Best of Moreton Bay

Best of Moreton Bay



Welcome and river cruise


Land at St Helena Island – guided walk see ruins, shorebirds, kangaroos


Anchor at Peel Island – snorkel a coral reef, see fish, rays, and shipwreck


Land at North Stradbroke Island – guided walk,  lunch at the quirky Little Ship Club and spot koalas in the wild


Anchor at Moreton Island – Swim in the warm crystal clear waters and white sands. Spot turtles and dugongs.


Return to Brisbane


Arrive City

The above locations, times and activities may vary due to prevailing conditions, however equivalent experiences will be achieved.


On joining your boat you’ll cruise downstream from Brisbane and out into the crystal clear waters of Moreton Bay.  Your cultural guide will lead you on the island hopping adventure of a life time and our fast tour boats will have you back to the city in time for sunset drinks.

  • Cruise, snorkel and bushwalk your way across four islands in one day.
  • Discover historic ruins, shipwrecks, deserted beaches, and spot turtles, dolphins, dugongs and more!


  • Adventure cruise
  • Guided bushwalk
  • Wildlife watching, kangaroos, koalas, dolphins, turtles
  • Swim and snorkel
  • Beach games and free time
  • Island style hot lunch (Fish and Chips, Burger and Chips, Sweet Potato Salad(vegan), or Vegetarian lasagne)
  • Unlimited water bottle refills
  • Additional snacks and drinks available for sale on boat.* Tour not recommended for children under 8 years.


Departure Points

• City Botanic Gardens River Hub
Departs 7.30am / Arrives 5:10pm

• New Farm River Hub
Departs 7.50am / Arrives 4:50pm

• Northshore Hamilton
Departs 8:10am / Arrives 4:30pm

Things to Bring

• Swimmers

• Sunscreen & Hat

• Towel

• Warm Clothes (in winter)

• Refillable Water Bottle

Tour Details

Brisbane City – Meanjin

  • Means ‘spike’ in Turrbal language, refers to shape of the site
  • Original capital at Redcliffe, named Moreton Bay 1824
  • After mosquitoes, shipwrecks and running fights with local aboriginals, capital moved to present site 1825 
  • Used as headquarters for US General Macarthur in WWII 
  • Now famous as a modern, safe and clean city, with a great climate and fantastic lifestyle –  Population 2.3 million 182nd largest in world, about the same as Houston US, Sendai JP, 

Brisbane River – Maiwarr

  • 344km long, longest river in SE QLD
  • Habitat to rare lungfish, extinct Brisbane River Cod and bull sharks
  • History of major floods esp 1893, 1974 and 2011

Southbank – Kurilpa

  • Means place of the water rat in Yuggera/Turrbal
  • Redeveloped into present form for World Expo 1988
  • Now home to Streets Beach, cultural precinct and restaurants

Powerhouse/New Farm – Binkenba

  • Means place of many turtles in Yuggera/Turrbal
  • Built in 1928 to provide electricity for tram network
  • Became derelict in 1971
  • Restored to performing arts precinct in 2006

Newstead House

  • Brisbane’s oldest surviving home, build 1846
  • Original owner Captain Wickham was 2nd in command of Charles Darwin’s BEAGLE
  • Protected heritage from 1932
  • Used by US army as barracks in WWII
  • Again a museum house, major restorations underway 2020

Fort Lytton

  • Built in 1882 to protect Brisbane from Russia or France
  • Significant defence and training installation until 1965
  • Heritage National Park since 1990

Moreton Bay – Quandamooka

  • Formed by melting of last ice age 20,000 years ago
  • Scouted by Matthew Flinders in 1799
  • Very large subtropical lagoon 1500square km or 588sq miles
  • Average depth only 6.8 metres, so water remains warm
  • Contains 102 shipwrecks
  • Excellent habitat for marine grasses and animals

St Helena Island – Noogoon

  • Place of the flying fox, now home to red wallabies
  • Prison island from 1865 to 1932
  • Qlds first heritage national park in 1979
  • Quandamooka artifacts dating over

Peel Island – Teerk Roo Ra

  • Means place of many shells
  • Leper colony from 1907 to 1959
  • Horseshoe Bay best shelter in Moreton Bay from N winds

Platypus wreck

  • Dredge sank here in 1926 as breakwater for jetty
  • Built in Renfrew, Glasgow, Scotland
  • A Scottish sailor who sailed her out, later contracted leprosy and was accommodated at Peel Island – he and the Platypus spending the last of their days at the island

North Stradbroke Island – Minjerribah

  • World’s 2nd largest sand island at 106 sq miles or 275 sq km
  • Home of the Noonuccal people, totem Kabul, carpet snake
  • Known for beautiful scenery and natural wonders, koalas and kangaroos

Little Ship Club

  • Formed in 1951 out of the Moreton Bay Naval Auxiliary
  • The auxiliary consisted of civilians and their small boats, used to patrol Moreton Bay in WWII
  • Similar Little Ship Clubs are formed in Sydney and United Kingdom, which celebrate the continued connection of those civilians who made possible the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940

Dunwich – Goompi

  • European name after Viscount Dunwich, captain of HMS Rainbow, first British ship to enter Moreton Bay
  • Present town established in 1827 as a pilot station
  • Used as quarantine station from 1850 to 1867
  •  Transferred as ‘Emigrant’ incident showed unsuitable (ship arrived with typhus outbreak, 26 died plus ships doctor and Brisbane Chief Medical officer

Amity – Pullen Pullen

  • European name after ship Amity, John Oxley’s ship
  • Pullen Pullen refers to narrow gap or place of fighting, referring to closes part of Minjerribah to Mulgumpin
  • Conflicts between Noonuccal and Ngugi often took place here
  • Was the first European settlement on the island

South Passage

  • Passage between Minjerribah and Mulgumpin
  • Very treacherous, many shipwrecks
  • Aboriginals traditionally assisted shipwreck survivors
  • Rufus King in WWII major present wreck, still visible at low tide

Moreton Island – Mulgumpin

  • Third largest sand island in the world  186 sq km 72 sq mi
  • Home to the Ngugi people, totem animal the dolphin 
  • Named by Captain Cook in 1770
  • Home to several forts in WWII
  • Fantastic scenery particularly in the North
  • Largest sandhills in the world, including Big Sandhill Geebelum

Normanby and Fairlight

  • Fairlight is the northern, Normanby southern
  • Normanby used to transport rum early 1900s
  • Fairlight was a luxury paddle steamer , sailed out from Scotland in 1878 and used as a Sydney ferry
  • Used in coal trade in QLD during WWI
  • Both ships sunk here on retirement in 1930s

Tangalooma Whaling Station


  • Whales were hunted from late 1800s to 1979
  • Tangalooma whaling station open 1952 -62
  • By 1962, east coast humpback pop had fallen from 15,000 to 500 – Now back up to over 19,000
  • Now whale watching a major tourist attraction, with over 500,000 tourists coming to see them each year

Tangalooma Wrecks

  • 15 ships deliberately sunk in 1060s to 1980s to provide a sheltered anchorage on exposed western Moreton
  • Now a major marine eco-system, home to over 200 species of fish


Kangaroo – Garumun

  • A marsupial (animals that carry young in pouch) of the macropod family (macropod means large foot)
  • Only found in Australia
  • Wallabies are the same species, but smaller
  • Estimated to be over 30 million kangaroos in Australia, more than people
  • Red wallabies introduced to St Helena island in 1986

Koala – Gula

  • A unique marsupial whose closest relative is the wombat
  • Eats eucalyptus leaves, low calorie value makes koalas sleep 20 hours a day
  • Endangered due to habitat destruction and introduced predators
  • Common on North Stradbroke Island

Dolphin – Buwangan

  • Totem of the Ngugi people, protector of all sea creatures
  • Long history of interaction with humans in Moreton Bay, fishing with aborigines, now nightly visits to Tangalooma
  • Most common bottlenose dolphin in Moreton Bay
  • Very intelligent (can use tools and communicate, including passing cultural knowledge between generations
  • Can dive up to 300 metres deep, and live over 40 years


  • Green turtles most prolific in Moreton Bay
  • Named for the green colour of their internal fat, due to the large amount of sea grass consumed by the turtles
  • Hawksbill and Loggerhead turtles also found in the bay, and they have a more varied diet including jellyfish, shellfish etc

Dugong – Yungan

  • Also known as sea cows
  • Very shy sea grass meadow feeders – eating up to 30kg/day
  • Said to be the source of mermaid legends
  • Moreton Bay the only place they gather in large herds

Whitebellied Sea Eagle – Mirrikimbe

  • Large raptor, bird of prey 
  • Mirrikimbe said to live on hill above Amity township and signal to Noonuccal people when the mullet are running
  • The sea eagle is common in Australia, South East Asia and India, and figures prominently in local mythology in every location

Itinerary Map

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Similar Tours

The above locations, times and activities may vary due to prevailing conditions, however equivalent experiences will be achieved.