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Fraser Island

Whether it is Sunrise or Sunset, Fraser Island is a unique part of this region. Fraser Sun Set on Fraser Island Island attained its World Heritage Listing in December 1992 in recognition of the island's exceptional sand dunes systems, it's rainforests on sand and it's pristine freshwater lakes. Its unusual formation of sand and rainforest make it a special source of adventure for visitors to explore. Fraser joins the ranks of the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and Kakadu National Parks as a unique and exceptional environment. As part of Queensland’s natural and cultural heritage, it is protected for all to appreciate, enjoy and respect. Fraser Island is the largest Sand Island in the world. Although well known among fisherman and 4WD enthusiasts, it is the history and Aboriginal heritage that gives Fraser Island its individual character, expressed through wonderful coloured sand cliffs, unique fresh water lakes and diverse flora and wildlife.

Fraser Island is one of the most rare and mysterious features of the Queensland coastline. Sand is the key to how the Island was formed but it is the abundance of fresh water in its many lakes and crystal clear creeks and streams that has made it so special. Pristine clear mirror lakes and the peat coloured perched lakes, are some of the largest in the world. Each of the lakes has its own particular character. Mysterious, moody and beautiful, they are excellent subjects for photography, great places to see birds, other fauna and flora and a welcome oasis for hot summer days.

Lake Mckenzie Fraser IslnadLake McKenzie pictured below is set in the middle of a rich Blackbutt forest (the mainstay of the old logging industry) and is one of the most popular lakes on Fraser Island.  Because it is only a short distance from Central Station, it is popular with day trippers as well as longer term tourists. Good camping and picnic facilities are available near the lake. To ease the congestion, the road past the lake is a one way loop around the picnic grounds and camping area. Not marked on the map is a road which closer to the lake, which is used exclusively by the tour operators to allow elderly or infirmed people easier access to the lake foreshore.

The water in the lake is crystal blue because the Blackbutt forests, which surround the lake, do not leach tannin into the lakes like the paperbark trees do. The Blackbutt trees were the mainstay of the logging while in was in progress on the island. Lake McKenzie is very popular with swimmers and sunbathers because of its large beaches and clear waters. It is also the closest lake to the Kingfisher Bay resort on the western side of the island and so gets a lot of visitors from there.

Lake Wabby Fraser Island Lake Wabby is the deepest lake on the island and is slowly being filled by a huge sand blow. The lake can be accessed from a road, or by walking track from the beach. A viewing platform is about a 10-15 minute walking distance from the car park and from here you can see how close the lake is to the ocean beach. Lake Jennings is the first of a series of lakes on the road between Central Station and Dilli Village on the eastern beach of Fraser Island. Unlike many of the other lakes in the area, Lake Jennings does not have camping or picnic facilities. The road follows the western edge of the lake but there is only cleared access point to the lake. The access track runs straight from the road to the edge of the lake. Lake Jennings is like many of the other lakes in the area in that the surface of the lake is a deep blue, but the water is stained a tea colour by the tannin leaching from the trees surrounding the lake.

Scenic 4WD circuits and walking tracks in the southern half of the island take you into some of the largest of the lakes including McKenzie, Birrabeen, Benaroon and Boomanjin. There is even a walking track to Lake Wabby from the beach. Water has meant the creation of exceptional rainforests thriving in the nutrient enriched sand of the forest floor. Towering satiny and Brush box trees are among the forest giants, some over a thousand years old, and so large they form distinct bands visible from scenic flights over the island. The island is home to more than 230 species of birds.

Along the coastal landscape you can see dotterels, pied oyster catchers, pelicans, terns and gulls while overhead the skies are prowled by magnificent birds of preyWild Dingos on Fraser Island brahminy kites, white-breasted sea eagles, ospreys and peregrine falcons. Alternatively, wander through the islands heath lands, home to kingfishers, jabirus and brolgas, and one of Australia's rarest birds the ground parrot. There are 25 species of mammal present on the island. Isolation has ensured that Fraser's dingoes are the purest breeds in eastern Australia and consequently no domestic dogs are permitted on the island. Other native mammals include wallabies, possums, flying foxes and echidnas. Dugong feed on the sea grass beds, turtle breed on some island beaches as well as the mainland, and each year make their annual migration to Fraser's rocky headlands and protected coastline.

Fraser Island is more than a unique environment for visitors, it was also home to aboriginal tribes who lived on the island for over 5,500 years. The native flora and fauna providing endless bounty in fish and seafood's, nuts and fruits and a good supply of fresh water. Their heritage is evident in archaeological sites on the island, and midden heaps, ceremonial bora rings, and stone implements can still be seen on tours throughout the island. By comparison, the European history of the island is recent, Fraser's discovery being credited to Captain Cook who named many of the landmark features.

Fraser Island's European name is the result of a dramatic shipwreck saga and consequent capture by local Aborigines of the captain and his wife, Eliza Fraser. Her ordeal brought world attention to the island, renamed in her honour. As beautiful as the coast is, the waters which fringe the islands coastline have been the site for more than 50 shipwrecks. The most notable wreck is the Maheno (Pictures Below), a former Trans-Tasman luxury liner and a World War 1 hospital ship. Today the ships rusted remains lie on the beach north of Happy Valley and are a popular attraction for visitors to the island.

Access to Fraser Island can be by vehicular barges, aircraft, passenger launches, Maheno Shipwreck on Fraser Island commercial tours or private boats. Air charters operate from Hervey Bay and Maryborough airports to airstrips on the island or beach landings (all by prior arrangement). Helicopter services operate to and from Kingfisher Bay Resort Vehicular barges and ferries operate from: Mary River Heads to Kingfisher Bay Resort, Urangan to Moon Point and Mary River Heads to Wangoolba Creek. All vehicles travelling to Fraser Island must first have an official permit. The permit must be attached to the windscreen these permits are available for one month or for a yearly permit. Campers other than those using commercial campsites must have a camping permit, which should be attached to tent in clear view for inspection by the Park Ranger.

Eli Creek is a favourite stop off point for swimmers who travel up the eastern side of Fraser Island. It is the largest freshwater creek along the eastern side Fraser Island. There is approximately four mega liters of crystal clear water that flows into the ocean each hour making Eli Creek a major attraction and a main stop over place for all tourist operators. There is a board-walk that starts a wonderful scenic journey along both sides of the creek, which is joined by bridges that extend across the creek. The Banksia and pandanus trees, which provide shelter, surround the creek like a magical paradise. To protect the banks of the creek, swimmers are only permitted along the area of the creek flanked by the board-walk. Travelling along the beach at high tide is hazardous for 4WD's as the running water from the creek leaves high walled trench across the sand. Eli Creek starts its journey from the middle of the island at Declivity and Boomerang Lakes and flows down to the ocean through pockets of rainforest.

Champagne Pools on Fraser IslandLake Benaroon is typical of many of the lake in that the surface of the lake is a dark blue colour. This lake is not easy to access as the access road is blocked just in front of the lake itself. There are no facilities and the only parking is on the side of the road towards the lake foreshore. The edge of the lake consists mainly of reed beds. The right hand side of the lake is separated from Barga Lagoon by a narrow strip of land. The left and rear edge of the lake is bounded by a walking track which starts at Dilli Village on the east coast and travels through to Lake McKenzie via Central Station.

Central station is located in the area of the old logging camp. There is a large parking area composed of parking bays on either side of the road. This area is favourite stop over for the tourist operators as the facilities are ideal and the attractions range from the open-air theatre, museum, bush tracks and an abundance of wild life. There are signs warning visitors of the falling pinecones that fall during some months of the year. The area also has warning signs about the dingoes, which also frequent the area. The dingo's can become very aggressive and destructive and the biggest cause for this is because some tourists feed them thinking they are cute and friendly. The museum contains a selection of items left over from the logging days and also has a section on the natural history of the island.

Waddy Point is one of the main fishing area's on the island because it provides a good place for launching boats and is very popular with off-shore fisherman. Most of the fishermen camp along the beach as the campers are free to run generators to Lake Jennings on Fraser Island power freezers and lights.   On the headland above the camping area on the beach is another camping area, which has hot, and cold showers and flushing toilets. The Waddy Point camping ground is the most northerly serviced camping ground on Fraser Island. The camping ground consists of tent sites and drive in-drive out sites for caravans. Scattered around the camping grounds are picnic tables and cooking campfires. Like most of these sites, the power to the toilet block is turned off between 11pm and 8am. Unlike the camping area on the beach there is no generators allowed in these camping grounds. Between the Waddy Point camping ground and Waddy Point itself is the Binngih Sand blow, which comes down to the beach. The sand blow extends from the beach around behind Waddy Point to the South.

The Dundubara campsite is the last camping ground before Indian Head. Because many people "bush camp" along Cathedral Beach and Corroboree Beach, the facilities can become a bit crowded with the tide goes out and the campsite can be accessed from along the beach. This is another favourite site for the fishermen who like to fish the many gutters along the beach as well as the rocks and cliff's of Indian Heads. The Dundubara campsite is the stepping off point for the Wangul sand blow and Lake Bowarrady, which is a naturalist's paradise with marine life in the lake and many birds in the surrounding trees. Just a few minutes walk inland from the Dundubara camping ground is the Wungul Sand-blow, which is very popular with the campers.

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