Fraser Island consistently rates in the top five things to do in Australia for overseas visitors, yet few Aussies have ventured there. Danielle Lancaster is a regular and today shares why the world’s largest sand island is a must-see destination.
I wiggle my toes in the sand. A warm glow kindles ever so gently, as the fine particles of sand drop like those through an hourglass. I’m on the largest sand island on planet Earth. Situated off the coast, Fraser Island – a mere four hours north of Brisbane in Queensland, Australia – is rated in the top five things to do for anyone visiting the land down under.
While it’s a four-wheel driver’s paradise with long sweeping beaches that drivers share with airplanes, and inland tracks divided by towering walls of coloured sand, Fraser Island is also accessible to those of us without four-wheel drives.
Take your pick: jump on a day tour or organise your own personal 4WD tour. Whatever you decide, don’t be surprised if Fraser’s charm has you wishing for another night’s stay or rapidly planning a return visit.
Take a day tour with one of the many providers and see the top attractions on the island. There’s 75 Mile Beach with its countless must-sees, such as the rusting hull of the Maheno shipwreck, one of 23 shipwrecks recorded around Fraser. Cross Eli Creek, the largest freshwater creek on the eastern coast of Australia, spilling out around four million litres of water per hour into the ocean. Stand atop Indian Head, the most easterly point on the island, for outstanding 360-degree views with sightings of dolphins, whales, turtles (in season) swimming below. Continue north to Champagne Rock Pools, where a naturally formed set of salt-water pools awaits your immersion into nature’s spa.
Day tours usually guarantee a visit to Lake McKenzie, one of 40 perched lakes on the island. Fringed by a white sandy beach, the lake water is crystal clear, and the perfect place for a wondrous swim.
Around the edges of the lake, you may see plants such as the carnivorous fiery red sundews in bloom, while birds flitter overhead, twittering to their daytime human companions. Depending on how much time your tour allows, you might want to take the track to the left-hand side of the lake. It leads to a beach less frequented.
A personalised tour allows you to explore your own personal hit list on the island.
You can drive any type of vehicle onto the ferry from River Heads to Kingfisher Bay Resort. From there, you can book a personalised tour with your private guide. With 1500km of tracks on Fraser Island, there’s a lot more to discover. Your chaperone provides the vehicle, knows the island and is the perfect interpreter for all the flora, fauna and geographical questions you may have. Plus, it’s easy to add on other island highlights not included in the day tours, like sunset at Old McKenzie’s Jetty, only a few kilometres south of Kingfisher Bay Resort.
Consider being dropped off at Pile Valley where you can take the short, easy walk to Central Station and meet your guide. See gigantic satinay trees – some of the largest in the world – vibrant fungi, massive strangler figs and the silent-flowing Wanggoolba Creek fringed by ancient Angiopteris ferns, the largest single frond fern in the world, along your walk.
On a personalised tour, you choose your own highlights from sand blows to deserted beaches to inland creeks, walks and all in between. Your guide knows the island, will offer suggestions, and is able to tick off your list of must-dos.
Tip: order the picnic hamper – you’ll have enough left over for dinner!
Kingfisher Bay Resort
Whatever your mode is to visit Fraser Island, this World-Heritage listed island should rate high for at least one visit in your lifetime; though many are drawn back to it, again and again. I wiggle my toes in the warm sand just one more time as the sun rises on another glorious day, and I count my blessings for choosing Fraser Island as my escape.
Did you know?
Platypus Bay on the north-western side of the island is a hot spot for humpback whales during the season. The best time to visit is from July to early November when the whales and their calves come in to rest on their long journey home to Antarctica. Half-day whale watching tours can be arranged from Kingfisher Bay Resort.
What about dingoes?
Dingoes are one of the many Australian native animals you are likely to see on Fraser Island. They are not dogs, as they don’t bark, but they do howl like wolves. Dingoes are wild animals; so never approach a dingo, never offer it food, and remember to be Dingo Safe!
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