The Perfect 4×4 Getaway – Moreton Island

Growing up in Brisbane, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to travel to Moreton Island and bask in the peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. Being the third biggest sand island in the world, Moreton Island is a fantastic spot for 4WDing and camping and is only situated60km north east of Brisbane. The island is mostly a National Park covering 240km of sandy tracks so naturally only 4WD vehicles can access it. Surrounded by lagoons, bushland, campgrounds, cultural sites, and huge sand dunes, Moreton Island is a 4WDing paradise where you and the family can enjoy a perfect weekend getaway!

How to get there

The easiest way to get to Moreton Island is by barge which leaves from Victoria Point (30km south east of Brisbane) and takes you to Reeders Point at Kooringal on the southern tip of the island. Expect to spend at least two hours on the barge which gives you plenty of time to be 4WD prepared for when you hit the sand after driving off the ferry. It’s best to travel in a 4WD that has good low range function and high ground clearance, and don’t forget you can always hire a 4WD from Fleet Crew if you wish.

Before you leave

There’s a bit of organising to do before you can arrive at Moreton Island. Firstly, you need to purchase a vehicle access permit to be able to drive on the island. Permits need to be clearly visible from the windscreen and can be purchased for a couple of days, a couple of months, or even a year if time permits (I wish)! You also need to plan your travel to the Island based on the tides. Only travel to the island two hours before or after low tide and you should avoid driving anywhere on the island two hours either side of high tide. There’s a general store at Bulwer which sells 20L drums of petrol so remember to fill up your tank before you get to the barge.

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What to expect

Moreton Island has three townships all located on the western side of the island. Close to the top of the island is Bulwer, Cowan Cowan is in the middle, and Kooringal is at the southern tip where the ferry departs. There’s numerous holiday villas and resorts in between each township. Tangalooma, located just south of Cowan Cowan, has a beautiful resort and is famous for its shipwreck which can be explored either by snorkelling or scuba diving.

There’s plenty of 4WD tracks that allows you to travel around the island and Middle Road dissects the island allowing access from the eastern beach side to the western beach side. Mount Tempest is located right in the middle of the island and is the tallest sand hill in the world, offering 360 degree views of the island from its summit at 285 metres. Located on the northern side of the island is Cape Moreton Lighthouse which is the oldest lighthouse in Queensland.

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There’s plenty of camping on offer at Moreton Island with a total of 10 campsites scattered throughout the island which are all within walking distance to the beach. Most of the campsites are located on the western side of the island at Honeymoon Bay, North Point, Bulwer Wrecks, Tangalooma, and Comboyuro Point, however there is a single campsite located on the eastern side at Blue Lagoon which has easy access to the freshwater lake. All campsites are well maintained and protected from the wind in beautiful shady and grassy areas.

4WD tips

If you travel to Moreton Island then you should at least have some experience driving on sand as you’ll likely get bogged at least once or twice during your stay. Here’s some additional tips to help you make the most of your journey:

  • Don’t forget to engage your locking hubs and use low gears when traveling around the island
  • Watch out for soft patches of sand especially when there’s been little rainfall
  • Don’t stop your 4WD when crossing a creek as you’ll likely get bogged
  • Try to maintain momentum as much as possible particularly when driving uphill
  • Ensure you bring the appropriate recovery gear including a shovel, recovery tracks, snatch strap, tyre pressure gauge, spare tyre, and air compressor
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Moreton Island is the ideal weekend getaway for those wanting to engage in fun and exciting activities on an island paradise. From scuba diving, snorkelling, sand tobogganing, whale watching (in season), and plenty of cultural sites with rich history, Moreton Island has something the whole family will enjoy.

If you’re interested in purchasing any recovery gear or 4WD products or accessories, reach out to the professionals at TJM Dandenong by phoning their staff on 03 9792 1116.

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R Smith