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The island's forests & sand formations

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Fraser Island introduction | Lakes & creeks | World Heritage listing
Fraser Island is part of the Great Sandy Region, the section of coastline stretching from the north shore of the Noosa River below Lake Cooroibah and Cooloola National Park, to Sandy Cape at the northern tip of Fraser Island.

About half of Fraser Island is currently national park. The Great Sandy National Park occupies the northern half of the island. The southern half is almost entirely crown land and state forests, proposed for national park, subject to resolution of Aboriginal land interests.

Fraser Island's forests are among the island's most remarkable and controversial features. Though the island was heavily logged, large stands of satinays and brush box still remain. Pile Valley, between Central Station and Lake McKenzie, where much of the logging took place, has the tallest of the towering satinay and brush box.

Road through forest Satinay and brush box form part of Fraser Island's sub-tropical rainforests together with piccabeen palms and kauri pines. Fraser's rainforest are home to rare and ancient species including the angiopteris fern.

The angiopteris fern is notable due to its use of water pressure rather than structural tissue to keep its fronds erect. The walkways along Wanggoolba Creek at Central Station, inland from Eurong, pass several of the magnificent ferns.

Further north and inland from Happy Valley, the Yidney Scrub is home to a forest of 200 year old kauri pines.

Fraser Island's vegetation is not all tall forest. Wallum heathlands occupy much of the lowlands. They consist of shrublands, scribbly gum trees and wallum banksia. The heathlands spring to colour during August and September with a profusion of wildflowers.

The western coastline of the island is fringed with mangroves backed by areas of cypress pine.

Fraser Island sand photo SAND FORMATIONS
The dune systems of the Great Sandy Region, which include Fraser Island, are the largest and oldest in the world dating back more than 30,000 years.

Along the ocean coastline, the dunes take on sculptured shapes at times, giving rise to the names 'The Cathedrals' and 'The Pinnacles'.

There are 72 different coloured sands that occur on Fraser Island. The best coloured sands can be seen along a 35km stretch of the ocean beach north of Happy Valley.

Sandblows are the other major sand formation, caused through the gradual action of shifting sand across the island. The Knifeblade, just north of the wreck of the "Maheno", is the largest of Fraser Island's sandblows. A lookout provides excellent views.

Fraser Island's build up of sands and dune systems hinges on the rocky headlands of Indian Head, Middle Rocks and Waddy Point. Indian Head (right) is the true anchor for the island. It stands at the end of Seventy-Five Mile Beach and in addition to being a major landmark, it provides an excellent lookout onto the beaches and dunes.

Further north, Middle Rocks' Champagne Pools are deep natural rock pools, ideal for swimming. Waddy Point is a popular base for anglers and provides good views from atop the lookout.

[Photographs on the Fraser Island pages are by Paul Candlin, Darren Jew, Greg Teschner, Terry Harper, Steve Parish, Colin Rayfield, Damian McGreevy, Darren Leal, Janet Marles, E. Smith, J.Gray/Nature Focus.
© Queensland Government. Department of Environment.]

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