Moreton Island National Park and Recreation Area Brisbane

Sunset colours the sandhills pink on The Desert track. Photo credit: Adam Creed © Queensland Government

Aerial view of the southern end of 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

The Desert track

Walk along the crest of a giant coastal dune to reach the island’s vast sand blow, known as The Desert.

Journey type
Walk
Distance
1.1km return Start and finish points are the same and the traveller must return via the same path
Time suggested
Allow 1hr walking time.
Grade
Moderate (walk)

Accessible by

  • High clearance 4WD

Journey facilities

  • Walking

Feel on top of the world as you walk to The Desert—Moreton Island's giant sand blow. Your legs will get a thorough workout as you climb multiple of steps along the top of the dune.

Duck beneath shady eucalypt trees and cross moist gullies on your journey, keeping your eyes peeled for skinks crossing the track.

If speed and adventure gets your adrenaline pumping, then you'll love reaching the end destination—The Desert is a popular spot for tobogganing and sand surfing. Leave your mark, be it a slide or footprint, across the sand of these impressive golden hills.

Getting there and getting around

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

This track is located on the western side of the island and can be accessed by vehicle or on foot.

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)..

By 4WD

  • Drive 620m south of the Tangalooma Bypass on the western beach to the track entrance.
  • 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.

On foot

  • Walk 620m south along the western beach from the Tangalooma Resort to the track entrance.
  • A 1.2km alternate track starts from the southern end of Tangalooma Resort. This route has many stairs and crosses over the Tangalooma Bypass before joining up with the other track.
  • Turn left and continue 250m to The Desert.
  • Retrace your steps for the return journey.

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 Queensland.com, 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.

Wheelchair access

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities.

Before you visit

Opening hours

The Desert track 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 Moreton Island safely and Walk with care.