Fraser Island (known as K'gari in the local Aboriginal language) is the largest sand island in the world, accessible only by ferry and the occasional cruise ship.
Situated 200 km north of Brisbane, it is the largest of Queensland's 100-plus islands, and has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its diverse range of landscape features.
Located a few kilometres offshore from Hervey Bay across a body of water called the Great Sandy Strait, Fraser Island is 124 km long and about 24 km wide.
The west coast is sheltered, as it faces the mainland, while the east is 'wilder' and made up of a series of long beaches, collectively known as 75 Mile Beach (120 km) for obvious reasons. In between the coasts are areas of towering rainforest, more than 100 freshwater lakes, huge sand dunes and sand blows, multi-coloured sand cliffs, hiking trails and almost 1000 km of narrow one-lane 4WD vehicle tracks.
One of the main attractions of Fraser is the allure of driving a 4WD along the endless east coast shore, stopping off at fascination sites along the way such as the famous Maheno shipwreck (which has been stuck in the sand since 1935) and amazing landforms such as the Stonetool Sand Blow and Eli Creek, the largest on the island.
Camping and fishing are traditional pastimes, while today accommodation is rather more sophisticated with two resorts, a few small hotels and a variety of holiday homes. Bird and animal life is plentiful on the island, with more than 350 species of birds and many reptiles including monitor lace lizards and snakes (one or two of the poisonous variety).
Dingoes also roam the island, although you may not see one during a short port visit. Numbers are estimated to be between 150 and 200 and people are warned to keep their distance (and to especially watch their children) and not to feed these wild dogs or leave food lying around.
Cruise passengers wanting to see beyond the island's west coast-located Kingfisher Bay Resort, need to book a tour -- be it a half-day 4WD tour, a Jet Ski trip and a guide walk, or strike out on one of the many self-guided bushwalks that range in length from 1.2 km to about 6 km.
Kingfisher Bay itself has a calm beach ideal for families and swimming. It is possible to hire a 4WD for half a day -- it takes about an hour to get to the east coast from the resort, although 4WD is only recommended for experience drivers. The island's terrain is hard to tackle and time is limited.