Fraser Island is situated off the south-eastern coast of Queensland, Australia, separated from the mainland by the Great Sandy Strait and Hervey Bay. Fraser Island is the world's largest sand island. It is about 120 km (75 miles) long and up to 22 km (14 miles) wide. The island's magnificent sandhills, which are up to 400,000 years old, rise to heights of about 240 m (790 ft). Growing on the sand dunes there is dense rainforest with an amazing variety of tree and plant types, many of which are only to be found here. Hoop, kauri, blackbutt, and satinay trees are common. There are more than 200 freshwater lakes on the island, some of which are perched high above sea level and some offering excellent swimming.
Prior to European occupation the island was home to several thousand Aborigines, driven off into missions to make way for the logging activities, now ceased. There are well-preserved tidal marshes, subtropical rainforests and communities of mangroves on the western side of the island, and heaths and open forests on the east. Humpback whales are sometimes seen offshore in Hervey Bay. Much of the island is protected as the Great Sandy National Park and in 1992 the park was added to the World Heritage List.
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