Just off the Queensland coast, Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island, stretching out over 1840 km2.
There are plenty of ways to visit, but we had heard one of the best would be with a 4×4 self-drive or drivealong tour. With either of these, you can bounce over the sand dunes in a jeep, with the sea spray splashing over your windscreen while learning about the importance of the island – perfect!
With a quick brief on the mainland in Hervey Bay and a short ferry ride over to the island, we scrambled into our jeeps and set off for our sand island adventure.
The ride was certainly unique. After disembarking from the ferry we were immediately enveloped into thick jungle – the jeep flying along the narrow sandy road.
As the engine revved loudly, we skidded, bounced, slid, jolted and hopped our way along, hanging on for dear life and squealing with delight as we were thrown around, our heads brushing the roof of the car before we landed back in our seats with a bump. It was like being on a particularly violent and unpredictable rollercoaster!
Thankfully for everyone’s battered and bruised bodies, it wasn’t long before we reached the island’s famous 75-mile beach, which runs up the length of the island from top to bottom.
This beach isn’t just a pretty place to relax, it’s also the island’s main highway and airstrip, with planes occasionally coming into land here!
After a long and sweltering journey up the beach, we had a quick stop off for a swim at Lake Wabby – the island’s deepest perched lake and home to the most aquatic life. Unfortunately, the fish in the lake were keen to give you a little nibble, which meant I couldn’t put so much as a toe in the water without shrieking out loud whenever I felt something brush against my skin.
Before allowing us to walk off into the jungle, our guides first gave us a long safety talk about the island’s dingoes. The Fraser Island dingoes are reputedly some of the last remaining pure dingoes in Eastern Australia and to prevent cross-breeding, dogs are not allowed on the island. They are also notoriously dangerous and (although they have only ever been recorded as the cause of one human death in the history of the island) tourists are warned not to keep scented items – such as food and even toothpaste – in camp, interact with the canines, or venture anywhere alone on the island.
We managed to spot one lone dingo sniffing about on the beach, but we were wary when wondering around on the island after hearing some of the scare-stories of Dingo attacks.
After spending the night at a camp in Cathedral Point, we headed to the Moheno wreck – a ship that was beached in a cyclone while on the way to be broken up in Japan. The wreck has remained here since 1935, slowly becoming buried by sand and rusting away.
We also saw the islands famous ‘Pinnacles’ – cliffs of coloured sand that are tinted with red clay…
…And took a forest walk along Wanggoolba Creek…
Now, knowing that Fraser island is a sand island, I hadn’t expected there to be so much greenery. Apparently, it is the only place on earth where tall rainforest grows in sand. This is possible because of naturally occurring mycorrhizal fungi present on the island, which release nutrients in a form that can be absorbed by the plants.
The best part of our trip was our visit to Lake McKenzie.
The white silica sand shores make the lake appear like a beach, but the water is so pure, clean and salt-free that you can drink it while you’re swimming!
I wasn’t expecting much from Fraser Island – considering I’d never heard of it before I got to Australia – but now I think it’s a unique place, with beautiful features, that is well worth a visit.