Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle made time to visit Fraser Island during their tour this week. Despite only having 16 days in Australia and the Pacific, the royal couple couldn’t resist the wild beauty of Fraser, its relaxing atmosphere and its pristine nature.
The Royal Family has a strong connection to Fraser Island, with Prince Charles already visiting the island in 1994. Harry and Meghan’s Australian tour has been focused on the environment and conservation, so it is only natural that a visit to UNESCO’s World Heritage Listed sand island was included.
Harry took time to unveil a plaque dedicating Fraser Island’s unique forest to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy project. This initiative is helping to conserve indigenous forests around the globe. Fraser Island is the only place in the world where you can find magnificent tall rainforests growing in sand.
The Duchess herself didn’t attend the plaque ceremony. Having just revealed that she’s four months pregnant, Meghan decided to take a rest on the island. Opting for a more luxurious trip from Hervey Bay, she arrived at Kingfisher Bay Jetty on the Tasman Venture, a popular whale watching vessel. She then spent most of the day relaxing in the couple’s private villa in Kingfisher Bay Eco Resort.
But nothing could stop Harry from enjoying the full Fraser Island adventure. He arrived on the Fraser Venture Barge from River Heads, before heading out on an off-road 4WD trek to Pile Valley. There he was welcomed with a traditional smoking ceremony with the Butchulla people. Surrounded by satinay trees and kauri pines, the Prince revealed how important nature and conservation is to him.
“Put simply, without trees and forests, we don’t survive. It is a symbiotic relationship, and one that so many people still fail to realise,” he said. “It is up to us now to protect this paradise together.”
Under the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy project, more than 200,000 acres of forest on Fraser Island will be protected for generations of people to enjoy.
The island is known as K’gari – which means Paradise – by the Butchulla People, who are traditional owners of the land. Protecting that paradise is clearly important to Harry, not just to safeguard, but also to enjoy.
After meeting with Butchulla dancers, children and elders, the Prince headed to Lake McKenzie for a quick splash. The pristine lake is surrounded by pure white sand, and Harry couldn’t resist rolling up his trousers and getting his feet wet. He even gave his face a quick splash with the crystal clear water. The lake is ‘perched’, meaning it’s only fed by rainwater. The only pollutant to be found is sunscreen!
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have had an intense two-week trip, but Fraser Island was certainly a highlight. Harry has a strong commitment to protecting the environment, and it’s no wonder this little piece of paradise has been included in the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy Project. He managed to squeeze in a little bit of adventure while Meghan had a much-needed rest.
One thing is certain – Fraser Island was the perfect way for Harry and Meghan to finish up their Australian tour!
Fancy living like a Duke or Duchess? Here’s what Harry and Meghan saw on their Fraser experience.
- Stay at the Kingfisher Bay Eco Resort
- Witness the magnificent beauty of the Pile Valley, where Harry unveiled the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy plaque
- Swim in the crystal clear waters of Lake McKenzie
- Take a whale watching tour aboard the Tasman Venture
Photography courtesy of Luke Marsden & Kingfisher Bay Resort