Fraser Island, in Queensland, Australia, is a beautiful and spectacular sand island. The area is part of the Great Sandy National Park, and is noted for its remarkable wilderness landscapes, its natural beauty, and for its many interesting and scientifically important plant and animal species. Visitors to the state of Queensland will often find a Fraser Island tour to be the best way to see this fascinating island.
There are several sand islands situated off the coastline of south-eastern Queensland. Fraser Island (120 km in length, 24 km across at the widest point) is the largest, and most northerly of these islands. It is about 300 km from the state capital, Brisbane.
The island has a wide variety of plant life, ranging from rain forests, and eucalyptus forests, to sand dunes and coastal heathland. It is estimated that the island has been formed over the last three quarters of a million years. Sand is being carried northwards along the Queensland coast by strong ocean currents, and is deposited on the volcanic bedrock which lies under the island.
Unlike many other sand dune areas, the plant life on Fraser Island is abundant and diverse, and a wide range of animals (mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds) make their home here. The area is protected by the Great Sandy National Park. Humans (aboriginal Australians) have lived on the island for at least 5000 years. The first European to see the island was Captain James Cook in 1770. Matthew Flinders was the first explorer to set foot on the island in 1799.
The island has over 100 dune lakes. These freshwater lakes are amongst the cleanest in the world. Lake McKenzie is particularly popular with tourists. This five metre deep lake is a “perched” lake about 100 metres above sea level. The sand on the beach here is almost pure white: chemically it is almost pure silica.
Several tour operators serve Fraser Island. Tours can last between one and six days, or they can be part of a larger tour of Queensland. Goanna Adventure Tours is a specialized operator, covering Fraser Island and Moreton Island (to the south). Goanna’s two day tours of Fraser Island depart from Noosa, Rainbow Beach and Brisbane.
Goanna’s Safari Tours have no age limit, although many guests are in the 18-35 age group. The fitness level required is low, although some hiking is involved. Travelling by four wheel drive vehicle, in a small group with an expert guide, travellers will be able to hike through pristine rainforest, see ancient ferns, swim in a clear blue freshwater lake, surrounded by pure white sand, see dolphins, sharks, and possibly whales (depends on the season), and still have time for some swimming and beach activities on 75 mile beach.
Goanna’s tours is a family owned and operated business, with many years experience in operating Fraser Island tours. The tour (departing from Brisbane) leaves from Brisbane Transit Centre at about 6am, returning at about 6pm the next day. Times to/from Noosa and Rainbow Beach differ slightly. While on Fraser Island spare time is at Eurong Beach Resort on the Eastern Beach. Resort facilities include two pools, two bars, tennis courts and convenience store.
Jacque Claire is a comparative newcomer to the Southern Hemisphere but has travelled extensively and these days works for the Gold Coast Accommodation website as a journalist