HIDDEN GEM: K'GARI FRASER ISLAND
Updated: Jan 3
OK, calling the world's largest sand island a 'hidden gem' might be a stretch - but there are certainly some lesser known wonders on this 120km long slice of paradise.
The major attractions of Fraser Island hold the top spots for good reason - no matter how many times I go back, I'll never tire of seeing the crystalline waters of Lake McKenzie, floating down Eli Creek and visiting the wreck of the TSS Maheno.
However, main tourist stops aside, some of my favourite spots on the island are further afield requiring your own 4WD and subsequently hidden away from the crowds.
K'gari is the only place in the world where you can find rainforest growing in sand - so I have a special fondness for areas such as Valley of the Giants, Central Station and Pile Valley.
These locations escaped the island's extensive logging history (from the 1860s all the way up until 1991) and therefore harbour some of the most ancient forests on the island.
And while you've made the trek inland, I highly recommend driving across to the west coast if you have time - Woralie or Wathumba are beautiful and very different to the windy eastern beaches.
If you're a confident 4WDer and feeling more adventurous, make your way through the renowned Ngkala Rocks and drive a further 20km (approx.) to Sandy Cape - the spectacular northernmost point of the island with massive rolling dunes.
Time the tides right (or even better, camp the night) and you can enjoy a sunset over the water - always a treat for those of us visiting from the eastern mainland of Australia.
Keep an eye out for endemic wildlife such as dingoes, other mammals, reptiles and birds on your travels - if you're lucky, breaching whales and other marine life can even be seen from the shoreline.
With K'gari only being a short barge ride from the Australian mainland (via River Heads or Inskip Point), make sure to put this World Heritage listed island on your 4x4 bucket list!