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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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Five Personal Encounters With Marine Life in Queensland

The following blog was posted by the good folks at Easier Travel.  For all you animal lovers out there planning a trip to Queensland, we thought you’d find it interesting. Humpback Whales have already started migrating up the east coast of Australia – and can be seen breaching off Fraser Island.  They begin their return journey in July… and that’s when the fun begins.  (June 2012).

From the Tropical North to the islands of the Whitsundays, Queensland has over 7400km of coastline inhabited by hundreds of species of marine wildlife. A trip down under is the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with these unique creatures, such as the colossal humpback whale on the Fraser Coast or century old turtles at Mont Repos beach in Bundaberg. Here is an animal lover’s guide to exploring Queensland’s marine life.

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Harvey and the Humpbacks of Hervey Bay

Humpback Whales on Fraser Coast

Seven thousand Humpback whales migrate over a 3,700 mile journey from Antarctica through the Fraser Coast each year. Their pods can be spotted in the shallow coastal waters of the Great Barrier Reef but are best seen in the protected waters of Hervey Bay, known as the Whale Watching capital of Australia.  The season kicks off from 1 August until 31 October and sightings are guaranteed!

Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island offers packages from AUD $379 per person, including 2 nights hotel accommodation at the resort, return ferry transfers and a half-day whale watch cruise.

For updates on the gorgeous Humpbacks of Hervey Bay – follow us on Facebook, Twitter or visit www.whalewatch.com.au.

Dolphin feeding on Moreton Island

Take a relaxing cruise from Brisbane across Moreton Bay to Moreton Island. Take your pick of personal encounters with feeding in-shore dolphins as they swim up to the beach or joining the marine eco cruise journeying south along the western coastline of Moreton Island in search dugongs, dolphins, green sea turtles, sea cucumbers and stingrays.

Tours are available year-round.

Green Sea Turtle

Green Sea Turtle

Turtle Encounters in Bundaberg

Queensland is home to a large variety of turtles such as the loggerhead, green, leatherback and flatback, with some as old as 200 years.

From November to March every year, you can witness one of the true wonders of the natural world up close as hundreds of turtles return to the bountiful waters of Australia’s best known and most accessible sea turtle rookery, Mont Repos, just 15 kilometres from Bundaberg in the south.

Tours depart at 6:45pm from the Mont Repos information centre and cost AUD $10.20 (£6.36).

Visit bookbundabergregion.com.au and learn more about the turtle’s lifecycle.

Swim eye to eye with dwarf minke whales in Cairns

Experience the nature of the seven-tonne dwarf minke whales in an environment that is both awe-inspiring and educational. It is not unusual for these gentle giants to come within a metre of snorkelers for an eye to eye encounter.

Eye to Eye Marine Encounters offers four to six day dwarf minke whale expeditions over six weeks in June and July (just prior to the Hervey Bay Whale Watch season, which splashes down on 1 August every year).  Join founder John Rumney and his team of dedicated guides with over 15 years reef experience, to swim with and study these extraordinary animals.

GBR Clown Fish

GBR Clown Fish

Find Nemo on the Great Barrier Reef

Explore the Low Isles of the Great Barrier Reef, home to the famous clown fish Nemo and his friends from the 2003 film Finding Nemo. (Photo courtesy of animal-unique.blogspot).

Spend a day swimming and snorkelling and learning of the unique marine life and soft coral gardens at the water’s edge.  Quicksilver tours are available year round.

Click to read the full blog (portions have been edited).

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2012 in Guest Bloggers

 

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Sunlover Holidays: The Flavours Of Fraser

GUEST BLOG: Sunlover Holiday’s resident blogger and PR Lady extraordinaire, Donna Kramer, recently visited Fraser Island with her fabulous family and discovered it’s not just a destination for blokes on mancations.  She spills all in her Sunlover Holidays blog, which we’re sharing with you in this forum… (May 2012)

75 Mile Beach Fraser Island

75 Mile Beach Fraser Island

We’d spent the day in the car exploring every inch of the natural island paradise that they call Fraser Island.

For my husband, Fraser Island is the definition of paradise, the beach, natural landscapes, the wildlife oh and the fishing so much so that this question was asked about 501 times as we explored the island

“Are you seeing that gutter DK? It’s beautiful!”

So after seven years of mancations to Fraser Island I decided to finally join him on a trip, I jumped in our 4WD (along with our 15 month-old) and really experienced Fraser Island. The four wheel driving was an adventure within itself the tracks were well maintained and signposted, it was an adrenaline rush within the confines of safety.

Once on the road, well sand, we swam in Lake McKenzie for hours, floated out to the beach in the crystal clear waters of Eli Creek, walked through the stunning rainforest at Central Station and picnicked beside the Champagne Pools at Indian Head.

I was impressed ten times over, and I now wished I’d done it years earlier. Fraser Island is a beautiful place on all levels and trust me when I say that it is a destination that you have to experience and if you have overseas friends visiting get out their to-do list and put Fraser Island at the top.

It will be the highlight of their trip, I promise.

A room with a view

A room with a view

We stayed at Kingfisher Bay Resort and I instantly felt at home.  Our spacious room looked straight out to the ocean and with ramps everywhere it made getting around with a pram super easy.

While I loved the room and its view, the heated pool and stunning common areas at Kingfisher Bay Resort I’m not deep when it comes to accommodation, if it’s clean and the staff are friendly then I’m happy (I do love camping you see) so I tend to measure a resort by its food and Kingfisher Bay Resort received a shiny big gold star in my books.

We ate like KINGS at the buffet breakfast both mornings and the overflowing fresh seafood buffet dinner was so good I literally could not move for 15 minutes afterwards, I’m having flash backs to the Moreton Bay Bug induced food coma writing this!

On our final night we had wines and a cheese platter on the jetty followed by wood-fire pizza.  And they say that the secret to a man s happiness is through his stomach?  I was in love.

But a firm highlight of our trip for me aside from the amazing fishing gutters (between you and I, I have no idea what I was looking at other than the ocean) was the Kingfisher Bay Resort Bush Tucker experience.

Hosted by Kingfisher Bay’s chefs from their signature restaurant Seabelle (which sadly was undergoing renovations when we were there) and a ranger Jermaine who’s indigenous ancestors used to call Fraser Island home, the bush tucker experience is intimate, we were one of five couples. Not only did we taste an array of native seeds, herbs and plants but we left full of knowledge about what native plants the indigenous Australians used each day in their cooking.

It was fascinating.

Seabelle Chefs blend bush tucker with modern Australia cuisine

Seabelle Chefs blend bush tucker with modern Australia cuisine

Kingfisher’s Seabelle restaurant incorporates many local native ingredients into each of their dishes; the thought process behind producing basic foods with a native food twist was impressive. Clear highlights were – jam infused with quandong or ‘desert peach’, panna cotta with lemon myrtle picked straight from a small native garden and herb farm on the Island, relish with bush tomatoes and lillypilly and my all time favorite pesto with bunya nuts was divine.

Now as a vegetarian (pescitarian to be precise) the low-fat meats such as kangaroo, emu and crocodile steaks that were offered were wasted on me, not so my husband who happily snapped up my share with rave reviews, but the fresh prawns covered in aniseed myrtle and the barramundi baked in paperbark was swoon-worthy.

Aside from being a tutorial into native deliciousness the hour-long Bush Tucker class is fun and entertaining with the banter between the ranger and chefs keeping us in constant hysterics. I left feeling full of good food and interesting facts.

Next trip I’m adding the Seabelle’s bush tucker-inspired degustation menu, which I’m told contains countless delights including the freshest of Queensland’s famous seafood and Australian wines, to the top of my to-do list… oh along with finding amazing fishing gutters.

You can see Donna’s pics and read about her other adventures on the Sunlover Holidays’ official blog site… http://sunloverhols.blogspot.com.au/

“FOODIE FACT: Seabelle has taken out the top gong of ‘Best Restaurant’ at the Fraser Coast Tourism Awards for the past two years”

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Guest Bloggers

 

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Fraser Island – Paradise For Nature Lovers

Dr Errol Stock conducted his first talk at Kingfisher in 1998 and returns regularly to enjoy Fraser Island and to share his knowledge with staff and guests alike (April 2012).  Here Dr Errol shares his most recent experience on the world’s largest sand island.

I’ve been coming to Fraser Island for over 30 years and I still look forward to each visit. Over the last few years I’ve enjoy coming back about every six months to give talks to Kingfisher Resort Bay guests and assist in updating geo-science materials for Resort rangers and guides.

Image

Last month I was with a Japanese film crew filming on the island for a documentary to be shown in Japan in June. We shot footage along the east coast from Indian Head, at sites in the coloured sand cliffs and on to Lake Wabby. I provided some of the geological commentary for those places and other experts at different locations, including Peter Meyer known to all who visit Kingfisher Bay Resort (he is a Ranger Guide and takes the beautiful pictures displayed in and around the hotel). I was also on board the helicopter to provide commentary as the crew collected some special aerial footage at the northern end of Fraser Island. Although constrained a little by showers they got some great shots and I saw locations I’d never seen on previous flights. I look forward to seeing the completed documentary.

In June I’ll be making another visit for talks at the resort. Reflecting on the experience of making the documentary reminded me of what a great range of things guests can see when they holiday on Fraser Island – even if they only make short trips near the resort.

  • A walk to and along Dundonga Creek gives access to one of the water courses developed in the old terrain on the west side of Fraser Island.
  • Mangroves are developed at the mouth of the creek where the dark coloured waters mix with the sea.
  • The beach area north from the jetty has an abundance of beach structures and animals, typical of the low-energy west coast environments.
  • In the cliffs above this beach guests can catch views of a mature profile of one of the siliceous podzol soils that geoscientists use to make estimates of relative ages of the vegetated dunes.
  • South of the jetty, depending on the amount of beach sand at the time, guests can see good outcrops of so-called ‘coffee rock’ or black/brown beachrock. These exposures, on the beach and in the lower parts of the cliffs to McKenzies Jetty, indicate where brown tannin-stained groundwater waters in the past have cemented the loose sands that can be crushed with finger pressure.

Of course, all around the resort guests can explore tracks though the vegetated dune. Those who have the time and want to venture further afield to see what the more active environments of the east coast will have to find some transport, preferably with a guide (and Kingfisher Bay Resort can help with that) to help provide essential background about this fascinating environment.

Until next time.

Errol Stock
Geoscientist Presenter

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Guest Bloggers

 

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A Stay On Memory Lane At Kingfisher Bay

One of Kingfisher Bay Resort’s pioneering architects, Ralph Bailey, returns to the resort and to Fraser Island as a special guest presenter and for a little R&R – January 2012.

Kingfisher Bay Resort's foyer

As Jenny (my wife) and I sat on our hotel balcony (the afternoon we arrived at Kingfisher Bay Resort) enjoying a cold drink, a Lewin’s Honeyeater flew down and perched on the railing in front of us. These bids love sugar and given half the chance will steal a sip of your beverage!

Over the years we’ve visited, we’ve chatted to the resort rangers, who lead the bird watching tours, believe there are actually more birds around the resort than elsewhere on the entire island – “so the birds must love the resort as much as we do!” we exclaimed.

That night we indulged in bush tucker-infused cuisine at Kingfisher’s Seabelle restaurant. We had the lamb with a wattleseed jus (for those that don’t know, wattleseed is actually the crushed seed of an Acacia plant which has a mild coffee- like flavour) and the stuffed chicken breast with a lemon myrtle dressing. I have written various articles on Australian Bush Tucker, so to see restaurants utilising local native produce in such creative and delicious ways is a real treat for us.

The next morning I enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the Wallum and up around and through the villa areas and even around the hotel itself.  There is always a different plant in flower and this visit I found two  special plants in full flower including Meliocope elleryana ( Pink Euodia) – all the branches covered in large clusters of pink flowers are which are highly attractive to honeyeaters and a wide range of spectacular butterflies.

Later with Peter, the Landscape Manager, and Ivor Davies (the resort’s General Manager) we took a tour together to look at landscape maintenance with the idea of maintaining our vigilance against any weeds taking hold on the site. Weeds can be brought in by birds or under mudguards or on tyres of vehicles visiting the island. If weeds are not kept in check they form seeds and spread and could change the ecology of the site and increase the cost of landscape maintenance. – so our stroll was actually vitally important to the eco-system.

That afternoon, Tim Guymer, the principal architect of the Resort (and partner at Guymer Bailey) announced to us his plans to visit the resort during our stay and assist me with Saturday night’s presentation to guests. The presentation went well with a few guests and plenty of staff showing up, eager to learn more about the sustainable design of Kingfisher Bay Resort.

We spoke together on our architectural design inspiration for the Resort and our desire to design buildings that reflect Australian lifestyle and culture.

Villas are set in natural bushland

Villas are set in natural bushland

“Queenslanders love their verandas and outdoor living areas” proclaimed Tim as we reminisced about the design process. Tim who has been travelling around the world in his yacht with his partner Karen, also gave a powerpoint presentation on his “Reflections on Architecture” showing examples of architecture he has seen on his travels through the Pacific over the last three years.

On Sunday, I took three of the Resort Rangers on a walk around the resort grounds to discuss landscaping and why particular species of plants were used in certain areas. Ferns and palms are more suited to low lying areas around the main complex that are moist and well shaded, while Eucalypt species are suited to more exposed areas. I hope I have added a few more botanical plant names to their every expanding repertoire!

That evening myself, Ranger Jermaine and Chef Toby held a Bush Tucker Talk and Taste session which allows guests to learn about and taste some of Australia’s amazing native food plants. Ranger Jermaine, a Butchalla descendent explained to guests about his ancestors usage of bush foods, while I talked a bit about where they grow and the best way to grow them at home. Chef Toby then made our mouths water with explanations of how they use bush tucker in Seabelle restaurant.

On Sunday night I delivered a presentation on the topic of “Native Flora and Landscape Design” to staff and guests. This presentation is based on my book “Gardening with Australian Rainforest Plants”. I am passionate about using Australian plants in Australian gardens. This was also my aim at Kingfisher, to keep it “pure”, as in eradicating exotics and only planting native plants from the island, so as to keep it a true eco experience unlike other resorts.

We look forward to returning again in the not-too-distant future.

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2012 in Guest Bloggers

 

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Ocean Life Education At Fraser Island

Marine Expert Richard Coward is a regular visitor to Queensland’s Fraser Island and loves sharing his knowledge about the marine eco systems with staff and guests alike.  September 2011.

Richard Coward is a 'star' presenter

Richard Coward is a 'star' presenter

The team at Ocean Life Education love to visit Fraser Island every year.  It’s one of the last yet most accessible natural paradises in the world and we talk to guests at Kingfisher Bay Resort about the many varied and wonderful marine creatures living in the waters surrounding Fraser Island.

Some of these animals are easily visible such as Whales, pelagic fish (often caught off Kingfisher’s jetty), sharks, turtles and I was even privileged to be greeted one afternoon on the jetty by a Dugong! While others are not as easily seen – by this I mean sand worms, ghost crabs, moon snails and other weird and wonderful creatures which live in the sand.

We conduct organised walks along the beach and dazzle guests with how many microscopic animals live in the sand and the roles these animals play in the marine ecosystem.

The team are happy to share knowledge with all visitors, young and not so young – and get a thrill when we delight them with valuable information about Fraser Island’s marine creatures, why they look the way they do, what their eating habits are, what their role is in their environment and thus why they are so important.

Creatures of the sea on display

Creatures of the sea on display

On my last visit I explained why some marine animals are dangerous such as Stone Fish and Stingrays; they have defence mechanisms against larger predators that may affect humans should they come into contact with them.

Others like Jellyfish, Cone Shell and Blue Ringed octopus are dangerous because of the size and strength of the food they like to eat, thus they are equipped with potent fast acting venom, so potent they will affect our nervous system and could cause death! I take great pains to explain that these animals do not mean to harm us, but if we enter their environment we need to be aware and know how to avoid making contact with them!

Always of major interest to guests at our talks is the comprehensive information and anecdote we provide about sharks. We show shark jaws from different species and each species eating habits are explained according to teeth and jaw structure.

Similar to the message on the big painting hanging in the main foyer at Kingfisher Bay Resort, Ocean Life Educations motto is; if they learn about it they’ll understand it, if they understand it they’ll love it, if they love it they’ll care for it!

Ocean Life are committed in reaching as many people to share just how wonderful the marine environment is, why it is important and why we need to protect it.  We look forward to seeing you next visit.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2011 in Guest Bloggers

 

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Frogs, Missing Frogs, Declining Frogs, Acid Frogs and more frogs…

Recently Associate Professor Jean-Marc Hero from the Environmental Futures Centre, (Gold Coast campus of Griffith University) came to Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island recently to share his experiences with frogs of eastern Australia, and his intimate knowledge on global amphibian declines. September 2011… Read all about it…

Frogs, Missing Frogs, Declining Frogs, Acid Frogs and more Frog....

Fraser Island's amazing amphibians on show!

Activities began with a seminar on Friday, September 16 discussing the global amphibian declines that have been reported over the past 30 years.

Over 200 species have been reported extinct (6 species in Australia) since 1979, and over 2,000 species have been reported as in decline. Frogs have been identified as the vertebrate group that is at the highest risk (have proportionally more threatened species than birds, mammals or reptiles).

The special presentation  I held at the resort focused on known causes of decline (habitat loss, harvesting, introduced species etc.) and explanations for the enigmatic declines of stream-dwelling frogs in relatively undisturbed habitats (disease and climate change) that have been observed around the world.

Recent research has focused on the emerging pathogenic fungus which causes the disease chytridiomycosis and how this may work synergistically with climate change.

The next night began with a seminar focusing on the amazing biology of amphibians and how so many species co-exist on Fraser Island.  Using sound recordings, he discussed ways of sharing acoustic space (only male frogs call to attract female) by using different frequencies.

Female frogs have hearing that is finely tuned into the specific frequency of male for the same species. Frogs also share ecosystems by utilising a range of breeding sites ranging from stream to ponds, with some species avoiding water entirely by laying their eggs in totally terrestrial environments.

In the coastal wallum habitats of mid-eastern Australia (and on large sandy islands including Fraser Island) there are a unique group of “acid frogs” which only breed in the highly acidic waters of these habitats.

Following the seminar participants went for a stroll around the ponds surrounding Kingfisher Bay Resort and practised their skills at identifying frogs by their calls. Despite the cool spring weather, we were lucky enough to see or hear the endemic Cooloola Sedge Frog (Litoria cooloolensis) and the Wallum Sedge Frog  (Litoria olongburensis), two of the four Acid frog species found on the island.  Visitors were amazed at how such tiny creatures could make such a loud call.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2011 in Resort Guests

 

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