Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Things You Probably Don't Know About Fraser Island

Perhaps you may have heard of a place called Fraser Island off the southern Queensland coast. Tourists and travellers alike may have frequented this popular holiday destination.

However, those of you who have only known the island to be the largest sand island in the world and nothing more, you'll be surprised to discover more exciting things about Fraser Island in QLD Australia.

Research shows that Aboriginal Australians first inhabited the island known due to abundant seafood resources. But the name Fraser Island comes from Captain James Fraser, and wife Eliza whose ship, the Stirling Castle got shipwrecked while travelling from Sydney to Singapore in 1836.

Their vessel with 18 crew and passengers on it was caught up on coral while sailing through the Great Barrier Reef.

This tourist spot was first known by the name "K'gari", a language of the Butchulla tribe which means paradise in English. It isn't called paradise for nothing for there exists various marine life in its surrounding waters, with an exciting dynamic flora and fauna therein.

Likewise, the island is home to ancient rainforests, woodlands teeming with eucalyptus, mangrove forests, sand dunes, coastal heaths and lots of natural wonders of creation. The island is very accessible from Hervey Bay, since this is the nearest large town, along with Maryborough and Bundaberg.

It used to be that the northern part of the island belonged to the city of Hervey Bay and the south part, to the city of Maryborough. This also includes the highly visited Eurong community and the Kingfisher Bay Resort.

But today, almost all of Fraser Island is now a part of the Great Sandy National Park under the administration of Queensland Environmental Protection Agency. It is said to be the largest island of Queensland.

As any tourist would know, its major landmark is the SS Maheno shipwreck. Originally built as a luxury passenger ship in Scotland in 1905, it was sold to a ship-breaker in Japan after being taken out of service sometime in 1935.

While on tow to Osaka to be dismantled, it encountered a strong cyclone just 50 miles off the Queensland coast. It became beached on Fraser Island coast on 9 July 1935. Today, the shipwreck is one of the favourite attractions of tourists who go on Fraser Island nature tours.

Aside from the island tours, visitors are also treated to a majestic site of the humpback whales in Hervey Bay and some species of dolphins, dugongs and sea turtles that frequently visit the surrounding waters. Other cetaceans like the great white, tiger and bull sharks are also frequent visitors.

Apart from that, mud crabs and various fresh water fish species are aplenty in the island's lakes. Giant earthworms and long finned eels have also been sighted on the island.

Natural sand and rock formations also abound in the island aside from fresh water lakes. The Eli Creek, having its own unique and diverse wildlife is flowing 80 million litres of water on a daily basis.

The sandblows were responsible for the creation of the oldest known dune system dated to be 700,000 years. Dunes were created when sands were blown by the wind and caused a movement overlapping each other and intersecting waterways and forest covers. No vegetation of any kind exists on dunes.

When touring the island, you'll be amazed at the sight of the coloured sands found at Rainbow Gorge, The Cathedrals, The Pinnacles and Red Canyon. The sands are thought to have gotten their colour thousands of years now when it got mixed with clay. The mineral pigment, hematite, found in clay stained the sand with its colour.

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