Gheebulum Coonungai (Moreton Island) National Park and Moreton Island Recreation Area Brisbane

Enjoy spectacular coastal views on Moreton Island's Southern Island discovery drive. Photo credit: Maxime Coquard © Tourism and Events Queensland

Aerial view of the southern end of Gheebulum Coonungai (Moreton Island) National Park. Photo credit: © Tourism and Events Queensland

Bookings and permits

From February 2020, permits to drive or camp in the Mulgumpin (Moreton Island) Recreation Area are booked and managed through Mulgumpin Camping. Photo credit: © Tourism and Events Queensland

Southern Island discovery drive

Set out on a 4WD adventure, where sand tobogganing, beach fishing and scenic mountain hikes are just the beginning.

Journey type
4WD, scenic drive
63km circuit The same start and finish point, but the traveller doesn’t return along the same path
Time suggested
Allow 6hrs driving including stops.

Accessible by

  • High clearance 4WD

Journey facilities

  • Lookout (constructed)
  • Scenic drive

Pack the 4WD and head out for a day or two discovering in the southern end of Moreton Island.

Stop in at The Desert track for a thrilling sand tobogganing experience, visit Big and Little Sandhills, and snap stunning photographs at Mirapool Lagoon—a beautiful sanctuary for migratory and resident shorebirds.

Immerse yourself in history on the Rous Battery track, wandering around the remains of a World War II fort and artillery installation before trekking to Mount Tempest lookout.

Spend a night or two camping under the stars in the South-west camping zone and South-east camping zone. Throw out a line from the beach and feast on dinner fresh from the sea.

Getting there and getting around

The Southern Island discovery drive is in Moreton Island National Park, 40km offshore from Brisbane. The island can be reached by ferry, barge or boat.

This drive takes you on a 63km 4WD exploration of the southern part of the island along inland sand tracks and the beach.

You will need a 4WD for driving on the island. Four-wheel-drives with high clearance and low range function are strongly recommended. All-wheel-drive vehicles without true 4WD function and vehicles with low clearance will have difficulty along inland tracks and in soft sand, therefore we don't recommend them for Mulgumpin (Moreton Island)..

  • Remember all vehicles must be registered, drivers must be licensed and all Queensland road rules apply, even on beaches.
  • A vehicle access permit must be purchased. Display the permit on your windscreen before driving in the recreation area.
  • Read 4WD with care for important information on 4WD safety and minimal impact driving.

Getting to Mulgumpin (Moreton Island)

Barge and ferry access

Barges and ferries for vehicles and passengers run daily. Extra services operate in school holidays and on long weekends. Bookings are essential.

  • For tourism information for all regions in Queensland, see, and for friendly advice on how to get there, where to stay and what to do, find your closest accredited visitor information centre.

Private boat access

Mulgumpin (Moreton Island) lies in exposed waters—you may encounter large seas between Mulgumpin (Moreton Island) and the mainland. Consider your experience and the suitability of your vessel, and take into account currents and predicted weather and sea conditions when planning your trip.

  • Be aware that there are no public moorings available at Mulgumpin (Moreton Island).
  • When anchoring, make sure that your vessel, anchors and ropes don't restrict the safe movement of 4WDs or pedestrians on the beach.

Getting around the Southern Island discovery drive

  • You can do this drive in either direction but we recommend driving it in an anticlockwise direction.
  • Begin at The Wrecks beachfront on western beach and drive north for 1km to Middle Road.
  • Drive 1.3km then turn right at the Tangalooma Bypass. Drive 3km then turn left at The Desert track and drive a further 2.2km to The Desert car park where you can get out and explore The Desert.
  • Return along The Desert Road, then turn left at the Tangalooma Bypass and drive 1km to the western beach just south of the resort.
  • Continue south along the western beach for 18.8km towards Kooringal, stopping at Big Sandhills (11.5km) and the Little Sandhills (13.6km) for some sightseeing.
  • Before reaching the Kooringal township turn left onto the Kooringal–Mirapool Road and head east for 2km then turn left onto the Mirapool Bypass Track.
  • Drive 1.3km towards the eastern beach, stopping briefly at Mirapool Lagoon.
  • From the eastern beach, head north for 7.5km to Rous Battery, where you can explore the remnants of the WWII Rous Battery.
  • Continue north along the eastern beach for 11.6km to Middle Road. Drive 800m then turn right at Mount Tempest Road and drive 2.3km to the car park.
  • Walk up Mount Tempest (2.2km return) and take in the spectacular view of island and surrounds.
  • Drive back to Middle Road, turn right and drive 6km back to the western beach.

Wheelchair access

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities.

Before you visit

Opening hours

Southern Island discovery drive is open 24 hours a day.

Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.

Visiting safely

For more safety information see Visiting Gheebulum Coonungai (Moreton Island) safely and Four-wheel drive with care.

  • There are currently no park alerts for this park.