Written by Kerrie Alexander
Iconic for being the world’s largest sand island, World Heritage-listed K’gari (Fraser Island) offers unusual surprises at every turn.
For Hervey Bay residents, we’re so lucky it’s just a ferry ride away!
Not only is it the only place on Earth where tall rainforests grow on sand dunes at elevations of more than 200 metres (656 feet), but it also has half the world’s perched lakes (lakes formed when depressions in dunes fill permanently with rainwater).
Within minutes of landing on K’gari, you’ll feel its magic.
Four-wheel drive enthusiasts love the challenge of driving on the inland tracks or take the Rainbow Beach Ferry and hit the wide-open beaches with the wind in your hair straight up.
Marvel at shifting sand blows, swim in iridescent waters and witness playful marine life just metres from shore.
Complete with a blend of east and west coast resort accommodation and back to nature camping, there’s a wilderness adventure for everyone on K’gari.
My family and I have been visiting this stunning part of the world most years since I was about six months old (I’m 40 now so that’s a long time!).
We often change it up with how we get there, sometimes it’s on the ferry from River Heads to either Kingfisher Bay Resort or Wanggoolba Creek (make sure you have the mozzie spray if you stop to let your tyres down).
Or, if the tide is right, we’ll jump on the Manta Ray at Rainbow Beach.
Either way, you must have a 4WD to get there. If you don’t have a 4WD or don’t feel confident enough to drive on the sand, there’s a great range of guided tours on offer so you don’t miss out on experiencing this magical destination.
Last month we decided on the River Heads to Wanggoolba Creek landing because Mr 9 wanted to visit Central Station.
It’s about 9km from the landing so we were there in no time!
Central Station was once the centre of the forestry industry when there was logging on Fraser Island, these days this amazing rainforest area houses a display explaining the development of Fraser Island and its various flora and fauna, information centre and picnic area.
There’s a picnic area, camping facilities, and a scenic boardwalk through the rain forest along the banks of the crystal-clear Wanggoolba Creek.
It was disappointing to see that all the historic logging machinery had been removed from the displays. They were always a highlight to see.
On the boardwalk trail, a Fraser Island guide was kind enough to quickly point out the massive Angiopteris ferns. These species have the largest fern fronds in the world. An interesting fact we never knew, so thank you Mr Guide!
After a quick refresh we got back on the track with K’gari Beach Resort (formerly Eurong Beach Resort) in our sights. From the landing it’s about 13.4km. The tracks were quite good, so it was about a 45-minute drive.
We arrive at our holiday home for the next four nights at second valley (just next to Eurong).
When I was younger, we stayed at a holiday home at my very favourite place on the island – Orchid Beach. But it does take ¾ of a day travel to get there.
So, for a shorter stay, second valley is the way to go. It’s only about a 40-minute drive along the beach to the iconic Eli Creek, where we spent a day lazing under the awning, swimming in the freezing cold by crystal-clear waters and had a great Aussie sausage sizzle.
While we were up that way on 75-Mile beach, we stopped for the umpteenth photo opp at the legendary Maheno – the most famous of the Fraser Island shipwrecks.
We arrived just at the right tide to get a glimpse of the old girl from the ocean side. A little bit disappears each year but she’s still an incredible piece of Australian history. It’s well worth a Google search!
For the remainder of this trip, we simply cruised up and down the beach finding nice little swimming holes, fishing for whiting (which were aplenty), building sandcastles, and enjoying Mr 9s new favourite hobby, digging for pipi shells. For the island newbies, pipi’s can be found just under the sand’s surface and are brilliant to use as bait.
You need a good eye to see their tell-tale round and raised mounds as you drive along the beach.
In previous trips we have been all over the island to the famous Lake McKenzie, Champagne Pools, Indian Head, and Orchid Beach but never braved the tracks to the Sandy Cape, which I’m told is magnificent.
The trek over Ngkala rocks makes me nervous. Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough!
A quick Google search will also highlight many other beautiful lakes and walks to visit.
We finished off four wonderful days with a drink and lunch at Kingfisher Bay Resort, before jumping on the 1pm ferry home.
K’gari is simply amazing and never disappoints.
To book your adventure, head to www.fraserislandbarges.com.au. Keep in mind that Queensland Parks and Wildlife vehicle access permit is also required if you are taking a 4WD on K’gari.