Originally a whaling station, Tangalooma is a resort township on the west side of Moreton Island in Queensland, Australia. It lies on the eastern shore of Moreton Bay and is known for its resort accommodation, dolphin-feeding program, sand dunes and wreck diving. Swimming is popular along the white beaches. It has a population of over 300 and receives more than 3500 visitors every week as it is only about 70 minutes from Brisbane by express catamaran. Moreton Island National Park is 98% of the island, though there are other small townships there, Bulwer, Kooringal and Cowan Cowan. The adjacent waters are protected as the Moreton Bay Marine Park.
Tangalooma whaling station operated from 1952 until 1962, during which period it harvested and processed 6277 humpback whales. Whaling took place when the humpback whales migrated along the coast in winter, in an eight- to ten-week season during which the processing factory ran 24 hours a day. The operation was at first very successful, employing a crew of about 140 people, but, in its final years, a collapse in catch levels made it uneconomic to continue. When the station began whaling, the population of eastern Australian humpbacks was estimated at 10,000; when it ended, the number of whales had been reduced to an estimated 500. In 1963 the hunting of humpbacks was banned in Australian waters; since then the population has been recovering. Following the closure of the station, it was sold for resort development.
Tangalooma Marine Education and Conservation Centre
The TMECC promotes environmental awareness. Eco Rangers conduct education programs and nature-based tours to enhance visitors' awareness of the surrounding ecosystems.
Tangalooma Island Resort
The resort (formerly known as Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort) is well known for the hand-feeding of wild dolphins. Every evening at sunset a pod of up to nine, local bottlenose dolphins swims to the beach in front of the resort where selected guests can feed them, an activity supervised by the Tangalooma Marine Education and Conservation Centre (TMECC).
Apart from the dolphin feeding program, there are many tours and other activities on offer, including whale watching cruises. Accommodation consists of about 300 rooms, as a variety of hotel units, villas and apartments. Sites for private housing are available on the sand hills behind the resort.
- RACQ. (1980). Seeing South-East Queensland (2nd ed.). RACQ ISBN 0-909518-07-6
- Orams, Mark B.; & Forestell, Paul H. From whale harvesting to whale watching. Tangalooma 30 years on.
- National Archives of Australia. Image no.: A12111, 1/1960/16/156