The ultimate 4WD adventure: Mulgumpin/Moreton Island, QLD
Mulgumpin/Moreton Island offers something unique among the sandy 4WD and camping destinations close to Brisbane, making it one of the best off-road destinations in South East Queensland.
Bulwer North Point (Image credit: Chris Whitelaw)
As the third-largest sand island in the world, Mulgumpin/Moreton Island is the perfect place to enjoy outdoor adventures, from four-wheel driving to soaking in the serene natural environment and crystal-clear waters. Explore the beautiful Gheebulum Kunungai (Moreton Island) National Park, which covers 98 per cent of the island, iconic destinations such as the Tangalooma Wrecks and the island's famous white-sand beaches.
Mulgumpin/Moreton Island is just one of Queensland's many popular islands - K'gari (Fraser Island) is the largest sand island in the world and offers many unforgettable experiences. Or if you're based around Brisbane, the Gold Coast or the Sunshine Coast, Minjerribah/North Stradbroke Island — the second largest sand island in the world — and Yarun/Bribie Island are well worth exploring.
Location: 58km northeast of Brisbane.
Best time of the year: Any time, with rainfall spread evenly throughout the year.
Camping: Ben-Ewa camping area, The Wrecks camping area, Comboyuro Point camping area, North Point (tent site) camping area, Blue Lagoon camping area.
For more information about the campsites or to book a spot, head to the Queensland Parks & Forests DES website.
While Mulgumpin/Moreton Island might be the third largest sand island in the world behind K'gari and North Stradrboke, don't let its comparative diminutiveness fool you. Outside of the busy tourist centre at Tangalooma Island Resort, Mulgumpin/Moreton Island is a peaceful and surprisingly remote island paradise that feature 420km of sandy tracks to explore.
Tangalooma Resort (Image credit: Chris Whitelaw)
What to expect
Travel on Mulgumpin/Moreton Island is dictated by the tides, which can come in deceptively quickly and must be respected. Apart from Tangalooma Resort on the west side of the island, Mulgumpin/Moreton is devoid of bitumen, which means soft sand abounds and good sand driving technique is necessary. The island’s tracks loop in a figure eight, with the Middle Road dividing the north and south and allowing crossover between the Ocean Beach side and the Western Beach side.
(Image credit: Chris Whitelaw)
Among the scattered banksia and scribbly gum along the Middle Road is a track to Mount Tempest, which can be accessed via a steep two-kilometre return walk. Mount Tempest is considered to be the tallest stabilised coastal sand dune in the world; standing at 285 metres high on a clear day it offers panoramic views of the entire island and beyond.
On the northeastern side of the island are Cape Moreton and the Cape Moreton Lighthouse, which is the oldest lighthouse in Queensland. Built in 1857 by 35 good-conduct prisoners, the tower of quarried sandstone stands over the point that James Cook himself sighted and named in 1770. The lighthouse is one of the best spots on the island to enjoy land-based whale watching. The best time of year to spot the migrating humpback whales is from June to November, but there's plenty of other marine life to keep an eye out for as well, including dolphins, sharks and sea turtles which can be spotted year-round. Close by to Cape Moreton and Cape Moreton Lighthouse is North Point, which is one of five camping spots on the island and the northernmost location on the island. Please note, this is a tent-only camping area.
Cape Moreton Lighthouse stands atop a sandstone cliff (Image credit: Chris Whitelaw)
Camping on Mulgumpin/Moreton Island
Each of the campsites on Mulgumpin/Moreton Island are within walking distance to the beach, and are located in grassy, shaded areas protected from the wind. Blue Lagoon is the only campground on the eastern beach side and is a great spot for family trips because of its proximity to the clear and shallow waters of the picturesque Blue Lagoon.
The other campsites are evenly spread around the island, and each enjoy close proximity to a must-see attraction. North Point is only a short walk from Honeymoon Bay, Comboyuro Point is a lovely spot on the northwestern point of the island and enjoys easy access to the Bulwer Wrecks, and of course The Wrecks and Ben-Ewa camping areas are the best places to stay if you want to be close to the Tangalooma Wrecks and Tangalooma Island Resort.
It’s easy to get to the ground level of Mulgumpin/Moreton Island’s history with the walks on the island, ranging from simple scenic strolls to challenging treks. Discover the relics of a World War II fort scattered amongst the dunes along the old Rous Battery service road, which is now a dedicated walking track. Or see the relics of the old telegraph line on the Telegraph Road, which cuts through heathland in the heart of Mulgumpin/Moreton to take visitors from Middle Road to an intersecting track in the north of the island.
If you're planning on exploring this island playground, we'd recommend planning for something longer than a day trip. It's best enjoyed over three to four days, as explorers will be enthralled by the many challenging 4WD tracks and various attractions. Some additional top-spots to add to the itinerary are the Tangalooma Desert, Yellow Patch camping zone (ideal for anglers and surf lovers) and Champagne Pools, a stunning rocky headland where the waves cause a sparkling 'champagne' effect as they crash over the volcanic rock.
The Desert (Image credit: Chris Whitelaw)
Maps and navigation for Mulgumpin/Moreton Island
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