Stepping onto the largest sand island in the world I am excited to see how much this place has changed. I used to come camping here as a kid every September school holidays, but that was over 15 years ago.
Located off the coast of Queensland and accessible from Hervey Bay, Fraser Island offers up some of the most diverse environments and unique experiences I have ever come across in one place.
Known by its traditional name of K’gari, Fraser Island is now a heritage listed area. The some 1,840 km2 is home to a diverse range of landscapes including pristine rainforests, eucalyptus woodland, mangrove forests, wallum and peat swamps, sand dunes and coastal heaths.
You can only access the island by 4WD and since we had not yet taken delivery of our 4WD, we resorted for a stay at Kingfisher Bay Resort.
Located on the Western side of the island on the bayside, Kingfisher Bay Resort is a 4 star Eco Resort, offering a choice of Self-Contained Villas & Resort Rooms. It sits in harmony amongst its surroundings, and has one of the best spots on the island to catch the sunset.
Settling into our room at the resort we opt to explore every possible inch of the island surrounding. First up is a guided bush walk, where we head up to a lookout on the bayside. The staff are so passionate about the island, and full of knowledge, and we learnt so much along the way. In turn, we try each of the tours including birdwatching tours, eco tours and rays and sharks discovery sessions.
As the islands roads are all off road and sand 4WDing, we jump on a Beauty Spots day tour, taking in the best Fraser Island has to offer. I forgot how much fun a good 4WD off road adventure can be.
First stop is Eli Creek. The largest creek on the eastern beach of Fraser Island, Eli Creek is fast flowing as it pours up to four million litres of clear, fresh water into the ocean every hour. There is a boardwalk that follows the creek inland through banksia and pandanus. You can see why this place is a popular picnic and swimming spot, where you can float down the swiftly flowing creek from the bridge at the far end of the boardwalk. It was a bit too cold for a morning swim, but we waded down the creek all the same.
Next up, we drove along the ocean side beach to the Maheno shipwreck and the coloured sands of The Pinnacles. The Maheno is a great piece of Australian history laying on the coastline on Fraser Island. While there are a few wrecks on the island, The Maheno is by far the most. Driven ashore just north of Happy Valley during a cyclone in 1935, the once a well-known trans-Tasman liner, was bound for a Japanese wrecking yard when she met her stormy end. Today, in her final resting place, the hull lies slowly deteriorating in the harsh salt environment, about 10 kilometres north of Happy Valley.
Lunch was soon upon us and we called into Eurong Village for a bite to eat before heading inland to Central Station and Wanggoolba Creek. Central Station is the remains of Fraser Island’s past. Originally established as a forestry camp when there was logging on world heritage listed Fraser Island, today Central Station’s beautiful rainforest is protected, with towering trees. There is a display explaining the development of the island from the past. A short walk through the rainforest will lead you along a boardwalk around Wanggoolba Creek.
Last stop and by far my favourite was Lake Mackenzie. The awe-inspiring beauty of Lake McKenzie makes it probably the most visited natural site on the island. A ‘perched’ lake, meaning it contains only rainwater, the sand here is pure, white silica and is not only beautiful to look at but feels soft to walk on. The different shades of blues are stunning, you just have to brave the cold as it can get chilly.
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