To walk among giants

Linda Lees

Londrigan, Near Wangaratta, Australia

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Central Station at Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island, allows visitors to walk along the boardwalk among massive, ancient trees growing in sand. The mottled tree at front left is a Kauri Pine. With such a dense canopy creating low light, photography without a tripod is a challenge. As there are no sealed roads on Fraser Island and 4wd vehicles are required, I visited on a bus tour.
Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia
Canon EOS 1000D

Following is a bit more information about Fraser Island from the website http://www.fraserisland.net/index.html

Fraser Island, off the coast of Queensland, Australia stretches over 123 kilometres in length and 22 kilometres at its widest point. With an area of 184 000 hectares it is the largest sand island in the world.

Fraser Island’s World Heritage listing ranks it with Australia’s Uluru, Kakadu and the Great Barrier Reef. Fraser Island is a precious part of Australia’s natural and cultural heritage, it is protected for all to appreciate and enjoy.

Fraser Island has a wide variety of plant communities growing in sand and ranging from coastal heaths to subtropical rainforests.

Majestic rainforests can be found in the gullies of the central high dunes which are protected from winds and have a plentiful supply of freshwater and greater amounts of nutrients. These are centuries old and home to the living fossil fern (Angiopteris evecta), numerous piccabeen palms Archontophoenix cunninghamiana) and carrol (Backhousia myrtifolia).

Competition for light is intense in rainforest areas resulting in tall, straight stemmed trees that have few branches until they reach the upper canopy where their branches spread and help to form the dense canopy that shades the lower levels. This canopy prevents the dense under storey growth that may be seen in other plant communities.

The dominant trees in these rainforest areas are the Fraser Island satinay (Syncarpia hillii) and brush box (Lephostemon confertus). Often emerging above this 50 metre canopy are hoop pines (Araucaria cunninghamii) and kauri pines (Agathis robusta) as well as creepers, massive birds’ nest ferns, elkhorns and, occasionally, native orchids.

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