Fraser Island is a remarkable area that is the only place in the world where tall rainforests grow on sand. The island has been certified as a World Heritage Site, ensuring that the area’s history and culture are protected. Recorded at 123 km in length and 22 km wide, Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world.
With stunningly coloured cliff faces and gorgeous sand beaches, Fraser island is a breathtaking destination, with utopian aesthetics and crystal clear creeks and sea. The Butchulla people, who were the indigenous people of Fraser Island, referred to the area as k’gari which translates to ‘paradise’. A visit to Fraser Island highlights why.
Captain Cook discovered Fraser Island and the Butchulla people in 1770, but it was nearly a century later before the first white man took to the shores and spoke with the Butchulla people, that man was Captain Matthew Flinders.
Between 1863 and 1991, lodgings were built on the island, often at the disappointment of the aboriginal people. In 1991, the island was granted World Heritage Site status.
The Great Sandy Strait of Fraser Island is recognised as being Internationally Important on the Convention of Wetlands. The wetlands are an impressive collection of sea-grass beds, mangrove colonies and rare patterned terns.
These wetlands are home to a variety of endangered and vulnerable species including dugongs, turtles, butterflies and eastern curlews. Fraser Island is also home to over 40,000 migratory shorebirds, which are a tourist popular attraction in themselves.
What to do
As a tourist destination, Fraser Island offers visitors a wealth of things to do. Whether 4×4 trekking across sandy banks or enjoying a flight from the beach with Fraser planes, tourists will be impressed with the offerings of this small island.
Beach fishing is a favourite activity for tourists and locals alike. The 75 Mile Beach stretch provides ample opportunity for novices and experts to try their hand at sea-fishing on a daily basis. There are a variety of boat hire options available, with tours, fishing trips and night time sailing available readily.
The island boasts the benefits of hiring a driver for a 2 day tour. This enables tourists to secure the services of a driver who is an expert on the island, its culture and history. Taking to the passenger seats of an air conditioned 4×4.
Fraser Island has claimed many ships over the years, with 23 wrecks having been recorded in Fraser Island waters. This makes the island an ideal destination for divers and marine history enthusiasts.
Amongst the wrecks are the SS Maheno (pictured), which was sunk by a cyclone in 1935, the Seabelle was sunk in 1857, leading it to be the first recorded wreck. It was believed that a white woman and two white girls survived the wreck and were living with the Fraser Island aboriginals.
A subsequent investigation led to two albino girls being brought to Sydney and contrary to the promise given to their parents, they were never returned home. Also the Marloo was a luxury liner and sunk in 1914 after hitting the Sandy Cape shoal.
Fraser Island Fraser is also home to more than 100 freshwater lakes attract visitors worldwide. And the most popular among them is Lake McKenzie. This amazing crystal clear water lake is known as a perched lake which means that the waters do not come from streams or flow to the ocean, but are actually rainwater.
Lake McKenzie measures over 150 hectares with a depth of 5 metres, which makes it feel like you’re swimming in a pool, only much larger and cleaner.
The lake truly is crystal clear and it is the lake’s fine, powdery white sand that presents the waters’ stunning clarity. Also, you need not fear of any creatures dragging you under because not many species can survive here due to the lake’s high acidity levels.
It is important to remember, though, travellers should avoid using sunscreen, soap, or oils when swimming in Lake McKenzie as they are considered pollutants.
Fraser Island is home to a diverse array of native terrestrial and water fauna. It is not uncommon to see a dingo loping along the beach or a pre-historic looking lizard climbing one of the island’s trees.
The diversity of the island’s natural habitat supports a wide range of animals, many of which are at the northern or southern limit of their distribution or are considered to be rare or vulnerable.
Therefore many of the animals you will see on the island are largely untouched and are left alone. Just watch your picnic or snacks on the beach or while you’re relaxing at Lake McKenzie as the Dingos might steal your lunch!
The Champagne Pools
Whilst swimming along the many miles of glorious beaches of Fraser Island is not recommended due to not being managed by Lifeguards but also the high risk of Jellyfish, Sharks and other nasties, you can still relax in the amazing Champagne Pools.
Located between Waddy Point and Indian Head, just along the famous Seventy Five Mile beach, the Champagne Pools is a collection of recreational pools formed by volcanic rocks. It’s also the only place on Fraser where saltwater swimming is allowed.
According to TourFraserIsland.com.au, “These pools provide a very popular swimming hole with the ocean crashing over the rocks into shallow sandy pools.” The natives call this spot “natural fish traps” due to the rocks that protect the swimming holes.
The island primarily boasts two tourist resorts, Kingfisher Bay Resort and Eurong Beach Resort. Both resorts offer sublime settings on the beachfront and provide opulence as standard.
Tourists can enjoy exceptional culinary offerings at the hotels, along with relaxing beach bars and excellent levels of service. Kingfisher bay resort is an award winning hotel, with Eurong Beach designed to accommodate all budgets.