Australia, Beach & Coastal Walking, Hiking
Comments 12

Moreton Island, An Alphabetical Adventure: A-C

I should be working out in the yard but it’s raining pretty hard and we’re just getting over prolonged colds. So back to sunnier, drier times: a recap of my four-day Moreton Island trip just after Easter. This was my third 60-mile circumabulation of the island, second in an anti-clockwise direction.

Trying something new here: a selection of pictures organised by topic rather than the standard chronological account. I’ll try to put them out every second day or so or I’ll be ready for my next Moreton trip by the time this lot is done…

But first a quick summary of the walk to give you some context:

Sunday April 27: Up early! Ferry across Moreton Bay to The Wrecks. South on the Brisbane-facing western coast. Past Tangalooma Resort to the Big and Little Sandhills. A quick partial ascent of the former, then the painfully soft sand road to Kooringal village, around the heel of the island as darkness and rain fell. Storm out at sea. Terrible night in dunes within the “Nylon Coffin”, a tiny glorified bivy sack unused for over a decade (my good gear was en route to America). Wet, almost no sleep.

Monday April 28: Up early! Through the maze of fallen trees to Mirapool lagoon, reached the ocean side. Wet, manageably miserable. Thought of bailing but reached the WWII pillbox at Rous Battery (the only roof available on the entire island), napped and dried my stuff. Grew a pair, walked on, feeling great. Night cowboying in dunes, kept awake by flapping of painter’s drop-sheet rain shelter in ferocious wind. Almost no sleep.

Tuesday April 29: Up early! Whole day walking north ‘tween surf and dunes, feeling great. Reached Cape Moreton & its convict-built lighthouse, crossed to the inner coast, checked out Honeymoon Bay for the first time, headed south. Night in dunes, cowboying. Cold (no sleeping bag). Almost no sleep.

Wednesday April 30: Up early! South past Bulwer and Cowan villages, more WWII ruins, too early for 3:30 ferry so killed time in a deserted campground before the ride home, feeling great — though in need of sleep…

A is for…

~ Amity

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Amity Point lies across treacherous South Passage on North Stradbroke, world’s 2nd-largest sand island (Moreton is #3; Fraser, up north, is #1). This is where I reached the bottom of the island at dusk on Day 1.

B is for…

~ Backpack

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My brand-new Granite Gear Blaze lightweight pack, bought in America not long before. Its first and so-far only trial — and it was brilliant. This is on the ocean beach.

~ Banksia

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Named for Joseph Banks, botanist on Captain James Cook’s famous 1770 voyage, these are, with casuarinas, perhaps the characteristic trees of the island. Sand-lovers, they will often grow right out of the beach. Their distinctive cones are attractive dry…

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..and fresh.

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Dried cones at a campground on the inner coast.

~ Blue

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Great skies, particularly on Day 1, made this trip special. Here’s a sea eagle cruising the coast as I walked south.

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Numerous sandy slopes, constantly changing, stripe the coast. Moreton is never the same on any two trips.

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Dunes on the ocean side.

~ Bush

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Amazing how such dense forest (I once bushwhacked from coast to coast — not recommended!) can thrive on pure sand. This is a view from a ridge on the Big Sandhill.

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At a campground on the inner coast…

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..where this shot was also taken.

C is for…

~ Campground

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I avoid them when possible, and camp illegally but carefully (I still pay my fees). At peak times like Easter the island is overrun by 4-wheel drivers (there are no surfaced roads on Moreton) — anachronistic, surely, in a national park. And sadly, I’ve had a few encounters with unpleasant, loud, and/or drunk “outdoorsmen”. The designated camp areas are cavities gouged behind protective screens of trees. I was pleasantly surprised at the cleanliness of this one so soon after Easter — perhaps National Parks had done a sweep?

~ Cape Moreton

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All day, when I walk anti-clockwise, I’m aiming at the lighthouse on the northern tip of the ocean side. For half the day it’s invisible, and when it does appear, I try not to look at it too much — it’s maddeningly elusive!

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At last! I turn left at those cliffs and take a sand car-track to the western coast.

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End of this coastal jaunt. But for this island, we’d probably have surf like this at Sandgate.

~ Casuarina

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Casuarinas, or she-oaks, are the other dominant coastal tree. You don’t want to step on their woody fallen fruit in bare feet! This one’s where I met the east coast…

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..and here’s another at a campground.

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My view through the casuarina boughs as I rose after that awful windy night.

~ Coconut

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Fun to imagine where they began their journey. The only coconut palms on the isle are the ones planted at Tangalooma to denote “resort”.

~ Container Ship

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The western coast has views of Brisbane, the Glasshouse Mountains — and a major shipping lane. View from near Tangalooma of a precariously positioned fun-lover.

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On the final day. This one’s heading north out of the Bay…

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..as are these, photographed from the ferry on the way home — Glasshouse Mtns at rear.

~ Cormorant

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Plenty of these on the sheltered inner side — this one emerged from a dive just south of the resort to check me out…

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..before joining his/her associates in some social wing-drying…

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..and a adjourning to a favourite log.

~ Cowboy Camping

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My bed on the final night. Minimalist, but I would have killed for a nice wooly jumper. Sweet dawn, though.

~ Cuttlefish

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Do budgerigar fanciers outside Australia use these to give their birds something to play with — or is it just a local quirk?

~ And that’s all the Goat wrote

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12 Comments

  1. Barb says

    Cuttlefish are given to birds as a dietary thing, calcium I suppose.. great pics Ian!

    • Thanks, Barb. I’ve also heard it was sharpening their beak! Probably helps kill the monotony of cage life as well…

  2. Carl says

    Good question if cuttlefish are used anywhere else…my budgie “greenie” (highly imaginative name) always had one in his cage. Great pics BTW

  3. Monty Python had a cuttlefish reference.
    I know that it is used by turtle and hermit crab keepers the world over.

    • One of the joys of the PCT was the nightly opportunity to sleep under the stars and enjoy the majesty of the desert night. But you have to be WARM!

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