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Fraser Island 4WD

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Fraser Island is the world's largest sand island. It's World-Heritage-listed and now that its timber and sand-mining industries have been abandoned, is an eco-tourism venue. It has exceptional dune systems (the highest reaching up to 240 metres above sea level), rainforests on sand, coloured cliffs, creeks and freshwater lakes. Low wallum heaths are of great evolutionary and ecological significance and provide superb wildflower displays during spring and summer.

The wetlands include rare ferns, mangrove colonies, seagrass beds and somewhere around 40,000 migratory shorebirds. Rare and endangered or vulnerable species include dugongs, turtles, Illidge's ant-blue butterflies and eastern curlew.

Fraser Island is one of the land masses forming Hervey Bay and within that, Platypus Bay, which turns into a playground for migrating humpback whales between July and November.

You can take a catamaran or vehicle barge from Hervey Bay to Fraser Island, but the exciting way of getting there is with MI Helicopters, a family-owned and operated business, established in 1992. They fly Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters.

A flight over Lake McKenzie gives a good idea of just how big the island is and just how much sand is there. You land on Seventy-Five Mile Beach, a highway running along the surf side of the island. It gives easy access to the island's mighty sand blows, coloured sands, Champagne Pools and the fast-flowing Eli Creek. The strip is shared by light aircraft and 4WDs.

Eli Creek, which rises in the centre of the island, has a flow of more than four megalitres of water an hour emptying into the ocean. It's crystal clear and a popular place for swimmers. A boardwalk starts where the creek turns to run parallel to the beach and the area is full of banksia and pandanus trees, which provide welcome shelter.

Visiting the wreck of the SS Maheno is an interesting outing. Built in Scotland in 1904, it was used as a hospital ship during WWI. The ship was declared unseaworthy in 1935 and sold to a Japanese company for scrap metal. Unfortunately, in 1935 it was hit by an unseasonable winter cyclone, became grounded and was abandoned. It was used by the RAAF as target practice in WWII.

Indian Head, one of the few rocky outcrops on Fraser Island, has excellent views north and south and is a good spot for shark watching.

Kingfisher Bay Resort is a four-star, fully-integrated property of international standard. Bright and modern well-appointed rooms and two and three-bedroom villas have private decks, which overlook lakes and bush. It offers an eco-tourism experience in perfect harmony with its surroundings.

Three restaurants offer a la carte dining, themed buffets, poolside lunches, a bistro and pizzeria. There are also interesting talk and taste sessions for those wanting to know more about Australian food and wine.

The resort has four bars, a nightclub, café, massage and beauty therapy, general store and petrol station.

Ranger-guided 4WD tours are available and for children there are junior eco-rangers programs.


Off the Queensland coast, near Maryborough.


Kingfisher Bay Resort two night packages start at $434 per person twin share. Catamaran transfer, 4WD tour with lunch and breakfast are included. Room only starts at $180 per night with a minimum of three nights stay.

A helicopter transfer to Fraser with MI Helicopters is $176 per person.

Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.

More information

Kingfisher Bay Resort
PMB1 Urangan
Hervey Bay 4655
Ph: 1800 072 555 or (07) 4120 3333
Fax: (07) 4120 3326

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