The World’s Largest Sand Island ——— FRASER ISLAND ——————— In Queensland, Australia , a 1,840-sq-km island was declared a World Heritage Island in 1992.
FRASER ISLAND has half of the world’s “perched lakes” (rainwater only lakes), its only tall rainforest that “grows on sand” and a road that “can disappear with the tides”.
There are 353 species of birds on the island, compared with 337 species of birds in the entire UK. The biggest “sand island” is also home to unique landscapes and attractions. Seeing Lake McKenzie the first time is an unforgettable experience. It is one of 40 “perched lakes” (perched lakes are bodies of water that come solely from rainwater, uncorrupted by other kinds of water, including underground sources). With a constant water temperature of about 22 C and underwater visibility up to 20 metres, Lake McKenzie’s “pristine” freshwater beach is one of the most popular destinations on the island. BUTCHULLA people, Fraser Island’s aboriginal people, call the lake BOORANGOORA, meaning “waters of wisdom”. Because dingoes sometimes roam nearby, food and drinks (except water) are forbidden in the area.
Most of the island is composed of “fine sand”, smoothed out in the last 40,000 years. There is a scenic highway ———- 75-mile highway / beach / runway, (stretch of sand) and is also fickle. Its navigability depends on tides as well as the approach of landing aircraft ——– it’s the island’s only runway, too.
Ocean swimming is discouraged due to strong currents and the “Champagne Pools”, not far north from Indian Head —– are the only saltwater pools visitors can swim in. The “Champagne Pools” were formed by ocean water running over volcanic rock barriers, and creating 2 shallow seaside pools. When battering the rocks, strong waves create a “froth, similar to CHAMPAGNE BUBBLES”, hence the name.
The largest creek on the eastern side of the island, ELI CREEK, pours up to 4 million litres of freshwater into the ocean every hour. It is a popular picnic spot where visitors can walk along the clear stream. There is abundant marine life : dolphins, manta rays and giant tortoises.
Fraser Island’s native people have believed that the “coloured sand cliffs”, now called the PINNACLES, were formed by the explosion of WIBERIGAN (the rainbow) who was trying to protect a girl from the attack of a boomerang. It is still considered a holy site for aboriginal women. The only private, fenced campsite, on the island, is located behind the PINNACLES.
The MAHENO SHIPWRECK is a popular attraction along the 75-mile beach. The ship was built 7yrs before the Titanic, and was designed to be the fastest transatlantic vessel in the world. It was transformed into a hospital ship in WW -1, and then a luxury cruise liner, before being sold to a Japanese Company, for scrap metal, in the 1930s. While being towed along the coast, the towline snapped in a cyclone and the MAHENO drifted ashore. Most of its remains are now submerged under the sand.
“The first rule of the Highway is:always give way to vehicles / planes bigger than yours,” says Troy Jacob, a Unique Fraser tour guide for the last 20 years. The speed limit on the Highway is 80km/hr. “Sometimes you may see one of the 2 stationing policemen standing aside with a “speed radar” or a “breath tester”, warns Jacob. Drivers should also beware of holes, dents and cracks on the Highway.
FRASER ISLAND’S GREAT WALK —— This is the only place where tall rainforest grows “on sand”. Considering the island is made of sand ——- it really is pretty amazing. If a bumpy ride on a Land cruiser isn’t enough, there are options of exploring the island on foot on a FRASER ISLAND GREAT WALK. The 90-km trail takes at least 6 days to hike, ALMOST ALL ON SAND.
IS THIS THE WORLD’S MOST UNIQUE ISLAND ?????
—————Maggie Hiufu Wong (CNN)