Fraser Island: Australia’s dream island

Fraser island is the largest sand island in the world.
Spanning 184,000 hectares, 123 kilometers long and 22 kilometers wide at its widest point, Fraser Island is a typical dream island with rainforest, endless beaches and transparent sea where we would all like to be shipwrecked and live forever.

History and legends of the island

The traditional name of the Butchulla people for Fraser island was K’gari wich means paradise.

According to a legend, Fraser Island was named K’gari in honor of the beautiful spirit who helped Yindingie, messenger of the great god Beeral, to create the earth. As a reward to K’gari for his help, Beeral transformed her into an idyllic island with trees, flowers and lakes. He has put birds, animals and people on the island to keep her company.

It seems that the island had been occupied for at least 5,000 years or more, but only in 1770 did Captain Cook sight the Butchulla people on the east coast, while Matthew Flinders had contact with the people of the island between 1799 and 1802.
In 1991 the island was named a World Heritage Site and today is managed by the Department of the Environment and Heritage through the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

The shipwrecks of the island

Shipwrecks in Freser Island
Photo by Andreas Dress on Unsplash

It seem that about twenty ships wrecked on Freser island, wich today have become an attraction for tourists.
The most famous is undoubtedly the Maheno, which has been stranded on Fraser’s beaches since 1935.
Built in 1905, the SS Maheno operated a regular route between Sydney and Auckland until it was commissioned as a hospital ship in Europe during the First World War.
On 3 July 1935, at the end of the service, the Maheno left Sydney pulled by a ferry but, after 4 days it ran into a cyclone and, about fifty miles from the coast, disappeared into the sea with 8 men on board.
On July 10, a plane spotted the Maheno stranded on the shores of Fraser Island, with its crew waiting on the beach for the arrival of the Oonah ferry, which revealed itself a couple of days later.
Today the Maheno remains stranded in a state of corrosion on the beaches of the island and, emptied of everything,  it’s one of the great attractions of the island.

The dunes and the sand

Seventy Five Mile Beach, Frase Island
Seventy Five Mile beach, Image by Adobe Stock

Fraser island and its dunes are costantly canging. Each year the dunes move based on wind, humidity and the behavior of plants living on the Australian island.
Fraser Island’s colorful sands lie north of Eli Creek and comprise 72 different colors, mostly reds and yellows.

Seventy-Five Mile Beach (pictured above) is an amazing beach highway where all road rules apply, The speed limit is 80 kilometers per hour and it is necessary to give way to planes that land and take off!

The rainforest

Fraser Island
Image by Matt McLeod from Pixabay

Among the unique characteristics of Fraser there is also that of having a rainforest that grows on a soil that is not very fertile such as sand.
Plants derive their nutrients solely from rain and sand. The sand is covered with mineral compounds such as iron and aluminum oxides.
Near the shore, the air contains the nutrients from the splashes of sea water that are deposited on the sand.
In a mutual relationship, the fungi in the sand make these nutrients available to the plants.
These in turn provide various organic compounds to the mushrooms which, having no chlorophyll, they could not synthesize on their own.

Wildlife

Fraser island is an environment rich in wild animals wich, in their own way, constitute fundamental but fragile elements in the context of the island.
Every slightest change or contamination can damage this wonderful environment and its inhabitants who contribute in an important way to preserve the natural balance of the Australian island.

In Fraser, more than 350 species of birds have been sighted, which come to nest here and find an optimal context in which to feed and find shelter. There are almost 80 species of reptiles, of which about twenty are represented by snakes. From July to November, you may also spot dolphins, dugongs, turtles and humpback whales. If you were not yet satisfied with all this life, know that in Queensland and Fraser lives the second most important population of Brumbies, a breed of wild horses typical of Australia.

Fraser’s vegetation

Fraser Island
Photo by GAWN AUSTRALIA on Unsplash

The list of plant species fount in Fraser is truly impressive.
Suffice it to say that on the island there are at least a thousand species divided into 150 different families. Acacia, banksia, barony, callitris, dianella and eucalyptus are just some of the many species present that will welcome you to this beautiful island.

How to get

Fraser Island ferry
Fraser Island Ferry, Adobe Stock Photo

By car, it takes at least 3 to 4 hours from Brisbane to get there. You have to reach Maryboroug and then Hervey bay. Fraser ferry schedules are on these links.
http://www.fraserislandferry.com.au/
and
https://www.kingfisherbay.com/getting-here/fraser-island-ferry.html

Regular bus services are available from Brisbane to Maryborough and Hervey Bay. From the north, services are guaranteed with Greyhound-Pioneer-McCafferty’s, Premier and Suncoast Pacific Coaches. If you prefer the train, you can consult the timetables on the website of the Queenslandrailtravel.

Qantas Link fly from Brisbane to Hervey Bay (Hervey Bay Airport)

What to do and where to stay

Fraser island
Photo by Nick Dunn on Unsplash

If all this beauty ever bores you (I have strong doubts about it), on the island there are many organized activities such as while watching or 4WD tours for example, plus other activities that the two resorts on the island will do their best to make even more your days in this paradise are wonderful. It goes without saying that this is a perfect place for a wedding or honeymoon.