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The Great Sandy Coastal Dune System

The Great Sandy Coastal Dune System – World Heritage doesn’t end with Fraser Island

K’gari, better known as Fraser Island, is undoubtedly the most popular destination on the Fraser Coast. However, just like the Cooloola Recreation Area, which we visit on our day tours, it is protected within the Great Sandy National Park.

The UNESCO has yet to decide on a proposal to extend the Fraser Island World Heritage Area to include the Cooloola section of the Great Sandy National Park, but even now, anyone who has seen both parts of the National Park can spot the similarities. The most obvious and important factor: the world’s oldest coastal dune system, created over 700,000 years ago. The proposed Great Sandy World Heritage Area would protect and highlight the value of one of the most complete coastal dune systems in the world.

The World Heritage nomination Great Sandy Cooloola sums up the most striking featured of Great Sandy:
“Covering approximately 239,OOOha the major geological elements of the region are the landmasses of Fraser Island and Cooloola. Fraser Island is 122km long, 5-25km wide and reaches 235m, the depth of the sand extending 30-60m below present sea level. Dunes on Cooloola reach 260m, cover 40km of coastline and extend 10km inland. Notable features are the sandmass aquifers, the dune lakes, the Noosa River system and associated plains lakes. The closed forests of Fraser Island and Cooloola, covering some 10,500ha of high dunes, largely distinguish these sandmasses.”

Another factor that is relevant for the unity of the region and its World Heritage nomination is the indigenous heritage: “Aboriginal people are thought to have first occupied the region about 40,000 years ago. Currently, the earliest date for the occupation of Fraser Island is 1,500-2,000 years, although it is possible that further archaeological work may reveal evidence of earlier occupation.”

If you don’t have time for a three-day trip to the island, you can experience a lot of the natural wonders that make Great Sandy so special elsewhere in the National Park. Join us on a Drop Bear day tour of the Cooloola Recreation Area and find out what makes this dune system so special.