Queensland’s Fraser Island just happens to be the world’s largest sand island. But the hefty chunk of land provides a quite phenomenal diversity of things for day-trippers and longer-stay visitors to marvel at.
John Rozentals discovers 10 really good things to do on Fraser Island.
1. Drive the sand at 75-Mile Beach
What is surely one of the world’s greatest stretches of pure white sand is also a highway that appears on tourism maps and carries speed-limit signs. Hence be careful crossing it, because the sound of waves crashing can completely dull the approach of approaching 4WDs.
2. Take off and land on 75-Mile Beach for a glorious aerial view of the island
The single-engined planes are a bit tiny and cramped — but I guess they have to be to fit some biggish guys and take them on a spectacular tour of the island.
You do see some sites that are otherwise inaccessible, such as Butterfly Lake, and this time of year there’s also a good chance of spotting migrating whales.
3. Marvel at the crystal clear waters at Wanggoolba Creek
The creek is just a short walk from Fraser’s Central Station, and showcases how effective Fraser’s sand is at filtering fresh water.
4. Have a swim in Lake Mackenzie
Probably Fraser Island’s most famous attraction and the most popular of the island’s 40 freshwater lakes, which are among just 80 of the world’s lakes perched in the tops of sand dunes.
It’s tranquil, it’s beautiful and it’s an absolute must.
5. Take a four-wheel-drive Beauty Spots tour with Fraser Explorer
Unless you’ve brought over your own 4WD or organised something yourself, this represents one of your best bets for exploring an island whose roads are pretty rough and ready. You’ll certainly get taste of the island, be led by an experienced guide and have a comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle to be thrown about in.
The tours include buffet lunch at Eurong Beach Resort, with a la carte available for those booking the luxury version.
6. Stay at Kingfisher Bay Resort
The resort is located just a few minutes’ drive on a regular shuttle bus from the ferry that takes you back to the mainland at River Heads, just south of Hervey Bay. It has everything you’d expect of a modern, stylish resort — fine dining, comfortable rooms, plenty of inclusions and a layout spread among the forest that’s so much part of Fraser’s charm.
7. Learn about bush food on the Seabelle Deck
And have a taste of specialties such as freshly cooked croc — every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening from a Fraser Island Ranger and the resort’s chef. Bookings are essential.
8. Dine at Kingfisher Bay’s signature Seabelle Restaurant
With its menu that draws inspiration from the local Indigenous Butchulta tribe. For me, this was the culinary highlight of a four-night trip to Hervey Bay, Lady Elliot Island and surrounds, with spectacularly presented and delicious menu items such as sand-crab and linguini, served with fermented chilli aioli, roasted fennel purée and finger lime.
9. Be amazed at how such dense sub-tropical rainforest
And how such huge eucalyptus can grow in what is effectively a bed of sand. Central Station — named after the Forestry Reserve’s central headquarters — is probably the best place to look and contains a range of excellent story boards.
10. Wonder at the wreck of the Maheno
A 5000-tonne steel-hulled liner that operated across the Tasman from 1905 to 1935 but was beached on Fraser Island during a cyclone, while being towed to Japan. It served as a hospital ship during the Gallipoli campaign.
John Rozentals was a guest of Tourism and Events Queensland.