Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Fraser Island (Great Sandy National Park)

What's special?

The world’s largest sand island, Fraser Island, was more than a million years in the making. Fraser Island is a World Heritage Area. This complex ecosystem of sand dunes, lakes, soils and forests survives solely on sand, an outstanding global example of continuing biological and geological processes. Most of the island is protected in Great Sandy National Park and managed as a recreation area.

Jagged coloured sand cliffs, stunning sandblows, freshwater lakes, tall forests, wildflower heaths, magnificent rainforests and crystal-clear creeks make Fraser Island a memorable place to visit. More than 40 freshwater lakes — half the world’s perched lakes — nestle among the island’s sand dunes. The island has the most extensive wallum heath remnants in Queensland. Fraser Island and nearby Cooloola are the only places in the world where tall rainforest grows in sand.

The island’s rich forests, heaths and woodlands are a haven for wildlife including migrating birds and rare and threatened animals such as acid frogs, the ground parrot, Illidge’s ant-blue butterfly, the beach stone-curlew and the false water-rat. Fraser Island has possibly the purest dingo population in Australia. More than 600 plant species and around 300 vertebrate animal species live on the island.

People have left their mark on this place. The Butchulla people lived here for at least 5000 years. Scattered among the island’s ever-shifting sands are many reminders of their special connection with this place. More recently, the island has hosted timber-getting, sand mining and tourism industries. But the island’s character is largely unspoilt.

Exploring Fraser Island

Take the time to explore Fraser Island. See coloured sand cliffs and natural sand sculptures along the coast or try your luck at beach fishing. Leave the busy beach behind and enjoy the beauty of Fraser Island’s forests, heaths, lakes and creeks.

Sit by a lake or go for a quiet paddle. Go wildlife watching. See wildflowers in spring. Look for honeyeaters and fairy-wrens among flowering heaths, and flycatchers and robins in the forests. See turtles, dugong, dolphins and migrating humpback whales offshore.

Be very careful around dingoes. Stay with your children, walk in groups and never feed or coax them. All wild animals, including goannas, butcherbirds or kookaburras, can be aggressive, even if they are familiar with people. Keep wildlife wild.

Choose from many bushwalks or scenic drives around the island. Signposted tourist drives, suitable only for four-wheel-drive vehicles, start from Central Station and Happy Valley.

Have a picnic or barbecue at historic and picturesque Central Station, Waddy Point, Ocean Lake, Lake Boomanjin, Lake Birrabeen, or Lake Garawongera.

Camp at national park campgrounds on the eastern beach at Waddy Point and Dundubara, on the western beach at Wathumba, or inland at Central Station, Lake McKenzie, Lake Boomanjin and Lake Allom. Basic facilities are provided including showers, picnic tables, barbecues, firewood, toilets and tap water. Generators are not allowed. Take insect repellent. Bookings are essential for Waddy Point and Dundubara during holidays. Dundubara is suitable for caravans. Lock all food and rubbish in your vehicle or campground lockers and secure eskies with tight straps to discourage dingoes. Fines apply for not complying.

You can also camp at signed places along the beach. No facilities are provided and campers must remove all rubbish. Collect your camping tag and information pack before you reach the island. Private campgrounds and other accommodation are also available.

Food, gas refills, ice and fuel are available at Happy Valley, Eurong, Cathedral Beach, Orchid Beach and Kingfisher Bay. Public telephones are located around the island. There is no medical assistance on the island. Take a well-stocked first aid kit.

Find out about the island’s special attractions at information signs and centres around the island or join a Ranger-led slide show, spotlight tour or guided walk in holiday times.


When walking, wear a hat and sunscreen. Read your Be dingo-aware brochure for advice on what to do if you feel threatened by a dingo. A 100km Great Walk is being established on Fraser Island allowing visitors to hike from Dilli Village to Lake Garawongera. This is part of the Great Walks of Queensland nature-based tourism initiative.


Wheelchair-accessible toilets are at Wanggoolba Creek barge landing, Eli Creek, Lake Garawongera, Lake Birrabeen and Lake Allom.

Getting there

You can reach Fraser Island by air or water from Rainbow Beach or Hervey Bay. Commercial barges operate from Inskip Point near Rainbow Beach to Hook Point on the southern end of Fraser Island, from River Heads near Hervey Bay to Wanggoolba Creek or Kingfisher Bay, and from Urangan Boat Harbour, Hervey Bay to Moon Point. Bookings are required for all barges except Hook Point to Inskip Point where barges operate 6am–5.30pm most days.

A passenger ferry service operates from Urangan Boat Harbour to Kingfisher Bay. Private boats can moor at Kingfisher Bay Resort, Wathumba and Garry’s Anchorage.

Passenger flights run daily from Hervey Bay. Contact QPWS Maryborough about the public airstrip at Toby's Gap.

The only way to get around this sand island is by four-wheel-drive. Hire companies operate from mainland towns (Rainbow Beach, Hervey Bay) and Eurong Beach, Kingfisher Bay and Happy Valley resorts. A driving safety video is available from the Maryborough office and Naturally Queensland Information Centre in Brisbane. Obtain a vehicle permit before taking your vehicle to Fraser Island. For safety, travel along the beach 2–3 hours either side of high tide and follow sand-driving guidelines.

Commercial tours of the island operate from Rainbow Beach, the Sunshine Coast, Hervey Bay and Brisbane.

Sources & Further reading

Journey Back Through Time
Experience Australia
Aboriginal Australia
National Parks
Photo Galleries
Site Map
                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email:     Sources & Further reading