Fraser Island


Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. It has over 100 clean freshwater dune lakes, spectacular coastal dune formations, sand cliffs and sandy beaches. Tall rainforest grows on the dunes.

The island is 120km long and measures 1630 kmĀ². It lies off the east coast of Australia, and is separated from the mainland by the Great Sandy Strait. It is made up of sand that has been accumulating for approximately 750,000 years on volcanic bedrock that provides a natural catchment for the sediment which is carried on a strong offshore current northwards along the coast.

Birds are the most abundant form of animal life on the island with over 230 species being recorded. It is a particularly important site for migratory wading birds which use the area as a resting place during their long flights between southern Australia and their breeding grounds in Siberia. Few mammal species occur. Dingoes were once common on the island, but are now decreasing. The Fraser Island dingoes are reputedly some of the last remaining pure dingoes in Eastern Australia.

The site has been an Aboriginal Reserve until 1906. Visible remains of their settlements are still remaining. The first recorded European to sight Fraser Island was James Cook who passed along the coast of the island between 18 and 20 May 1770. The name Fraser Island comes from Eliza Fraser and her story of survival from a shipwreck on the island in 1836.

There is now a resident population of ca. 360 people. Fraser Island attracts great numbers of visitors, some 340,000 yearly.

The original nomination included Cooloola, a similar sandy site on the mainland. Inclusion of that part was rejected because of 'land use problems'. It still is on Australia's Tentative List as 'Great Sandy Area'.


Community Reviews

Mirjam S. - April 2015

Fraser Island is one of the top attractions of Australia - and rightly so. It is a very special place indeed, and it is hard to describe what makes it so special, but it must have something to do with its being an island and a little remote, with the fact that there are no towns, villages or shops (there is no civilisation besides a few resorts), and also the lack of real roads (there are only some dirt roads/tracks in the sand, and the beach serves as the main road!) ...and of course with the rainforest, the beaches, and the sunshine!!!

I visited this WHS in 2007 when I did a trip along the east coast of Australia. It was a guided two day tour and we visited many highlights of the island, such as Lake Wabby, Maheno Shipwreck, Indian Head and Lake McKenzie. We also spent time on the beach and did some great rainforest walks.

And although I did a guided tour with a planned time frame, although I was with a big group, although it is a major tourist destination and there are people nearly everywhere you go - I had a great feeling of freedom at this place. The beautiful nature, the sense of remoteness, the sunshine and the perfect surroundings that taste of adventure - it really is like a dream.

Derek Jones - April 2010

I have just been to the Island and cannot believe the damage being caused by the visitors to the island.

The tracks are being eroded deep into the sand to such an extent that matting is being used in some locations.

The East beach is being treated like a Motorway with buses dashing up and down, The beach has litter including broken glass and plastic. I even saw people letting fireworks off and the remains were left on the beach.

Surely if this is supposed to be a World Heritage site it should be better protected

Debbie Pulver

I last visited Fraser Island in 1981, and have been dreaming of going back ever since. That dream is going to come true this year, and I can't wait! I'm very, very happy to discover that it is now a World Heritage Site, as this place is a rare gem which must be preserved! Highlights that remain wonderful memories from the last trip are: Lake McKenzie, Lake Wabby, Lake Birrabeen and the Champagne Pools. A peek at the native wildlife in the evenings was also wonderful.

It's a place not to be missed, but please, leave it the way you found it so that future visitors can also enjoy it as much as you did.

Simon - July 2006

Unbelievably awesome! That says it all. Best place I have ever visited on this planet, and off too for that matter.

Make sure you force yourself to get up way too early and see a Fraser Island Sunrise too, but dont forget to be on the east coast of course.

Emilia Bautista King - February 2006

Fraser Island is my favourite place in Oz. It is the world's largest sand island and has magnificent sand dunes, freshwater lakes, rainforest - all next to the grand Pacific Ocean. The champagne pools were glorious for wading, even for the most inexperienced swimmer. Lake McKenzie is an amazingly clear freshwater lake which is also excellent for swimming. As for wildlife, I had the pleasure of seeing wild brumbies on the beach. There were also many dingoes on the island. They were a bit of a nuisance and were especially out and about when they could smell food.

To reach Fraser Island, many backpackers go to Hervey Bay, where they rent a 4WD and take the barge to the island. I was most fortunate to meet 7 other individuals at a hostel in Hervey Bay who shared the expenses of renting a 4WD and food. When you go, be prepared for the possibility of inclement weather, as the cheapest way to stay on the island is by camping. The camp sites are well-maintained.

Caoimgin Braniff - February 2006

seen alot of oz west and east coast but have to say that frazer was wana of my favourite. 4x4 is the only way to get around the island but it was real fun. The lakes are amazing and you wouldnt believe that the are real. I hate heights but had to go to indian head for the views and it was definately worth it, you can see manta's sharks and whales and you don't even have to pay for it. your ever up by rainbow beach make sure to visit its well worth it.


Faser Island was the most natural unique place on this planet and my family and i had the time of life there. We are already planning another trip there and cant wait!!!!


I have been to Fraser Island several times and know I'll go back some day again. It is the most magical place with an atmosphere of purity, freshness and breathtaking, gentle beauty. There are sand dunes, freshwater lakes with sand so fine you can polish your jewellery (if you have any) with it, long white beaches, the purest breed of dingoes in Australia(we saw a whole lot of dingo puppies), crystal creeks and rivers you can drink from while you swim. This is truly Paradise!

Rob Wilson

A truly glorious place. This must be one of the most unique spots on the entire planet. I loved the time I spent there and desparately hope to visit again.

If you are in the area, don't hesitate! Go!

Ashlie Cole

It's great especially the dingos there soo cute!

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Site Info

Full name: Fraser Island

Site History


The site has 1 locations.

  • Fraser Island


The site has 17 connections.


  • Boats Wreck of the Maheno


  • Dunes Complex coastal dune formations are still evolving. The array of dune lakes is exceptional (AB ev)
  • Endemic Bird Species Eastern Australia EBA, Cooloola and Fraser Coast IBA: Black-breasted Buttonquail (Turnix melanogaster), Green Catbird (Ailuroedus crassirostris), Regent Bowerbird (Sericulus chrysocephalus), Pale-yellow Robin (Tregellasia capito)
  • Hoodoo 
  • Mangroves "mangrove forests" (wiki)
  • Rainforests 



  • Castaways/shipwrecked mariners The name Fraser Island comes from Eliza Fraser and her story of survival from a shipwreck on the island. Captain James Fraser and his wife, Eliza Fraser, were shipwrecked on the island in 1836. The name of the ship was the Stirling Castle. Captain Fraser died but Eliza was rescued off the island. (wiki)
  • Shell Mounds (Middens) 


  • Middle Pleistocene It is made up of sand that has been accumulating for approximately 750,000 years on volcanic bedrock that provides a natural catchment for the sediment which is carried on a strong offshore current northwards along the coast. (wiki)


WHS on Other Lists

World Heritage Process