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An International Treasure: Fraser Island

An International Treasure: Fraser Island

This Magnificent Life’s Liz and Tim left the big smoke and the rat race for some magnificent time-out on gorgeous Fraser Island.  You can read there story here…

According to the Dreamtime legend of the Butchulla people, Fraser Island was named K’gari after the beautiful spirit who helped Yindingie, messenger of the great god Beeral create the land. Beeral rewarded K’gari by changing her into an idyllic island with beautiful trees, lakes and flowers and gave her birds, animals and people to keep her company. K’gari means paradise. This is Fraser Island.

When Fraser Island was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Listing in 1992, the citation paid tribute to the island’s “exceptional natural beauty” and “an outstanding example representing significant ongoing ecological and biological processes and as an example of superlative natural phenomena”.

Stranger fig at Central Station

Stranger fig at Central Station

Unique doesn’t even come close to describing Fraser. The mighty rainforests growing in sand, the crystal clear freshwater lakes, towering coloured sand cliffs and endless whiter than white beaches.

As you first arrive at Kingfisher Bay Resort, it is hard to determine where the resort actually is. From the jetty you can detect some of the eco-friendly native timber buildings that seemingly blend into the dense Australian bush.  

The resort first opened in 1992. It is remarkably serene, quiet and still except for the occasional kookaburra or rustle in the undergrowth. The landscaping cleverly mirrors the native vegetation ensuring the continual regeneration of both flora and fauna. Fraser boasts a number of species of both plants and animals that are unique to the island.

Designed to minimise impact on the island’s natural environment, clever systems have been utilised to minimise waste, conserve energy.

Extensive recycling programs, gathering waste paper and kitchen scraps for composting the resort’s restaurant herb gardens and worm farms utilising sewage sludge are just part of the resort’s ongoing environmental management.

Kingfisher Bay Resort is ideal for a short break or a week or more with so much to do and so much to see. This is an adventure holiday destination suitable for all ages with experiences for wildlife warriors, kids and everyone in-between. Rooms have been built with relaxation in mind. Super comfy beds and showers designed to ease muscles and wind you down after an action-packed day.

Fraser Island - for tree huggers and adventure seekers

Fraser Island – for tree huggers and adventure seekers

The large balconies take you into the bush cocooning you so that you feel you’re the only humans on the island. It is stunningly quiet with just the occasional kookaburra laugh or rustle in the undergrowth breaking the silence.

There are currently 2 dining options at Kingfisher Bay Resort. (The Sand Bar Bistro is currently closed for renovations and will re-open shortly). Maheno is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with casual snacks in between. Bush-tucker inspired Seabelle is the resort’s signature restaurant. Herbs and garnishes are grown at the resort’s nursery but it is the native ingredients that make dining here special.

The Jetty is the very best spot for a ‘sunset’ at sunset. Grab your special someone and enjoy a quiet tipple and maybe a cheese platter as the sun slowly lowers over the Sandy Strait.

Kingfisher Bay Resort is less of a bucket-list destination and more of ‘what are you waiting for?’ There is no better place to whale watch with tours aboard Quick Cat II departing daily until October 31 and the occasional friendly humpback turning up at the Jetty. (More on that later).

Fraser Island is more than unique – it’s irreplaceable and Kingfisher Bay Resort’s unique eco conscience will keep it that way for generations to come. 

TML were guests of Kingfisher Bay Resort.  All images were captured by the new Nikon 1 V3. Visit MyNikonLife here.

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2014 in Guest Bloggers

 

Life Through The Lens…

Fraser Island’s diverse and pristine sandscapes make it a paradise for photographers and videographers the world over.  This pristine, great sandy isle captured the attention of David Trood, a photographer who divides his time between Australia and Denmark and who visited our shores recently.  

David has been involved in creative photography for more than thirty plus years, which he says has given him an eye for creating intriguing short stories in video.  

Here’s David’s story… and Fraser Island, as seen through his lens.

Image

Being a photographer, I love to hear stories and this one about Fraser Island is simple, strong, and so interesting that I want to tell it again.  I was on Fraser Island earllier this year on holiday and was down on the beach early the first morning to get a few shots of the 4×4 in the sunrise.

While the sun was coming up over the waves, I met one of the locals who told me a story – a really really old story, but for me…the tourist…it was new.

The Island is called ‘K’gari’ pronounced Gar – re, and was given to it hundreds of lifetimes ago by the Butchulla people, the local indigenous people to the island. The word means PARADISE.

Fraser Island sunrise

David Trood discovers a patch of paradise in Queensland

After hearing the story about this place they call paradise, the island started to look different to me, and I began to see why it was given that name in the first place.

Now I wonder why it was even changed or taken away.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousands words, to this short video is the story about a magical place in Australia called K´gari.

You can also catch David and see more gorgeous photos on his Facebook page.  This content has been reproduced with David’s permission.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2014 in Guest Bloggers

 

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Getting Down… Under…

Award-winning writer and all-round funster, Thomas Breathnach hails from from Cork in Ireland and loves his travel. His adventures abroad regularly feature in internationally-respected publications such as the Irish Times, Men’s Health, Cape Times and the Mail & Guardian.  

Thomas recently visited Queensland’s boho capital Brisbane before bumping into a neighbour in the middle of nowhere (read: #fraserisland) and heading off in a pink 4×4 called Priscilla. The story was published in The Irish Independent and is re-published here with Thomas’ permission.  Get ready for a wild ride…

Brisbane changed my travelling tune. While newbies to a city might traditionally make a beeline to a tourist office or consult their eBook, I realised that in this age of pop-up urbanism and ever-vacillating culture scenes, there’s truly only one way to procure a city’s insider’s guide: Ask a hipster.

Brisbane's hidden laneway secrets

Brisbane’s hidden laneway secrets

After arriving in Australia’s third-largest metropolis, my first lead was Winn Lane, a hole-in-the wall alleyway in the boho district of Fortitude Valley. Alongside boho bookstores and Alexa Chung boutiques, I began by hitting Flamingo Cafe, a 70s-style kitsch joint fitted with an astro-turf patio and just the antidote to the cookie-cutter CBD I was looking for. A quirky club-sambo of poached chuck and bacon jam and a side order of local tips from my server was the perfect Brissie starter.

Despite its size, A to B-ing it around Brisbane is a breeze. The compact city is wonderfully walker-friendly. It operates a similar bike rental scheme to Dublin, and the city’s water-taxis are a fun way to shuttle up and down the Brisbane River. After grabbing a ferry ride from the Valley, I was soon hovered down to South Bank, the city’s happening cultural precinct and all-round urban utopia.

The district features its own man-made beach, a lush rainforest park home to exotic ibis birds and swooping flying foxes and a magically ambient peace pagoda. Together with a gleaming futuristic skyline, it conjures an almost Asia-Pacific fusion vibe to this sub-tropical city.

South Bank’s most captivating attraction, however, is GOMA, Queensland’s modern art museum which rates as one of Australia’s finest collections. I whiled away a couple of hours inside its mammoth mezzanines, eyeing its exhibits of indigenous contemporary art from watercolour landscapes by Torres Strait Islanders artists to vibrant Roy Lichtenstein-esque cartoon strips.

Paired with its burgeoning arts scene, Brisbane also boasts a well-stockpiled events calendar, with my own visit syncing with both the Regional Flavours Food Festival and the Queensland Music Festival. I began at the former, taste-testing my way through the stalls and food-trucks of Little Stanley Street which were vending all manner of local fare from buffalo halloumi to kombucha blends. At the festival’s Hunting Club (a garden marquee moonlighting as a boutique beer garden), I opted for a tasting paddle of local craft ciders with a delicious batch of wattleseed fried tiger prawns. Queensland tucker at its finest.

Come dusk, my Brisbane swan song led me to the Black Bear Lodge, one of the city’s top music venues, lofted above the heaving clubbing strip of Brunswick Street. Upstairs off the main drag, I was met by a mellowing homage to nostalgic reverie; bearded check-shirted blokes and hillbilly-skirted sheilas lay poised around a retro Rocky Mountain bar, candlelit tables and vintage sofas.

Grabbing a brew and pulling up a pew, I soaked up the awesome scene amid a lounge of merry musos while local singer Ben Salter plucked and chimed his way through an acoustic set. And how did the patrons rate Brissie? “It’s just got that friendly village vibe along with a big city buzz,” said Gwen, a recent transplant from big bad Sydney. “And we’re the only city in the world where drivers have to yield right of way to birds!” piped her mate, Sara, over her vodka-soda-lime. Real-life pelican crossings? Cheers to that.

Fraser Island's famous dingoes

Fraser Island’s famous dingoes

Protected urban fauna and culture vultures behind me, my next Queensland leg took me to the UNESCO-listed wilderness of Fraser Island; the world’s largest sand island, four hours north of Brisbane. After bussing through the Sunshine Coast to Hervey Bay, I made my transit to Fraser via a one-hour ferry hop from River Heads. Joined solely by an elderly Melbourne couple reliving their honeymoon heyday and a curious fur-seal piloting our route off the mainland, we skirted across the Great Sandy Strait towards one of Oz’s easternmost outposts, the air of relaxation lingering more with every passing knot.

Named after the Scottish seafarer Eliza Fraser who was shipwrecked here in 1836, Fraser Island has retained a consistently deserted demographic over the centuries. Today fewer than 200 residents live on the island (which covers an area larger than Leitrim), but it didn’t take long to detect the diaspora.

Checking-in at the Kingfisher Bay Resort, a quick game of accent ping-pong with receptionist Corrina Long revealed, rather extraordinarily, that we were in fact East Cork neighbours, separated by a mere mile of forestry and a parish border. After the initial Irish formalities of establishing mutual acquaintances, Corrina went on to explain that she’s been living offshore for almost three years now. “When I leave the island, it’s just to Hervey Bay to go shopping or stock up on supplies,” she told me. “I’m very lucky to live in such a place!”

Strolling on to my eco lodge, it was easy to appreciate the island’s allure. Known as Kgari — or Paradise, to the

Aborigines — my new demesne was a fantastical lush rainforest chorusing with the calls of kookaburras and cockatoos. Sure, the solemnity was quickly and incongruously interrupted by the blare of Will.i.am from the Dingo Bar’s speakers, but I was in backpacker country, after all.

The Great Sandy Strait, Fraser Island

The Great Sandy Strait, Fraser Island

I’d signed up for a Cool Dingo Tour — a three-day Fraser Island exploration, where I would be joined by a truckload of fellow adventure tourists hailing from Slovakia to Seoul. The next morning, once huddled down and buckled-up aboard our pink 4X4 off-roader (named “Priscilla”), local guide Kirstey was cranking us into Fraser’s almost impenetrable wilds. The tour focuses on outdoorsy surf-and-turf pursuits, and a dip and dive at the screensaver setting of Lake McKenzie was the first invigorating pit stop. Serene hikes followed through the pristine jungles of Wanggoolba Creek and Pile Valley, until we finally navigated our way to where the Coral Sea collides with the island’s eastern shore.

Being the novelty home to Australia’s only beach freeway, this coastal leg made for an adrenalin-gushing ride. Speeding along 75 Mile Beach, we diced our way between boulders, driftwood and fellow-off-roaders, occasionally being dramatically gulped by the ebb and flow of the tide. Given the name of the tour, it also wasn’t long before we spotted some of Fraser’s most infamous residents. With the news of a whale-calf washed up at Cathedral Beach, we soon encountered a plucky pair of dingoes (said to be Australia’s purest sub-species) bounding out of the sand-dunes to give chase to our truck.

I chased my own visit with a sightseeing flight with Air Fraser Island, local operators who offer 15-minute flight add-ons for a not too exorbitant €50. Tucked into the shotgun seat of my eight-seater craft’s rickety monocoque, we heaved off the same beach runway to panoramic Robinson Crusoe moments: lush broccoli-floret rainforests, crystal butterfly lakes and the obligatory rusting shipwreck.

Sunset over the Great Sandy Strait from Kingfisher Bay Resort, Fraser Island

CASTAWAY: Sunset over the Great Sandy Strait from Kingfisher Bay Resort, Fraser Island

As we rumbled out over the squally Pacific, looking for migrating humpbacks breaching beneath us, I could only cross fingers that we wouldn’t meet a Sierra-Oscar-Sierra moment.

Paradise, however, wouldn’t be the worst spot to find myself a castaway.

Getting there

Thomas travelled to Brisbane on Emirates Business Class (01 517 1600; emirates.com) where rates including chauffeur transfers start from €3,550 return. Economy fares are available from €930 return. Bus transfers from Brisbane to Hervey Bay cost from €70 return; Greyhound.com.au or Torystours.com.au are your best bet for a good fare.

Staying there

The Diamant Hotel (+61 7 3009 3400; 8hotels.com; €47pps) in Brisbane’s Sunny Hill district is a bright boutique-style bolthole and a great base for some urban wandering. Free yoga mats are gym passes are also available to help you work off a great brekkie.

On Fraser Island, a three day Cool Dingo Tour (+61 7 4120 3333; cooldingotour.com) including lodge accommodation, meals and ferry transfers costs €280, while a stay at the same resort’s hotel starts from €49pps (+61 7 4120 3333; kingfisherbay.com).

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2014 in Guest Bloggers

 

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Chef Extraordinaire, Al McLeod, serves up Five Fab Days On Fraser Island

Celebrity Chef, Alastair McLeod may have rubbed shoulders with the world’s best chefs in the Michelin-listed restaurants he’s worked in… but being an ace in the kitchen doesn’t necessarily mean he can ‘cut’ it on the sand tracks of World Heritage-listed Fraser Island… or does it?  This month Al ‘dishes’ up the dirt… erm, we mean sand… about his five fabulous days on Fraser Island and he’s taken us along for the ride.

Al McLeod takes to Fraser like a fish to batter!

Al McLeod takes to Fraser like a fish to batter!

“Use 4 High,” the guy said. “Take a good run at it,” he encouraged.  “Did you drop your tyres to 18 psi?,” he went on.

It’s a whole new world this 4 wheel driving pursuit.  Gee, I thought Psi was the chap who sang Gangnam style!

Gen Y remembers where they were on September 11; my Mum’s generation remember where they were when man landed on the moon.  Me, I will remember forever where I first got bogged deep in the sand in my brand new 4 wheel drive.

My mum was with us that day and I’m sure she will remember the one small step I took back before kicking the car in frustration.

It was a tricky wee bit of the track between Lake McKenzie and Kingfisher Bay Resort where I came unstuck.  Luckily a passing 4WD – well he wasn’t actually passing as he was stuck behind us – came to our aid and offered the aforementioned tips to staying on track so to speak.

Unbelievably, I first set foot on Fraser Island 16½ years after I first landed in Australia. I had seen it across the channel when camping at Inskip Point and from afar on the foreshore in Hervey Bay.  My recent trip there in my one-day-old car was a trip I will never forget.  We careened over the soft sand at Inskip point to catch the barge over to the southern tip of the island.

When our turn came to get off the barge I felt the same nerves experienced at the top of the ski lift. Desperate not to collapse upon disembarkation I confidently selected 4-High and gunned the engine. Once safely on the hard packed sand we were able to relax, lower the windows and take in the extraordinary beauty of this island. There are no paved roads, just sand tracks, making the entire Island one huge 4WD, off-roading adventure.

Maheno Shipwreck Fraser Island © D. LEAL 056

There’s many a picture opp to be had at The Maheno

The next day we headed up to see the spectacular wreck of the ocean liner The SS Maheno which beached on Fraser almost 80 years ago during a severe cyclone. As we pulled up to the wreckage we heard the hum of a twin engine plane flying low overhead and landing just ahead of us using the beach as an airstrip! What a thrilling and easy way to see the 100 plus lakes on the island.

Our visit to one of the jewels, lake Wabby, was a wee bit more strenuous than taking a flight with Air Fraser Island but well worth the effort.  To reach the lake I recommend trekking over the Hammerstone Sandblow, which is essentially a massive sand dune which plunges down to the lake.

Each year the huge sand dune engulfs a little bit more of the lake – as much as 3 metres a year. Swim there with the catfish and turtles in pristine water and walk back to the ocean through a eucalypt forest. You will remember this impossibly beautiful experience forever.

Al made quite an impression on Fraser!

Al made quite an impression on Fraser!

This was my first visit to Fraser and also my first time fishing in the foam. The experience of baiting a huge rod and casting out (what seemed like) a hundred metres with a cold beer in hand, a few curious dingo pups peering from the edge of the scrub, the sun setting, surrounded by family and loved ones… just too perfect.

No, I didn’t catch anything.

I have got to say that with five full days on Fraser, we still only managed to visit a handful of the lakes and covered a fraction of the island’s tracks.

There is just so much to do. I am converted to this style of holiday. I love being at one with nature, getting away from it all, feeling the sand between my toes and …, ahem, retiring for the night at Kingfisher Bay Resort.

But, that’s another story…

Stay tuned for Alastair’s PG-rated (we hope) next installment.  You’ll find him Facebook and Twitter.  And, if you’ve liked what you’ve read, check out his experiences on the surf side of Fraser – it’s published on our Life on Fraser sister site.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2013 in Guest Bloggers

 

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Fraser Island Any Time Of The Year

One of Australia’s most recognised rugby union players, Chris Latham, is tackling a new role as the ambassador and official face of Fraser Coast tourism.  

His service to the Queensland Reds from 1998 to 2008 has cemented him as one of Queensland and Australia’s great sporting icons… and he’s capitalising on his profile by lifting awareness of our gorgeous region by blogging about it… it’s called Fraser Coasting with Chris Latham… and here’s a sneak preview!

Chris Latham as snapped by The Age

Chris Latham as snapped by The Age

Chris recently brought his family across to World Heritage-listed Fraser Island for a little R&R… here’s his story…

It is a jewel in our crown and one of my favourite places in the world to be. Fraser Island is a playground on our doorstep that needs to be treated with respect, but nonetheless it also needs to be enjoyed whenever the opportunity arises.

I think any time of year is a good time to get across to the island, and with the warm weather we’ve been having pre-winter, the current clear crisp days are perfect to be on Fraser. I took the family across last week and as always the diversity on offer on Fraser Island is something to behold.

We stayed in the villas of Kingfisher Bay Resort – they’re beautifully appointed and the perfect launch pad whether you’re new to Fraser, or a local who knows their way about.

The sand at the moment is great for the 4WD so it was good the get behind the wheel and across to both the beaches and lakes.

Fraser tip: Check out the Fraser Island Condition Report before heading off on your island adventure.

Kingfisher Bay Resort's jetty is perfect for fishing

Kingfisher Bay Resort’s jetty is perfect for fishing

One thing I hadn’t done previously on Fraser was get out for a paddle board on Lake McKenzie. I would really recommend this with the unbelievable surrounds, and the relaxing undertaking of paddle boarding complementing each other perfectly.

A weekend spent with my family on Fraser Island is getting close to the ultimate for me. The only real thing I could hope to throw in would be to wet a line and see if the fish were biting. Lucky for us the resort had advised there were a few barramundi about, so we got down for an afternoon fish and topped off a great day.

Fraser Island is on our doorstep and easy to take for granted. I encourage you all to remember the diversity of both the Island as well as our whole region. The Fraser Coast really is a region to live life as it should be lived. Until next week I’ll leave you with a few photos…

4WD-tracks-in-sand

4WD-tracks-in-sand

Thanks to Latho and the team from the Fraser Coast Regional Council for allowing us to reproduce this content.

You can also catch Latho on Facebook.  And if you’ve been on Fraser Island and want to share your photos with us, simply check out our resort’s Instagram account and don’t forget to tag with #fraserisland and #kingfisherbayresort.

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Guest Bloggers

 

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Unearthing Fraser Island’s Natural History

Dr Errol Stock is a fount of knowledge about Fraser Island and its fascinating sandscapes. Having devoted most of his geosciences efforts in understanding dune terrain in Australia and elsewhere in the world, particularly along coastal western USA, Dr Stock has also consulted to the Australian Heritage Commission and has generated a substantial knowledge base about dune landscapes and processes, across a range of climatic conditions including Fraser Island.

On my last visit to Fraser Island earlier this year, I had the privilege and great fun to test-run the latest way to learn about its natural history and access sites close to Kingfisher Bay Resort. I’m speaking about using a Segway Personal Transporter from the resort fleet and travelling along the western beach. After essential instructions from a guide, our small party headed south, making sure we didn’t get into sand that was too soft or boggy and avoided the stingray feeding holes. A Segway allows you to cover the distance in a shorter time but not at such speed that you miss the sights; if you see something of interest it’s easy to stop, park the platform and check it out.

Dune bedding can be seen as fine lines running at an angle from upper right to lower left.

Dune bedding can be seen as fine lines running at an angle from upper right to lower left.

While most of those in my party were interested in the vegetation and wildlife along the shore I looked for what old and new things could be found since I was on this stretch a year ago.

There had been some undercutting of the higher dunes and sand slumping down the escarpment as this western coast slowly but surely erodes.

Along most of the way towards McKenzies Jetty, the lower part of the escarpment is black/brown ‘coffee’ rock several metres thick. Because the coffee rock (also known has humicrete and sandy beachrock) was formed in the past by penetrating organic chemicals from tannin-rich groundwater seeping through old sand dunes it’s still possible to see traces of the layers of sand in the dune.

In other places along this shore, where the coffee rock is exposed right on the beach, some of the bedding layers are visible as fin-like surfaces.  The bedding surfaces in the photo below can be explained as the products of differential erosion. In the past, as the groundwater chemicals turned the buried sand into soft ‘rock’, different parts of the dunes were better cemented than others.

Differential Erosion on the western beach.

Differential Erosion on the western beach.

Now, on the beach and pounded by the waves, these slightly harder layers proved a little more resistant to erosion. The preserved layers in this

Just how much of the coffee rock and ‘frozen’ dune bedding you can actually see your particular Segway exploring trip will depend on how much sand has been is built up to form a full-width beach. Because coffee rock is so easy to crush, follow the Ranger’s directions and avoid driving your Segway over any coffee rock exposures, large or small. Many other visitors can then continue to enjoy the local geology and geomorphology.

Enjoy the Island! I certainly intend to do so when I return in a couple of months.

Errol Stock
Geoscientist Presenter

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2013 in Guest Bloggers

 

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Paradise Found On Queensland’s Fraser Coast

Fraser Island. It conjures up images of white sands, blue waters, lush rainforest and sun sun sun. Paradise found? Definitely, as writer Jessica Jane Sammut recently discovered.

When I was growing up in London I used to dream of a paradise island. A place where the living was easy, my skin glowed with the warmth of the sun, and the natural beauty of the area was such that it took my breath away. So, when I was 22, I set off around the globe with a rucksack on my back to find this place. And although I unearthed a few islands which almost fitted the bill, none did quite so much as Fraser Island.

Fraser Island's sheltered western beach

Fraser’s famous golden sandy beaches!

Named ‘K’gari’ (literally meaning paradise) by the Butchulla people who lived on the island for over 5,000 years, Fraser is situated at the start of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland off the East Coast of Australia, and truly lives up to its namesake.

World Heritage-listed, it was all I had envisaged in my mind on those cold dark London days and I immediately fell in love with the stunning atoll’s subtropical wilderness and deserted beaches, like honey to a bee. Lake McKenzie’s azure waters, Lake Wabby’s spectacular backdrop, rainforest teaming with incredible wildlife, the whitest sands I had ever seen, and the most unspoilt beaches I had found anywhere in the world – Fraser had it all. And don’t get me started on those sunsets, oh, those pink sunsets …

Such was my experience on this iconic sand island that it left an imprint on my mind which I have never been able to dampen, so when I came to find myself planning a holiday this year, over ten years after my first trip to the isle, my longing got the better of me and brochures of Fraser Island began to multiply within my vicinity.

My criteria for a relaxing break this time around? Not so much tent and trekking, which I thoroughly enjoyed during my first trip. No, this time I was looking for smart accommodation, a great pool, fantastic amenities, and help on hand if I was to need it. That’s right, I was looking for the perfect family break, suitable for one pre-schooler, one six-month-old baby and a hubby, to be precise.

Kingfisher Bay Resor'ts Lake McKenzie-inspired pool

Kingfisher Bay’s Lake McKenzie-inspired pool

So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered the Kingfisher Bay Resort, an idyllic haven nestled amidst the wild and natural rugged charm of Fraser, an eco-resort totally in-keeping with the island, offering rooms and self-catering apartments (we stayed in the latter so we could work around baby naps and feeds), ideal for the travelling family. Boasting four swimming pools, three restaurants, four bars, a café and a spa, not to mention child-minding for those who would quite like to escape for a romantic meal of an evening, the Kingfisher Bay Resort did not disappoint and neither did my memory of Fraser.

Voted the ‘World’s Best Beach’ by the Discovery Travel Channel, the island was all that I had remembered and to hear the squeals of delight from my four-year-old as he spied fish swimming in the clear waters when we pulled up to the jetty on our first day was worth the four hours of packing I had spent to get everyone out the door. And it couldn’t have been easier. With transfers to the island arranged for us via the Kingfisher Bay office on the mainland (at River Heads, Hervey Bay), the holiday off kicked-off in style with a chilled-out vibe from the get-go.

Lake McKenzie is a hit with young and old alike!

Lake McKenzie is a definite hit

And what a time we had. Fishing in the ocean and creeks, swimming, snorkelling, sunbaking, dining, watching those oh-so-spectacular sunsets of amber and gold (with a cheese platter and glass of wine in hand at the jetty bar), not to mention four-wheel driving along the sandy tracks of the lush green rainforest that inhabits Fraser (there are no roads on the island) and spotting whales frolicking in the calm waters.

We had the time of our lives, and with it being our first family holiday as a new four, it warmed the very essence of my core as I watched the smiles radiate from each member of my little possy for the duration of our trip.

Easy hiring of the 4WD once there (next to the resort) in particular led to a fantastic day of exploring – discovering the beauty of the Great Sandy National Park, the stunning Lake McKenzie, the awe-inspiring 75-Mile Beach, Eli Creek, Lake Wabby, the Champagne Pools and the historic Maheno wreck. Had we not been running out of time, we were also planning to take a 15-minute joy flight over the island, apparently an incredible experience, and with no booking required it can be decided on a whim (just drive up to the pilots on 75-Mile Beach).

As for the whales, it was like they put on a show for us. Humpback whales take their holidays in Hervey Bay from August to October and during this time about 4,000 humpbacks move through the waters of Fraser Island’s West Coast. On the morning we ventured out, they performed as if on cue, allowing us to view them up close and personal, resting on the surface of the water and also in breech, a sight we won’t forget in a hurry. My son had eyes like saucers for the whole morning. Where else in the world can you go and be so close to nature? Again, we organised this through Kingfisher Bay, it was all too easy.

The sun sets on another magical Fraser day

The sun sets on another magical Fraser day

As I left Fraser at the end of the week, clutching my camera loaded full of images of happy times, I reflected on how kind this island had been to me – as a young single traveller camping under the stars, and also as a wife and mum of two with a few further needs. Fraser Island truly is a paradise, and it is little wonder the Butchulla people thought so too.

Jessica Jane Sammut is an international freelance writer and editor who contributes to the likes of Australian Women’s Weekly, Practical Parenting, the Sunday Mail, Cosmo Pregnancy, Yahoo!7 and the Courier Mail, from her cottage in the palms.

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2013 in Guest Bloggers

 

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