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10 Fun Facts About K'gari (Fraser Island)

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Gabby Boucher
Updated Tue 14 Mar 2023

K’gari (Fraser Island) is one of Australia’s most beautiful and unique destinations. Both locals and international travelers alike flock to K’gari to camp, swim, sightsee, and adventure around the island on 4WD. Full of interesting natural features, a vast indigenous history, and plenty of opportunities for fun and excitement, there are so many reasons why K’gari is special. Here are 10 fun facts about K’gari (Fraser Island), just in case you’re not yet convinced to plan a trip there!

Lake McKenzie

10 Fun Facts About K’gari (Fraser Island)

Whether you’re taking your own 4WD to explore the island, or you’re booking a guided tour, K’gari is one of the top places to visit in Australia. Here are 10 fun facts about K’gari (Fraser Island), from its unique history and landmarks, to its place as a World Heritage Site!

K’gari is the largest sand island in the world.

At 123km long and 25km wide, K’gari is the largest sand island in the world! Its size isn’t that big compared to the massive Australian continent, but this is the largest island on the planet composed almost entirely of sand dunes. You can drive around the island in just a few hours, but you’ll really want to spend at least 3 days exploring all that K’gari has to offer!

sand dunes

K’gari helped form the Great Barrier Reef.

When K’gari was formed around 1 million years ago, sands from Australia’s southeast shores were carried north by wind and ocean currents. They settled on a volcanic landmass and formed the sand dunes of K’gari! This newly formed sand island created a barrier in the ocean. Most of the sand congregated around K’gari, leaving the seas in southeast Queensland much clearer than before. This allowed corals to flourish underwater, and thus the lower parts of the Great Barrier Reef were formed!

K'gari Coastline

K’gari has been inhabited for at least 5,000 years.

The first humans to inhabit K’gari were the Butchella People. This group of Aboriginal Australians have been recorded on K’gari around 5,000 years ago, though evidence suggests their culture may have existed far longer than that! The Butchella People named the island K’gari because it means paradise

girl reading sign

K’gari is home to over 40 freshwater lakes.

With over 40 freshwater lakes, there are so many beautiful places to swim on K’gari! Many of these lakes are perched lakes, with the most famous one being the stunning Lake McKenzie. Perched lakes are formed when the base of a sand pit hardens with organic matter, forming a natural pool. Sand filters and cleans the rainwater that fills the pools, creating crystal-clear lakes that are incredibly pure!

Lake McKenzie

K’gari is home to some of the purest wild dingos. 

The dingo is Australia’s only wild dog. This medium-sized canine is an apex predator that is supposedly descended from South Asian wolves. Dingos have thrived in Australia for around 4,000 years, but pure wild dingos began to breed with domestic dogs when Europeans settled the continent. Because K’gari is so isolated, the dingos here remain pure and wild!

Wild Dingo

K’gari can only be explored via 4WD.

Due to its unique sand landscape, the only way to get around K’gari is with a 4WD! You can’t take normal cars over to the island, and you have to get national park vehicle permits when you do come over. Driving on K’gari is difficult, but it can be done with a sturdy 4WD! 

Guided tours drive around K’gari in large 4WD trucks or buses, and you can also hire a 4WD to drive yourself. Tag-along tours allow you to join a group tour and sign up to be a driver in one of the provided 4WD vehicles!

4WD Hire

K’gari is undergoing an official name change.

Many people know of K’gari by its former name: Fraser Island. Though K’gari is its original name, given by the Butchella People, European settlers renamed the island “Fraser Island” after a woman named Eliza Fraser was shipwrecked on the coast in 1836. After being called Fraser Island for many years, the Queensland Government ruled to change the name back to K’gari out of respect for the Traditional Owners of the land. 

The name change began in 2021, though there are still minute details of the process that are in the works! So though many travelers think of this place as “Fraser Island”, the correct and rightful name is “K’gari”, pronounced “Gurri”


K’gari is home to an official sand highway.

75 Mile Beach is one of the most popular attractions on K’gari. Running the length of the island’s east coast, this lengthy stretch of golden sand is, you guessed it, 75 miles long! Many people call the beach the “Sand Highway”, but this is more than just a nickname. 75 Mile Beach is a registered National Highway! That means strict rules apply, and there is a speed limit of 80km per hour. 

car driving on beach

K’gari is one of the only places in the world where rainforests grow in the sand.

Because K’gari’s landscape is composed of sand dunes, many people wonder how tall, dense, majestic rainforests are able to grow here. Sand is a famously low-nutrient substance, but K’gari’s ecosystem is so special that the sand is able to grow and sustain a diverse range of plants. 

Dead plant and animal matter decompose on the forest floor. With the help of local fungi, this organic matter is converted into nutrients for more life to grow. Some plants can also strip away the mineral-rich coating of beach sand, and pull away some atmospheric nutrients deposited in the sand from rainwater. 

people walking through rainforest

K’gari is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Taking into account all the fun facts about K’gari listed, it’s no wonder why this island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site! K’gari is such a unique place, where ancient sand dunes work symbiotically with diverse plants, animals, and landscapes to create a magical, diverse world. Visitors to K’gari are constantly blown away by the dramatic coastal scenery, the vast indigenous history, and the thriving plant and animal life here. To see all these amazing sights for yourself, book a trip to K’gari!

people posing on sand dunes

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