Fraser Island, Australia (World Heritage listed) is the largest sand island in the world. That's right, the entire island is made of sand. Don't let that fool you though, it's also one of the most diverse islands. From just over 100 freshwater lakes, lush rainforests, a 120km beach highway, rugged terrain and natural beauty everywhere you turn, you are guaranteed to enjoy a visit here. I recently spent some time on Fraser Island for the very first time and was pleasantly surprised, not realizing how stunning this island actually was. Located off the Sunshine Coast, and just south of the Great Barrier Reef, a visit to Fraser Island is a must for nature, culture and history enthusiasts. We stayed at the lovely Kingfisher Bay Resort, which is a 4-star eco-tourism, yet full-service resort and a great choice for tourists who still want all the comforts and modern amenities.
Arriving to the island I wasn't sure what to expect, but boy was I pleasantly surprised! Our group started our adventure with an afternoon of archery. This is a new activity offered at Kingfisher Bay Resort and Jay, our instructor, took great care of us. He had a lot of patience and taught us how to shoot, like an Aussie! As the afternoon went on, we ended our archery and had a private Flavours of Fraser, Bush Tucker Tasting. We sampled berries, nuts and seeds fresh from the forest, and then some common sauces and dishes the items are used in. The unprepared items were a bit mixed with our crowd, however when prepared, they were much more pleasing to the palate. We ended the evening with a stunning show of colors! What an amazing sunset!
Now getting to those top 5 things NOT to miss on Fraser Island as I am sure you want to know!!
Sunset on the Pier
This is an absolute must of course (see why above)! The pier faces west (which is back to mainland Australia) with sunsets that are out of this world.
Dinner at Seabelle
This restaurant is located at Kingfisher Bay Resort. It's their signature restaurant and draws upon Fraser Island's indigenous Butchulla tribe. Many of the ingredients are farmed from the island and delivered fresh to the kitchen each day. Incorporating bush tucker into the menu items was a real treat and unexpected. I have to admit this was probably one of my top meals of the entire adventure and a must try if you get to Fraser!
Beauty Spots Tour
This is a full day tour, but for those with limited time to spend on the island, it's a great way to see many of the major highlights. You'll travel in a large bus 4 wheel drive vehicle. Since the island is all sand you don't want to get stuck. Having a 4x4 is a must. There are "roadways" throughout the island making it easy to get around from point to point. Beware of the lack of signage though. If you don't know your way around, or have a really good map and guide I would not recommend venturing out on your own. On this day tour you'll see the famous 75 mile beach highway. It really is a "beach" highway with loads of traffic. A stop and walk through the island's rainforest, Pile Valley is a must. View stunning Satinays, lush forest and vines, and if you're lucky you'll spot a Kingfisher Bird. Maheno shipwreck is a stop while still on the beach side. The Maheno is 111 years old and landed on the island many years ago. It's amazing how much is left, but you'll have to see for yourself. Lastly the gorgeous Lake McKenzie. It's a "perched" lake which means it contains only rainwater, not groundwater, and it's not fed by streams or flow from the ocean. The lake is stunning and the water crystal clear with a beautiful deep blue hue. The sand is pure white silica, very fine, and very good for polishing your jewelry.
Whale Watching (Seasonal)
Need I say more? Ok well maybe a little. Hervey Bay is notably the best place to whale watch! The season runs from late July through November, with the best chances to see them most August through October. Watch as the humpbacks play and socialize in Hervey Bay.
Want to see parts of the island that aren't easily accessible by land, a quick scenic lights is the way to go. Air Fraser Island has aircraft and pilots waiting on the famous 75 mile highway. The beach/highway is their airstrip. See "Butterfly" lake, it's actually shaped like a butterfly. Sand dunes, other lakes and much more. It's typically a 15-20 minute flight, but trust me, it's worth it!
This is just a glimpse of what you can experience on the beautiful Fraser Island. More can be added as time allows. It's most certainly worth a stop should you have time, 2-3 nights is ideal. It's a nice break from the fast city pace of Sydney or Brisbane and can be a nice segway on your way up to the tropical north. If you'd like to learn more about Fraser Island and Australia, be sure to contact Stephanie to schedule your complimentary planning session.