Just a short hop away from Brisbane, Tangalooma Island Resort is an island paradise bursting with family friendly activities.
Only a 75-minute catamaran cruise from Brisbane lies beautiful Moreton Island – the world’s third largest sand island and protected natural theme park – where a multitude of natural encounters are part of everyday life.
Whether you visit during the winter for the majestic whale watching experience, or enjoy a summer weekend snorkelling the reefs and hand-feeding wild dolphins, this unique yet understated island offers adventure, nature, and fun for the family, all year around.
Where to stay
Beautifully set along the beach and home to the countless activities and wildlife encounters, Tangalooma Island Resort is the place to stay for everything and anything happening on Moreton Island. Offering a large variety of accommodation options, from affordable hotel rooms to deluxe beachfront villas, there is something for every family and every budget. With a kitchenette and beds for four, the Resort Units are an affordable choice for a family with little ones. If you prefer a little luxury and a full kitchen, the Deep Blue Holiday Apartments are stunning.
With plenty of places to eat at the resort, dining as a family is easy. The Beach Café is a casual beach-style takeaway with burgers, pizza, hot dogs and kids’ meals. Or try the Coffee Lounge for sandwiches, cakes, coffee and great ice-cream. There is also a General Store at the resort for everyday essentials and snacks. At the Beach BBQ Restaurant (only open for dinner), you can tuck into a steak and other grilled delights. But the best dining at the resort is, without a doubt, the Asian fusion restaurant Fire and Stone, where you can enjoy internationally inspired flavours and sunset dining in a relaxed setting. They do have a kids menu, but there is plenty on the main menu that kids will love (try the Honey Chicken, it’s seriously amaaaazing!).
The resort’s main hub offers plenty of entertainment with live music on the weekends, big screen sports in B&B’s Resort Bar, pool tables, plenty of high chairs and a relaxed vibe.
What to do
In the winter months, the whale watching tour from Tangalooma is a must-do. The season runs from June to October, with whales migrating straight past Moreton Island. The Whale Watch Cruise includes a scenic cruise across Moreton Bay, guaranteed whale sightings and expert commentary by an Eco Ranger. Seeing these incredible creatures in their natural habitat is a magical experience for the kids (and grown-ups!).
As well as being a fabulous winter weekend escape, Tangalooma Island Resort has a bucket-full of fun for families during the summer months. For water lovers, there is everything from parasailing and stand-up paddle boarding to illuminated wrecks tours, kayaking, jet boat rides and more. The Tangalooma wrecks – a cluster of ships scuttled between 1963 and 1984 to provide safe anchorage for boats on the eastern side of the island – now provide a haven for over 100 species of fish as well as turtles and wobbegongs. A wonderful way for kids to see the wrecks is to take the sunset illuminated glass bottom boat cruise, where they can feed the fish and experience the underwater world of the reef at dusk. Keep an eye out for the famous dugong and prepare to be impressed at the array of marine life!
For the land lovers, the ATV Quad Bike Tour is a fantastic way to see the island. Families can jump on tandem bikes so the kids can safely come along for the ride. You can take it at your own pace, and the guides are awesome.
If you prefer two wheels, the resort also offers a Segway tour of the island, and you can hire beach bikes if you fancy exploring on your own.
For the thrillseekers, the Desert Safari Tour is a must. Take a bumpy 4WD ride into the desert, get a unique look at the heart of Moreton Island on the way, and then go sand tobogganing down a huge 36-metre sand dune. The hardest part is the climb to the top!
If that’s not enough to keep everyone busy, the resort itself has two pools, (the Deep Blue Apartments also have their own exclusive pool), badminton nets, volleyball, Springfree trampolines, beach activities, snorkelling, outdoor games, playgrounds, gas barbecues and more.
The sandboarding was so much fun, and the quad bikes were epic… it was the best weekend ever! – Callum, 11
Being a protected marine park, there are natural experiences at every turn on Moreton Island. Walk along the beach and see hundreds of fish in the surf, starfish along the shoreline, pelicans resting on the beach, whistling kites nesting in the trees above, and cormorants bobbing around under the jetty. If you are interested in learning more, the Eco Rangers hold several interesting talks throughout the day. The Pelican Feeding and Sea Bird Talk at 11am is a fun way to get up close with the birds, and the Kookaburra feeding at 4.45pm every day is a great way to find out more about these Australian favourites. The Eco Centre at Tangalooma is also well worth a visit, with hands-on activities for the kids and a wonderful space for them to learn more about the environment and the local marine creatures.
However, the star attraction at Tangalooma Island Resort is the unique guest activity of hand feeding a pod of wild bottlenose dolphins. Every day at around 6.15pm, the dolphins come close to the shore and will eat from your hand. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for everyone. One of only three locations in Australia where you can hand-feed dolphins, the Wild Dolphin Feeding Program at Tangalooma is incredibly well run and follows strict guidelines to ensure the wellbeing of the dolphins.
With so much to offer, yet just a short hop from home, Tangalooma Island Resort is the perfect family friendly getaway this summer!
My favourite was the dolphin feeding, and the glass bottom boat, and the pelican feeding, and the kayaks, and definitely the ice cream. Oh, I can’t choose – I loved it all! – Isla, 7
- Moreton Island is the world’s third lagest sand island.
- Tangalooma was a whaling station in the 1950s, until it was sold in 1963 and turned into a resort.
- An estimated 33,000 whales migrate past Moreton Island each year.
- To ensure the dolphins continue to hunt, they are only fed 10-20% of their daily food requirement at the feeding.
- 600–800 dugongs live in Moreton Bay.
- About 195 species of birds live or migrate to Moreton Island.
- Moreton Bay is home to six of the world’s seven species of sea turtles.