Silence surrounds us as we sit on a deserted beach watching the sun slowly slip over the mainland. We are on Fraser Island, once the sacred grounds of the Butchulla people. After Europeans arrived in the area, the island was preyed upon for its timber, with prized logs from the island found supporting the London Docks and the Suez Canal.
Today the whole island is a national park and World Heritage-listed, ensuring plenty of things to see and do in this surprising paradise. Top of the list is 75 Mile Beach, a designated road that you share with aircraft – which have right of way – tour buses, fishermen and families. Along the long, sandy beach there is the rusting hull of the shipwrecked Maheno to visit, along with Eli Creek, Indian Heads, Champagne Rock Pools, sand blows and the Pinnacles, with its unusual coloured sands.
Discover the sandy airstrip for yourself on a scenic flight of the island. The views will show the diversity of this drop in the ocean and if you look closely, you might even see whales languidly swimming up or down the coast depending on when you are there.
Inland, discover Central Station and Pile Valley with its towering Satinay trees. See the silently flowing Wanggoolba Creek where the magnificent endangered king fern, Angiopteris evecta – the largest fern in the world, happily thrives. Look closely on the walk for fungi flowering and intricate moss, twisting vines and other exceptional plants.
Lake McKenzie, fringed by a pure, white silica sand beach and crystal clear water, makes it one of the most visited natural sites on the island. There are many naturally formed lakes on Fraser, created as the sands shift and change with time as well as Mother Nature’s forces.
Venture onto the western side of the island and Ungowa is a popular location for anglers with its sheltered bay also favoured by yachties. Further north, the rotting pylons of Old McKenzie Jetty stand as a reminder of the logging days. Built by Mr H. McKenzie, a past timber merchant, it is a popular sunset location for photographers like us.
Another favourite location for sunset is Kingfisher Bay Resort’s jetty. The resort, hidden in the forest behind the beach, is an oasis amongst the trees offering great accommodation, a great restaurant, a spa and plenty of options for touring. Join a group tour and explore some of Fraser’s sites – without requiring a four-wheel drive of your own – or opt for a private tour. Should you stay at Kingfisher between July and November, book a whale watching tour into Platypus Bay to watch the giants of the deep.
This evening, however, we decide to sit at the Resort and watch the sun dip over the mainland, raising a toast to this beautiful place. •
Danielle currently uses a Nikon D4 and D3 with three lenses: Nikon 70-200mm 2.8, Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 and 18-35mm. Another favourite lens is the Nikon 105mm. Danielle was the winner of the Nikon Walkley Queensland Award 2013 and is the author of travel books including Best 4WD Tracks around Queensland and Out around the Bulloo.