Planning a trip to Fraser Island? Here’s a quick primer to help you get acquainted with this amazing travel destination.
Located in one of Australia’s most scenic environments, Fraser Island is a dream destination for sunloving people who can cherish and appreciate nature in all its glory. It also doubles as the world’s largest sand island, a place where rainforests grow directly out of the sand and dingoes roam free. The island’s genesis can be traced back to the Ice Age, when vast quantities of sand from New South Wales were deposited along the coast of Queensland and formed the basis of the island as we now know it. Today Fraser Island covers 160,000 hectares of pure sand and welcomes over half a million tourists each year. Back when it was populated by the Aboriginal Australians who had arrived there more than 5,000 years ago, Fraser Island was called K’gari or “paradise”. According to Aboriginal legend, the god Beiral sent his messenger Yendingie with the goddess K’gari down from heaven to create land, rivers, mountains and the sea for humans. K’gari fell in love with the earth and did not want to leave so Yendingie changed her into a beautiful island – Fraser Island. It welcomed its first European settlers in the early part of the 19th century. In fact, the island’s current name comes from Eliza Fraser, the wife of settler captain James Fraser, who survived a particularly nasty shipwreck and ended up in the custody of the local Badtjala tribe. Later on, Fraser Island was the scene of a secret training base for Allied soldiers during World War II, mostly centered around the area next to Lake McKenzie. It became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992 and was voted as one of the top ten beaches in the world by National Geographic. With its distinctive charm and unique attractions, Fraser Island continues to be one of Australia’s most alluring destinations. Due to its relatively remote location, Fraser Island is only accessible by four wheel drive vehicles and small planes. The island itself is a paradise for fourwheelers, with many opportunities for exploring the diverse landscapes and attractions available throughout the 1,840km2 island. Other alternatives include bush walking for experiencing the island up close and personal, and canoeing as a great way of viewing all the streams and lakes that can’t be reached by land vehicles. Coastal swimming isn’t recommended due to the fact that the island boasts no patrolled beaches, thus making accidents that much more likely. The Eastern coast specifically features rogue waves as well as sharks and stingers that can really put a damper on anyone’s afternoon swim. But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to stay dry on your Fraser Island trip. In fact, the island houses several freshwater lakes that offer memorable swimming experiences due to their clear waters and pristine sandy beaches. And one mustn’t forget about the area’s famed Champagne pools, natural recreational waters that fizzle when they break, thereby creating the sensation of being in a relaxing Jacuzzi. Fraser Island’s natural beauty is also reflected in its diverse wildlife. There are over 25 species of mammals on the island, including wallabies, flying foxes and possums, as well as 354 species of birds and even 19 species of bats. Moreover, saltwater crocodiles have been known to show up along the coastline during the warm season. But it’s dingoes that have given Fraser Island its fame, as their sheer presence has become the stuff of legends. After being introduced by South East Asian seafarers a few thousand years ago, the dingo population on Fraser Island increased naturally. In fact, due to their complete and utter seclusion from outside influences, the Fraser Island Dingo is the purest form of this legendary Australian canine. As a result, dogs are forbidden from accessing the island in order to prevent interbreeding between species. Finally, no trip to Fraser Island would be complete without a glimpse of the island’s most famous shipwreck. The S.S Maheno was built in Scotland in 1905 and served as a hospital ship during World War I. It continued to sail until 1935, when it was engulfed by a cyclone and beached on Fraser Island. Out of the 23 recorded instances of ships that have met their demise here, the Maheno is the one that can still be visited today, it’s rusty remains visible for all to see and photograph. That just about wraps up our quick overview of Fraser Island and all its main attractions. This spunky little island can take around 4 to 5 days to fully explore, but the sheer variety of things to do and see ensures that your time will be well spent. As the closest thing to an earthly paradise in the land Down Under, Fraser Island makes for an unforgettable holiday destination.