Fraser Island highlights environmental awareness

The largest sand island in the world, Fraser Island, has opened an Environmental Hub to enhance environmental awareness and conservation efforts of the island.

The K’gari World Heritage Discovery Centre is located within Kingfisher Bay Resort, and is free for all visitors to the island.

Opened with a Butchulla Welcome to Country, this initiative has been funded by USC and SeaLink Fraser Island; with Group General Manager David Hay saying it was a collective cultural endorsement for the destination, acknowledging support from the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation and Fraser Coast Council.

“We took it upon ourselves to develop this centre, ensuring visitors could have a greater understanding of Fraser Island’s profound environmental significance, and in turn, encouraging those to champion its preservation’, Mr Hay said.

“We have a long-standing relationship with USC, as the majority of our Resort Rangers are graduates of the university; therefore, this project presents opportunities for further research”, he added. The Discovery Centre comprises a series of informative panels were designed and curated by USC staff and students, detailing the complex ecosystems of this natural phenomena, that led to the island’s World Heritage listing back in 1992.

Visitors can learn about the vegetation, such as rainforests growing from sand and pristine freshwater lakes, paired with the unique wildlife that inhabit this diverse landscape.

The centre comprises content sourced from USC’s Research Archives, as well as imagery from the island’s resident photographer and tour guide, Peter Meyer.

Having lived and worked on Fraser for over two decades, he has seen the island in many states and forms. Following the recent bushfire devastation, Peter ventured out to capture some images of the regeneration in the fire-affected areas.

“I witnessed Mother Nature come alive, and her ability to tolerate, and even thrive after a fire. Ferns emerging through the ash-covered leaves and new shoots sprouting from the charred Eucalypts is a remarkable sight”, said Mr Meyer. Following a challenging year for the island destination, Monday’s launch marks the exciting completion of Phase One of the Discovery Centre, with an additional four-step expansion planned. Mr Hay said the team are actively seeking funding to further develop the facility, with features including a range of interactive and immersive digital displays.

Not only will the Discovery Centre provide high-quality interpretation for guests, but it will also offer an educational resource and versatile space for visiting schools or leisure groups.

Kate Webster is a world traveller, ocean lover and conservation warrior who is determined to make every moment count for not only herself but the world around her. This has inspired Kate to translate those moments and share them through her storytelling. A dedicated David Attenborough and Jane Goodall fan, Kate has delved into the world of wildlife and conservation travel to bring awareness.