The Geography of Fraser Island

Fraser Island's Beaches, Sand formations & Lakes

Fraser Island's Great Beaches

Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and has developed over more than 800,000 years. It is located on Australia's east coast, opposite Hervey Bay, Queensland and is 124 kilometres long and between 5 and 25 kilometres wide. Covering an area of 166,000ha, Fraser Island is Australia's second largest island after Tasmania.

The most Southern point of Fraser Island is Hook Point. Only 500 meters part it from the mainland at this point so it has become a major crossing point to Fraser Island.

The most Northern point is Sandy Cape, a remote stretch of beach. A sandbar known as Breaksea Spit extends under water for another 35 kilometres.

Fraser's Sand Formations

The sand which formed and is still forming Fraser Island comes from the tablelands of New South Whales. For hundreds of thousands of years the rivers of northern New South Wales carried sand to the sea where currents took it North. Three rocks, Indian Head, Middle Rock and Waddy Point acted as anchors and collected the sand around them. For most of its existence Fraser Island was connected to the main land. It was only between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago when it became an island as the sea level rose after the last ice age ended.

The prevailing south easterly winds on Fraser Island blew the sand into high dunes. Some, like Mt. Bowarrady, reached a height of more than 240 meters and are among the tallest dunes in the world.

Due to the coming and going of ice ages and geological processes, the sand of Fraser Island is not only piled up in these high dunes, but also extend to about 30 meters below sea level and in some places even to 500 meters below sea level. Fraser Island is said to contain more pure sand then even the Sahara. More information about these sand formations can be found on the Fraser Island Sand formation page.

Apart from the obvious sand, coffee rock, also known as organic rock has formed on Fraser Island. Coffee rock is really just sand compacted and cemented together by organic colloids that have settled out of the tea-coloured water of some of the islands lakes and swamp areas. They look like dark coffee coloured rounded rocks and can be seen at several places on Fraser Island, but most prominent along the beaches.

Sandblows are another important feature of Fraser Island. These are created whenever the local vegetation disappears due to human or natural causes. When this happens the prevailing winds blows the sand inland, covering everything in its way. More information can be found on the rocky outcrops page.

Fraser Island's Lakes

Another prominent feature of Fraser Island are the more than 40 fresh water lakes. Some are more than 300,000 years old and older than any other coastal lake in Australia. A number of these lakes are so called perched lakes. Others are barrage lakes or window lakes. More information about these lakes can be found on the Fraser Island Lakes page.