Just an hour’s boat ride from Brisbane lies a pristine slice of paradise known as Moreton Island. The island is referred to by Chinese visitors as “Haitundao,” which means Dolphin Island, because the shape of the island resembles a dolphin and many families of dolphins visit the island shores each night. With clear blue seas, golden sunshine, pure white sand, and a mottled shipwreck, Moreton Island is the perfect destination for exploration and relaxation.
Exploring old dreams
Just north of the Tangalooma Island Resort lies the Tangalooma Wrecks comprising 15 rusted vessels scattered across the sea. The ships were scuttled by the Queensland Government between 1963 and 1984 in order to provide a safe anchorage spot for recreational boat owners on the eastern side of Moreton Bay. Since then, the retired ships unexpectedly became part of the unique landscape of Moreton Island.
Coral has formed among the wreckage, providing a haven for over 100 species of fish. Other fascinating marine creatures such as dolphins, dugongs, and wobbegongs can also be found in the area. Snorkeling is a must-do activity to experience the variety of different reef fish, coral formations, and marine life.
Moreton Island is the third largest sandy island in the world. Here, you can stroll the white powdery beach, or climb the towering sand dunes and experience the elements first hand. Mount Tempest peaks 935 feet above sea level and is the highest known coastal sand dune in the world. Standing atop the giant sand dune offers a spectacular 360-degree view of nature with blue skies, clear water, wild forest, white sand, and sunsets.
On a clear day, from the vantage point of this staggering sandy summit, spectacular coastal views of the Sunshine Coast that extend all the way to the Gold Coast can be admired.
Feeding the dolphins
Under the tranquil sea surface of Moreton Island lies a huge aquarium where wild dolphins reside. Thus feeding the wild dolphins is a favorite activity among visitors. Each evening at sunset, these playful sea creatures visit the shores of the Island in groups, providing visitors with an up-close and personal encounter.
In addition to dolphins, many other wild animals dwell around the island including turtles, humpback whales, and kookaburras, but the most coveted creature to inhabit the island is the dugong. The dugong is the only existing herbivorous marine mammal. It feeds on seaweed and is a world-class vulnerable species.
Most of the existing dugongs in the world are in Australia, where the sea water is clear and pure, and seaweed is abundant. Between 600 and 800 dugongs live in Moreton Bay, where they are typically found in herds of up to 100 animals. Moreton Bay’s dugongs are listed as a vulnerable species in danger of extinction due to their slow reproduction rates and their overgrazing of sea grasses, their main food source.
Translated by Ava Zhang