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Brisbane’s Moreton Island: Amazing Opportunity
  |  First Published: November 2010



Moreton Bay has been an angler’s paradise since Europeans first settled Brisbane and its surrounds, and while some will tell you the fishing is red hot others will tell you the EPA zoning plan has ruined opportunities. We recently found out just how good the fishing around Moreton Island can be for anglers and tourists alike and along the way discovered a range of activities families can enjoy while visiting Moreton Island.

To geographically isolate the area we are talking about we have made Moreton Island as the centre piece and worked from there. So the southern boundary is a line running from Amity Point on North Straddie, basically west to the Fisherman Islands boat ramp. The northern boundary runs from the northern tip of Moreton Island, out to the area around Hutchison reefs and then southwest to the Redcliffe area. To the east of Moreton Island we have stretched the area out to about 20km offshore, enough room to take in all the Green Zones and the wonderful reef systems found east of Moreton Island. This area covers a variety of fishy and tourist options and provides a wonderful playground for Brisbane residents and visitors alike.

The Moreton Bay Marine Park Zoning Plan is the most important document you need to understand if you plan to visit Moreton Bay and Moreton Island to fish. The reasons are pretty simple and include:

• Anyone who fishes will need to know where they can and where they cannot fish and what gear restriction apply to certain areas;

• Anyone who boats will need to know where the Go Slow zones are, and;

• Anyone who recreates in the Marine Park will need to know what they can and cannot do in the various zones.

There is a great publication available at most tackle and boating outlets that reveals just about everything you need to know to stay within the laws. It’s called Moreton Bay Marine Park Users Guide and is produced by EPA. You can log onto their website for more information about Moreton Bay Marine Park, the User Guide and the associated fees involved with accessing some of the islands and waterways.

The Fishing

The fishing in Moreton Bay is spectacular. Just about every saltwater species chased by anglers can be caught in Moreton Bay at some time of the year and for a fishery so close to a capital city, it is in amazingly good condition. The islands, channels, mud flats, open waters and sand banks provide a diversity of habitats that sees everything from mullet to mackerel call the area home at different times of the year.

Because the diversity of fishing is so great, we are going to condense the options into some of the most popular fish targeted around Moreton Island, in Moreton Bay and offshore from Moreton Island. These fish are snapper, tailor, tuna, bream and mackerel.

SNAPPER (QFM’s Stephen Booth)

There are not too many anglers who fish Moreton Bay and the offshore grounds who do not want to tangle with a big snapper. Luckily the waters around Moreton Island abound with snapper throughout the year, it’s just a matter of knowing where and when.

The easiest way to catch a snapper when you’re based at Moreton Island is to contact a charter operator (see fact box) who can pick you up and take you to the right spot at the right time. There are quite a few local charter operators who will do this and their success rates are excellent. Most of these charter operators target the offshore grounds and, unless you have the right boat and equipment, I would suggest this is the best way to go about getting an offshore snapper or two.

But if you do have the means to undertake an offshore trip of your own chasing snapper, look towards the reefy areas found at Shallow and Deep Tempest and the associated reef structures of these two prominent ledges. There are plenty of GPS books around that will get you started, but again, ensure you know where the Green Zone boundaries are as it is very easy to drift into a Green Zone if you are not paying attention.

Many anglers fish paternoster style rigs, however more success is had with a floater rig, which is simply a small ball sinker running down to a 3 gang hook rig that is drifted out the back of the boat. The idea is to allow the floater rig to slowly waft down the current at the same speed as a free-drifting bait would. This usually accounts for the bigger snapper caught.

If you want to target snapper in Moreton Bay, then you’re going to have to do the leg work yourself as there are few guides who operate inside Moreton Bay itself.

A great start is to drop into one of the local tackle stores before you head onto the bay. Here you will find mountains of information, including the all-important Moreton Bay Marine Park Zoning Maps. The staff at any of the tackle stores (see fact box) will be able to point you in the right direction and provide you with information on the best tackle, bait and lures.

Luckily the snapper fishery inside Moreton Bay is an all year event. Small snapper, sometimes called squire, are voracious feeders and will hit lures and baits vigorously. Look for hard structure in the form of rock walls, reefy areas and natural rock formation in water from 2m through to 10m deep.

Anglers can try any number of locations close to Brisbane or Moreton Island. For starters the Curtin Artificial Reef is a popular location as is the entire Bulwer Ledge located just north of Tangalooma. There are also patches of hard reef all along the main shipping channel where anglers can come across snapper. Closer to Brisbane and there are any number of islands, channel edges and reefy places to drop a lure or bait. Keep in mind the Green and Yellow Zones and what they will mean to your fishing. Popular spots include the Brisbane River itself, Peel Island, Mud Island and the various wrecks found throughout Moreton Bay that are open to fishing.

Snapper are a recreational fishing favourite and in recent years the population of snapper in Moreton Bay has increased dramatically, so if you’re visiting Moreton Island, take some time to tangle with a snapper.

Tailor (Alvey’s Rob Duncan)

With the warmer summer months now fast approaching it may seem rather belated to be offering advice on how to tango with some quality tailor from the beaches found along Moreton Island. It may be true that many of the chopper (smaller tailor) schools have shot well south, being the active little devils that they are, but if you want to hook a quality greenback now’s the time to try locking horns with one of these tenacious brutes!

Tackling the large greenback tailor can be an interesting game and here is some advice that may help you land something a little bigger than the common chopper, something you can brag to your mates about!

Locating good water is crucial and even though big tailor are notoriously nocturnal, it’s a good idea to find your spot early during daylight hours. If the tide is low and the water is difficult to read, look for steep beach formation as you drive, which usually indicates deep water at high tide. A deep gutter that has at least one deep and clean entrance is imperative as these fish are nervous creatures and require freedom to bolt should the need arise. Avoid locations that have high traffic flow, as the vehicle headlights definitely spook these fish! If you do drive the beach and see people fishing at night always remember to dip the hi-beam as far away as practical and safe to do so.

Stronger and therefore naturally heavier 13’6” (and longer) beach rods are usually required as they must be capable of casting at least an 8 or 9 ball sinker. The rod should be matched with a reel capable of balancing the heavier rod and must be able to withstand the rigours of the beach. Alvey reels in the 650 or 700 series drag models are a good robust choice and provide a powerful 1:1 ratio, decent drag systems and huge line capacities. Load your reel with a quality monofilament line like the Australian made Platypus Lo-Stretch, which has great hook-setting properties and is also very thin, reducing the tendency for the sweep to drag your line. I usually opt for an 8-10kg line class but always use a heavier 40lb line between the swivels as the heavy sinker will make short work of light line.

While we are talking about swivels, always make sure you use two swivels on the beach, one either side of the running sinker (about 30cm apart) to reduce line twist.

At the business end of the rig I use a 40lb mono leader of about 2ft and attach this to a very short, very light 7 strand wire trace of 30lb. Wire is something I always try to avoid but for these toothy critters you will need it. I have a preference for a two gang hook rig as I use flesh bait and late in the season when targeting the bigger greenbacks I use a combination 5/0 top and 4/0 bottom.

Bait preparation is the key to maximising opportunity when targeting these bigger fish as soft flesh baits will get destroyed by the surf (and the tiddlers!) rendering your trip unproductive. When time allows I always purchase a few quality bonito from my local tackle shop a few days prior to the trip. I thaw these out, pre-cut my baits and then mix them up with rock salt (available from any supermarket). This removes much of the moisture from the flesh, which makes them as tough as leather. Place these bait strips in a sealed plastic container, pop them in the freezer (they don’t fully freeze again due to the moisture removal by the rock salt) and you’re ready for battle!

I have a theory that any day/night fishing is better than none, but if I can, I plan my trips around a new moon. These big fish use the cover of dark to ambush their prey, which is why vehicle headlights frighten the hell out of them. When changing bait or checking the rig I always turn around and face my headlight up the beach and never shine a light in the water. I should mention that if the seas are rough, never attempt this close to the water’s edge. Use common sense and walk up the beach a few feet.

Patience is a virtue in the quest for the greenback, so use a good long sand spike to take the load off the arms, also freeing them up for the odd refreshment! Check your bait every 15 minutes but there is no need to retrieve frequently due to the hardy baits you prepared earlier. If there’s a greenback nearby, it should find your bait so the use of a chemical light taped to your rod tip is highly recommended. Also, don’t be afraid of using a heavy sinker either, if your line is being pushed by the sweep go up a size. It’s very important to keep your bait in the clean water, in fact I frequently use 10 balls.

Right now is a beautiful time of year to spend a night under the stars, fish or no fish, so grab a few mates and tango with a tailor!

Tuna (QFM’s Wayne Kampe)

Tuna, be that longtail tuna or mackerel tuna, are keenly chased by anglers fishing the waters adjacent to Moreton Island.

Tuna are more commonly considered a warmer weather species so the popular tourist months from October through to February are the best bets, and luckily the tuna turn up in sometimes plague proportions.

Tuna are relatively easy to find in Moreton Bay and offshore from Moreton Island as they have fantastic visual displays, herding baitfish up to the surface and then smashing through them in leaps and bounds that can’t help but attract the eye. These fish are easy to target too and often finding them is the hardest part of the equation.

Tuna prefer a bit of current and can often be found in areas where there are dramatic bottom fluctuations. These bottom fluctuations create upwellings of current that disorient baitfish making them easy prey for tuna. Therefore areas such as the Pearl Channel, The Shipping Channel, the Four Beacons and further south around the islands and sand banks of the Southern Bay you can find tuna on any given day.

Offshore tuna follow the bait schools and anglers chasing mackerel and wahoo often encounter tuna on live baits and trolled lures.

But it is inside the confines of Moreton Bay where tuna are really targeted seriously, as the calmer water means just about every boat can access a patch of tuna.

In Moreton Bay anglers use live baits fished under floats and downriggers, cast metal lures, troll diving minnows and even cast flies for tuna. There really is no best method to catch them, so pick the one you enjoy the most.

Once a school of tuna is located (the splashes and bird activity give them away) it is best to carefully approach the school of fish. The tuna inside Moreton Bay are shy and changes in motor pitch, boats driving near them and even lures landing inside the maelstrom can put them off the bite, so be cautious and reap the rewards.

The best tip is to always be on the lookout for a tuna school. You never really know when and where they will turn up next so I always have a rod rigged for tuna casting, just in case.

Mackerel (Tackle Warehouse’s Gordon Macdonlad)

Mackerel are a prominent species for anglers fishing the waters of Moreton Bay. They can often be caught from land-based positions on Moreton Island, however, access to a boat will greatly increase your chances of tangling with school and spotted mackerel. Both species are most common during the summer months, and school mackerel can be encountered all year round with specific targeting.

Anglers visiting Moreton Island are often surprised to find that they can catch mackerel from the Tangalooma Jetty. In this situation, mackerel are generally caught by anglers floating out gang-hook rigged pilchards, suspended a few metres under a balloon. However, those spinning with chromed metal lures also encounter their fair share, especially around the extremities of the day, dawn and dusk.

An occasional mackerel will also succumb to a slowly worked soft plastic meant for other species. Often, these silver streaks can be sighted from your high vantage point as they patrol the surface looking for hapless baitfish. You may even witness the tell tale V-shaped wake on the surface, or witness commotion as they feed. Single fish are usually not so obvious so don’t think there are none around just because you don’t see them.

Anglers travelling the western beaches, from Kooringal to Cape Moreton, are advised to keep watch for the presence of mackerel close to shore and to always have a spin rod ready-rigged with a chromed slice. Cast far, crank quick and you are in with a great chance of success.

Those blessed with the use of a boat, or even paddle or pedal watercraft such as kayaks, will have plenty more opportunities at their disposal. The beacons marking the Moreton Shipping Channel (M series beacons) often attract baitfish that in turn attracts mackerel and other pelagics.

These easily located beacons are usually fished in one of two ways for mackerel. Dropping gang-hook rigged pilchards near them during the slower stages of the tide is often a good ploy. Small live yakkas, slimey mackerel or any other baits jigged adjacent the beacons, are also very successful.

These aquatic pillars can also be worked over by jigging with chromed slugs and slices. Offerings between 20-50g can be free spooled, allowing them to sink close to the bases of the beacons before being wound flat-stick back to the surface. Keep trying different beacons and don’t be afraid to try previously unsuccessful ones again later in the day, as the mackerel are transient.

Surface-feeding schools can also be targeted with chromed slices, however many anglers also take joy in catching these silver streaks with surface walking stick-baits, baitfish-profile flies, small minnow lures and soft plastics. Fast is good, flat out is better when it comes to retrieve speeds for slugs, slices and flies.

Try looking for mackerel mayhem in areas such as the shipping channels, Middle Bank, Pearl Channel, Rous Channel and near the Curtin Artificial. Mackerel are renowned for popping up anywhere at any time so be alert. Look for signs such as diving birds, surface splashes and V-shaped wakes, which will herald their presence.

A more relaxed approach can be obtained by trolling minnow lures. I often use lures such as Smith Cherryblood, Sébile Koolie Minnow 90, Bomber 24A and some small bibless offerings. These are trolled in channels along the edges of major banks on a rising tide. Around the top of the tide you may also find success by working over the tops of the banks. Light braided line, fluorocarbon leaders and maximum trolling speeds will solicit the most strikes. Some of these same areas can also be drifted with pilchard baits, especially along the edges of banks that drop into deeper channels.

Enjoy your Moreton Bay mackerel experience. They are tasty, tough fighters with a very dangerous pointy end that we just love to catch.

Bream (FMG’s Steve Morgan)

Find rock and you’ll find Moreton Bay bream. It’s a pretty simple pattern that works. Most of Moreton Bay is sandy or weedy. Sure, you find bream occasionally in these places, but it’s the rocky outcrops of Redcliffe, Sandgate, Mud Island, Green Island and Peel Island where you’ll always find them.

And there’s a couple of ways to catch them. If you’re not too attached to your expensive bream lures, you can throw them into the snaggiest rock piles you can find – right on top of them on the high tides and in the gutters between them on the ebb.

A slow wind will bring you bites and if you have the resolve not to strike instantly, you’ll find that the bream will load up on the lure and hook itself. Strike too early and you might not only pull the hook out of the bream’s mouth, but you might spook any other fish that are following with interest.

Likewise, a soft plastic approach can bring results. Fish a 2” to 3” soft plastic bait – the Gulp Shrimp is particularly popular – on a jighead with a #1 hook and weighted between 1/12oz and 1/6oz depending on current. Cast it as near to structure as you dare and let it sink to the bottom. Short sharp jabs of the rod tip will make the lure dart off the bottom and the bream will usually mouth it as it falls.

Try this technique around the pylons of the Hornibrook bridges or the deeper drop-offs of Redcliffe or Mud Island.

In summer, Bay bream are suckers for topwater lures. Big (for bream) lures from 50-80mm worked with longish pauses generate a lot of interest. Fish these in the shallowest, rockiest water you can find – especially on an incoming tide. When the water is over 20ºC, you can bet that the bream are looking up in Deception Bay, Redcliffe reefs and the windy side of Mud and Green islands.

But, if you really want to brain the bream, fish these same areas at night with bait. Again, an incoming tide on the Wells at Margate or on the shallows at Mud with a lightly weighted (or unweighted) bait of mullet gut, yabby or thin strip of flesh bait. Keep the noise down and you’ll be amazed at just how shallow these fish will feed under the cover of darkness.

Bream are not just a bread and butter Bay fish anymore. They are actively chased and the results are outstanding, so bream it on in Moreton Bay.

Family Activities

When you visit Moreton there are plenty of family oriented activities that will keep you entertained if the weather is too foul for fishing.

There are numerous walking tracks, a range of commercially operated activities including 4WDing, sand surfing, sight seeing and snorkelling, dedicated swimming areas, plenty of dining opportunities and several different eco-tours.

Walking Tracks

There are many walking tracks on the island, ranging from short easy strolls to half-day hikes. Walking is one of the best ways to appreciate the island's features and discover some of the various wildlife habitats.

When walking on Moreton Island you should always put safety first and a few simple tips are to always carry a map, first-aid kit, and sufficient food and water for at least twice the time you expect to be out. Stay with your children at all times as there are feral animals on Moreton. Stay on formed walking tracks and do not shortcut as this can damage sensitive areas. Wear sturdy footwear and walk in groups. Avoid walking in the hottest part of the day and always be sun smart. Obey all danger and warning signs and do not climb on the shipwrecks at Tangalooma or Bulwer. Lastly, bring personal insect repellent to avoid mosquito and sand fly bites, but most of all enjoy the experience.

Some popular tracks include the Blue Lagoon, a short 20 minute stroll to the Blue Lagoon, the Cape Moreton trek that will take you to Queensland’s first lighthouse, the Five Hills Lookout walk that takes about half an hour and gives you amazing views, the Mount Tempest Lookout walk that is rated as a difficult walk but rewards walkers with a 360º view that has to be seen to be believed and the Rous battery Track that is about 10km each way and allows walkers access and viewings of the old World War II fort remains and is the only walk covering the southern part of Moreton.

There are numerous other walking tracks that will appeal to family groups with kids all the way up to serious walkers who do it as much for the exercise as the rewards at the end of the tracks.

Viewing wildlife

Moreton Island provides great opportunities to view wildlife. Over 180 species of birds can be seen, some being visitors from far countries, while others are permanent residents. EPA advises that bird watchers and walkers should avoid disturbing shorebirds on the beach by giving them a wide berth.

For those keen on some more exotic looking fauna, there are thought to be 40 species of reptiles on the island including blue-tongued lizards, goannas, major skinks, various snakes and marine turtles.

The island has a rich array of plant communities from heathlands to eucalypt forests. Freshwater lakes, creeks and swamps provide havens for frogs and native fish so there is plenty to see if wildlife spotting is your thing.

Snorkelling and diving

The waters around Moreton Island provide a chance to explore some marine life, with a number of well-known snorkelling and scuba diving sites. Tangalooma Wrecks and Flinders Reef provide good snorkelling and diving.

Curtin Artificial Reef is also popular with divers and anglers so be sure to check you’re not dropping in on anglers before you dive. Strong rips and currents are often present along the main shipping channel in Moreton Bay so make sure you check the tides and the tide variation before venturing into the water.

Fun in the sun

Other family activities found on Moreton Island include dolphin feeding, swimming, quad bike riding, sand toboggoning, jet ski tours, parasailing, whale watching in season and more. There is so much to do that to list everything would be a book in itself.

So let’s look at some of the best options for the highly adventurous down to the soft eco-tours.

Xtreme Adventure Guided Day Tour

The Wrecks is home to approximately 120 species of fish. The Xtreme Adventure Tour allows you the opportunity to experience the amazing aquatic playground Moreton Island has to offer. Combined with sandboarding down a 35m sand dune, your day is sure to be fast paced and adrenaline pumping!

Included in the $155 price for adults and $95 for kids aged 4-14, are complimentary return city transfers, luxury cruise across Moreton Bay (perfect opportunity for dolphin spotting), guided snorkel of the Wrecks, guided 4WD tour, desert dune sandboarding, picnic lunch, National Park fees, morning tea onboard the Moreton Island Micat, souvenir booklet about Moreton Island and you are provided with snorkelling mask, fins, gloves and a wetsuit (5mm thickness, creating buoyancy, warmth and protection).

To book your place on the Xtreme Adventure Tour, call Moreton Island Adventures on 07 3909 3397 or see www.MoretonIslandAdventures.com.au.

Eco Explorer Guided Day Tour

The Eco Explorer Tour is perfect for those who wish to explore everything Moreton Island has to offer. Head into the desert for some heart racing sandboarding and then cool off in the Blue Lagoon, a naturally forming, crystal clear freshwater lake. The full commentary, guided 4WD tour will then take you up to the Cape Moreton Lighthouse, where the view is truly spectacular (the perfect spot for whale watching during their migration July - November).

Included in the price of $150 for adults and $95 for kids aged 4-14 are complimentary return city transfers, eco guided 4WD island tour, the experience of seeing the beautiful Blue Lagoon, a visit to the Moreton Island Lighthouse and lookout, desert dune sandboarding, picnic lunch, National Parks fees and morning tea on the Moreton Island Micat.

To book your place on the Eco Explorer Tour, call Moreton Island Adventures on 07 3909 3397 or see www.MoretonIslandAdventures.com.au.

Guided Wrecks Snorkel Tour

If you would like to experience the amazing snorkelling Moreton Island has to offer, but would like an opportunity to relax on the beach and explore the rest at your own pace, then the Guided Wrecks Tour is for you.

The Guided Wrecks Tour includes a luxury cruise across Moreton Bay, guided snorkel of Tangalooma Wrecks, picnic lunch and around 3 hours leisure time to relax and explore. Moreton Island Adventures can provides you with snorkelling mask, fins, gloves and a wetsuit (5mm thickness, creating buoyancy, warmth and protection) all for only $99 for adults and $75 for kids aged 4-14.

To book you place on the Guided Wrecks Tour, call Moreton Island Adventures on 07 3909 3397 or see www.MoretonIslandAdventures.com.au.

Feed the Dolphins

The highlight of any stay on Moreton Island is the opportunity to interact closely with nature. Each evening the Tangalooma dolphins eagerly swim up to the beach, adjacent to the well-lit jetty, where they are hand fed fresh fish by marine biologists, staff and Tangalooma Resort guests. Whether you are feeding the dolphins or simply watching from the jetty stadium, the experience is unforgettable.

Dolphin feeding is suitable for all ages, should children require assistance you may carry them in to the water or our staff are happy to assist.

Once you arrive at Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort visit their Marine Research and Education Centre to register or participate in the many different activities they provide guests. If you are participating in the dolphin feeding, please be down at the jetty by the scheduled feed time or you may be unable to participate.

Please note the Dolphin Feeding Program operates to strict guidelines, therefore restrictions on feeding apply. The number of guests able to feed the dolphins will depend on weather and tidal conditions and dolphin attendance, although generally all resort houseguests are able to participate in the feeding program.

To participate in this activity you need to be a guest at Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort. Contact them on www.tangaloomaresort.net.au for accommodation bookings and more information on the dolphin feeding experience.

ATV Quad Bike Tour

Experience the thrill of riding on an ATV quad bike through the beach and bush lands of Moreton Island. Tangalooma Resort’s professional guides will assist you regardless of your experience, providing you with basic bush track training to handle the challenging trails! The ATV Quad Bike Tour caters for people aged 6 years and up and runs for approximately 45 minutes.

Costs for adults are $58 per person and to participate in this activity you need to be a guest at Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort. Contact them on www.tangaloomaresort.net.au.

Free Activities

There are a vast number of free activities that Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort offers guests and these include pelican and cormorant feeding, kookaburra feeding, fish feeding, beach volleyball, movie nights, bush tucker walk, Tangalooma Wrecks walk, night spotlight walk, marine beach guided walks, bird spotting guided walks, stargazing, historical whaling station tour, educational presentations and videos on dolphins, whales, dugongs and the surrounding marine creatures by Tangalooma’s Marine Education & Research Centre. There is a host of other free activities on Moreton Island too, you’ll just have to get there to discover them for yourself.

There are also plenty of kids activities, kids beach games and marine scavenger activities. To participate in these activities you need to be a guest at Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort. Contact them on www.tangaloomaresort.net.au.

4WD access

4WD vehicles are essential for driving on Moreton Island and state road rules apply. All vehicles must be registered and have a valid Moreton Island Recreation Area vehicle access permit and fees apply. You can log onto www.derm.qld.gov.au/parks_and_forests/activities_in_parks_and_forests/recreation_areas/vehicle_access_permit_fees.html to buy your vehicle access permit online .

If you cannot book online, you can book your permit by phone on 13 13 04 or by visiting an over-the-counter booking office.

All the usual 4WD sand and beach driving recommendations are useful on Moreton Island, however it is rare to get into too much trouble on Moreton. Abide by the road rules, the travel closures and also the curfews on beach driving.

More than just fishing

Moreton Island is more than just a jumping off point for fishing, albeit that most of us would visit for that very reason. It is a great family destination, although there are regulations pertaining to just about everything means you must do some serious research before going.

Moreton is one of the most visited islands close to Brisbane and the sad part is many Brisbane residents have never set foot on its shores. Go and visit Moreton and experience everything it has to offer: the fishing, the wilderness, the accommodation and the fun. Moreton Island really is a wonderful place to spend a holiday.

Facts

ACCOMMODATION

Moreton Island offers a variety of accommodation to suit every type of getaway.

Scattered along the island are many charming coastal getaways and each boasts an array features - escape the bustle with a fully contained seaside cottage or be spoilt by the warm and friendly service that only a local bed and breakfast can provide or stay in a more modern holiday resort. There is even a back packers resort for those keen on this style of accommodation. Moreton is loaded with accommodation options.

If you plan to camp on Moreton, permits and fees apply. You can buy your camping permit online at www.epa.qld.gov.au, but if you cannot book online, book by phone on 13 13 04 or by visiting an over-the-counter booking office .

Tangalooma Resort

The beautiful Tangalooma Resort is surrounded by pristine waters and untouched National Parks and the perfect place for your next escape. Your choice of relaxing or enjoying the many activities the resort has to offer mean Tangalooma is the ideal base whenever you stay at Moreton Island.

Interact closely with nature and handfeed the wild dolphins only 50m from the beach or enjoy watching them from the jetty. Beautiful, clear blue water that is safe swimming all year around and white sandy beaches right at your doorstep make any of the available accommodation styles perfect for families and couples.

And of course Tangalooma has restaurants to cater for even the most sophisticated taste. Whatever you choose to do (or not to do), your escape to an Island paradise couldn't be a better one if you stay at Tangalooma Resort.

To check out the range of accommodation options or to book your stay at Tangalooma Resort, log onto www.tangaloomaresort.net.au.

Moreton Island Eco Village

Moreton Island Eco Village consists of six self-contained units each with their own bathroom and full sized kitchen. These units are great for families as they each sleep up to six people, consisting of two bedrooms, one with a double bed, and one with two sets of bunks.

All units contain a fridge, freezer, kettle, stove, crockery and cutlery, TV and DVD Player and onsite access to coin operated washing machines and dryers.

Rates for Off Peak bookings are:

Sunday to Thursday, $130 per unit per night

Friday to Saturday, $150 per unit per night

Weekly rate of 6 nights/7 days, $720 per unit per week

3333 or see www.MoretonIslandAdventures.com.au.

Dormitory Accommodation

Moreton Island Eco Village offers two dormitory style accommodations that can sleep a maximum of 72 people, which makes them ideal for sporting groups, large family groups and school groups. Each unit has full sized kitchen facilities and bathroom plus a large dinning and lounge area with TV and DVD player to accommodate all member of your party.

Sleeping arrangements are suitable for any school group, scout or sporting team. With separate dorms available for girls and boys, the dormitory also offers a separate unit for the teachers, carers or for the family members who would like their own privacy.

The Moreton Island Eco Village Dormitory costs $25 per person per night.

3333 or see www.MoretonIslandAdventures.com.au.

Luxury Accommodation with Deep Blue

Deep Blue, which is located at Tangalooma Resort, is a brand new, luxury 2 bedroom, air-conditioned beachfront apartment with views across Moreton Bay to Brisbane.

Conveniently located close to all amenities, the unit offers modern decor with all appliances and an icemaker fridge. Private balconies with BBQ and outdoor setting and a guest only pool are highlights of the units that are perfect for the traveller who wishes to spoil him or herself.

Seasonal rates are between $300 and $500 per night and the units sleep 4-6 people. To enquire or make a booking at Deep Blue Apartments please contact 07 3909 3333.

Buying a Permit

If you cannot buy a permit for your needs on line (note that many tour operators have access and can distribute all the necessary permits too) you can visit an over-the-counter booking office to obtain the necessary permits.

A list of over-the-counter booking offices can be found at www.epa.qld.gov.au, however some of the closest offices to Moreton Island can be found at:

Brisbane Referral Centre, Mon - Fri 8:30am - 4:30pm at Level 3, 400 George Street, Brisbane;

Manly QPWS, Mon - Fri 8:30am - 4:30pm at Trafalgar Street, Manly;

Burleigh QPWS, Mon - Fri 8:30am - 4:30pm at Kabool Road, West Burleigh

Charter Operators

Outlaw Charters

John Gooding

Offshore fishing targeting snapper, kingfish, tuna, mackerel and more. All gear supplied. Day charter only.

Big Cat Charters

Big Cat Charters

Offshore and bay fishing targeting reef and pelagic species. All gear supplied. Day and extended charter.

Tackle Stores

Fish Head

Duncan O’Connell, QFM’s Southern Bay reporter, owns and runs Fish Head Tackle. They are located on the corner of Colburn Ave and Redland Bay roads in Victoria Point and stock a variety of tackle suitable for anyone fishing in and around Moreton Island. Fish Head’s real asset is its unashamed devotion to quality tackle and teaching anglers how to get the most out of their local fishing.

Give Fish Head a call on (07) 3207 9965.

Tackle Warehouse

The Tackle Warehouse, located at 436 Old Cleveland Rd in Camp Hill, is somewhat of an institution in south east Queensland fishing. The store has been in operation since cocky was an egg and it is one of the must visit stores for anglers of all persuasions. Their lure department is staggering, the range of rods massive and their staff are all local anglers with a wealth of knowledge. QFM’s Brisbane reporter Gordon Macdonald is a long time staffer who, along with Adam Meredith, forms the backbone of this wonderful tackle outlet.

Give Tackle Warehouse a call on (07) 3398 6500.

Mossops

Mossops Tackle is somewhat of an icon in fishing tackle stores located in Brisbane. Found at 47 Balaclava St in Woolloongabba, Mossops has a complete range of fishing tackle to suit every fishing situation you are likely to find yourself in. Specialists in anything to do with local fishing, Mossops is well worth a visit before you head to Moreton Island.

Give Mossops a call on (07) 3391 3065.

The Tackle Shop

For those north of the city, The Tackle Shop at 1754 Gympie Rd Carseldine is the place to get your local information. Proprietor Steve is always on the water and getting out into Moreton Bay and fishing hard give The Tackle Shop first hand information on what’s biting where. A great range of tackle, dedicated service and an eagerness to help everyone catch a fish, mean this is the place to stop before you visit Moreton Island.

Give The Tackle Shop a call on (07) 3862 9015.

Tackle World Sandgate

With the motto of ‘every day is a good day to go fishing’, Tackle World on the corner of Rainbow and Hitchcock streets in Sandgate are ideally placed to offer specialised tackle and advice to anglers fishing from Moreton Island. A great range of products and service that’s hard to compare, along with a great fishing club that offers discounts and special deals.

Give Tackle World Sandgate a call on (07) 3269 5060.

Getting There

If you want to take your car and boat over to Moreton Island there really is only one option, this being Moreton IslandMiCat, operated by Moreton Island Ferries Pty Ltd, a family owned company that has been running to Moreton Island for many, many years.

Following is an excerpt written by Shirley Hawkins. Shirley and her husband Neville started Moreton Island Ferries many years ago as a natural progression to their freight business, Hawkins Transport.

“Well, it was the kids’ fault again. We had a big boat to carry them to the beautiful Moreton Island we love, we were asked if we could carry this one and that thing across on our boat. Neville, whose life is cartage as the owner of Hawkins Transport, happily agreed, resulting in the first vessel to carry passengers and freight to the Island.

“She was called the Malahini and with a length of 34' she was only small and was soon replaced by the Rigel Kent. The Rigil Kent was a little slower than the Malahini, so we changed things so that we only left from Bulimba.

Rigil Kent paved the way for the first Moreton Venture, which was 70' long and 15' wide. She was a splendid timber craft built by Norman Wright in Brisbane. This was replaced in 1980 with Moreton Venture (2). This was a beach landing craft, the first of its type in the world. We had searched Australia for a marine architect who could draw to our specifications, and give us a fast, good-looking craft. It was completed in 1980 and was the best in the bay with the capacity for 21 cars and 150 passengers.

“In 1986 Moreton Venture (2) was replaced. Moreton Venture (2) now works in the Gulf of Carpentaria, under the name The Captain Roberts.

“Our vessels continued to bear the name Moreton Venture and a new vehicular ferry was born. The bigger and faster Moreton Venture was launched in 1986. It was 42m long and 11m wide, and carried 38 cars and 270 passengers. She was in faithful service until March 23, 2004.

“After 18 years we thought another change was necessary and again listed our marine architect (who had since become world renowned for his fast ferries).

“The result is Moreton island Micat, a 58m long and 16m wide, fast catamaran. Moreton Island Micat is a unique vessel, and to this day there is simply nothing like her servicing the islands off the coast of Australia.

“2010 is the 40th year of operation to Moreton Island by the Hawkins Family. We are very proud of our vocation and our great customers who return again and again.”

Driving on the Sand

Sand driving isn't hard to do so long as you obey some basic rules.

These rules include:

• Always carry a quality air compressor;

• Don’t be scared to deflate your tyres (most recommend 20psi, however you can go lower);

• Follow all speed restrictions and never go over 60km/h;

• Carry recovery gear, especially a long handled shovel, snatch-em strap and at least two Maxtrax units;

• Never park on wet sand on a beach;

• Always park facing downhill on a beach as it is then easier to get started;

• Always carry a tide chart if driving along a beach;

• Avoid sharp turns and sudden braking.

Need to Know

Drinking water

Bring your own water and containers. Drinking water can be collected from the Big Sandhills on the western beach, Rous Battery on the eastern beach, the road to North Point and all established campgrounds. Always treat water before drinking. Pack water treatment tablets or boil water for at least 10 minutes.

Fuel stoves

Bring a fuel stove and firewood. Open fires are not permitted at North Point campground. Test your fuel stoves before leaving on your trip. Never use them in confined spaces such as tents.

Vehicle Fuel

Fuel is available for purchase in exchangeable 20L containers from the Moreton Island Eco Village at Bulwer.

Extra hints

Sand pegs, tarpaulins, extra poles, ropes and torches come in handy.

Mosquitoes and sandflies may be present in large numbers, so bring insect repellent with you. Remember to wash any repellent off before swimming in creeks or lakes as it is highly toxic to our endangered native fish, even in low quantities.

Mobile phones may have limited range. Consult your service provider.

Bring sealable containers for rubbish.

Always extinguish cigarette butts. Don't discard the butts on the island, unless in a bin or bring small sealable canisters as personal ashtrays.

Don't bring firearms or fireworks; they are not permitted in the National Park or recreation area.

Chainsaws cannot be used.

Generators are not permitted in developed campgrounds, however they can be used in the four camping zones across the island. Be considerate and only use them between the hours of 7am and 9pm.

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