Fraser Island: K’gari the Paradise Island

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The Butchulla people originally named Fraser Island, “K’gari,” meaning paradise island, because the fishing and hunting provided plentiful food for the people. What I didn’t expect was how one area of the island looked drastically different from the other, as if you’ve journeyed somewhere else entirely. It ranged from desert-like sand dunes, to freshwater lakes, and even bubbling pools. It was there that I decided the laughing kookaburra is my absolute favorite animal from Australia. The laugh it makes is so incredibly similar to a monkey sound, “ooh ooh aah aah!” It puts a smile on my face every time I hear it.

The Laughing Kookaburra

We started our journey as if we were lost on a safari adventure. My group and I hiked through the great dunes of the Hammerstone Sandblow with the sun beating down on us. A very green large body of water, known as Lake Wabby, slowly revealed itself over a particularly steep sand dune. I couldn’t believe such a formation was possible! I thought to myself, “Hallelujah! We found water!” The lake’s water comes from a natural spring that is eventually blocked by a sand-mass. I felt very lucky to visit this lake because eventually over time it will dissappear under the sand dunes.

Lake Wabby

When the sun sets, it’s as if the sky is performing a light show. When it finally becomes dark the stars are multiplied and scattered leaving little darkness. My group and I even saw a shooting star so vivid and intense I mistook it as an asteroid.

Sunrise – K’gari

Indian Head is the most eastern point of the island. Hiking up the path to this place is worth it to see the incredible view of island and sea. If you look closely enough at the water you can see the shadows of sea creatures. I was fortunate enough to visit during the whales migrating season. If you focus on the surface of the water at a distance and catch the puffs of water blowing up from the ocean you will spot the whale. If you a sharper eye you may even catch one as it is shooting itself out of the water.

Indian Head View towards the left
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Indian Head View towards the right

If you are a dog lover like me, don’t forget to remind yourself that dingo’s are wild animals. Even though they resemble cute doggos, they are not to be played with or fed. Interestingly, when you leave the campsite at night (as you should, to go stargazing) you would find a collection of dingo sticks (which are simple plastic arm length sticks) from the bin next to the gated exit. The dingo sticks are precautionary and a good reminder that wildlife deserves respect. I liked the simplicity of the protection as a way of spooking off the animal instead of hurting it.

Lake McKenzie is a freshwater perched lake. It is well known because the sand is pure white silica and the water is too clean to sustain animal life. The Aboriginal name for the lake is Boorangoora.

Lake McKenzie

Frazer Island also holds a prized historical relic from WWI known as the SS Maheno. Owned and run by the Union Company of New Zealand, it was originally built as an ocean liner to provide transportation across the Tasman Sea. Once WWI began, it was reconstructed in to a hospital ship. When there was no longer use for the ship, it was sold to Japan and towed away. Fatefully, a strong cyclone broke the towline leaving it abandoned on Fraser Island to this day.

SS Maheno

Since swimming in the ocean is forbidden due to the shark infested waters, there is an option to swim in the Champagne Pools. The natural jacuzzi gets its name from champagne because when you step in the pools, and your feet go under the sand and you can feel little bubbles drifting up from under your feet. It was something to get used to, but ended up being so much fun to swim in.

Champagne Pools

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