Tangalooma Resort, Morton Island

Brisbane Travel Blog

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The boat at Tangalooma resort, Morton Island

Today George, Adam, Megha and I had booked to go to Tangalooma Resort on Morton Island. We caught a bus from the Brisbane Transit Centre to the boat and then caught an hour and a half boat crossing to the island. The tour supposedly included a 4x4 desert safari and a bunch of activities plus the beach but it quickly became clear that our 79 dollars included the pick-up by coach, boat crossing, access to beach and free tennis, squash and archery but that any additional activities were to be paid for - lesson learned! We felt a bit put out at first, as we could have taken a $16 return boat to Morton Bay just to sit on the beach there but decided to make the most of it and book onto the $25 desert 4x4 safari and sand tobogganing!

First we grabbed some lunch and basked on the beautiful beach for a bit.

Me sand toboganning!
The flies here drive you slightly crazy, they alight on you almost every 5 seconds and it's all you can do to stop yourself losing the plot, running around screaming with frustration, but you never do, because you know it wouldn't make any difference and you'd just look like a lunatic.... Megha dug herself a hole and fulfilled a lifelong dream to be photographed up to her neck in sand, and although it was hot under the sand, decided to stay in the warm cocoon like a spa therapy before breaking out like a zombie and realising that sand was now in crevices she didn't know she had...

At half one we grouped at the tour desk to join our desert safari and got loaded into 4x4 vans holding about 30-40 people. We pulled out of the resort and entered "The Magic Forest".
The road was just a narrow, bumpy, winding, sand track with huge furrows and trees and bushes crowding round the narrow space the bus pushed through. We hung on to the seats as our amusing bus driver careered round and round and up and down the track and the whole bus screamed with delight and surprise as we left our seats. Eventually we pulled out onto a beautiful pale desert, an area of National Park, and made our way around the dune to park at the bottom of an 80m dune and got out for instruction.

The sand boards are basically bendy pieces of mdf. You scuff the smooth side with wax and lie on the rough side facing down the dune with your head back from the edge and your hands and elbows high holding up the end of the board so you don't crash into the sand, at which point the board stops and you slide on your face for another 10 metres.
Megha buried up to her neck in the sand
.. First you have to climb with your board to the top of the dune, which is knackering, Sand is not the easiest of things to walk in at the best of time, let alone uphill for 80 metres in hot sunlight. It is easier to walk up in someone else's footsteps though, and the 'walk up' area is seperate from the 'slide down' area so damage to national park is minimised to the barest.

Finally at the top I caught my breath and tried not to feel too apprehensive. Getting to the top of the dune is slightly unnerving in itself as you think you will reach a plateau but the dune falls away on the other side leaving just an edge a metre wide on which to walk. Megha is afraid of heights, so she jumped the queue to avoid getting so nervous she wouldn't go down, then Adam, then George who immediatley showed a natural aptitude and slid down with the grace and firmness of an acrobat and shot miles across the sand to become instant champion and drew a proud line in the sand for further travelled.
Charlie's Angels

Up on the ridge I lay on the board and waited for the push from the instructor with excitement and apprehension. The instructor pushed and a slid down the first curve, over the ridge and gained speed (up to 50mile/hour!) before curving down the shallower bottom slope and coming to a screaming, laughing heap flat on my face. :) It was the best fun ever! George, Adam and I did it 4 times each (Megha loved it but only needed to face her fear and do it once) as the walk up is murder so you need to take breaks, and we were definitely one of the few who kept doing it till they insisted we stop and go back.

On the way back the instructor told us about the island; it's the third biggest sand island in the world, made up of 98% sand and mostly national park.

Sand toboganning
It is 195 species of bird, 11 snakes (some dangerous), but none of the usual Australian mammals as 6000 years ago Morton was part of the mainland and when it split there weren't enough population to breed so they died out and the government have opted to restrain reintroduction because of the national park status. Tangalooma means 'Meeting of the Fish' in Aboriginal and from 1952 to 1962 it was the biggest whaling station in the world. In 1962 the population of whales dropped dramatically and the station stopped trading. It was believed that the population at that point dropped to just 200, but now numbers have increased to 8000 and they hope that given another 45 years they will have doubled again. In 1963 it opened as a resort. Tangalooma would be a great place to work, as there are hundreds of activities to do plus an amazing beach.
It would be amazing to have all these great things to do at your finger tips, and at night they have wild dolphin feeding, plus it is one of the few places on the east coast of Australia that gets a sea sunset which is spectacular most days. We were sad not to be staying the night but headed back to the boat after spending a fortune on photos.

Back at home we grabbed food in town, checked email and then headed back to George's to get our stuff before moving to the Tin Billy on George St ready to start our road trip again up the coast next day....

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The boat at Tangalooma resort, Mor…
The boat at Tangalooma resort, Mo…
Me sand toboganning!
Me sand toboganning!
Megha buried up to her neck in the…
Megha buried up to her neck in th…
Charlies Angels
Charlie's Angels
Sand toboganning
Sand toboganning
Us with our boards
Us with our 'boards'
photo by: Mezmerized