The Desert Sands

Mon, 04 Jul 2016

By Tangalooma Island Resort

The Desert Sands Story

Leaving Tangalooma, you go for a bumpy 15 minute bus ride through thick Australian Sclerophyll forest. Before you know it the bush opens up to 104 acres of sheer emptiness. It seems like a reversed oasis, where the small desert is hidden within a sea of trees. A 32 meter high sand dune dominates the area but the real hidden gems of the desert are what lie beneath the sand and what lie on top, two natural phenomena known as the coloured sands and Lightning Ridge.

It seems like a reversed oasis...

Not too far from the tree line that borders the desert you come across a mound of sand with a seemingly endless supply of Fulgurate Rock, a shocking thing considering each and every rock is created by lightning strikes fusing the sand together. Whoever came up with the adage, “Lightning never strikes the same place twice,” has obviously never been here before!

While the top layer of the desert is an off white, if you dig down beside Lightning Ridge you’ll find an interesting mix of 32 different colours, everything from white to yellow to orange to black. Even metallic can be found. If you’re really lucky, you might even find the elusive blue sand.

Different elements such as Ilmenite, Humate, Rutile, Silica and Zircon are what create this fallen rainbow of colour. Elements left there long ago during a bygone era in which the desert was completely covered by trees. Scientists do not know precisely how the desert was formed but they have theories that range from fire to meteorite, both contributing to these hidden gems.

Whoever came up with the adage, “Lightning never strikes the same place twice,” has obviously never been here before!

These two areas are sacred to the Ngugi people, the Aboriginal Australians who once called Moorgumpin (Moreton Island) home. Discretion is appreciated. But a photograph is definitely a memory worth keeping of a hidden gem very few people know about. As you leave the desert for home, you are reminded, “Take only photographs, leave only footprints.”

If you would like to learn more then be sure to book in for a Desert Safari Tour on your next visit to Tangalooma Island Resort.

Sean “Doc” Molloy
Tours Department

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Tangalooma Island Resort

Take the world's 3rd largest sand island…add a splash of sunshine, balmy sea breezes, a dash of discovery and a handful of adventure, and you've got Tangalooma Island Resort. An island oasis, just a 75 minute cruise from Brisbane.

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