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Giant cat spotted at Moreton Island
  |  First Published: July 2004



NO, it’s not an escaped circus panther prowling around Brisbane’s own island paradise! It’s MI Cat and it’s good news for regular visitors to Moreton Island, which is now even more accessible thanks to Hawkins Transport, owners of the popular Moreton Venture barge.

Hawkins has forked out ten million bucks to have Cairns shipbuildersNQEA build this new, luxurious, state-of-the-art fast catvehicle and passenger ferry, the MI Cat. Launched earlier this year, MI Cat commenced regular high-speed services to Moreton Island in March and now operates seven days a week. She boasts a capacity of 400 passengers and 50 4WD vehicles and whisks her hefty cargo from Whyte’s Island (at Lytton, near the Port of Brisbane) to the Tangalooma Wrecks on Moreton’s west coast in around an hour, slashing the previous time for the trip in half. At 400 tonnes maximum deadweight and at almost 58m long, MI Cat is huge and is powered by four massive Caterpillar 30-litre diesel engines that put out 750hp each. The four 1.1m, five-bladed propellers push her along at 17 knots as she slices effortlessly through Moreton Bay’s chop, using about 1300 litres of juice for the return trip.

For those onboard, the emphasis is on comfort. MI Cat has a very luxurious, fully licensed lounge area, a large covered deck offering breathtaking views, a partially enclosed vehicle deck (to protect your 4WD from the saltwater spray) and even an elegant coffee shop. While anchored at Tangalooma Wrecks (between 9:30am and 3:30pm every day except Sunday, when its 9:30am to 1:00pm), the MI Cat Café offers a broad range of hot and cold drinks, fresh cakes, pastries and croissants, as well as ice creams and other tasty snacks.

MI Cat’s a ‘drive-on drive-off’ type ferry so there’s no longer any need to worry about reversing off the beach with a trailer in tow. Phew! I can hear many of you (who’ve been bogged while attempting it) sighing with relief. There’s no more scraping the tow bar on the landing ramp either. The new 10.7m long, two-piece, folding landing ramp reduces the gradient to make boarding and unloading much easier than before. It’s obvious when you have a look around MI Cat that lot of thought has gone into making her very user-friendly and extremely comfortable. The bar has been raised!

If you’ve never ventured across the bay to Moreton Island you’ve been depriving yourself! Moreton’s stunning and abundance of wildlife make it a haven for nature lovers. on a fun-packed day tripbrand new 40-seater MAN 4WD coach). Highlights include swimming in the beautiful Blue Lagoon, a beachside lunch as well as sand tobogganing at The Desert. roup discounts are available for corporate days, parties, sporting, social or school groups.

Return $130 for a 4WD (including up to two adults), and trailers are $115 for a 4m version up to $190 for a 7m version. Motorbikes (road registered) are $60 and bicycles are just $15.

[CAPTIONS]

1) The MI Cat looks fast just sitting still!

1) The two-piece, folding landing ramp reduces the gradient to make boarding and unloading easier than ever before.

3) MI Cat has a very luxurious, fully licensed lounge area and coffee shop. There’s even a huge plasma screen.

4) Comfortable seating beneath the large covered top deck affords breathtaking views of Moreton Bay and Island.

5) Brisbane’s own island paradise approaches – at speed!

2) The cavernous, partially-enclosed vehicle deck comfortably holds up to 50 vehicles.
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