Tangalooma Island Resort is majestic from the air.
Tangalooma Island Resort is majestic from the air. CONTRIBUTED

Island of natural highs

THE brilliant expanses of colour merge into each other like stripes on a beautiful beach towel.

Sea green. Royal blue. Sea green. Royal blue.

This vibrant natural tapestry is bordered by golden sands with white shoreline ripples on one side, and a cornflower blue sky with a higgledy-piggledy line of fluffy, wispy clouds at the other.

The majestic view hits me as I open the door to our unit patio.

I'm not expecting such a vista right on Brisbane's doorstep.

Tangalooma Island Resort on Moreton Island has all the colour you want in a weekend or week-long getaway.

After an early-morning start from the Sunshine Coast to catch the first catamaran transfer from Brisbane's Pinkenba Wharf at 7am, I think I must have fallen asleep and woken up in the Whitsundays or Far North Queensland.

A beautiful crescent beach is framed by the dark green blanket of native vegetation, stands of tall palm trees, sturdy pandanus and the occasional Norfolk pine.

Clean and wide pathways and music wafting through the air draw visitors closer to the resort proper where staff are already manning the reception desk, the breakfast buffet is being served in Tursiops and the Coffee Lounge is quick to dispense your favourite brew.

With luggage stowed and without a care in the world on this majestic autumn day, we are keen to explore further afield, past open spaces of green lawn and shady palms, alongside various accommodation offerings and pools, on to the beach and up to the Bulwer Wrecks (three ships scuttled on the beach that are ideal for snorkelling and glass-bottom boat adventures).

The craggy outline of Mt Beerwah and Mt Tibrogargan in the Glass House Mountains can just be made out, looking like they are falling into the sea despite their distance many kilometres inland.

Beachcombing and bushwalking are two of the greatest joys visitors can undertake for free here.

But if it's adventure you crave, you've come to the right place, too.

The four-wheel-drive Desert Safari with sand tobogganing is the most popular tour on offer and is taken up by people of all ages, backgrounds, nationalities and fitness levels.

Moreton Island is the world's third-largest sand island (after Fraser and North Stradbroke Island) and this tour's designated four-wheel-drive coach is the only recreational vehicle allowed on the Tangalooma Desert dune.

The lush vegetation and bumpy thrills of the "Death Valley” drive open to a glorious sandy nothingness.

The formation of the Tangalooma Desert remains somewhat of a mystery, although scientists believe it may have been formed by a lightning strike and subsequent bushfire.

The result is the picturesque white-out dominated by a 35m dune safari participants will conquer by foot.

So if you want to experience the exhilarating sport of sand tobogganing, reaching speeds of up to 40kph, you must follow in the footsteps of those before you in the quest to the top.

But it's all worth it, even if it does only takes seconds using a ply-board plank to get to the bottom.

There's plenty of time allocated to go again and again (if your calf muscles can handle it!).

Thrillseekers, families, honeymoon couples and armchair adventurers are all covered for fun with more than 50 island-based tours and activities - from wild dolphin feeling to quad biking, sea scooters to segways, scuba diving to kookaburra feeding, stand up paddleboards to fishing, "fat bike” hire to helicopter joy flights, parasailing to sunset cruises, catamarans to illuminated transparent kayak tours at night.

Add to this the Beachside Massage Hut and Beauty Room, live music in B&B's Bar, cafes and restaurants including the Asian-western fusion of Fire&Stone, world-class resort facilities with a national park to explore, plus sunshine and a sub-tropical climate.

That's more than enough to colour my world for a welcome weekend away.


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