TOP TEN THINGS NOT TO BE MISSED WHEN VISITING K’GARI (Fraser Island)…
Whether you know the island as K’gari or as Fraser it doesn’t matter as long as you stop off here on your travels along the East Coast. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, we did a 2 night/3day self drive tour here with Dropbear Adventures (who are amazing) which cost $450 with everything included. I can’t recommend these guys enough for the experience they provided, as it has left us all with a real connection to the island and its history. If you’re going it alone (see my previous ‘things you should know’ post) or with a tour group, I’ve compiled a list of things that I think shouldn’t be missed whilst visiting K’gari.
1. Eli Creek
Eli Creek is located on K’gari’s Eastern beach (the only side of the island that is really accessible), it’s the largest and the most popular. You can relax by the water on the boardwalk or take an inflatable and take advantage of the creek’s current which allows you to float all the way back down to the bottom – it’s basically an all natural lazy river!
2. The Pinnacles
The Pinnacles (also located on eastern beach) are sand cliffs which are made up with around 70 different shades of sand. The Pinnacles were a sacred place for the Aboriginal tribe who inhabited the island for thousands of years – The Butchulla People. This area to them was a designated women’s only area where women would meet and men were forbidden to go; Butchulla men wouldn’t even look in this direction when passing. When you visit, if you rub away the top layer of sand on the ground you will find the colour becomes darker to an orangey red and will stain your skin; we used it to mark three lines on our arms as a token of respect for the Butchulla People and their beliefs.
3. S.S Maheno Shipwreck
The Maheno Shipwreck isn’t far up the beach from The Pinnacles and you can’t really miss it! The Maheno was wrecked on the island in 1935 after being caught in a storm while being towed to Japan. The wreck is pretty huge and amazing to see up close, if you take time as you look around you can still make out specific parts of the ship, even after almost 100 years.
Titanic Maheno Shot
Wongs!? I had no idea what wongs were until Mark our Dropbear guide told us that we were going to catch some bush food for dinner and eat something the Butchulla people would have eaten. Now we were with a tour so I don’t know if wongs are everywhere all along the Eastern Beach or Mark found a specific spot. These shellfish produce slightly raised mounds in the wet sand and are pretty easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for. We all foraged and gathered about 10 wongs each, Mark cooked these up for us back at camp in his special recipe sauce and I can honestly say it was the freshest seafood I’ve ever tasted! Made that little bit better as we had gathered them ourselves.
5. Indian Head
Indian Head, a part of the island with such a tragic history; it is said that 200 Butchulla women and children were thrown off of the cliff down onto the jagged rocks by British soldiers here in the 1800’s.
However, aside from the great tragedy which occurred here, this area of the island is beautiful! You will have to climb over a few rocks but once at the top, there are panoramic views stretching up and down the East side of the island. It’s also not a bad place to spot some marine life too; we were lucky enough to see a fairly large pod of dolphins, a stingray, a whale and a sea turtle from here, almost in unison.
6. Lake Wabby & Sand Dunes
It’s around a 45 minute trek through the bush to reach Lake Wabby, but its well worth the walk when you get there! The trail starts from the Eastern Beach so it’s easily accessible on your way up and down the island. After a while of walking through the bush you will come to a clearing and suddenly a desert is upon you – it’s not actually a desert but vast sand dunes which are a sight to behold. It was difficult to capture in a photo but these dunes stretch all the way back to the beach and are made up of grains of sand which have blown from all the way up the East Coast of Australia.
Just to the left of this photo is Lake Wabby. I’ve never walked in sand so soft and so deep, as I made my way down the bank to the lake, half of my leg was disappearing with each step. Brace yourself, the lake isn’t too warm, especially when you’ve been in the roasting Aussie sun all day; but it’s so refreshing so just jump in! Just a bit of advice though, don’t literally dive in off of the sand bank as the lake is still very shallow near the edge. Although when your in the lake you may not fancy drinking the water, I would highly recommend it! Almost all of K’gari’s lakes are drinkable as they are formed from rain water. The interesting thing about Lake Wabby is that it is surrounded by Tea Trees which have infused the water, making it taste amazing and feel great on your skin; I can honestly say that it is the nicest water I’ve ever tasted!
7. K’gari Sunrise
After a hard day of travelling, trekking, swimming and a box of goon, the last thing you’re probably going to want to do is crawl out of your tent at 5am but PLEASE do! This island sunrise is well worth getting up for! We were awoken early by the sound of Mark’s didgeridoo, sleepy eyed and slightly hung over, I dragged myself up the sand bank and this is what I saw, one of the most truly Aussie experiences of my whole trip. There’s not too much to say about a sunrise; other than ask someone what time it will be and get up for it! It really is stunning.
8. Champagne Pools
The Champagne Pools! Just the other side of Indian Head and a short walk down the boardwalk are the Champagne Pools; aptly named because they fizz as the waves splash over the surrounding rocks. It’s a great place to cool off, take a snorkel mask if you like as there are fish around but the constant fizzing does make visibility pretty poor. We stopped off here for a midday swim and to cool down after clambering to the top of Indian Head. We all really enjoyed our time here, as its a beautiful and safe swimming spot right next to the ocean.
9. Plane ride
This was a completely unexpected experience and one I will never forget. The evening before as we were sitting around camp, Mark asked if anyone would be interested in having a short plane ride in the morning before we left camp for the day, as a few small planes would be dropping people off on the island. The majority of our group jumped at the chance and were ready on the beach at 7.30am the next morning to hand over our $70 and take off! Don’t worry if you didn’t bring to much cash to the island, the pilots will take card payment too. After strapping ourselves into the fluffy beige seats of one plane, it turned out that it wouldn’t start; it jittered a few times but just cut out, which filled us with confidence – ‘Ahhh nahh, looks like we’ll have to swap planes, sorry guys’ the pilot called from the front. We all piled out into a slightly smaller plane waiting next to us on the beach, all buckled up, headphones on, we were ready for take off, ‘Don’t worry guys it’s my second day on the job’ shouted the pilot as he turned us around for take off. He swung the plane around and started to speed up along the beach in between a line of orange cones – the ‘runway’ – the take off was much less bumpy than I expected as the wheels lifted off of the sand, bypassing a number of 4X4’s coming in the opposite direction. Before we knew it we were up! The most amazing panoramic views of the island could be seen from our fleece seats as the pilot kept us informed through the headphones and veered out towards the ocean to then loop back around for some more inland views. The tour lasted about 15 minutes and was well worth it – one of the best ways to see the beauty of K’gari!
10. Lake McKenzie
Last but not least, its Lake Mckenzie with its crystal clear water, deep green surrounding trees and white silica sand. It’s a bit of a bumpy 4X4 ride through the bush so make sure you’ve got a solid car if you’re not driving as part of a tour. I would try to get to Lake Mckenzie quite early, especially in the summer as it’s very popular with island visitors. Even on the overcast day when we visited the lake, it was still breath taking; also the ancient silica sand is said to work really well if you want to shine up your jewellery or just use the lake as a natural spa, as the sand is said to be great for your skin and hair.
That concludes my Top 10 Things to do on K’gari… Ohhh and I almost forgot… if you visit in whale season like we did, you will see an abundance of whales slapping their tales and jumping all along the Fraser Coast! I have also copied some useful links below, Happy Travels 🙂