As we arrived at Fraser Island from the River Heads terminal on the Kingfisher Bay ferry I was struck by the difference between it and other islands we’d visited on this trip.
The noticeable difference was the wild aspect!
It was as if nature had the last say and the humans were merely visitors, and I loved this rawness.
The Kingfisher Bay Resort was a five minute walk from the jetty, although we hopped on the complimentary shuttle. The resort complimented its natural surroundings. Everything from the sweeping waves of the roof, to the eco interior settings, and sounds of nature played out from the hotel’s sound-system, reflected its position within the natural habitat.
Our rooms were modest but comfortable. Admirably, throughout the five star resort there were educational signs reminding us, that it was an eco resort and that commodities such as electricity and water were luxuries not to be abused.
We had a beautiful balcony view overlooking the rainforest vegetation which raced to the shoreline. And we could watch the ferry coming and going bringing in excited holidaymakers and taking reluctant ones away.
That evening we boarded a sunset cruise, the Freedom 111 luxury yacht. Having already enjoyed so many water-based tours and cruises I wasn’t expecting anything different from this trip. What I got was a totally different and unique interpretation of a sunset cruise, and one I highly recommend.
Yes, it had the standard complimentary glass of bubbly or beer, but it was the experience in general which set it apart. Firstly, the skipper was very knowledgeable and provided a fascinating running commentary. I learnt that Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and is home to the largest number of wild and pure dingoes in the world – pure meaning not interbred with other dogs. I was delighted when we saw one walking along the beach! Actually, dingoes aren’t dogs, but Asian Wolves, which howl not bark, but are often referred to as dogs.
Next, we cruised past Maheno, a former luxury cruise liner, now a shipwreck. It was washed up on the beach here in 1935 while on route to Japan, where it was due to be broken up. A large portion of the ship is underwater and it's believed it will only be visible for another 15 years before being completely immersed.
Fraser Island and this cruise gave me the best sunset view I have ever witnessed, and I found myself quite choked. A picture-postcard view was made even more spectacular, when just as the sun went down, a fishing boat sailed directly past the sun which glowed in the distance. Its silhouette against the burning yellows and oranges of the sunset was truly magnificent.
The next day we were up and out by 7.50am as we had enrolled in a Beauty Spots tour. Our driver-come-tour guide, Bryan, was a lovely elderly gentleman who knew so much about the island. He was so passionate with his talks, that it seemed like it was the first time he had delivered them. However, Bryan told me he had been doing the tours for years.
I was fascinated by the island, due to its outstanding natural beauty and because it was so different to what I had seen before. For starters, Fraser Island’s long coastal beach is a designated highway, and 4x4s speed up and down the beach, twisting and turning with the waves. Apparently, there is only one other designated highway on a beach in the world. Secondly, the roads in and around the island were, how can I put it, 'interesting', and by 'interesting' I mean dirt tracks.
The journey around was somewhat rough and I was relieved that I hadn’t had too much for breakfast that day! The children on the coach loved it, but my fragile stomach viewed it less favourably. Please don’t let this put you off, Bryan tells me the roads are so bad at the moment, because there’s been no rain to soften them, just my luck. Although I admit to feeling silently pleased that the heavens hadn’t opened up, no one books a trip to Australia and hopes there’s grey skies and rain.
We stopped off throughout the day at various points, including the old Logging Central Station, which was used years ago as the central point for the island’s huge logging industry. Thankfully when the island was given UNESCO World Heritage status, the logging ended, but not without leaving the scars and painful reminders of its presence.
Thousands of ancient trees had been cut down and their stumps are everywhere. It’s such a shame, but as Bryan tells me, in some ways the logging was a blessing in disguise. For it was the logging that led to the UNESCO status, thus protecting it forever more. Even the roads, he tells me, will never be revamped because it’s a kind of deterrent used to prevent too much traffic and too many people on the island. Clever.
Before we headed for home we stopped off at one of the most magnificence lakes I’ve ever seen – Lake McKenzie. This lake was once a creek, but over time the floating sand dunes of the island travelled and laid across one of the points of the creek, closing it off and thus forming a lake. The water and sand is so beautifully clean and pure that it’s considered to be ‘nature’s spa’ and I enjoyed having a mud-pack, eco style.
The next day it was time to check out, but not before we spent a few hours relaxing in the pool, soaking up the sun and generally chilling out at the Kingfisher Bay Resort.
Due to our jam-packed schedule, our time on the island went so quickly, but I’m glad we had time to just unwind for a few hours within the resort. It really is a place to just take stock of the surroundings.
Having breakfast out on the balcony overlooking the resort’s outdoor pool, which was filled with laughing children and families, I really did feel at-home. And it's a place I’d come to in the future, perhaps when I have children, whenever that maybe.