K’gari (Fraser Island) World Heritage Area

Sandy Cape Photo credit: Ⓒ Luke Simpson

We recognise the traditional custodians of the K’gari (Fraser Island) World Heritage area (K’gari), the Butchulla people, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

Celebrating 30 years of K’gari World Heritage listing 1992–2022

The 30th anniversary of K’gari’s inscription on the World Heritage list is acknowledged on 7 December 2022.

Read about the K’gari Creation Story.

    K’gari (Ph: Gar- ree) is the home of the Butchulla people, who continue to hold strong links with the land, sea and sky. Their association to their Country was recognised through the determination of Native Title in 2014 and 2019. The continued custodianship of the Butchulla people is critical to the conservation of nature and culture on this internationally recognised island.

    UNESCO logo

    This World Heritage property covers 181,851 hectares including K’gari and several small islands off the island's west coast. It is the world’s largest sand island—123km long and 25km at its widest point—and provides an outstanding example of ongoing biological, hydrological and geomorphological processes.

    The scale of rainforest vegetation on the island’s coastal dune systems is very unique. K’gari boasts the world’s largest unconfined aquifer on a sand island and is also home to half of the world’s perched freshwater dune lakes.

    The island is a place of exceptional beauty, characterised by its long beaches, tall rainforest, coastal heaths, freshwater lakes and ever-evolving sand dunes.

    K’gari was inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1992 and meets three of the ten World Heritage criteria:

    1. Containing superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional beauty and aesthetic importance
    2. Outstanding examples representing major stages of earth’s history
    3. Outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes.
    Open larger image

    Wathumba Creek

    Photo credit: Ⓒ Luke Simpson

    Butchulla people

    For thousands of generations Butchulla people have lived in harmony with the seasons and the land and sea, maintaining a balance between spiritual, social and family connections.

    Butchulla people want their messages of care and respect for the land to reach all people visiting the world heritage area. As visitors explore K'gari they will see signs carrying a ‘welcome to country’ message from the Butchulla:

    Galangoor djali! Galangoor.

    Butchulla bilam, midiru K’gari galangoor nyin djaa.

    Ngalmu galangoor Biral and Biralgan bula nyin djali!

    Wanya nyin yangu, wanai djinang djaa.

    Which means:

    Good day. Welcome! Butchulla people, Traditional Owners of K’gari, welcome you to Country. May all our good spirits be around you throughout the day. Wherever you go leave only footprints.

    Learn more about Butchulla culture.

    Three Butchulla Lores

    1. Minyang galangoor gu, djaa kalim baya-m (What is good for the land must come first)
    2. Minyang waa nyinang, waa bunmalee dhama-n (Do not touch or take anything that does not belong to you)
    3. Wangou nyin gamindu biralunbar, nyin wama-n (If you have plenty you must share)

    Values of the World Heritage area

    K’gari is a striking landscape of sand-dunes and perched freshwater lakes. It is also the only place on Earth where subtropical rainforests grow entirely on sand. The island is home to long stretches of sandy beaches, rainbow-coloured sands, rare frogs and a striking diversity of birds.

    The island includes over 250km of sandy beaches with long uninterrupted sweeps of ocean beach, more than 40km of strikingly coloured sand cliffs, as well as spectacular dune blowouts, tall rainforests on sand, dune lakes and a mosaic of landscapes.

    A full description of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, including the criteria and attributes, can be found on the Australian Government website.

    Did you know?

    K’gari’s sand dunes are some of the oldest in the world, and over half of the world’s perched freshwater lakes are also found here.

    Lake Boomanjin is the largest ‘perched’ lake in the world and covers 200 hectares and sits 130 metres above sea level. it is regarded as an outstanding natural phenomenon by the World Heritage Committee.

    Wanggoolba Creek is home to the magnificent giant King Fern—a relic ancestor from about 200 million years ago. It reputedly has the largest fronds of any fern on Earth—up to 8m in length.

    Valley of the Giants contains trees more than 1,200 years old and greater than 4m across the trunk, all growing in sand.

    Giant Satinay trees, resistant to marine borers, were logged and used to build the Suez Canal, Urangan Pier and homes in the local region, as well as rebuild the London Docks after World War II.

    Open larger image

    Lake Boorangoora (Lake McKenzie)

    Photo credit: Ⓒ Luke Simpson

    Open larger image

    Freshwater lake

    Management of the World Heritage area

    Management arrangements for K’gari involve the Australian Government, the Queensland Government and the Butchulla people. The Australian Government funds a dedicated executive officer and the operation of an advisory committee, administered through the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation. Day to day management is coordinated through a partnership between the Butchulla people (through the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation, the Butchulla Land and Sea rangers and the Butchulla Native Title Aboriginal Corporation) and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

    Most of the World Heritage area is contained within the K’gari (Fraser Island) Great Sandy National Park. This website provides important visitor information and park safety updates.

    Advisory committees

    The K’gari (Fraser Island) World Heritage Area committee was appointed on 11 November 2021 and has equal representation of Butchulla people, scientific and community members and an independent Chair.

    See the Terms of Reference for the K’gari (Fraser Island) World Heritage Advisory Committee (PDF, 370.9KB) .

    Advisory committees for World Heritage areas provide advice to the Australian and Queensland government Ministers responsible for World Heritage matters and management agencies. They also assist in meeting obligations under the World Heritage Convention and the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999These obligations include identifying, protecting, conserving, presenting and transmitting the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage property to future generations.

    If you are interested in joining our mailing list to be informed about future opportunities to be involved in the advisory committees or for any further information, please email world.heritage@des.qld.gov.au.


    Following each advisory committee meeting, the Chair prepares a communique for the relevant Queensland and Commonwealth Ministers responsible for World Heritage matters. Communiques outline high-level discussions and key recommendations of advisory committees.

    Prior to 2020 there were two separate advisory committees—a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) and a Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC).

    For further information, please email world.heritage@des.qld.gov.au.