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Fraser Island Cathedrals

Fraser Island Cathedrals

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The unique topographical gem of Fraser Island, dubbed as “Cathedrals” or “Pinnacles” is visually stunning
The unique topographical gem of Fraser Island, dubbed as “Cathedrals” or “Pinnacles” is visually stunning

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Published by: Fraser Island Discovery on Jun 06, 2012
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05/13/2014

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Fraser Island "Cathedrals" - A Feast of Multi-coloured Breath-taking Sand Cliffs

The unique topographical gem of Fraser Island, dubbed as “Cathedrals” or “Pinnacles” is visually stunning at 200 metres tall, amidst the natural wonders of this island-paradise found south of the Queensland state of Australia. These sand formations which are reminiscent of cathedrals in size (and beauty) are actually coloured sand cliffs that have been sculpted by the wind and rain blowing in and off the ocean. On aboriginal account, the Butchulla people believed that these iconic cliffs were permanently stained when the Gods brushed up against them. The Cathedrals are situated on 75 Mile Beach approximately 18 kilometres south of Indian Head. It is best accessed with 4WD vehicles for a safe drive and then jump out for a short climb to the top. The colours red, brown, yellow and orange are spectacular and are a feast to the eyes in the early morning light. The size of the cliff faces are a reminder of exactly how large the sand dunes are on Fraser Island. There are actually 72 different multi-coloured sands that occur on the island. The best coloured sands can also be seen along a 35km stretch of the ocean beach north of Happy Valley. The colour, layers and coffeerock all derive from concentrations of soluble minerals produced by hundreds of thousands of years of soil formation in the older and lower dunes. The rate of movement of the sand dunes each year depends on factors such as wind strength, the amount of moisture in the sand and plant colonization. These dunes will gradually stop moving when they reach areas protected from the winds.

Sandblows and Exploring Them Sandblows are the other major sand formation, caused by the gradual action of shifting sand across the island. These are formed when strong onshore winds break through the vegetation cover, driving sand from the eroding dunes. They engulf forests in their path, at rates up to 1m each year. At Lake Wabby, the deepest lake on the island, a massive sandblow is advancing steadily westward (up to three metres a year), gradually filling the lake in its path. This is a dramatic example of the way many of the island's high ridges were formed. More than 40 freshwater lakes, half the world’s perched lakes, is actually nestled among the island’s sand dunes. New sandblows can also form when the stabilising plant cover is damaged by fire and wind, walkers and vehicles.

Fraser Island Discovery: Fraser Island Tours - 186 Gympie Terrace, Noosaville QLD 4566

T

(07) 5449 0393, info@thediscoverygroup.com.au

The Knifeblade, just north of the wreck of the "Maheno", is the largest of the island's sandblows. There is a lookout that provides excellent views.

Why you must have to see them up-close? Jagged coloured sand cliffs, stunning sandblows, freshwater lakes, tall forests, wildflower heaths, magnificent rainforests and crystal-clear creeks, these are only some of the natural wonders that makes Fraser Island a memorable place to visit. You have many tours and Fraser Island great walks and 4WD tours to join. Ranging from short boardwalks through the rainforest, longer walks through sandblows and a variety of coastal woodland habitats to a hiking trail that takes in several of the Island's lakes, these walks allow you to truly see the Island and the diverse ecosystems it nurtures. Drive around (Cornwell's Break Road) and up to the ridge above the lake, where a short walk takes you to a splendid lookout offering a view of this barrage lake and the sandblow that is slowly engulfing it. During a full-day Coloured Sands and Rainforest 4WD tour, you have the chance to take a refreshing swim in the tranquil waters of Rainbow Beach and see the 200 metre high coloured sand dunes. Participate in a tour or four-wheel drive of a lifetime! Overall, the island’s perched lakes, immense beaches, sandblows and rainforest sand dunes are but an addition to the stunning Cathedrals at 75 Mile Beach which are amazingly colourful sand cliffs worth a glance. Fraser Island is the world's largest sand island and these breathtaking sand formations are an adventure fulfillment to try before they may actually disappear in the future.

Fraser Island Discovery: Fraser Island Tours - 186 Gympie Terrace, Noosaville QLD 4566

T

(07) 5449 0393, info@thediscoverygroup.com.au

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