IF YOUR idea of a great holiday is really getting away from it all and relaxing in a natural paradise, then salvation is close at hand at Queensland’s Hervey Bay and neighbouring Fraser Island.
A three-hour drive or 40-minute flight north of Brisbane transports you into an official stress-free holiday zone, complete with sweeping golden beaches, safe swimming waters, aquatic adventures and an unspoiled island wilderness.
Hervey Bay’s endless choice of safe, warm swimming waters offers families the ideal aquatic playground.
Set along 20km of pristine calm-water beaches, the bay is a haven for swimming, sailing, boating, fishing, diving, water and jet skiing, windsurfing and snorkelling.
A wonderful holiday destination in its own right, Hervey Bay is also the gateway to the world’s largest sand island and nature lover’s paradise – Fraser Island.
The World Heritage-listed Fraser Island is an ecological masterpiece of giant sand dunes, rainforests, open beaches, freshwater streams and lakes and an exceptional range of unique flora and fauna.
For those looking for the ultimate island getaway, it is impossible to look past Kingfisher Bay resort where the days are spent lazing around the pool, sunning on the resort’s private stretch of sand, fishing from the jetty or messing about in boats.
At Kingfisher Bay, you can do as little or as much as you want, with choices ranging from superb dining and indulgent massages and spas, to guided nature hikes and picnics.
Kingfisher Bay also caters for kids of all ages, with two swimming pools and adventures such as fishing, canoeing, orienteering and night spotlighting around the resort.
To explore the island you can hire a four-wheel drive and take to the sand tracks on your own voyage of discovery. For those who want to sit back and have it all done for them, Kingfisher Bay Resort has an excellent range of daily ranger-guided four-wheel drive tours to choose from.
Once you have four wheels, the island is yours to explore. A good starting point is the superb white sandy beach stretching for 75 miles on the eastern side of the island.
This sweeping beach provides an endless horizon of sand fringed by the ocean and is home to some of the best surf fishing in Australia. Along the beach you will find one of the island’s most visited attractions – the wreck of the Maheno (formerly a World War II hospital ship) and the landmark rocky outcrops of Indian Head, Waddy Point and Middle Rocks.
Fraser Island has more than 100 lakes. The most popular for swimming and picnicking are spectacular lakes nestled at the edge of Hammerstone Sand Blow and the picture-perfect Basin Lake.
The contrasts on the island are breathtaking – from the stark contours of the huge sand blows to the clear fresh water creeks winding through ancient rainforests growing in sand.
PHOTO: Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island, by JOCELYN WATTS