We had heard of the Tangalooma Shipwrecks on Moreton Island for years, but always thought it was a luxury destination that we would never be able to afford, or even enjoy due to that large crowds that swarm here ¾’s of the year.
When we were making our way up the coast arriving in Brisbane, we realised how close we were to Moreton Island and really didn’t want to miss out – so we done our research to find the most cost effective way to experience the Tangalooma Wrecks.
There is far more to see on The World’s Third Largest Sand Island than just Tangalooma, but we didn’t have too much time or money, and we specifically wanted to see the wrecks.
The site is made up of 15 old steamer and dredger ships, deliberately sunk as a breakwall for small boats and over the years has become a thriving eco-marine system with many different types of coral and over a 100 species of fish, this place also acts as a haven for dugongs and dolphins, which we spotted just off the beach catching a feed!
The ships were sunk over a period of 20 years from the 60s – 80s, and back in 2015 the tops of them had to be cut off due to safety concerns.
There is a channel between the beach and the wrecks which is swimmable, but just be aware of the tides as the current is strong when the tide is running.
So we visited mid-June on a Monday, and jumped on the Micat Ferry from the Port of Brisbane. The ferry cost a whopping $56 each ($28 one-way), but this is the most expensive part of the trip, and the only way to get to this location other than flying.
It is a car and passenger ferry, and we couldn’t take Betty over so we chose the cheaper option just to leave her on the other side and pay $15/day x 2 days for ‘secure’ parking (we shared this price). You will only have this cost if you choose to park at the port, otherwise you can park elsewhere and be dropped off by taxi/uber/family etc.
We had to carry our camping gear & snorkels so chose to be as close to the ferry as possible.
The ferry is 1.5 hours from Brisbane Port to Moreton Island and it drops you directly in front of the Tangalooma Shipwrecks – very much to our surprise at how close they came!
Below we have listed our top 3 reasons for travelling here during the off season and on a budget based on OUR experience…
So we decided on the camping option even though the resort might’ve had discounted winter rates, purely because it was dirt cheap at $6.35 each, AND you could literally see the shipwrecks from our tent!
The Tangalooma Resort is only a 20-minute walk away and is exclusive to resort guests only, but we preferred to be right where the action is.
You can get a camping permit online at https://qpws.usedirect.com/qpws/ .
We packed food for the two days and so the only money spent on this trip was the ferry ride over, the car parking (optional), and the campsite, totalling to approx. $63 each for one night and two days.
This was our campsite...
2. LESS OR NO PEOPLE
When we walked off the Micat Ferry to our campsite (literally under 100m), we soon realised there was no-one else around, and that we had the ENTIRE campsite to ourselves!
The small amount of people on the ferry either headed off in their 4WD’s or walked down the beach with their luggage to the resort.
The campsite had cold showers to rinse off (we’re totally used to them living in the van), well maintained drop toilets, and even…WIFI! (FYI – wifi is in 4 hr timeslots so once you’re on – stay on!
Snorkelling the wrecks over the two days was an incredible experience. We would have the place to our self in the morning before the tour group arrived and from 3.30pm onwards (after the last ferry departed). Out of winter there would be multiple tour groups and sooo many boats out on the water – there was only ONE tour group each day and only TWO boats the entire time we were there. It is quiet like this from June to August, picking up around September.
Both days we would sit here and pop in for a dip or snorkel sesh, and you can see just how empty the place is.
3. WEATHER AND VISIBILITY
The weather in winter is usually a high of 19 degrees, still perfect to be out sitting on the beach without scorching, and the water temperature is 20 degrees on average in the middle of winter.
The water clarity is the best during this time of year, as are the sunsets.