Fake crocodile prompts tourism scare on world’s 'most dangerous' beach

Fake crocodile prompts tourism scare on world’s 'most dangerous' beach

Officials hit back at British media report, declaring Fraser Island safe
Fraser Island
Do these sands belong to the world's most dangerous beach, or is it a crock?

Journalists are busy these days -– constant deadlines and industry fat-trimming often places high demands on their time. But let’s not make excuses for mediocrity.

A report published in London’s Telegraph News listing “the world’s most dangerous beaches” included Fraser Island due to its apparent crocodiles. It was labeled a “certified no-go zone.”

It’s turned out to be a crock of lies

Tourism Queensland boss Anthony Hayes told www.news.com the report was “bollocks.”

It seems its source was a bunch Korean tourists, whose photo of a fake, sun-weltered, paint-losing, Styrofoam croc was snapped on the white sands of Fraser Island in 2006. It was given a comical billing in the local Fraser Coast Chronicle.

But with Photoshop, on a slow news day, half a world away and years later, anything can happen.

Fraser, which at 1,840 square kilometers is the world's largest sand island, is also threatened by sharks and box jellyfish, according to the Telegraph News' report.

The croc’s a fake, but the dingoes are real

Fraser IslandA Fraser Island dingo -- is that a croc in the background?There are around 100 of the purest bred dingoes on the island, less than in former times as many were culled after a young tourist was mauled in 2001.

So it's best to get it right: dingoes on Fraser Island and crocodiles in northern Queensland.

It’s best not to feed or photograph the sandy-coated scavengers, but if they attack, tourists are advised to defend themselves aggressively, advises www.boxatrix.com.

Queensland bites back

Queensland's Central Telegraph has returned serve. The paper allayed the fears of “looting Londoners” and “pasty-white, long-suffering Poms”, stating that a visit to the world’s largest sand island would be croc-free.

The paper advised tourists to avoid snakes, spiders and dingoes, and they will reciprocate.

Even the Queensland Tourism Minister, Jan Jarratt, has weighed in: "It would be very unusual to see crocodiles south of Gladstone (300 kilometers north the island),” she told www.news.com. “And I think people can travel to Fraser Island safe in the knowledge that of the many wonders they'll see, crocodiles probably won't be among them.”

Oh, dear. The journalists are lying and the politicians are setting the record straight.

Fraser Island has more than 100 freshwater lakes and trees 200-meters above sea level, growing from sand dunes. Travel to the UNESCO World Heritage Site from Hervey Bay by ferry, or Inskip Point for four-wheel drivers requiring a barge, then find one of many camp sites for some water sports and in-season whale watching. www.fraserisland.net