Fraser Island is listed as a World Heritage area and is the largest sand island in the world! The 120km long stretch of land is a place of lush rainforests, long white beaches raked by coloured sand cliffs, and lakes filled with pure rainwater.
If you are looking for nature-based adventure experiences along with resort indulgences including spa treatments and fine dining then Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island offers the perfect base to experience it all!
The Butchulla people are the traditional owners of K’gari (Fraser Island) having lived there for thousands of years. Their Welcome to Country messages seen around the island sum up the spirit of the place. They end with the line: “Wanya nyin yangu, wanai djinang djaa.” (Wherever you go, leave only footprints.)
It’s in this spirit that Kingfisher Bay Resort and Island Day Spa were created — to welcome guests to one of the world’s most unique environments, a place of natural beauty and calm.
The island attracted world attention in 2018 when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Prince Harry and Meghan) stayed at Kingfisher Bay Resort on their Australian tour.
You can hit the sand tracks like Harry on a private tour, or see the island’s iconic sights in a guided 4WD group experience. Dine like the royal couple did at the Seabelle Restaurant, then enjoy a romantic stroll along the jetty.
Set your clock to island time
Fraser Island is a huge tourist attraction, not only for its natural beauty, but for the calming effect the environment has on your health and well-being.
We are ruled in our everyday lives by trilling devices; bombarded to the point of sensory overload with messages we neither asked for or need, we gradually become too busy to think. It’s no wonder that the nature of true rest and restoration is lost to many of us.
At Island Day Spa you can reclaim that tranquillity again, in a place where everything aims to relax you. In fact, the Island Day Spa is located at the resort, a place that defines “island time”. Its healing philosophies were formed in the purity and peace of Fraser Island’s natural environment.
Here, tensions are eased just by walking into the treatment rooms with their calming aromas and soothing music. Smartphone? What smartphone?
The Kingfisher Ritual
Once inside the spa, you can take part in the many different ways of relaxation. One spa treatment is known as the Kingfisher Ritual, a hot stone back massage, express facial, scalp and foot massage. Products used during the ritual are enriched with the finest quality organic ingredients, with native Australian plant, fruit and flower extracts.
The Island Day Spa treatment menu is inspired by Fraser Island locations: Birrabeen Bliss, Sand Dune Dream, Rainforest Romance.
The inspiration for the first of these is Lake Birrabeen, one of the island’s freshwater perched lakes. These lakes are unusual in that they are filled by rainfall only, rather than by streams or rivers. The crystal-clear lake is filtered by the silky sand that traps the water amongst the undulating dunes.
The Birrabeen Bliss spa treatment consists first of body brushing to buff away dry skin, then a body massage and wrap. A bio-hydra facial then locks in moisture and botanical actives into the skin, while the foot therapy massage completes the head to toe relaxation experience.
If you decide to go with the Organic Spa Facial, you can choose from:
- Soothing Facial – Leaves the skin plump, refreshed and hydrated.
- Hydrating Facial – Perfect for dry mature dehydrated skin types.
- Purifying Facial – Deep cleansing to draw excess oil and impurities.
If you want to take some of the island’s nurturing calm home with you, the spa sells Australian-made products from Perfect Potion, Organic Spa, Urban Rituelle and The Beauty Chef. There are loads of great gifts and products you can use during your stay or back at home
SIGHTSEEING & ADVENTURE
Out and about on Fraser Island
From Kingfisher Bay Resort you can take a self-guided walking tour or venture further afield and visit Lake McKenzie and several other iconic island locations on the Beauty Spots tour.
This tour departs daily from Kingfisher Bay Resort to allow guests to appreciate natural attractions and cool off in the island’s watering holes after travelling in 4WD air-conditioned comfort.
The Beauty Spots tour includes visits to:
- Lake McKenzie.
- Central Station and Wanggoolba Creek.
- Pile Valley’s satinay and brush box forests.
- 75 Mile Beach’s famous sand highway.
- The SS Maheno shipwreck and the coloured sands of The Pinnacles.
- The flowing waters of Eli Creek.
These are the best spots from which to appreciate the island and so it’s worth going into a little detail on each to get an idea of what you can expect.
Lake McKenzie is the diamond-clear jewel in the Fraser Island crown. It owes its pristine looks to the pure white silica sand that surrounds it and lines the lakebed. The sand is not only beautiful to look at but it feels like walking on talcum powder.
Because Lake McKenzie is a perched lake, the sand acts as a filter, leaving the water so pure it’s not able to sustain the kind of life usually found in freshwater lakes — so you won’t be attacked by nibbling fish! The spangled water reflects amazing blues and greens forever changing in hue throughout the long lazy day.
Central Station is an old logging camp surrounded by rainforest (logging is now illegal on Fraser Island). Guests can follow the boardwalk through the forest beside Wanggoolba Creek, which used to be a source of water for inhabitants of the island.
The area around Wanggoolba Creek was once a Butchulla woman’s area, a special birthing place from which men were excluded. After European settlement, it became the base for Fraser Island’s forestry operations from 1920 until the late 1950s. It was in fact a village, home to around 30 houses and a school built for the children of the loggers.
Logging continued on Fraser Island until the Goss Government was elected in 1989 on a platform of declaring the whole of Fraser Island a National Park, and seeking a World Heritage nomination. In fact, conservation groups had been advocating to protect the island since the 1890s. Logging ceased on Fraser Island in December 1991.
Nearby is Pile Valley, and its forest dominated by stands of Fraser Island satinay and brush box standing tall in the lush rainforest. Satinay is fire and insect resistant and in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the borer-resistant timber was popular for wharves and jetties. Some of the trees that escaped the axe are now 1,200 years old.
75 Mile Beach
The 75 Mile Beach Road is for 4WD vehicles only, but it’s a real rush to be racing along the sand with the sea right outside your window. Be careful, though, because light aircraft sometimes use it as a landing strip, so you need to keep your eyes peeled. It’s also a designated highway — speed limits apply and are enforced by local police!
The wreck of the SS Maheno has been an attraction since it drifted onto Fraser Island while being towed to Japan for scrap in 1935. It’s one of several wrecks on the island. Nearby are The Pinnacles coloured sand cliffs. These are culturally significant for the Aboriginal Butchulla people, who believe the Rainbow Serpent created the striated sand formations.
Finally, Eli Creek is the largest creek on the island, a great chance to take a dip in its clear waters just before they flow into the ocean.
Flavours of the Bush
You may have heard about Australian bush tucker, and on Fraser Island you can find it and taste it!
The Bush Tucker Tour and Taste lets you sample native berries bursting with flavour and the refreshing lemon myrtle, as our chef and resort ranger explain how they are used in cooking.
The learning experience includes information about native bush tucker berries, leaves and nuts. It’s then followed by a meal at the Seabelle Restaurant in which the bush tucker flavours are used.
You might be lucky enough to tuck into crocodile tail with bunya nut and macadamia pesto, kangaroo steak accompanied by bush tomatoes or a native rosella glaze over barbecued emu breast (similar to lean beef, but lower in cholesterol, fat and calories).
Seabelle’s five-course degustation was named by Queensland Uncovered as one of the Top 7 fine dining experiences in 2019.
Ecologically Sustainable Tourism
With the news that out of control tourism is actually causing Venice to sink into the sea, it’s nice to know that here in Australia we are leading the world in sustainable tourism.
Kingfisher Bay Resort has a philosophy of “Ecologically sustainable tourism that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation.”
Opened in 1992, Kingfisher is a fully integrated, large-scale ecotourism resort, setting benchmarks in ecotourism that have been used by ecotourism ventures worldwide.
The resort has won nine Queensland and six Australian Tourism Awards. All tours have Advanced Eco Accreditation from Ecotourism Australia and in early 2012 the resort earned ‘Green Travel Leader’ status.
The resort is family-friendly and its eco ranger team run daily nature walks, talks, guided canoe paddles and wildlife presentations. During school holidays, the Junior Eco Rangers program lets you take some time out for yourself while the kids take off on their own guided adventure.
A Whale of a Time
Once you have the spa rituals under control, trekked through the rainforest, swum in the lakes, driven on the beach and eaten bush tucker, you might want to indulge in a spot of whale watching.
Between July and November is the time to see humpback whales as they pass the island on their annual migration. Every year the whales make the 5,000km journey up and down Australia’s east coast. After spending summer in Antarctic waters to feed, the whales migrate north to the tropical seas off Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef to breed or — a year later — to give birth.
The female whales and their calves then begin their great southern journey back down to Antarctica. On their way, mother and baby spend some time resting in the sheltered waters around Fraser Island to give the newborn calves a breather on their epic first journey.
But the harsh realities of Australian life in the past meant that whales were looked on as a vital source of meat and oil, and the whaling industry was a big part of early European settlers’ lives. Whaling stations were established along the coast and the humpback whale hunted almost to extinction.
The whales have been protected in the southern hemisphere since 1963 and a worldwide moratorium on whaling was declared in 1986. The humpback whale population is making a slow recovery, and guests on Fraser Island are sometimes in a prime position to see evidence of this remarkable comeback first-hand.
Fraser Island is about a six-hour drive north of Brisbane on the Bruce Highway, taking the Maryborough exit onto the Maryborough-Hervey Bay Road.
Kingfisher Ferry has five services to the island each day. Check in at the Mainland Reception at River Heads 40 minutes prior to ferry departure time. A courtesy shuttle from Mainland Reception to the jetty will leave 10 minutes prior to departure for walk-on passengers. Self-drivers will be given further instruction by the staff at Mainland Reception.
If driving isn’t your thing, QantasLink operates daily services from Brisbane to Hervey Bay/Fraser Coast airport. Virgin Australia flies daily from Sydney to Hervey Bay/Fraser Coast Airport.
For guests flying into Brisbane, Kingfisher Bay Resort can assist with booking airport transfers from domestic and international terminals and from the Roma Street Transit Centre in the Brisbane CBD. The transfers will take you to Hervey Bay’s Tourist Centre to meet your shuttle/ferry connection to Fraser Island. But remember, these services must be pre-booked, so contact the resort for further information.
The resort has a range of accommodation from Executive Houses (for larger groups) to Family Villas and King Bay View Rooms.
Review by Kris Abbey
Thanks to Kingfisher Bay Resort
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