Have you ever fantasized about K’gari (Fraser Island), the world’s largest sand island? Have you ever wondered what lies beneath the 166,000 hectares of land off the coast of Hervey Bay? Here are ten facts about the island that you probably didn’t know.
This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to a diverse range of fauna and plant life, as well as a fascinating history. The island is thought to be around 800,000 years old, with the Butchulla people occupying the territory for 5,000 of those years.
The largest sand island in the world
This is one of the most famous facts about Fraser Island. It is the world’s largest sand island, measuring 123 kilometers long and around 20 kilometers broad. North Stradbroke Island and Moreton Island came in second and third, respectively.
Everything in K’gari (Fraser Island) practically grows out of the sand. Sand, in general, is not an optimal habitat for plant life to thrive. However, the sand of K’gari contains mycorrhizal fungi, which provide nutrients for the ideal environment for plant growth. Brush box trees are the oldest trees on the island, dating back roughly 1,200 years.
Dingoes call this place home.
The legendary dingoes of K’gari (Fraser Island) are considered the purest breed of dingo. The island, which is protected by law and the Dingo Conservation Society, forbids domestic dogs from entering in fear of cross-breeding.
South East Asian seafarers first introduced dingoes to Australia some 5,000 years before Captain Cook claimed Australia. K’gari (Fraser Island) was only a few kilometers from the mainland at the time because it had recently been cut off, and the dingoes were able to swim to the island.
The sand is purer than that of the Sahara.
All of the sand on K’gari (Fraser Island) came from south of the boundary. It was all swept up by prevailing winds from the New South Wales tablelands during the last Ice Age. The sand on the island is said to be purer than that of the Sahara Desert. Another world record is that Mt Bowarrady’s sand dunes, which stand at 240 metres, are the tallest in the world. And because the ground is covered in silica sand, it has formed brown rocks from the sand that has been bonded together (also known as coffee rocks). It’s really an interesting fact about Fraser Island.
The real story of Eliza Fraser and K’gari
The local Butchella people, who have lived on the island for thousands of years, named it K’gari (pronounced “gurri”), which means “heaven.” That was until Eliza Fraser, a Scottish woman, was shipwrecked on the island with her husband, who perished there, and the ship’s crew in 1836. She stated that after her rescue, the island’s natives mistreated her. A story that directly led to the Butchella people’s murder and dispossession.
The Butchella people restored their island’s name in September 2021, after years of lobbying for the old name to be reinstated. The island is currently known as K’gari (Fraser Island).
Many perched lakes may be found on the island.
Lake Boomanjin, one of the island’s many beautiful views, is officially the world’s largest perched lake at 190 hectares. A perched lake is one that is above the water table and solely contains rainwater, rather than flowing to the ocean, and there are several on K’gari (Fraser Island) where you can swim. Lake McKenzie, another perched lake on the island, is the most popular tourist destination on K’gari (Fraser Island). Lake McKenzie’s water is so pure that it is inappropriate for many sea creatures to dwell in – and that is just one of 12 strange and beautiful facts about Lake McKenzie.
Flying foxes reside here but are unable to sleep.
If you think your commute to work is tedious, consider the flying foxes. They must fly to the island from Hervey Bay every night because there are no caves on K’gari (Fraser Island) for them to sleep in during the day. Around 19 different flying foxes visit K’gari (Fraser Island) on a regular basis. The bulk of bats are fruit bats and insectivorous bats.
75 Mile Beach is a state highway.
Most people are unaware that 75 Mile Beach is both a designated national roadway and an aviation landing strip. It has numerous tourist attractions, including as the Maheno shipwreck, Champagne pools, and Indian Head (a volcanic rock formation). Due to severe currents, locals urge people not to swim on the beach. Many people like 4WDing down the ‘highway’ to see the sights; but, if you want to do so, be sure to read our sand driving recommendations first. It’s absolutely awesome fact about Fraser Island.
A shipwreck is one of its key attractions.
A seasonal cyclone caused the SS Maheno to collapse and sink in 1935. During WWI, the ship housed medical patients in Sydney before being sold to a Japanese business. They were hit and washed ashore on 75 Mile Beach as they began to sail towards Osaka. The survivors attempted but failed to repair the boat, resulting in the abandoned wreckage.
During WWII, it served as a covert training facility.
K’gari (Fraser Island) was used as a covert training base for commando men during WWII. The site was deemed ideal for both jungle and amphibious training, and over 900 Allied soldiers were subjected to a punishing regimen.
The men trained every day, beginning early in the morning and lasting until late at night. An 8-kilometer run in full uniform across Lake McKenzie and back was part of the training. They learned how to commit a silent killing and how to survive in the forest.
It’s a twitcher’s dream.
So date, about 350 bird species have been discovered on K’gari (Fraser Island). Many of these species are considered uncommon or threatened. Nocturnal birds, birds of prey, and wading birds live on the island. Birdwatching is a common activity among visitors to the island. Birds arrive to the region from as far away as Japan, Alaska, and Siberia every year.
Here are some facts about Fraser Island. Do you add anything?