Get inspired by the beauty of K’gari, formerly known as Fraser Island. Learn about the unique wildlife, landscapes, and stories of Australia’s natural paradise shared by the Traditional Owners of the land, The Butchulla People.

He Loves Me Not: Cameras roll in October

He Loves Me Not - Rhiannon Fish

Rhiannon Fish. Photo by Eva Rinaldi, Creative Commons.

Prepare to immerse yourself in a world of love and beauty on K’gari as Fraser Coast Films embarks on the production of a new romantic comedy set to start production in early October (2023).

Titled He Loves Me Not, the film promises to enchant audiences not only with the talent of Australian actress Rhiannon Fish but also with the breathtaking scenery of K’gari itself, which serves not just as a backdrop but also as a “character” in the movie.

Fish is best known for her role in the Australian television series Neighbours and Home and Away.

Director and co-producer Tam Sainsbury said the decision to cast Rhiannon Fish as the lead in He Loves Me Not was not taken lightly.

Sainsbury praised Fish’s acting prowess and her rise as a rom-com lead, which includes her involvement with Hallmark, a major player in the rom-com genre in the United States.

“I’ve known her as an actress from back in a Home and Away days,” Sainsbury said.

“She’s really good; really beautiful. I’ve seen the journey she’s been on and know she’s becoming well-known as a rom-com lead. She’s the perfect choice; she fits the character perfectly.”

Writer and co-producer Jeremy Stanford emphasised the international appeal of Fish.

“She’s great for the character, but we also know that to have an actor with an international star that’s rising will help sell the film around the world,” Stanford said.

He Loves Me Not - K'gari island

Beautiful K’gari will star alongside Rhiannon Fish in He Loves Me Not, a romantic comedy that’s to start production in October 2023. Photo: Cam Laird, Shutterstock.

Love, dreams, and surprises on K’gari

He Loves Me Not explores the story of an American actress working and living on K’gari at Kingfisher Bay Resort.

Her dream is to secure enough money to attend a prestigious acting course in Los Angeles. However, her life takes an unexpected turn when a dating show comes to the island, offering her a wild card entry.

She seizes the opportunity, hoping to win the cash prize, but along the way, she falls in love with the film’s male lead.

K’gari: more than a backdrop

K’gari, the film’s distinctive setting, isn’t merely a backdrop but a vital “character” intricately woven into the story’s fabric, Stanford said.

“K’gari is beautiful. We want to portray the beauty elements of K’gari because the show is about falling in love. All of those beautiful feelings you have (watching the film), come from K’gari as well.

“The essence we want to capture with this film is that of beauty. But also, we want to tell some of the Indigenous story as well.

“So, it’s not just us coming to the island and saying, this is beautiful!

“K’gari has a much deeper history than that, so we wanted to add some of those elements as well. It really feels like K’gari’s not just a backdrop, but it’s a character in the film.”

Beyond showcasing K’gari’s natural splendor, the creators aim to ensure sure the island’s depth and significance are portrayed authentically on screen.

Film delves into love, growth, and reality show realities

He Loves Me Not isn’t just another love story; it also delves into themes of personal growth, self-discovery, and moral integrity.

The protagonist, a strong-willed woman, embarks on a journey of self-love and growth while navigating the complexities of romance.

Her willingness to right a wrong, even if it means sacrificing her own happiness, adds depth to her character and the film’s overall message.

The film also sheds light on the darker side of reality shows, a topic close to the creators’ hearts.

Sainsbury and Stanford expressed their dislike for such programs, which have affected the film industry by diverting resources from traditional drama.

In He Loves Me Not, they integrate a critique of reality TV’s impact on careers and artistic expression, reflecting their genuine concerns about the industry.

Production for He Loves Me Not is scheduled to run from October 9 to 28, 2023, with over two weeks of filming on K’gari and nearly a week in Hervey Bay. It will have a production crew of about 30 people, including a cast of 10.

He Loves Me Not - Kingfisher Bay Resort

He Loves Me Not explores the story of an American actress working and living at Kingfisher Bay Resort (pictured). Photo: Unknown Author, Creative Commons.

He Loves Me Not sparks sponsorship opportunities

He Loves Me Not

Executive Producer Glen Winney. Photo: JW

Local sponsorship and involvement will play vital roles in Fraser Coast Films’ productions, with several local businesses already offering to support the project.

Executive Producer Glen Winney said several businesses had already come on board as sponsors and more were welcome to take part through product placement and other avenues.

“Fraser Coast Films aims to build a sustainable filmmaking ecosystem in the Fraser Coast region for future projects,” Winney said.

“For those interested in becoming part of this cinematic journey, Fraser Coast Films has a website where people can register to be extras in the movie, provide background support, or even become sponsors.”

For more information, visit https://frasercoastfilms.com.au/

Fraser Coast Films is dedicated not only to bringing He Loves Me Not to life but also to nurturing the local film industry, making it a win-win for the community and film enthusiasts alike.

With a compelling cast, a stunning natural backdrop, and a heartfelt narrative, He Loves Me Not promises to be a romantic comedy that captures the beauty and essence of K’gari Island while delivering a message of love, growth, and self-discovery.

As production gears up, it’s an exciting time for both filmmakers and the community to come together and create something special on the shores of the Fraser Coast’s K’gari and Hervey Bay.

He Loves Me Not is the second production for Fraser Coast Films; the first – 13 Summers – is expected to reach our screens later this year.

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Feature Photo: Writer and co-producer Jeremy Stanford and Director and co-producer Tam Sainsbury, by Jocelyn Watts.

Published 21 September 2023.

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Ultimate Adventure: Explore Australia & New Zealand!

Are you planning an adventure in Australia and New Zealand? Get ready to explore the best places these stunning countries offer!

From iconic city landmarks to breathtaking landscapes and adrenaline-pumping activities, there is something for every type of traveller.

Here we have curated 10 must-visit destinations that will make your holiday unforgettable.

Read on to discover the highlights of each location and start planning your dream getaway now.

1. Sydney, Australia

A cityscape of the Sydney Opera House, harbour and bridge at sunrise. Photo: Shutterstock.

Experience the Iconic Opera House and Breathtaking Harbour Views

Spend your holiday in the vibrant city of Sydney, Australia, and immerse yourself in its iconic sights. The Sydney Opera House, a world-famous architectural masterpiece, awaits your exploration. Take a guided tour or catch a performance to truly appreciate its grandeur. Don’t forget to stroll along Circular Quay and indulge in stunning views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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2. Melbourne, Australia

Australia and New Zealand -Melboure

A dusk view of Melbourne’s famous skyline and cricket ground stadium. Photo: Shutterstock.

Explore the City’s Vibrant Street Art and Cultural Attractions

Discover the artistic heart of Australia in Melbourne. You can explore the thriving street art scene in areas like Hosier Lane in this cosmopolitan city. Dive into Melbourne’s cultural side by visiting its many galleries and museums, such as the National Gallery of Victoria and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. Enjoy the city’s vibrant neighbourhoods, world-class restaurants, and buzzing nightlife.

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3. Perth, Australia

Australia and New Zealand - Quokka on Rottnest Island, Perth.

A quokka is enjoying a swing on Rottnest Island, Perth, Australia. Photo: Hideaki Edo Photography, Shutterstock.

Visit Rottnest Island for its Stunning Beaches and Wildlife

Escape to Perth and embark on a day trip to Rottnest Island. This idyllic island paradise, located just off the coast, is a haven of pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and unique wildlife. Be sure to keep an eye out for the friendly quokkas, small marsupials that have become a symbol of the island. Explore the island by bike or hop on a guided bus tour to make the most of your visit.

BOOK A TRIP TO PERTH NOW!

4. Auckland, New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand - Auckland cityscape.

A cityscape of Auckland’s skyline, New Zealand, at sunrise. Photo: Rudy Balasko, Shutterstock.

Take in the Picturesque Landscapes of the North Island

Head to beautiful Auckland on New Zealand’s North Island and let its stunning landscapes captivate you. Take a trip up the iconic Sky Tower for panoramic views of the city and its surrounding volcanic cones. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the nearby Waiheke Island, known for its vineyards and breathtaking beaches. Immerse yourself in Maori culture and explore the vibrant art scene in this remarkable city.

BOOK A TRIP TO AUCKLAND NOW!

5. Queenstown, New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand - Queenstown.

A majestic mountain and lake landscape of Queenstown, New Zealand. Photo: Naruedom Yaempongsa, Shutterstock.

Enjoy Adventure Activities Such as Bungy Jumping and Skydiving

For adrenaline junkies seeking excitement, Queenstown is the place to be. Nestled amidst New Zealand’s breathtaking Southern Alps, this adventure capital offers a plethora of thrilling activities. Take a leap of faith with bungy jumping off the Kawarau Bridge or experience the exhilaration of skydiving above awe-inspiring landscapes. Queenstown’s stunning scenery and heart-pumping adventures will make for an unforgettable adventure.

BOOK A TRIP TO QUEENSTOWN NOW!

 

6. Christchurch, New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand - Christchurch

The restored Peacock Fountain in Christchurch Botanic Gardens at twilight with the Arts Centre in the background. Photo: Travellight, Shutterstock.

Explore the Historic City Centre and Gardens

Discover the charm of Christchurch, a city that perfectly blends history with natural beauty. Wander through the tranquil Christchurch Botanic Gardens and admire the vibrant flora. Don’t miss the incredible street art and innovative architecture that has emerged in the city following the devastating earthquakes. Experience the resilience and spirit of this remarkable place as it continues to rebuild itself.

BOOK A TRIP TO CHRISTCHURCH NOW!

7. Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand - Bay of Islands

An aerial shot of Urapukapuka Island, Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Photo: Ruth Lawton, Shutterstock.

Soak up Some of the Country’s Most Beautiful Scenery

Escape to the Bay of Islands, a breathtakingly beautiful region in New Zealand. With over 140 subtropical islands, this paradise is perfect for beach lovers and water enthusiasts. Explore secluded bays, snorkel or dive in crystal-clear waters, and cruise around islands teeming with wildlife. Immerse yourself in nature and unwind amidst stunning landscapes that showcase New Zealand’s natural splendour.

BOOK A TRIP TO BAY OF ISLANDS NOW!

8. Gold Coast, Australia

Australia and New Zealand -Gold Coast.

A view from the water of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, Australia. Photo: Shutterstock.

Hit Up Some of the World’s Best Beaches for Surfers and Sunbathers Alike

Head to the Gold Coast, renowned for its pristine sandy beaches and sunny weather. Surfers Paradise is a must-visit for wave enthusiasts, offering excellent surfing conditions. If relaxation is what you seek, lounge on the golden shores, soak up the sun, and enjoy the lively beach atmosphere. Explore the coastal hinterland for lush rainforests, stunning waterfalls, and vibrant wildlife.

BOOK A TRIP TO THE GOLD COAST NOW!

9. K’gari, Australia

Australia and New Zealand - K'gari

Tourists flock to Lake Mackenzie on K’gari year-round to enjoy the cool fresh water. Photo: Cam Laird, Shutterstock.

Visit this Untouched Paradise off the Coast of Queensland

Discover the untouched beauty of K’gari (formerly Fraser Island), an exquisite gem off the coast of Queensland. This World Heritage-listed site boasts pristine beaches, crystal-clear lakes, and ancient rainforests. Explore the island’s unique attractions, such as the stunning Lake McKenzie and the vibrant Maheno Shipwreck. Embark on adventurous 4×4 tours or simply relax and soak in the tranquillity of this paradise.

Follow this link to read more about K’gari!

BOOK A TRIP TO K’GARI NOW!

10. Cairns, Australia

Australia and New Zealand - Cairns

A professional underwater photographer captures nature and wildlife in the Great Barrier Reef near Cairns. Photo: ChameleonsEye, Shutterstock.

Immerse Yourself in the Lush Rainforest Surrounding this Popular Tourist Spot

Indulge in the lush rainforest and tropical beauty surrounding Cairns, a bustling gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Immerse yourself in nature as you visit the stunning Mossman Gorge or take an exhilarating cable car ride above the rainforest canopy in Kuranda. Dive into the breathtaking underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef or simply unwind on the palm-fringed beaches while enjoying the warm sunshine.

BOOK A TRIP TO CAIRNS NOW!

Start planning your adventure today!

Australia and New Zealand hold an abundance of natural beauty, cultural wonders, and thrilling experiences that make them ideal destinations for a getaway. Whether you prefer city adventures, beach relaxation, or immersing yourself in nature, these 10 best places offer something for everyone.

Begin your journey by exploring the iconic Opera House in Sydney or taking in the picturesque landscapes of Auckland. Dive into the adventure-filled activities in Queenstown or unwind on the stunning beaches of the Gold Coast. The choice is yours!

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the beauty and diversity of these incredible destinations. Start planning your trip today and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Follow the links to Booking.com and book your adventure now!

 

Feature photo: A spectacular sunrise over the city of Perth, Australia, by Cloudsrest Images; Shutterstock.
Published: 16 September 2023.

***

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K’gari now recognised on maps and travel guides

If you have your sights set on a beautiful Australian getaway, we’ve got great news for you. Fraser Island – the world’s largest sand island located along Australia’s east coast – has had its traditional name of K’gari reinstated.

It’s a comprehensive acknowledgment of the culture’s history, dating back 60,000 years. From now on, K’gari will officially be recognised on maps and travel guides, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome you to this incredible part of the world.

Traditional name restored to world’s largest sand island

Today, 7 June 2023, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk joined the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation for an emotional ceremony to formally reinstate the name used by traditional owners for the world’s largest sand island – K’gari (formerly Fraser Island).

K’gari—the white spirit who was sent down from the sky to help make the land and the seas that are home to the Butchulla people—was officially welcomed home today by generations of Butchulla people and guests.

Guests were welcomed on Country with a smoking ceremony, traditional dance, and song, as well as a formal plaque unveiling.

The Queensland Government has worked closely with the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation, tourism bodies, government agencies, and the Fraser Coast Regional Council over many years to embed the island’s original name progressively.

In 2017, the Fraser Island section of the Great Sandy National Park was renamed K’gari (Fraser Island), and in 2022, the island’s World Heritage Area was renamed K’gari (Fraser Island) World Heritage Area.

To coincide with the restoration of the island more than 19 hectares of land were transferred to the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC.

This land can’t be bought, sold, or mortgaged, and must be used for the benefit of its traditional owners, the Butchulla people.

Premier Palaszczuk said the name K’gari came from the Butchulla people’s creation story of the island, which has been passed down orally for generations.

“I’m proud that today we can officially welcome K’gari home, and reinstate the name used by traditional owners for all these years.

“We will continue to recognise Indigenous languages through place names, in the spirit of truth-telling and reconciliation as we walk the Path to Treaty.

“While steps like this can’t change the wrongs of the past, it goes a long way to building a future where all Queenslanders value, trust, and respect each other.

“This always was and always will be Butchulla Country.”

K'gari - Butchulla people celebrate the reinstatement of the island's traditional name.

On 7 December 2022, the Butchulla people celebrated 30 years since the island received its UNESCO World Heritage listing. Photo: Jocelyn Watts.

Respect restored

It was through disrespect to the Butchulla people that the name, K’gari – the home of the Butchulla people – was taken away, Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation Chair Gayle Minniecon said.

“Our oral history, our creation story will now be told and learned as it should be.

“Our ancestors understood and committed to the importance of caring for the island since time immemorial and today we continue this cultural obligation.”

One of the world’s most loved islands

To work closely with the Badtjala (Butchulla) people and the local community on re-establishing the name, K’gari, was an honour, State Member for Hervey Bay Adrian Tantari said.

“K’gari is one of the most loved islands across Australia and the world.

“This is a momentous day for everyone connected to this sacred island.”

True name in all respects

The name change completes the picture for the Butchulla people and K’gari, by recognising and honouring their traditions, culture, and continued connection to their land, Resources Minister Scott Stewart said.

“She has always been K’gari to the Butchulla people.

“Now this beautiful area will carry its true name in all aspects: the national park, world heritage area, and the official place name.”

Butchulla people share language, culture, traditions

The Butchulla people had long shared K’gari and their own culture and traditions with people from across the world, and this change recognised their generosity, Minister for Treaty and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Leeanne Enoch said.

“So many people have been enriched by the island’s unique history and their shared experiences with the Butchulla people.

“I want to acknowledge the many generations of Butchulla people who have maintained their language, culture, and traditions, which are shared by all who visit the island.

“As Queensland continues on its Path to Treaty, the lands, place names, and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will form a much greater part of our shared experience.”

Another step toward reconciliation

K’gari had always been K’gari to the Butchulla people, Minister of Environment and Science Leanne Linard said.

“It is through the tireless efforts of many people, and those before, that we stand in unity and respect for Country and people, to celebrate another step towards reconciliation.

“The Environment Department recognised the name of the island section of the Great Sandy National Park as K’gari in 2017, and UNESCO formally adopted the name for the World Heritage Area in 2021.

“The department has built a strong relationship with the Butchulla People and remains committed to working with them to cooperatively manage the unique values of the island now and into the future.”

Feature photo @ top by Brian Pickering.

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Flashback to 2014: Native Title Declared

 

Flashback to 2022: Celebrating 30 Years on the World Heritage List

Further information:

Small businesses that are impacted by the change can access resources through the Small Business Hotline.

In 2022, almost 6000 public submissions were received with the majority in favour of the name change proposal.

The name change also changes the suburb of Fraser Island to K’gari.

Information on K’gari can be found at K’gari.

 

***

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Unearth new adventures in these amazing national parks

With more than 1,000 protected areas across the state, Queensland is bursting with enchanting and soul-nourishing national parks.

But while travellers are familiar with famous favourites like Noosa National Park and Lamington National Park, there’s a treasure trove of hidden gems that are sure to surprise and delight.

Discover these 15 lesser-known and under-the-radar Queensland national parks that are guaranteed to knock your socks (and hiking boots) off!

1. Blackdown Tableland National Park, Capricorn

A relatively undiscovered sanctuary tucked among the sprawling plains of Central Queensland, Blackdown Tableland National Park has some seriously Instagrammable scenery that’s worth a brag and a tag.

Think sloping sandstone escarpments, echoing gorges, plunging rockpools, and picturesque walking trails.

Visitors to the national park will also find Indigenous rock art on the Mimosa Creek Cultural Trail, sharing stories of the Ghungalu People.

Blackdown Tableland. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

 

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2. St Helena Island National Park, Brisbane

Sitting just 5 km off the coast of Queensland’s capital, St Helena Island was once a colonial penal settlement.

From 1867 until 1932 St Helena Island adopted the role of high-security prison and farm, where inmates helped plant crops, took on trades, and constructed buildings, the ruins of which can still be seen today.

Fast forward to 2023 and the island, now a national park, can be explored by day trippers from Brisbane on a River to Bay ‘Best of Moreton Bay’ cruise or a St Helena Island ‘Prison Life’ experience, led by St Helena Theatre Troupe performers.

Aerial view of St Helena Island. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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3. Mount Walsh National Park, Bundaberg

Mount Walsh National Park, an 80-minute drive southwest of Bundaberg and Hervey Bay, is a beacon for seasoned bushwalkers and adventurers.

The park is characterised by imposing granite rock formations, creeks that drop into rockpools, and Mount Walsh itself protruding from the bedrock.

For experienced hikers, the 703m Mount Walsh Summit takes four hours to ascend and offers views from the peak across the countryside.

Meanwhile, the grade four Rockpool Walk winds through hoop pine forest before following the creek sprinkled with rockpools.

Rock pools at Mt Walsh Waterfall Creek (Utopia Falls). Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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4. Wooroonooran National Park, Cairns & Great Barrier Reef

Coooeee! If the summit hike of Mount Walsh isn’t challenging enough, a climb to the ‘top of Queensland’ is sure to get the legs pushing and the heart pumping.

Perched 1,622m above sea level, Mount Bartle Frere in Wooroonooran National Park, just south of Cairns, is Queensland’s highest peak.

It takes around six to eight hours to conquer, but the views across the Wet Tropics Rainforest and out to the coast are worth the grind.

Also making this national park a must-visit is the lineup of tumbling waterfalls, freshwater rivers, and lush rainforests that intertwine around the mountain.

National Parks - dawn view from a mountain top

Sunrise from the summit of Queensland’s highest mountain, Mount Bartle Frere. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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5. Bunya Mountains National Park, Southern Queensland Country

The Bunya Mountains National Park, just over a three-hour drive from Brisbane, provides an alpine escape perfect for families and romantic getaways.

The mountains are lined with towering bunya pines and the area was once a ceremonial gathering place for a significant Aboriginal festival called the Bonye Bonye festival.

The Bunya Mountains feature more than 100 individual holiday cabins and cottages for rent, ranging from studios to multi-bedroom chalets.

The National Park is home to a large population of wallabies and offers a patchwork of walking trails through the bunya pine forest, including easy waterfall circuits and more intense hikes across the mountainside.

national parks - family on a hike

Walking past a waterfall in the Bunya Mountains National Park. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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6. Porcupine Gorge National Park, Outback Queensland

Winding through the arid savannah terrain, Porcupine Gorge National Park is an outback oasis.

Just over an hour’s drive from Hughenden, the waters of Porcupine Creek, surrounded by a green outline of rich vegetation that lines the gorge, pop against the orange and yellow of the Outback plains.

The most spectacular way to appreciate the vast canyon is with Fox Helicopters on a scenic flight to the upper section of the national park not accessible from the ground.

Camping is available at the Pyramid campsite and there are three marked walking tracks leading hikers to lookouts or down into the gorge.

national parks - outback gorge

Swimming at the Porcupine Gorge National Park. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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7. Conway National Park, Whitsundays

Leafy rainforest canopies, secret beaches, and sparkling views across the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef are all packaged up into 75km of refreshing rainforest coastline in Conway National Park.

Lining the peninsula beyond the hustle and bustle of Airlie Beach, Conway National Park packs a punch with waterfalls and swimming holes, uncrowded beaches, stunning lookouts, and a network of hiking and mountain biking trails.

Hit the dirt with Bike & Hike Whitsunday and experience the ancient rainforest in a guided mountain bike tour.

The national park is also home to six rare and threatened species like the endangered Proserpine Rock Wallaby.

national parks - cycling through a creek bed

Riding through a creek in the rainforest, while on a tour through Conway National Park. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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8. Mount Hypipamee National Park, Cairns & Great Barrier Reef

Mount Hypipamee National Park in Tropical North Queensland has other national parks green with envy thanks to an impressive crater that plunges 58m into the ground.

At the bottom of the volcanic pipe lies a 70m deep lake, coated by an eye-catching lime green blanket of native waterweed.

The crater is thought to have formed after a massive gas explosion ruptured through a crack in the earth’s surface and looks as if nature dropped a huge bowling ball into molten rock.

The best vantage point to take in this geological wonder is from the viewing platform on the Crater Track walk.

national parks - aerial view of a rock pool

Mt Hypipamee National Park. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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9. Girringun National Park, Townsville / Cairns & Great Barrier Reef

Home to Australia’s highest single-drop waterfall, Wallaman Falls, Girringun National Park in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is a heavy hitter when it comes to wonderous waterfalls.

While many flock to watch the waterfall and then dissipate into mist at the bottom of the 268m Wallaman Falls, the dramatic Blencoe Falls in the upper section of the national park are just as remarkable with two levels of waterfall cascading down the gorge.

Closer to the coast, Attie Creek Falls and the Cardwell Spa Pools offer two superb swimming holes.

national parks - waterfall

Wallaman Falls is the highest, permanent, single-drop waterfall in Australia. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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10. Eungella National Park, Mackay

The rainforest refuge that is Eungella National Park is one of the most ecologically diverse pockets of rainforest in Australia, with both tropical and sub-tropical species flourishing under the canopy.

Ever wanted to spot an elusive platypus in the wild? Stay quiet long enough and chances are one will pop its head from the surface of Broken River.

A fan of waterfalls? Check out Araluen Waterfall and the Wheel of Fire Cascades in the Finch Hatton Gorge section of Eungella National Park – both popular with locals.

national parks - lady swimming in a rook pool

Lady swimming in a rock pool at Finch Hatton Gorge. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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11. Kroombit Tops National Park, Gladstone

For history buffs, the little-known Kroombit Tops National Park, southwest of Gladstone, is a destination with a hint of history mixed with a little bit of mystery.

It is the final resting place of the American Liberator WWII bomber, Beautiful Betsy, which vanished over Queensland in 1945 during a flight from Darwin to Brisbane.

The wreckage lay undiscovered for 49 years until a park ranger stumbled on it in 1994 where it remains as a monument to the servicemen onboard who passed away. Kroombit Tops National Park is also home to the critically endangered Kroombit Tinkerfrog of which there are thought to be less than 150 in existence.

B-24D Liberator Bomer, Beautiful Betsy, Kroombit Tops National Park, Gladstone. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

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12. Main Range National Park, Brisbane

Main Range National Park stands high and mighty just a 90-minute’ drive from Brisbane and lies within the World Heritage Gondwana Rainforest.

While many national parks boast outstanding walking tracks, Main Range National Park takes the cake thanks to the luxe Scenic Rim Trail experience.

The six-day all-inclusive guided trek winds through the Scenic Rim and parts of Main Range National Park stopping overnight at a number of Spicers lodge and cabin accommodation including Spicers Hidden Vale and Spicers Peak Lodge.

For those wanting to tackle just a section of the trail, shorter walks are available.

national parks - aerial view of mountain range and accommodation

Aerial view of Spicers Peak Lodge, Main Range National Park, Scenic Rim Trail. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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13. Chillagoe-Mungo National Park, Cairns & Great Barrier Reef

Created more than 400 million years, the extraordinary limestone rock formations and caves of Chillagoe-Mungo National Park hold important natural and cultural significance.

Ranger-guided tours inside the caves showcase the magnificent hanging stalactites, stalagmites, and flowstones that have formed due to dissolving limestone.

The National Park is also home to Aboriginal rock art galleries that can be accessed on various walking trails.

The site was visited by Hollywood heartthrob Zac Efron during the filming of the Netflix series, Down to Earth with Zac Efron.

national parks - family exploring a cave

Family exploring a cave on a ranger-guided Trezkinn Cave Tour at Chillagoe. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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14. Conondale National Park, Sunshine Coast

Take a drive over the hinterland range of the Sunshine Coast to find an effervescent swimming hole the locals have been keeping secret for years.

Booloumba Creek in the Conondale National Park takes natural colour palettes to a whole new level as the freshwater creek blends bright turquoise with deep emerald.

There are a number of camping spots throughout the national park (permit required) and a network of walking trails, of which the Booloumba Falls walk leads to a cascading waterfall and swimming spot.

National parks - huge tree trunk

Figtree Walk, Conondale National Park, Sunshine Coast. Photo: Janelle Lugge/Shutterstock.

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15. Paluma Range National Park, Townsville

Paluma Range National Park sits in the mountain range north of Townsville and is considered the southern entrance to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

The traditional owners of the Paluma Ranges are the Nywaigi Aboriginal People and the Indigenous name for the area is Munan Gumburu, meaning ‘misty mountain’, an appropriate name given the area is often blanketed in a soft cloud of mist.

Take some time to explore this national park by staying overnight at Hidden Valley Cabins.

Walkers and hikers can hit various hiking trails through the rainforest to streams and waterfalls, while peddlers looking to push the limits can enter the Paluma Push, an action-packed event combining the thrill of mountain bike racing with a vibrant festival atmosphere.

national parks - woman sitting beside a waterfall

Small Crystal Creek, Paluma Range National Park. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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Other notable lesser-known national parks:

Log onto queensland.com and start planning your next Queensland national park adventure today.

Content submitted by Tourism and Events Queensland.

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Darran takes photographers for a walk on the wild side

Darran Leal has locked eyes with lions in Africa and anacondas in the Amazon but facing his wife’s stare as he returned from a K’gari (Fraser Island) expedition with a salt-ridden car was more daunting.

“Don’t tell Julia,” Darran Leal called out as the tyres of their 4WD sink lower into the sand.

Ruing his decision to stop five seconds too long on the island’s boggy beach, for the sake of a better photo, Darran asked his passengers to honour the old adage “What happens on tour, stays on tour.”

Too late – this photojournalist was already onboard.

Darran had Buckley’s chance of escaping Julia’s salt patrol anyway. The self-confessed clean fanatic was wise to her husband’s ways and waited with fresh water and towels in hand for his return.

She was well rewarded for her efforts with early morning cups of tea before he headed off on more photographic adventures.

Darran and Julia own and run Safari Wise Australia, a licensed travel agency specialising in photography tours and workshops in areas as far away as USA, Africa, South America and beyond.

Since February alone Darran has been to Norfolk Island, Tasmania, Kimberley and Fraser Island. Cape Town (South Africa) and Namibia (South-west Africa), Bhutan (Mountain Kingdom), Wild West (USA) and Yellowstone National Park (USA) will fill the remainder of the year.

 

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Walking on the Wild Side - bird with oyster

Pied Oyster Catcher on K’gari (Fraser Island).

BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Catching up with Darren on K’gari (Fraser Island) during the 9th annual Bird Week in May 2010, the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year said his work had been published around the world and used in books, magazines and commercial products.

He has appeared on television several times and has been commissioned by Qantas, Warner Brothers, the Qld Government, Australia Post, Steve Parish Publishing and many other companies, and published six of his own books.

“My life has never been one of sitting around and waiting for things to happen,” the former Qld National Parks and Wildlife Service photographer said.

“Rather, I get out and explore, touch, catch, view, experience and savour every unique moment. I don’t specialise in one area but shoot everything from the smallest insect to the grandest landscape or unique culture.”

Walking on the Wild Side - man with camera on beach

Photographer Darran Leal on K’gari (Fraser Island)

 

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Keep it simple, says Darran

Darran’s widespread success suggests complex techniques are at work but they are surprisingly simple.

“I take the KISS (Keep It Simple Shooter) principle seriously,” he told shutterbugs attending his week-long workshop on Fraser Island.

“We have the technology now – just understand light and metering and let the camera do work.”

Darran said most of his stunning images had been taken with hand-held cameras, using the same techniques he learned 30 years ago.

The limited use of tripods frees him to capture fleeting moments at the blink of an eye.

Getting the images from idea to print or canvas doesn’t happen overnight, however.

He and Julia, a travel consultant of 28 years, spend months or sometimes years researching remote regions for possible images before Darran takes to the field and returns to process, catalogue and print the results.

“The most gratifying aspect of my work – after all of the expense of equipment and travel and the many hours in the field – is to hear someone else enjoying that same split second with me.”

Darran’s passion for photography is infectious.

(The former) group general manager at the island’s Kingfisher Bay and Eurong resorts, Ivor Davies, is one of his converts.

Ivor said he had little photography experience until Darran started running workshops during the annual island Bird Week, attended by bird watchers from throughout Australia.

The artist and former military chef bought some of Darran’s “hand-me-down” camera gear and has become an expert in the field.

He now presents photography sessions for birdwatchers and joins Darran’s excursions, driving a 4WD and helping students with their work … and serving up tea, coffee, biscuits and muffins during the breaks.

Every year Darran and Ivor devote their time throughout the week to presenting theory sessions, helping camera buffs spot birds and wildlife at the Kingfisher Resort and leading tours through the island’s rainforests and along beaches where opportunities to capture unique and creative images abound.

Travelling in teams was certainly handy at this year’s event – particularly when one driver, despite his vast experience trekking through the world’s most remote wilderness areas, stopped five seconds too long on wet beach sand.

Watching the towing was all part of the island’s 4WD experience and offered Darran’s students yet another great photo opportunity – not to be used as evidence, of course.

For more information on Darran Leal’s World Photo Adventures and workshops visit https://worldphotoadventures.com.au/

First published Fraser Coast Chronicle, May 29, 2010.
The name Fraser Island has been updated to K’gari (Fraser Island) to reflect the island’s renaming to its original name in September 2021. 

 

Walking on the Wild Side - bird on a branch

Red-browed Finch.

 

Where is K’gari (Fraser Island)?

You will find K’gari (Fraser Island) off the southeast coast of the Wide Bay-Burnett region, about 300 kilometres north of Queensland’s capital city, Brisbane.

The best way to get there is to take a barge from Rainbow Beach or River Heads at Hervey Bay.

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Looking for inspiration?

If you are looking for your next K’gari (Fraser Island) adventure, check out my blog on discovering the island’s beauty here.

 

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Discover The Beauty of K’gari (Fraser Island)

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, it’s tough to find a place that lets you truly switch off and unwind.

Thankfully, the tranquil beauty of the World Heritage-listed K’gari (Fraser Island) offers the perfect place to recharge and relax.

As the world’s largest sand island, K’gari (Fraser Island) is undoubtedly a genuine paradise.

In fact, ‘Paradise’ is the literal translation of the island’s name, K’gari!

Alongside the breathtaking beauty, the island also offers a wonderful array of attractions for visitors, making it popular with tourists from throughout the world.

K'gari (Fraser Island - Forest

 

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A brief history of K’gari

The Traditional Owners of K’gari are the Butchulla people, with historians estimating that they have lived amongst the stunning landscape for upwards of 50,000 years.

Having always focused on care and respect for nature, the Butchulla people continue to live in harmony amongst the seasons, land, and sea today.

The 166,000-hectare island is a place of natural beauty, with the stunning coastline, rainforests, sand dunes, and perched lakes slowly forming over thousands of years.

For visitors today, the region is a space to escape the busy world, switch off their phones, and connect to the world.

K'gari (Fraser Island) - Nautalis Shell

The best things to do on K’gari

As one of the best tourist spots in Australia, K’gari (Fraser Island) is packed with a vast array of cultural activities suitable for all the family.

Some of the most popular include:

1. Take a trip to Lake McKenzie

While the island is surrounded by incredible beaches, a trip to Lake McKenzie should be on everyone’s list. Formed thousands of years ago, this unique lake features sand that is 98% silica, which means it is not only the whitest sand you will ever see, but it also reflects the sunlight, ensuring it remains cool to touch.

This unique sand also offers increased filtration of rainwater, helping to give the water the iconic azure colour recognised across the globe.

2. Check out the eastern sand dunes

Taking a trip to Eli Creek on the Eastern side of the island is the perfect opportunity to see the stunning sand dunes, and the incredible coloured sand the region offers.

Thanks to the leaching of oxides, each grain of sand on K’gari comes in an array of different colours with 72 shades found across the island.

3. Absorb the views from Indian Head

For thousands of years, the Traditional Owners of K’gari have climbed the island’s most northerly point, Indian Head, to take in the gorgeous viewpoints.

Arguably one of the best views on the entire island, Indian Head offers stunning sights across not only the land but across the sea, too, where it is not uncommon to see humpback whales.

4. Visit the rainforests

Driving from Eurong Beach along to Kingfisher Bay will reveal the stunning rainforest, the only place in the world where tall forests grow on sand dunes!

Growing to great heights, these trees have been growing for thousands of years and walking through them is an experience you’ll remember for a lifetime.

5. Take a trip through history at the Cultural Centre

Fun for the whole family, the Fraser Coast Cultural Centre gives takes visitors through the incredible history of the island, educating them on everything from the UNESCO-listed beaches to the countless wildlife that calls K’gari home.

Where is K’gari?

You’ll find K’gari (Fraser Island) off the southeast coast of the Wide Bay-Burnett region.

The best way to get there is to take a barge from Rainbow Beach or River Heads at Hervey Bay, about 300 kilometres north of Queensland’s capital city, Brisbane.

 

NEED ACCOMMODATION AT K’GARI (FRASER ISLAND)? VISIT BOOKING.COM

 

FEATURE PHOTO: The famous Maheno shipwreck located just north of Happy Valley on K’gari (Fraser Island) was driven ashore during a cyclone in 1935. Shutterstock

FIND OUT WHEN AND WHERE TO SPOT HUMPBACK WHALES

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***Jocelyn Magazine is a proud affiliate of Booking.com. Clicking one of its links on this website will reward us with a small finder’s fee. It’s an easy way to show support for our team and our mission. Plus, every bit counts towards creating more awesome content for you to enjoy! ***

Attention travellers: Are you looking for a K’gari adventure?

It’s no secret that K’gari (Fraser Island) is one of Australia’s top tourist destinations, and as such the world’s largest sand island is well-advertised across the world for adventure.

But when 9-year-old Hayden gasped in awe of his K’gari (Fraser Island) adventure, you could be sure it came with a child-like honesty and conviction.

Fraser Island adventure is simply the best, says Hayden

“This is the best trip ever!” Hayden exclaimed after just one night at Eurolie on Fraser Island, a place also known as K’gari by the traditional owners.

Now, you might think Hayden’s experience with holidays might be limited since he’s nine years of age, but my second grandson has been around a ridge or three.

He’s slept under the stars at Charleville, Goondiwindi, Gympie, Noosa, Airlie Beach, plus a few other places, courtesy of his mum and dad’s “Taj Mahal” of camper trailers.

But sleeping in the games room of a two-story house next to his big brother and with a pool table, a stack of games and bathroom, all within easy reach, was simply the best.

After walking up the internal stairs that lead to a spacious lounge room with another television and more games, plus three bedrooms and another two bathrooms, we had one excited lad.

Then there was the breakfast table, dining table, huge open-plan kitchen with a walk-in pantry and fridge that we’d stocked with goodies, and a large island bench with four bar stools.

Looking through the wall-to-wall windows, we could see across a timber deck to a forest with trees that teased us with branches gently swaying enough to reveal glimpses of the ocean beyond.

 

Fraser Island Kookaburra

A kookaburra visits Eurolie on High a Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia.

 

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Discovering wildlife so close

Kookaburras sat in the deck’s timber railings, so close we could almost pat them if we dared. Not us, though – we valued our fingers!

From the deck, we also spotted the occasional goanna foraging for food in the forest’s undergrowth and heard possums in the treetops at night.

Eurolie on High is nestled amongst tall red gum and paperbark trees, towards the top of Kingfisher Heights, just a few kilometres behind Kingfisher Bay Resort.

The home has an air-conditioner but with cool sea breezes and living areas that are cool in summer and warm in winter, there’s little need for its use.

Our accommodation, the holiday home of Kevin and Sandra Alexander, was our base for a week of adventure on Fraser Island.

Hayden travelled there with his dad, mum and three siblings, who were just as excited as he but not as vocal.

Adventure to remember

A barge carried their Toyota Prado from Inskip Point to the eastern side of the island where they drove along 75 Mile Beach to Eurong Beach Resort, and then across the island to Kingfisher Bay Resort.

A friend and I also came by a barge that took us from Riverheads to the jetty near Kingfisher Bay Resort.

Over the next few days, we visited iconic places including Lake McKenzie, which is famous pure white silica sand and crystal clear waters.

We also went to Eli Creek, where about four million litres of clear freshwater are pumped into the ocean every hour, and the famous Maheno Shipwreck just north of Happy Valley on 75 Mile Beach.

The kids were even lucky enough to spot some wild dingoes, from the safety of the Prado, wandering along 75 Mile Beach.

Our week was short but wonderfully eventful and one to be remembered for a long time to come.

Fraser Island - Eurolie on High

Eurolie on High, Kingfisher Bay Resort, K’Gari (Fraser Island), Queensland

***

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K’gari (Fraser Island): ‘This land is our land’

Cheers and tears of jubilation filled a temporary federal courtroom on Fraser Island (K’gari) on October 24, 2014,  as Justice Berna Collier officially recognised the Butchulla people as the island’s native title holders.

It was an emotional day for the 450 Butchulla people who gathered to witness the historic occasion.

Butchulla elder Fiona Foley said the decision had been 18 years in the making.

“We’re very excited to finally get this recognition and see so many Butchulla people here at once,” Aunty Fiona said.

“I never thought this day would happen in my lifetime.”

The Native Title Consent Determination recognised the ongoing traditional laws and customs of the Butchulla people, while also specifying the title rights and interests over about 1640 square kilometers of the national park.

Excluded zones include Kingfisher Bay and Eurong resorts, Orchid Beach and Happy Valley.

Some of the Butchulla people’s rights and interests included maintaining areas of cultural significance, teaching, and participating in rituals and ceremonies.

Queensland South Native Title Services CEO Kevin Smith said this momentous occasion closed the chapter on a long struggle for legal recognition and opened another that involved the management and leverage of recognised legal rights.

“Today is a day of celebration but the work starts tomorrow with what the Butchulla people will do with their title,” Mr Smith said.

“It could be as simple as coming for song and dance or it could be working on eco-tourism.”

Mr Smith said a decision on the island’s name would be made sometime in the future.

“Locals might still know it as Fraser Island but affectionately the traditional name K’Gari needs to catch on,” Mr Smith said.

COURIER MAIL PHOTO GALLERY

Son says Aunty Olga here in spirit

AUNTY Olga Miller’s spirit was sure to be smiling over yesterday’s proceedings, according to her proud son Glen Miller.

“I’m a member of the Wondunna clan and we’re in the middle of Wondunna country now,” he said.

“Mum filed the first native title claim on Fraser Island 18 years ago and the Butchulla clan filed a year later.

“We’ve been waiting 18 years for this decision, so it’s a pretty historic day.

“As the judge said, it’s sad that some of those elders are not here today to share this with us but I’m sure they’re with us in spirit.

“Ever since I was a child and could understand English, Mum talked about the island and what it meant.

“Finally Butchulla people are recognised as traditional owners. I know it’s symbolic but symbolism means a lot to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike.

“This decision gives us a foothold on which to go forward.

“Unfortunately the title claim process is ridiculously lengthy, so to finally get this under such difficult circumstances makes today even more special.”

The late Aunty Olga Miller was a well-known Fraser Coast historian, author and artist. Her work is featured in many of the Fraser Coast’s public places.

Fraser Island native title agreement rights

The Butchulla People’s Native Title Consent Determination includes non-exclusive rights to:

  • Access, be present on, move about on, and travel over the area;
  • Camp, and live temporarily in the area as part of camping, and for that purpose to build temporary shelters;
  • Hunt, fish and gather on the land and waters of the area for personal, domestic, and non-commercial communal purposes;
  • Take, use, share, and exchange natural resources from the land and waters for personal, domestic, and non-commercial communal purposes;
  • Take and use the water for personal, domestic, and non-commercial communal purposes;
  • Conduct, and participate in, rituals and ceremonies, including those relating to initiation, birth, and death;
  • Be buried on and bury native title holders within the area;
  • Teach the physical, cultural, and spiritual attributes of the area;
  • Hold meetings in the area;
  • Light fires for personal and domestic purposes including cooking, but not for the purpose of hunting or clearing vegetation.

Originally published in the Fraser Coast Chronicle, Saturday, October 25, 2014. Photos and story by Jocelyn Watts.

***

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