A tropical family holiday at Tangalooma Island Resort

Sunset over Moreton Bay

Of all the tropical island locations to pick from for a family vacation, Tangalooma probably isn’t one that immediately comes to mind. But reading about our recent Moreton Island adventure may change all that. Upon holidaying there as a family of four (Mum, Dad, Miss 9 and Miss 5 ½) we were so surprised that such a stunning, relatively untouched island with golden sands and beautiful, sparkling clear waters could be located so close to our local waterway—the somewhat hazy Brisbane River. And, with so many amazing things to see and do on Moreton Island, we’ve decided that Tangalooma Island Resort could be the ultimate local location for both a fun and relaxing holiday with kids.

The Tangalooma Flyer

Ferry to Tangalooma

One of the fastest ways to get to Tangalooma is the high speed catamaran, the Tangalooma Flyer. Departing from Holt Street Wharf at Pinkenba several times daily, the launch can reach Moreton Island in 75 minutes, depositing you directly upon the jetty adjoining Tangalooma Island Resort. We checked our luggage in at the wharf around 30 minutes before departure, taking advantage of the luggage set down parking spaces in front of the ticket office, before obtaining a token to access the secure open-air carpark for the duration of our holiday. It is recommended that you book your launch transfers in advance and allow plenty of time for the check in process. We found 30 minutes sufficient. Parking is also paid for when checking in, with costs varying according to the length of time you will be staying.

Tangalooma Island Resort

Tangalooma Island Resort

Depending on the time of day you arrive at Tangalooma, you may need to wait to get into your booked accommodation. As we arrived at 11:30am and check-in time is 2pm, we were requested to leave our luggage securely with reception and gave our mobile phone number to receive a text message when our room was ready. For this reason, it’s recommended that you bring a day pack with anything you may need until the time that you can get into your room. We found the check-in process to be very efficient and the staff helpful and friendly, despite that large number of people travelling over on the Flyer and checking in all at the same time. As the tours desk is located next to the reception area, we booked into our full holiday’s worth of activities immediately after checking in. The main bar area, adjacent to reception, and the resort shop also feature free mobile phone charge areas, which can be used any time you are away from your room.

Tangalooma Resort accommodation for families

Tangalooma Island Resort accommodation

With two adults and two children, our family checked into a Resort Suite at Tangalooma Island Resort. These refurbished units feature plenty of space for a family, with a separate main bedroom with queen size bed and a large living area containing three single beds, a divan, dining table and chairs, TV and wide opening windows (or patio on ground level). A kitchenette consisting of full size fridge, microwave, electric frypan, tea and coffee making facilities and all the crockery and glassware a family might need make self-catering possible. There are also several communal BBQ areas scattered throughout the resort. The extra-large ‘pigeon-hole’ style storage in the bathroom of the resort suites means that clothes and toiletries can easily be stored where you need them. Communal laundry facilities with washing machines, dryers and irons are available too, should the need arise. For more details about accommodation options at Tangalooma Island Resort, click here.

The Desert Safari Tour & Sand Tobogganing

Sand dunes at Tangalooma Desert

The Desert Safari was our first chosen tour for our family holiday at Tangalooma. This 1 ½ hour tour takes you on a short trip through the bush to the 100 acre Tangalooma Desert. This stunning area features over two dozen colours of sand and massive dunes that are surrounded on all sides by dense bushland. The tour takes you to the bottom of the tallest sand dune, measuring 35 metres high, where you will be instructed on proper sand tobogganing technique and safety. The next step is to trek up the GINORMOUS soft sand dune, which takes around 5 minutes, then jump on your toboggan to zoom back down in around 10 seconds. As our group found, the climb up is definitely worth the adrenaline rush of the slide down – so many repeated the experience several times in the period we were there. To find out more about our experiences on the Desert Safari Tour and Sand Tobogganing at Tangalooma, click here.

Dolphin Feeding at Tangalooma

Wild Bottlenose Dolphins at Tangalooma

We were very keen to witness the famous wild dolphins visiting the resort, and to have the chance to feed them on the first night of our stay. The nightly dolphin feeding demonstration is included in your accommodation cost at Tangalooma Island Resort, though you do need to book your session. Bookings are taken at the Marine Education & Conservation Centre near the Jetty from between 1pm and 4pm daily. Dolphin feeding times can vary according to season; however it generally takes place at sunset on the northern side of the jetty. The dolphin feeding is an experience not to be missed at Tangalooma, with up to 12 wild Bottlenose Dolphins visiting the shores of the resort on any one evening. To read more about our Dolphin Feeding experience at Tangalooma, click here.

4WD Northern Safari Tour

Lighthouse on Moreton Island

On our first full day at Tangalooma we set off on a 4WD Northern Safari Tour. This is the perfect tour for visitors who have not brought their own 4WD over to the island, and who still want to experience some of the breathtaking natural beauty that Moreton Island is famous for. The four hour tour takes you along the beach on the western side of the island, past the two townships of Cowan Cowan and Bulwer, then through the bush tracks to the north-eastern side of the island; meeting the ocean again at the oldest lighthouse in Queensland at Cape Moreton. The views of the Coral Sea from this lookout are simply spectacular, and from the high cliffs we spotted several huge green turtles riding the waves in the water below. The tour continues along the beaches of the eastern coast of Moreton, stopping off for a dip in the tea tree stained (and quite invigorating) Blue Lagoon before heading inland again to return to the resort.

Snorkel the Tangalooma Wrecks

Snorkel the Tangalooma Wrecks

I have to say that our snorkelling tour of the Tangalooma Wrecks was the absolute highlight of our trip to Tangalooma! Being a bit of a scaredy cat myself, I was apprehensive about snorkelling in the ocean with unknown ocean life. Once I jumped in though, I could not get enough! All four of us went on the tour, though it is recommended for children aged over 6 years. We were each kitted out in full wetsuits, flippers and snorkel gear at the resort, and then hopped on the flat bottom boat to travel the couple of kilometres north to the Tangalooma Wrecks. Miss 5 ½ wore a life jacket and Miss 9 had a pool noodle (both also provided by the resort), which made it a lot easier for them for the 40 minutes we were in the water. Winning again with the most perfect weather, the ocean was calm as we swam amongst the wrecks, spotting and swimming with hundreds of colourful fish and spotting a Wobbegong Shark hiding on the ocean floor. This tour was simply not long enough for me—I could have swum around the wrecks all day! That said, it was the perfect length of time for the kids, and if the ocean had been less calm we would probably have been far more tired by the end of it. You can read more about this experience here.

ATV Quad Bike Tour

ATV Quad Bikes at Tangalooma Island Resort

The last big adventure of our long weekend at Tangalooma was really pushing my fear limits—quad bike riding! Having never even been on a motorbike, let along controlled one myself with one of my children on the back, I was just a little bit scared. After surprising myself with the snorkelling the day before however, I knew that I couldn’t risk missing out and regretting it. These all-terrain vehicles are HUGE and, according to our tour guide, can tip to angles of almost 90 degrees on the side without actually tipping over (one fact that I repeated in my head throughout the tour!). Needless to say, the quad bike tour turned out to be another adventure that all four of us LOVED; zipping through the high sand dunes and enjoying more breathtaking views out across Moreton Bay along the way. It was a fun-filled experience and a great way to spend our last day at Tangalooma Island Resort.

Pelican feeding at Tangalooma

Whilst doing ALL of the activities at Tangalooma Island Resort is probably out of most families’ budgets in one visit, the ones we did we absolutely LOVED! I’d highly recommend looking at our more detailed reviews of each of the above activities, as well as looking at the other activities available at Tangalooma here. There are also a heap of fun FREE activities to enjoy at the resort, including Pelican or Kookaburra Feeding and bushwalks, along with the Tangalooma Marine Education & Conservation Centre that hosts various activities every day. Pick one or two to do as a family and you won’t be sorry. Best of all, the professional photographers at the resort accompany most activities, and we were left with dozens of photos to remember our experiences!

We came home from our long weekend worn out, but energised from an exciting tropical family holiday. I think that the famous sunsets over the Moreton Bay alone would draw us back to the island again and again—they are nothing short of mind-blowing!

Brisbane Kids thanks Tangalooma Island Resort for sponsoring our writer and her family on their holidays to the lovely Tangalooma Island Resort and Moreton Island. Costs were covered. All the opinions stated in this review are true, honest and genuine with the sole aim of providing enough information for families to make an informed decision about future holidays to this wonderful local leisure destination.

To find out more about Tangalooma Island Resort, please visit their website at www.tangalooma.com/info/home

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