Meghan will be taking a break from official events when the Royal couple arrive on Fraser Island. (AAP Image: Dan Himbrechts)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will today arrive in Queensland where they will spend a day and a night on the world’s largest sand island, known for its lush rainforests, rolling beaches and wild dingos.
- Prince Harry is on Fraser Island where forest is being dedicated to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy conservation program
- The overnight trip is expected to be more relaxed than other engagements
- Meghan will travel to Fraser Island with her husband, then take a rest
Kensington Palace has confirmed that Meghan will be taking a break from official engagements on Fraser, but Prince Harry will be travelling around the island as part of the dedication of the site to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC) conservation program.
The overnight trip is likely to be much more laid back than other appearances, with the island’s patchy mobile phone reception and low population expected to mean fewer public interactions.
Businesses and tourism bodies were hoping for a boost from the Royal couple’s visit to the Fraser Coast, which was expected to bring thousands of people to the area.
The royal couple will traverse 75 Mile Beach and are expected to visit the wreck of the SS Maheno. (Supplied: CM Ink)
The couple are spending most of their 16-day trip in Sydney for the Invictus Games for wounded, sick and injured veteran soldiers.
However, crowds have come out in droves to catch a glimpse of the pair as they travelled to Melbourne and Dubbo in central New South Wales over the past week.
In Dubbo, a five-year-old stole the show by hugging the pair and stroking Prince Harry’s ginger beard.
It is the Royal couple’s first visit to Australia since their marriage in May, and interest reached fever pitch when Kensington Palace revealed Meghan was pregnant while the couple were in Sydney.
Fraser visit follows in Charles’ footsteps
Harry’s father Prince Charles stayed on Fraser Island — known as K’gari by traditional owners — at the end of his official tour in 1994.
The island is famous for its long beaches, freshwater lakes, rolling sand dunes and more than 206,000 acres of protected forest.
Fraser is also known for its native dingos, with an estimated 200 on the island roaming in packs of around 10.
Packs of wild dingoes roam Fraser Island and occasionally threaten human visitors. (Audience submitted: Bruno Saggin)
So far this year, there have been 13 reports of threatening interactions between people and dingoes on Fraser Island.
In October, a dingo was put down after biting a woman and a child in two separate incidents and acting aggressively toward another woman.
A stuffed dingo awaits the royal couple at Kingfisher Bay on Fraser Island. (www.kingfisherbay.com)
But resort owners have a toy dingo waiting to greet the Royal couple on arrival.
Prince Harry will take part in a traditional welcome to country smoking ceremony and unveil a plaque for the dedication of the forests of K’gari to the QCC.
The island’s satinay trees, known for their hardiness in water, were used to build the London docks in the 1930s.
The Duke of Sussex will visit one of Fraser Island’s iconic lakes, then travel to the beach that was used as a training base for the Australian Z Special Unit during World War II.
At that time, the island became an elite training ground where soldiers undertook jungle and amphibious training in preparation for missions into Asia, including Singapore harbour.
He will then take a boat ride to the Kingfisher Bay Jetty.
Crocodile and emu on the Royal menu
Senior ranger Ann Bauer said she was confident Fraser Island would become a favourite Australian destination for the Royal couple.
“We believe Meghan is a huge foodie, and interest in local produce and paddock to plate dining … in our case it might be rainforest to plate,” she said.
“Bush tucker is on the menu — even kangaroo, crocodile and emu.”
Ms Bauer said when Prince Charles stayed on Fraser island the resort staff helped him do a “bait and switch” with the 120-strong media pack.
“The official car moved into position outside the resort complex, while their Range Rover snuck out on a closed track onto the island,” she said.
“Prince Charles was able to head out onto the sand tracks and have a day incognito as a tourist, with just his personal surgeon, head of security and a driver.”
Ms Bauer said they cruised along 75 Mile Beach, through the rainforest and Pile Valley, and walked into the secluded Basin Lake, where Prince Charles went for a swim.
“During the day he expressed interest in the ecology of the forest, learnt about the waste treatment system and shared stories of similar environmental initiatives on some of his properties,” she said.
On Tuesday, Prince Harry and Meghan are scheduled to travel by charter flight to Fiji’s capital of Suva, where they will embark on a three-day visit.
The couple will then visit Tonga before heading back to Sydney for the final day of the Invictus Games and then head to New Zealand.