The promise of ship wrecks and wild dolphin feeding inspired our little country cousin’s minds when we had our early December getaway for AJ’s birthday. Our adventure to Tangalooma Island Resort (located on Moreton Island) started with a 75-minute ferry ride from Brisbane. We’d taken old fashioned kaleidoscopes to keep the boys entertained but it turns out nearly everything is fascinating to a 6-year-old and nearly 3-year-old. It is wonderful to see life through their eyes and we thoroughly enjoyed the island and our time together.
The boys were interested in the process of getting the ropes ready to tie up the ferry, while AJ was taking in the view and getting ready for island life.
The water was clear and we couldn’t wait to disembark and check out our room. One of our regular Facebook friends, Tanya (a wheelchair user), has told me so much about her wonderful experiences at Tangalooma that it was her enthusiasm that made me go and check it out. I hope to return one day as a family so we can review the island from a wheelchair user’s point of view. This was very much about a special trip away for AJ but of course I did take note of access while enjoying ourselves and I’ll share what I did see at the base of this blog.
The resort was nearly at capacity when I made enquiries so we reluctantly booked a regular hotel room. I thought we would be out all day so even if it was squeezy we’d cope. It turned out the hotel room was quite spacious. The room had a queen size bed, a port-a-cot for Master 2, a single bed and a trundle bed.
I always love to have a view of some kind so I was thrilled that we could see the beach from our balcony.
The bathroom was also spacious with a large shower.
The resort has good level paths leading between the variety of accommodation options. Our room was accessed via lift from the ground floor and the room itself was really comfortable.
HITTING THE BEACH
AJ was keen to do sand boarding but this was only available if doing a tour. We only had two days on the island with the boys so we didn’t want to separate unless it was for them to have a rest. While we were walking to the wrecks we discovered a sand hill and made a make-shift experience for the kids.
As photographer for the trip it was my duty to make sure I captured every moment which left others to do the running up and down the hill. It looked like hard work but the kids had a ball. My tip for sand boarding is to keep your mouth and eyes shut. I’d definitely love to give the tour a go with proper sand boards.
Considering the resort was fully occupied during our stay I was amazed that the island never felt crowded. We did a walk along the beach to the ship wrecks and had a picnic afternoon tea when we arrived. I loved the feeling of enjoying the simple things with the kids. Drawing with a stick on the beach kept Master 2 entertained.
Spotting starfish along the beach proved a wonderful past time and made the walk to the wrecks a bit of a treasure hunt.
SHIPWRECKS AND FISH FEEDING
The boys were fascinated by the ship wrecks and we did a fish feeding cruise which got us a closer look.
On the fish feeding cruise the kids were given a bag of fish food and had fun spotting the different kinds of fish in the water.
SUNSETS AND COCKTAILS
On our first night on the island the sunset was spectacular.
On our second evening we took advantage of front row seats (just like the loved up couple in the photo but we had three kids running around giggling) and had dinner while the sun set. It wasn’t as spectacular as the first night but we enjoyed a wonderful summer evening and the kids loved the freedom of running around on the beach.
WILD DOLPHIN FEEDING
Dolphin feeding is included for all guests and it is therefore extremely popular. As the sun sets the dolphins come in for the feeding. We lined up with all the guests participating that evening. We were instructed to wash our hands and told to hold our fish like an ice cream cone. We waited until the end in the hope we wouldn’t be rushed. Master 6 was a little unsure to start but the staff were reassuring and we all had a turn. Being wild dolphins there are strict rules around the experience. It is quick but AJ rates it as a highlight of her time on the island.
Tanya, our Facebook friend, has done this experience and there is a beach wheelchair available for guests with mobility restrictions.
Our room only had a mini-bar fridge so self-catering wasn’t possible for all our meals. We did take a cooler bag with some bits and pieces and had breakfast in our room. There is a general store on the island which stocks basic supplies but if there is something you or your child really likes, take it with you. Supplies are based on when they come by boat, so for example there were no bananas for the time we were there.
There are several dining options on the island. The café serves sandwiches, wraps, salads and cakes. The Beach Café has a range of hot food including pizza, fish and burgers and Fire and Stone has an Asian infused menu. If I was staying on the island for more than a few days I would definitely like the comfort of self-catering. Although a pizza at $23 is fairly standard for a café, eating out every day would add up quickly over a week’s stay.
The island has a large range of activities on offer. There is a list of free activities, like archery and golf putting. The boys loved the chance to sit in a helicopter and have a photo. You can read more about the free activities here. There is also a long list of other activities which you can do at an additional cost including quad bikes, segways (it’s a great spectator sport watching some of the tourists learning to master these) and water sports. You can read the full list of activities here.
There are two pools at the resort and at no time did we find them crowded which I think is amazing considering the island was full. I prefer the ocean for swimming and it was lovely and calm so I could float around and relax.
If you are just looking for a place to chill you will find plenty of spots along the beach for some peace and quiet.
Tangalooma kept our combined families entertained for the time we were there and there is certainly more I’d like to explore.
Two nights with our little cousins came to an end all too quickly and it was time to say goodbye.
As I mentioned above, this was a trip for AJ’s birthday so I didn’t have the opportunity to check out the accessible accommodation or specialised facilities. I can tell you that the island has beach wheelchairs including a Hippocampe for the dolphin feeding experience and one for the boat tours.
The ferry is wheelchair accessible but if you are travelling with a large wheelchair I would double check it can be accommodated on the gangway.
Luggage is delivered to your room so you only need to be able to wheel yourself to the room.
Paths are level and sealed so easy access around the resort.
The restaurants and bar all have good access.
If you’d like to find out more about Tangalooma Island Resort check out their website here.
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Good job jules
Wow, what a beautiful escape!
It really was Rachel.
Christine @ Adventure, Baby! says
What a beautiful looking island and resort! Adding it to my list to visit. Thanks for the fab review.
Thanks Christine, It was a fabulous escape and great for kids. Julie
Thanks for the tips. We’ve been talking about heading to Tangalooma this year.
We had lots of fun and loads of activities we didn’t have time to explore. Julie
Mandy @ Barbie Bieber and Beyond says
That definitely looks like a spot to put on the bucket list. Looks like you had a wonderful time. What great pics!
Thanks Mandy. It was a lovely trip all round. Just too short, as holidays often are. Julie
Dale Reardon - My Disability Matters says
I haven’t been to Tangalooma yet but would love to go.
I can highly recommend another dolphin spot, Monkey Mia near Shark Bay in WA though. I got to hand feed the dolphins there and it was a fantastic stay.
I do realize it is a long way to travel though.
Hi Dale, I’ve heard Monkey Mia is great too. Good for anyone going to WA to know. Wonder if they have a beach wheelchair for people with mobility restrictions to access it. That is the beauty of the Tangalooma experience. Julie
Maja @ Mumma Hack says
Great write-up. We were there in December! Feels like a million miles away, doesn’t it. Great little escape from Brisbane.
Ah, we were there in early December. I loved that it was so close but as you say seemed like a million miles away. Thanks Julie
Dale Reardon - My Disability Matters says
I followed up with the Monkey Mia admin people and got the following response:
Good morning Dale,
Thank you for your query, we do not have a beach wheelchair with the resort, however, the Department of Parks and Wildlife here at Monkey Mia do.
To arrange access for this during your stay or to get more information about this, please see the following details to contact them.
Phone number: 08 9948 1366.
Hope it helps someone.
Thanks for following up. Great info for anyone following along in WA or people visiting the region.
Hello, lovely overview of your trip. This seems such a family-friendly spot, something for everyone and good outdoor activities. Would love a visit, I’m sure it would suit our family well.
There really is something for all ages Seana. Wish we had longer there. Julie
Karin @ Calm to Conniption says
When I spotted this post I had to read it. It has been nearly 15 years since my last trip to Tangalooma and I am itching to get back with the family and see my dolphin friends. Great to hear about the food options these days as on last visit they weren’t great.
It would have changed a lot in 15 years I’d imagine. But, your dolphin friends still come in to play every night. Really lovely spot for families.