Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Sunday (Maroochydore, Australia)

An Island Paradise

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Sunday (Maroochydore, Australia)

An Island Paradise

Article excerpt


IT'S not often that your tour itinerary includes a visit to a "poo" farm. But that's what you can expect on Fraser Island.

The World Heritage-listed island is an environmentally sensitive destination and a national park.

So, when the luxurious, eco-friendly Kingfisher Bay Resort was planned it included a waste treatment plant that makes sure that nothing goes into - or out of - the island that shouldn't. And the end result is a poo farm where worms rule. The compost ends up on the resort's herb gardens.

On the Queensland coast off Hervey Bay, a three-and-a-half-hour drive north of Brisbane and a 45-minute catamaran ride, Fraser Island is the world's largest sand island, measuring 123 kilometres from top to bottom and averaging 15 kilometres wide. It ranks with Uluru, Kakadu and the Great Barrier Reef as a wonder of nature.

The island is a place of exceptional beauty, a miracle of nature. Too precious to spoil, too fragile an ecosystem to mess with.

Our day-long tour with senior guide Alan Souter has taken us 160 kilometres around the island. We've seen lush rainforests and some of the dozens of freshwater lakes of crystal clear water that has filtered through sand for up to 100 years.

We've fringed mighty sandblows that have been thrown up by wind and sea.

We're sitting atop a knoll on the world's largest sand island, tucking into a picnic lunch. Below us is a 90-kilometre unbroken stretch of beach, known as 75 Mile Beach. The sea is many shades of blue-green. A whale and her calf are cruising just beyond the breakers.

Down the golden beach are the coloured sands of the Pinnacles and the rusted wreck of the luxury passenger ship, the Maheno, which went aground in 1935.

Later we join Air Fraser pilot John Perkins in his seven-seater aircraft for a 15-minute scenic flight over the island from the beach. At about 1000 feet we spot more migrating whales. Local aborigines, the Butchulla tribe, must have known something when they named the island K'gari, meaning "paradise". …

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