Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia

©NASA

Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia.

The Great Sandy Strait is an estuary that separates the mainland coastline of the state of Queensland, Australia, from neighboring Fraser Island.

The mainland side of the Strait includes the city of Hervey Bay. The communities of Scarness, Booral, and Urangan are also part of the larger metropolitan area.

A small, vegetated island and shallow sand bars of the Great Sandy Strait are visible in this astronaut photograph from the International Space Station. A small, bright white exposure of sand is visible above the water level near the center of the image, while submerged sands appear as flowing, bright blue ribbons.

Hervey Bay was once a major freighting center for the sugar cane industry, but now the local economy is largely based on tourism, with whale watching a popular attraction. The estuary provides habitat for breeding fish, crustaceans, turtles, and other sea life, as well as a wide variety of birds--including wading species such as Eastern Curlews, Bat-tailed Godwits, and Pied Oystercatchers. Nearby Fraser Island is the world's largest sand island and a World Heritage site.

Note: Astronaut photograph ISS036-E-28444 was acquired on August 3, 2013, with a Nikon D3S digital camera using a 400 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center.

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