The Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort is one of four settlements on national park-covered Moreton Island, and is the starting point for many visitors. I don’t know what I was expecting before the Tangalooma Express pulled up at the wharf, but I liked what I saw. The resort is expansive and stretches along a good amount of beach and back into the sand dunes, yet it isn’t disgustingly overdone. In fact, at one point when I was sitting in the Beach Café, I truly felt like I was in a small, tropical resort. I would have enjoyed staying there…had I had the $280 a night to fork over!
The name of the Wild Dolphin Resort comes from the dolphins which frequent the shores in the evening. We passed by a board which counted more than 10 dolphins, mostly named, in attendance every night at dolphin feeding time, around 6pm. We unfortunately didn’t stay for the crowning glory of the resort because it cost another $30 just to go on the 7pm ferry rather than the 4pm, and another $20 on top of that if we actually wanted to feed the dolphins.
An interesting thing about the resort is that it is actually on the location of the only whaling station in Queensland, before whaling was outlawed in the 1960’s. This is not a fact that was trumpeted, since whaling wasn’t really approved of even then, but it is noticeable in the various mementos along the walk from the wharf to the main resort, including a very bent, used whaling harpoon.
What impressed me the most about the resort was the volume of activities it offered. When we were on the ferry coming over, we were shown a video with short clips of many of the activities/ways to lighten up your wallet, so we had a good thirty minutes to discuss and get excited about our options for the day. Obviously, we were going to spend part of the day snorkeling on our own, rather than going on the resort-sponsored $18 hour-long guided snorkel (which provides a boat ride to and from the wrecks, a wetsuit, and snorkel hire). However, for the other half-day, we could either go parasailing, ATV quad biking, 4wding on our own or with a group, whale watching, sailing, kayaking…the list goes on and on. We got quite a nice surprise when we got to the booking desk and found that all of these activities were quite cheap as well. We went on an hour-long quad bike tour for $55 each; parasailing was $60, and rental of a catamaran for an hour was either $10 or $15. All of these prices were extraordinarily low for our expectations, given the remoteness of the location.
The resort really is a great place to visit, and would be a wonderful holiday getaway. I could fill days upon days with activities, and when I wasn’t doing that, I’d be lounging on the pristine sands with a good book, reveling in how wonderful life can be.