25 June 2009

Tangled up in Tangalooma

When I was so lucky to be chosen one of the 16 candidates to come to Queensland, people always asked me what was I looking forward to the most. My answer was always the same: the underwater world and swimming with a dolphin. During my stay on Moreton Island at the Tangalooma Island Resort I actually got to feed a wildlife dolphin! How great is that! They come up to the shores every evening by themselves and are so trusting it blew my mind! But the resort also has other adventures in store and the two days we spent there was not enough time to experience them all, so upfront I have to confess „I will be back“.

Day 1
Tangalooma Island Resort is just an 1.5 hours ride away from Brisbane City Centre and getting there is where your holidays starts. Magali and me left with the ferry at 10am from Holt Street, Pinkenba and our captain actually gave a little guided tour as the boat made its way through the harbour. As soon as we arrived we were greeted by pelicans, or maybe they were just hoping on some scraps and by a welcoming staff member, Maurie. He told us everything we needed to know about the resort and the activities, so we could plan ahead or make no plans – we did some of both.

First things first, we took in the vibe: palm trees, beautiful cafes and restaurants along the beach, colourful birds, sand, sun and water – this really felt like an island! We were up for some adventures so we booked in the Quad Bike Tour for this afternoon. That would give us enough time to get sorted out in our rooms, meaning throwing everything in there before heading to the beach. ;-)

Before we went into the dunes with our Quad Bikes we had a little introduction. It is all really basic and quite easy to learn for everybody, they even had mini quads for kids. Still Magali and me were happy to get promoted to the boys' team, so we could go a little wilder and push the limits. It was so great fun! By myself I probably would not have gone so far, but you have the guide infront of you and you just do what she does getting a kick out of it! Happy and thrilled we got off our quad bikes at the end of the tour and I could have easily gone for another, but I also wanted to see the kookaburra feeding. They are so funny birds! The kookaburras at the resort are also wildlife birds that come every afternoon, sometimes more sometimes less of them, to the feeding. It is great to see these birds in a close-up with their beautiful colouring and their laughter.

The day ended filled with more highlights. There was the dolphin feeding in the evening. At the Marine Education and Conservation Centre you learn more about dolphins, dugongs and the ocean's eco-system. At Tangalooma they are really concerned about educating, treating animals with care and respecting wildlife. It was fascinating to see how close the dolphins came to the shore, played with each other and their different characters and traits. The calf, for example, is really cheeky and its mother Shadow very gentle. After we fed fish to the dolphins, we were ready for some fish ourselves. And we got lucky: freshly caught and simmered to perfection!

Day 2
I started the day with some pampering at the Tangalooma Beauty Therapy and hanging out by the beach. Around noon, in time for the tide we went snorkeling by the wrecks. We were fully equipped and the service was great at the 'Tangalooma Dive In Sports'. In the 1960s the government sunk 12 ships along the shores of Moreton Island. Their wrecks now protect from the strong currents and offer a haven to corals and thus hundreds of fish as well. This is were we went snorkeling. My favourite is the parrot fish who is just nibbling away on the corals and keeps on spitting half of it back out, he makes a big mess and the sound just nibbles at your ears just the same.

In the early afternoon we went off with the Desert Safari Tour into the dunes. Moreton Island is one of the world's largest sand islands, the highest point of the island is Mount Tempest with its 280 metres it is the the highest coastal sandhill in the world. There are hills and hills of almost white sand and us surfing them. Well, not really! - The dunes were more surfing us. Going up there was just exhausting, but going down so worth it. But there is really nothing much you can do, you just have to lie on your belly and go where it takes you and especially how fast it will take you. Speed! That is the kick.

The rest of the day we spent by the beach, played badminton, one of the many land activities at the resort, watched the sunset – most beautiful sunset that is – and having another evening of great food, drinks and shooting pool at the bar.

All in all, even though it was great, we had a lot of adventures and also relaxing experiences, there is one problem: I really do have to come back. There is so much to see and do, we just did not have enough time for all of it, like: the Whale Watching Cruise, the Dugong Eco Cruise, Kayaking by the Wrecks, especially Dusk Kayaking with beer and prawns, the helicopter ride and parasailing. As I am staying in Brisbane for a little longer, it will be easy to just pop in for a day or two! :-)

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