Three decades after the construction of Kingfisher Bay Resort and World Heritage listing, Fraser Island is largely preserved.

Story Terri Cowley  Photo Fraser Island Photography

Fog shrouds Fraser Island as the cavernous Sealink ferry that crosses to River Heads on the Queensland mainland four times a day heads across the Great Sandy Strait. This unusual mid-winter weather event only heightens the onboard excitement, as the rising sun begins to erase the mist to reveal the world’s largest sand island. It doesn’t matter how many times you go to Fraser Island – or K’gari as it’s also now known, from the Butchulla word meaning paradise. You always feel like you’re entering another world.

This year marks 30 years since the island’s well-known Kingfisher Bay Resort was built, and also 30 years since World Heritage listing. It’s an auspicious anniversary – a reminder of what could have been if development had been encouraged rather than limited.

Guide Jarrad Anthony, 37, grew up in nearby Hervey Bay and has been working on the island for about a decade. After years working in the NT and the Kimberley, he prefers K’gari for its “incredible diversity”. “In one day you go from lakes and rainforests to driving along the beach and potentially seeing humpback whales,” Jarrad says, while expertly steering a four-wheel-drive bus down narrow, sometimes challenging tracks. “It blows people’s minds how much we see and how different everything is and we’re still in the one place. And at different times of the year, you get a different experience.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #145

Outback Magazine: October/November 2022