICAT, the landing point is at the Tangalooma Wrecks, a scenic result of Man and Nature. In the 1960s, 15 dredges and barges were sunk here to create a break wall. Today, the eroding hulls remain, a striking contrast to the clear, blue water. The vibrant corals and marine life can be viewed by snorkelling or even by transparent kayak. The 8km-long Tangalooma Beach is also perfect for a quiet stroll.
Animal lovers will want to stop in at the nearby Tangalooma Island Resort. Built on what used to be a whaling station in the 1950s and 60s, the resort is now well-regarded for its animal conservation programs, allowing visitors to learn about and interact responsibly with a few of the island’s animal species, including kookaburras and pelicans. Guests can also book guided bush walks and attend talks on the history of the island as well as its diverse wildlife.
However, the program which Tangalooma Island Resort is best-known for is its amazing wild dolphin feeding where visitors can wade into the shallows and handfeed fish to the dolphins. The tradition began decades ago when fishermen threw fish to wild dolphins off the resort’s jetty. The dolphins returned, bringing the next generation with them, and now up to a dozen dolphins arrive at the resort every evening. The resort is careful to provide only 10-20% of the total food the dolphins need each day, making sure to keep them independent and wild.
From beautiful beaches to soaring dunes, part of Moreton Island’s allure is having such an array of natural playgrounds. Another popular activity is “sand tobogganing” from the massive sand dunes found at the Moreton Island Desert, just outside of Tangalooma township, or the Big and Little Sand Hills towards the southern end of the island. Rent a piece of waxed Masonite, sit or lay down, and prepare to zoom down the dunes at speeds of up to 60 kph. If speed isn’t your game, you can still enjoy the desert scenery with a 4km-long walk from the beach near the Tangalooma Island Resort up to the sand boarding hill.
Driving your Moreton Island 4WD Hire Bush Camper down the western coast, past the Big and Little Sand Hills and a section of mangrove forests, you’ll come to one of the island’s best fishing spots. The waters off Kooringal township teem with mackerel, tuna, bream and more. If you’d rather let someone else do the fishing and simply reap the rewards, the Gutter Bar at the town’s general store is famous for oysters fresh from local farms and other seafood right off the trawlers. Make a day of it by lazing on the beaches around Kooringal which are usually calm and safe for swimming, thanks to being fronted by sand tidal flats.
To explore the northern end of the island, head north from Tangalooma along the coast. You’ll first hit the township of Cowan, once the site of a pilot station and military defences during the Second World War. The quiet, residential town is now known mainly as a family-friendly destination with no through traffic allowed, including a vehicle-free town beach. Divers and snorkelers will also want to check out the Curtin Artificial Reef for its rich ocean life including giant grouper, turtles, and rays swimming between the wrecks of several dozen artificial structures deliberately sunk over the last few decades.
Next up along the western coast is the township of Bulwer, another quiet fishing village with a nice, long beach and superb sunset views looking west over Moreton Bay. Here, too, are good snorkelling spots comprised of sunken wrecks. The Bulwer Wrecks were formed in the 1930s by sinking three ships in shallow water, while the Car Bodies towards the south of town is a small artificial reef, home to morays, red emperors, and other smaller fish.
The island’s northern tip, aka North Point, is also home to a series of secluded, dynamic beaches including Heath Island (an important feeding and roosting site for wader birds), Yellow Patch, and Honeymoon Bay. Pick your way down past the rocks to this scenic spot, backed by 60m-high cliffs.
Two other natural attractions at the northern end of the island are the Champagne Pools and Flinders Reef. The Champagne Pools are formed as waves crash over a natural, rocky break wall, filling the shallow, sandy pools with frothy water. Flinders Reef is one of the island’s top diving spots, famous for having more than 100 different species of hard and soft coral along with upwards of 175 species of fish in addition to turtles, rays and leopard sharks.
To spot some of Moreton Island’s more famous marine animals, the migrating humpback whale, there’s no better spot than the 23m-tall lighthouse on Cape Moreton. Constructed in 1857 to help ships make their way safety through Moreton Bay, the iconic red-striped lighthouse is great for looking out over the bay and spotting larger marine animals, including more than 1,000 dugongs who live in the bay, as well as sharks, dolphins and humpback whales as they migrate past the island in great numbers between June and November.
Moreton Island has also been blessed with freshwater lakes. Although illegal to fish in the island’s lakes and streams, the lakes make excellent swimming spots. On the island’s northeast, you’ll find the Blue Lagoon with its clean, sand-filtered water (although more brown than blue due to natural tea tree oils) and the smaller Honeyeater Lake, home to ducks and other waterbirds.
Both lakes are accessed by short, easy walks, rewarded by viewing platforms and swimming opportunities. For a more challenging hike starting from the lakes, the 16km return Telegraph Road follows the old telegraph line through heathland and eucalypt forests and takes approximately 6 hours to complete. Fitness enthusiasts can tack on another two hours to hike up 285m-tall Mount Tempest, the highest coastal sand dune in the world. There are places to sit along the way and the spectacular 360-degree views make the hike worth it. On a clear day, you can even see the Glass House Mountains on the Sunshine Coast in the distance.
While Moreton Island’s proximity to Brisbane makes it a popular day outing with your Moreton Island 4WD Hire Jeep, why not stay a few days and truly explore all this beautiful island has to offer, leisurely criss-crossing the island, beach hopping from one picturesque beach to the next, trying your hand at fishing or sandboarding, or simply soaking up the small town feel at one of the town’s quaint watering holes?
Enjoy the island activities during the day and in the evenings, set up camp with your fully-equipped Moreton Island 4WD Bush Camper at one of five National Park campgrounds or perhaps a secluded beach or bush camping zone, most located within easy walking distance of the island’s main attractions, including the Champagne Pools, the Tangalooma Wrecks, and the townships.
You can also strike out further by loading your Moreton Island 4WD Hire Bush Camper onto a ferry to one of the four Southern Moreton Bay Islands to check out their relaxed lifestyle, pretty parks, and scenic beaches.
Less than two hours from busy Brisbane, Moreton Island is a delightfully compact urban adventure and 4WD playground. Families with small children will find quiet beaches around the townships with calm, shallow waters and no-through traffic, while thrill seekers can fly down the dunes or angle for the day’s catch. Nature lovers will enjoy the island’s tremendous plant and animal life, both on land and in the water. So, pack up your Moreton Island 4WD Hire Bush Camper and explore all that this pristine island has to offer!
Moreton Island 4WD Hire is part of Australian 4WD Hire, a nationwide network of premium rental agencies strategically positioned in close proximity to all famous 4WD destinations and hotspots as well as major regional and capital cities throughout Australia, ensuring you’re never far from a pick-up point.
Australian 4WD Hire is renowned for our meticulously maintained vehicles and top-tier customer service. Our fleet is constantly being updated to ensure you enjoy your self-drive adventure in comfort and safety. 4WD Tourism is one of the best ways to see the broad range of amazing sights Australia has to offer, with the flexibility and freedom to discover the outdoors at your own pace. For your Moreton Island 4WD Hire adventure, please contact us at 1300 360 339 or +61 7 5527 6191. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at www.australian4wdhire.com.au