Embrace nature on World Heritage-listed Fraser Island, a short ferry ride from Hervey Bay on Queensland’s Fraser Coast. On the world’s largest sand island, you can 4WD next to coloured sand cliffs, hike through rainforest, meet native wildlife, whale-watch and swim in freshwater lakes ringed with gold. Get here on the Pacific Coast Touring Route or Great Sunshine Way.
Seventy Five Mile Beach, QLD
From the moment you hit the sandy highway of Seventy-Five Mile Beach, the island is strictly four wheel drive territory. Head off on one of the hundreds of sand tracks linking lakes, rainforest and other natural attractions. Drive to mighty sand blows and the towering multi-coloured sand cliffs of The Cathedrals. Or stop to float in fast-flowing Eli Creek straight to the ocean. Stroll the boardwalk next to Wanggoolba Creek, which carries clear water through tranquil rainforest at Central Station, once a forestry township. Take a break for some history at the Maheno shipwreck and the coloured sands of The Pinnacles. Or enjoy a low tide dip in the clear, bubbling sea water of the Champagne Pools. For a bird’s eye view, take a scenic flight over Cathedral Beach, Happy Valley and Orchid Beach.
Visit Pile Valley and see silent streams, tall timbers, pristine ferns and towering satinay and brush box trees. Walk through ancient rainforests supported by sand dunes in Central Station. See Rainbow Gorge with its coloured sand formations, as well as the multi-coloured Cathedrals and Pinnacles which lie to the north of the Maheno wreck. Explore more than 100 freshwater lakes, some tea-coloured and others clear and blue. Follow the day-long Lake McKenzie Circuit Walk to Lake McKenzie, one of forty crystal-clear lakes which make up half of all such lakes in the world. Swim in the blue waters or sit on the pure white silica sands. Hike to the island’s deepest lake, Lake Wabby, surrounded by a massive sand-blow and small, scenic Lake Allom where fresh-water turtles lie on the forest-fringed shore. Visit Lake Bowarrady, which is 120 metres above sea level, and Lake Boemingen, reputedly the largest perched lake in the world. On Fraser Island, you’ll find that nature offers a different exhibition each season - wild spring flowers, bright summer days, autumn colours and winter wilderness.
Stay in an eco-friendly resort where you can indulge in massages, cocktails and restaurant meals. Or enjoy the privacy of a beach front home surrounded by bushland and wildlife. You’ll also find hotels and self-contained villas with hinterland and sea views. To really commune with nature, pitch your tent at a campsite at Central Station, Lake Boomanjin, Lake McKenzie, Dundubara, Waddy Point, Wathumba, Dilli Village or Cathedral Beach. Or find a spot of sandy solitude on the eastern beach.
Spot raptors and stingrays on a canoe tour and some of the islands 354 species of birds on a ranger guided walk. The island is home to the rarely seen ground parrot, powerful owl and some 18 birds of prey. Sail next to dugong, turtles, dolphins and sharks or see them on a tour of the beaches and Indian Head. Keep an eye out for migrating humpback whales between August and October. Pump for yabbies and spot armies of soldier crabs on the beach on a guided fishing tour. Go nocturnal and shine your torch on bats, flying foxes, sugar gliders and frogs. Get up close to the island’s kangaroos, wallabies, possums, flying foxes, echidnas and Australia's purest breed of dingo.
Shipwreck S.S Maheno, QLD
You can read 700,000 years of evolution in the wildflowers and centuries of climatic change in the huge sand dunes. See Aboriginal middens, fish traps, scarred trees and campsites at least 5,000 years old on a guided tour. Visit coloured Arch Cliffs, where Aboriginal men once played didgeridoos to migrating humpback whales and Moon Point, once a sacred birthing place reserved for Aboriginal women. Explore the shipwreck of the S.S Maheno, which was built in 1905 and served life as both a luxury trans-Tasman passenger ship and World War I hospital ship, before being beached in a cyclone. Join a heritage walk and learn about the island’s European namesake, Eliza Fraser, who was with her husband Captain James Fraser when their ship, the Stirling Castle, ran aground in 1836. Listen to her dramatic story of survival, which included losing her husband and new born child and being held captive by the local Aboriginal tribe. Visit the now-derelict McKenzie's Jetty, originally built as a mainland access point for timber cutters and then used by the Z Force during World War II. From sands of time formations and stories of the Aboriginal Dreamtime to Eliza Fraser and recent environmental battles, Fraser Island is rich in history.