Ranked as important as Uluru or the Great Barrier Reef and listed as a World Heritage Site in 1992, Fraser Island is an area of outstanding natural beauty. As the largest sand island in the world it is 123km in length and has an area of 184,000 hectares. Boasting 250km of soft, sandy beaches, 40km of strikingly colourful sand cliffs, tall rainforests growing on low-nutrient sands and divine ‘clear water’ and ‘dark water’ lakes. Fraser Island has a rich diversity of ecosystems such as the varied wildlife of the mangroves and is a global example of geographical processes and biological evolution.
Fraser Island has a rich and diverse history. The Butchulla people are the indigenous people of Fraser Island. Their traditional name was K’gari which means paradise and according to Butchulla legend Fraser Island was named K’gari after the beautiful spirit who helped Yindingie, who was a messenger of the great god Beeral, create the land. As a reward to K’gari for her help Beeral changed her into an idyllic island with trees, flowers and lakes. For company he added people, birds and animals. Captain Cook first made contact with the Fraser Island Butchulla people in 1770 and whilst Captain Matthew Flinders had peaceful meetings with them in 1799 and 1802 subsequent colonisation by the Europeans caused conflict and the decline of the Aboriginals.
An amazing and unique photo opportunity awaits you near the Pinnacles where the SS Maheno shipwreck is partly submerged under the soft, golden sands. This landmark attraction is one of Fraser Islands most famous shipwrecks. Built in 1905, the SS Maheno was one of the first turbine-driven steamers which regularly sailed between Sydney and Auckland until it was recommissioned as a hospital ship. However, in 1935 it was sold to Japan as scrap and had its rudders removed. On the way to Japan the ill-fated ship was caught in a vicious cyclone when it reached Queensland waters causing it to drift helplessly on to Fraser Island’s ocean beach.
A lot of my fellow travellers were adventurous, camping on Fraser Island and reported seeing dingoes in their native environment. However, before I left for Australia, I had pre-booked a Cool Dingo Tour, but I wasn’t to be disappointed – it was a lot of fun! With our lively guide Jess at the wheel of a 4×4 coach, the tour along the sandy roads was always eventful, with the jeep getting stuck in the sand! However, with a lot of shouting and cheering we somehow willed the jeep out of the sands creating a fun and lively atmosphere and winning our freedom!
Riding along 70-mile beach, the coach stopped and gifted us the amazing opportunity of boarding a sea plane and therefore enjoying the amazing views from the air of this beautiful island. Fraser Island was definitely one of the best places I have visited in Australia and comes highly recommended. Don’t miss out!!
Teaching resources available for primary teachers: