Have you ever heard of a evening glass-bottom boat tour that lets you discover the magical world of the ocean at night? Well it’s as unique and exciting as it sounds and you can do it right on Brisbane’s doorstep at the wonderful Tangalooma Island Resort!
The Illuminated Wrecks Tour is a spectacular evening tour of the Tangalooma Wrecks off Moreton Island, lighting up the sea below so you can see what goes on below the surface at night, and spot the amazing marine life that calls Moreton Bay home. It’s like a sunset cruise, wildlife tour and night-time adventure all rolled into one!
Purpose-built Glass-bottom Boat
The Illuminated Wrecks Tour takes place on a purpose-built glass-bottom boat. The boat features central glass viewing units and full underwater light illuminations to give you the perfect view of the ocean below. It has seating around the edge as well as full walking access around the viewing units so that you can move around the boat when stationary to get the best view of the sea life around.
The boat also has custom feeding pods for feeding fish, and is fitted with an underwater video camera so that you can even view a live stream of the night-time sea life activity through on-board iPads. There is also a portaloo style toilet on board, which is great when doing the tour with kids.
Exploring the Tangalooma Wrecks
On the tour, you travel to the famous Tangalooma Wrecks, which is a unique marine habitat just off the shore of Moreton Island. The wrecks features a total of 15 ships that were sunk by the Queensland Government in order to provide a safe area of water in which recreational boats could anchor.
The sheltered waters, wrecks and coral that is now growing in and around the wrecks provides the perfect habitat for a whole array of sea creatures, making this the perfect place to come and explore the underwater world and spot some amazing wildlife. The wrecks can also be explored by snorkelling, diving, kayaking, boat trips and more, all of which are available through Tangalooma Island Resort. You can read all about Water-based Tours for Families at Tangalooma Island Resort here.
Wildlife spotting on the tour
The highlight of the Illuminated Wrecks Tour is spotting the beautiful local wildlife. There’s some pretty amazing birdlife that you can spot around the shores of Tangalooma, most notably the pelicans and pied cormorants that often gather around the jetty, as well as kookaburras, seagulls and stunning kites.
The tour is also the perfect opportunity to view amazing marine nightlife. There are over 200 different species of fish in the area, and many starfish. Look out for graceful dugongs who feed on the sea grass nearby and try to spot a sleeping turtle near the wrecks or a wobbegong shark on the ocean floor. At certain times you will also have the chance to see the incredible natural phenomenon of bioluminescence as it lights up in the ocean. Hundreds of fish flock to the boat when the feeding begins, and sometimes the clever local dolphins see this as a great opportunity to try their luck at getting a free feed too!
If you don’t get to spot dolphins on the tour, head to the jetty in time for the nightly wild dolphin feeding for the chance to see these beautiful creatures up close and even get to hand-feed one! You can read all about Dolphin Feeding at Tangalooma Island Resort here.
Our Experience on the Illuminated Wrecks Tour
We joined the Illuminated Wrecks Tour with our two Brisbane Kids aged 6 and 4 on our recent stay on Moreton Island. The kids were especially excited to be swapping the usual bedtime routine for an exciting night-time outing. We picked up their life jackets and walked across the beach to the boat.
As the boat set off into the ocean the sun was starting to go down and we enjoyed watching the beautiful sunset over the Glasshouse Mountains as we headed towards the Tangalooma Wrecks. Our daughter is usually nervous on boats, but was totally at ease on this tour as the calm waters of Moreton Bay made the short journey really smooth. We watched the water swirling by below the viewing panels and as we slowed near the wrecks we began to see fish and spotted a starfish.
We dropped anchor by the spectacular shipwrecks and our guide told us all about the wrecks and the local marine life, as well as interesting facts about the island and its history. A flock of pelicans flew by just metres above the ocean as darkness began to fall.
The underwater lights made the sea below glow a bright blue and the crystal clear waters gave great visibility all the way to the ocean floor. The kids loved being able to move around the boat, checking out what they could spot in each of the viewing units and over the edge of the boat. A couple of stingrays passed underneath, as well as many fish.
The kids loved the interaction of being able to feed the fish through the feeding pods and throwing feed overboard, and hundreds of fish gathered around to eat. We also enjoyed seeing the transparent night kayaks and illuminated stand-up paddle boards as they explored the wrecks, their lights adding to the magical feel of this unique experience.
We really enjoyed the experience of this never-before-seen glimpse into the underwater world at night, the kids loved the thrill of the night-time adventure and we all learnt more about the amazing wildlife that we’re so lucky to be able to encounter so close to home.
About the Illuminated Wrecks Tour
The Illuminated Wrecks Tour takes place daily, departing from Tangalooma Island Resort on Moreton Island. The departure time varies according to the season, but is usually between 4.30 and 7 pm, in time to watch a beautiful sunset over Moreton Bay and arrive at the wrecks as darkness falls. The tour lasts 90 minutes and includes underwater viewing, fish feeding and expert commentary from an on-board cruise guide.
The cost of the tour is $55 per adult and $35 per child.* Kids are provided with a life jacket, although the waters of the bay are usually very calm.
* Please note that prices quoted are current as at June 2017, and are subject to change without notice.
Brisbane Kids thanks Tangalooma Resort for sponsoring our writer and her family on their holidays to the lovely Tangalooma 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 and to book your stay, visit tangalooma.com. You can also read more about Tangalooma Island Resort here to find out all about this island tropical action-packed island paradise!