It’s hard to believe that just barge trip away from Brisbane lies the island paradise of Moreton Island, now with glamping opportunities that will give you a taste of the wild life in more ways than one.
Glamping at Castaways is camping without the packing, setting up and packing up. It also means a proper, queen-sized bed, a room with a floor, a shower and a toilet that flushes. This is glamour when it comes to camping.
You don’t even have to take a camp kitchen, because there’s one set up for you and there’s breakfast and dinner packs on offer from the store.
The tents are gathered in a sort of circle around a central grassed area which is a great children's playground, and located almost in the midst of the Bulwer township.The whole area is shaded by large trees and close to the local store but the down side it that it is a short walk to the beach. You are not going to have a beachside camping experience here.
It feels like another world on the island, hundreds of kilometres from civilisation and in some ways it is, but your mobile phone will still work in some spots and there’s a friendly face at the local store for all those necessities of life, including wine and beer.
And you don’t need a four wheel drive car to get to your accommodation or explore the island. There are roads on Moreton Island, but they are not the sort of roads that suit normal cars or even soft four wheel drive vehicles. For Moreton you need the heavy duty models that can cope with soft sand and big drops, otherwise you are likely to get bogged. If you don’t have one, no problem, the folk at Castaways will pick you up and drop you back to the barge. It will probably be John – say hello from me. Check out the Moreton Island Adventures packages.
You also can also book an island tour with a friendly bloke called Grant who will take you to wonderful places like Honeymoon Bay, the Moreton Island Lighthouse, Blue Lagoon (which is no longer blue) and Honeyeater Lake. There’s plenty to see and the views are wondrous – highly recommended.
We dined at the Castaways restaurant which is a very casual eatery outside the general store. You do not need to dress up for dinner – neat and tidy will more than suffice because remember you are camping! There’s a small menu with some good prawn and fish options accompanied by fresh and appealing salad. Avoid the oysters on the menu, despite good intentions these frozen and thawed oysters just can’t hold a candle to fresh ones. It’s a huge shame that logistics make it so difficult to get the fresh oysters grown at the other end of the island on to the table for diners.
And now the not so good stuff – Unless you travel with school-age children, avoid Moreton during school holidays. Not only do the roads become very bumpy, but the island’s limited resources are stretched to the limits and it shows.
Worse still, you may, as I did, end up sharing your camp night with 96 carousing university students on holidays. They partied until 2.30 am with the boom boxes while I tossed and turned behind the thin walls of my tent. I was disappointed that the Castaway operators, who were also providing accommodation for the students, did not ask them to quieten down – that was left to a fellow camper.
School holidays, and I dare guess public holidays and long weekends, also mean the barge is stretched to capacity and you will spend more time lining up and parking will be crazy.
My best tips is to go glamping mid-week or an off-peak weekend and your holdiay will be much improved, in fact it will be a really special experience that you will remember fondly for ages.
Moreton Island is a beautiful environment, with plenty to excite an adventurous holiday maker looking for a new experience.
Moreton Island Glamping
Best tip: Avoid school holidays and peak periods and also check there are no large groups booked for the adjacent accommodation.
Bottom line: A value-for-money adventure and a chance to experience a camping lifestyle without the hassle.
Disclaimer: Ed+bK travelled as the guest of Moreton Island Adventures.