The Ultimate Fraser Island Guide

How does exploring the worlds largest sand island sound? To make it even more appealing throw in an abundance of Instagram worthy turquoise lakes, natural lazy-rivers, pristine beaches, lush rainforests and cool sites to explore! Not just this, but you are actually allowed to drive yourself, creating your own tracks all over the entire island. The main highway there is actually the beach that stretches the entire east coast (75-Mile Beach) (not a paved road in sight!) It’s no surprise that the local Aboriginal word for the island is K’gari, that’s paradise in English. After our journey, we have put together this Ultimate Guide to Fraser Island to hopefully help you with planning your own adventure!

Fraser Island might seem like it is just for 4WD’ers and campers, however, this amazing island has something for everyone, from the 4WD lovers to young kids and families. We drove ourselves when Oliver was 4 months old and to our surprise, he loved all the driving, as well as all the stops!



Top Tips

The following are a brief rundown of our Top Tips, however for the more detailed version check out our post here:

Top 14 Tips for Visiting Fraser Island

  1. Choose between driving yourself, going on a tour bus or a 4×4 tour. If driving yourself will be too expensive we highly recommend the 4×4 tours instead of the busses.
  2. Using a few techniques, hopefully, you won’t get your car stuck in the sand. Lower your tyre pressure, bring the right equipment in case of the need for self-recovery and drive to the conditions in 4WD mode.
  3. Stock up on food, water and petrol before coming. These items are available, albeit a limited range, from various general stores on the island. However they are very expensive, so try to bring as much with you as you can.
  4. Purchase a vehicle access permit and camping permit prior to visiting Fraser Island.
  5. Stay the night before close to your barge departure point to Fraser Island. This gives you maximum time by heading off early.
  6. Print out the tide times and commit to memory when is safe to drive. Also, try and plan your routes based on the tides. A general rule is not to drive on the beach within 2 hours either side of high tide incase of larger waves washing you out.
  7. Bring insect repellant, there’s plenty of March flies and mosquitos that will try to annoy you!
  8. Don’t swim in the ocean because of the sharks/jellyfish/crocodiles, stick to the lakes. Additionally, watch out for dingos on the mainland.
  9. Stay in one of the various dingo-fenced campsites on the island if you are staying with children.
  10. You don’t have to camp on the island. There are a few hotels, holiday home rentals and established campsites with pre-setup tents or cabins.
  11. Obey the law, there are police and they constantly check drivers for speeding or drink driving offences. Generally, the speed limits are 80 kph on the beach, or 40 kph camping zones along the beach. On the inland tracks, the speed limit is 30 kph.
  12. There is limited mobile phone reception, so print or screenshot any info you will want to take with you.
  13. Take a floatation device for floating up and down the natural lazy river ‘Eli Creek’.
  14. Enjoy a scenic flight over the island from a small plane that takes off and lands directly from 75-mile beach.

How to get to Fraser Island

 
Fraser Island is conveniently located just off the coast of South East Queensland, Australia not far from major airports. If road-tripping it’s a no-brainer to visit as it is located near loads of tourist destinations such as Noosa, the Gold Coast and Brisbane. If venturing to the island you have 3 options;

Manta Ray Barge – Departs Inskip Point (near Rainbow Beach)

Rainbow Beach is roughly 3.5 hours drive north of Brisbane, 1.5 Hours drive north of the Sunshine Coast or 1.5 Hours drive south of Hervey Bay.

Arguably the more convenient choice for many due to its pickup and drop-off locations, the Manta Ray Barge is also the cheapest option. It drops you off at Hook Point on Fraser Island, which once driven around the point you are on 75 Mile Beach.

It operates 365 days a year from 6.00 am to 5:15 pm, departing every 30 minutes. The journey across to the island takes roughly 10 minutes. Tickets can be purchased once you drive onto the boat and are not necessary to pre-book, simply wait in line with the rest of the cars. They are also happy to provide a free map of the island are tide charts.

The prices as of April 2019 are:

Car/4wd (including passengers) – $120.00 return
Car or 4wd + Trailer (up to 5 Metres) – $190.00 return
Car or 4wd + Trailer (5 Metres and up) – $220.00 return
Motorbikes – $50.00 return

You can find out more information here.

Fraser Island Barges – Departs River Heads (close to Hervey Bay)

River Heads is about 20 minutes drive from Hervey Bay. This barge operates to Wanggoolba Creek/Kingfisher Bay Resort on the western side of the island. Perfect if you are staying at the resort, wanting to start on the inland tracks or simply travelling from up north.

The Fraser Island Barge has a more strict timetable as follows;

Departure times from River Heads daily at: 6.45am, 9.00am, 12.30pm, 3.30pm and 6.45pm.
Departure times from Kingfisher Bay Resort at: 7.50 am, 10.30am, 2.00pm, 5.00pm and 8.30pm.

The prices as of April 2019 are:

Fares at time of publishing are:
Car/standard 4wd (Including driver only) – $200.00 return
Large 4wd (Including driver only) – $270.00 return
Trailer, camper, boat (up to 4 Metres) – $115.00 return
Trailer, camper, boat (up to 7 Metres) – $153.00 return
Motorbikes (including rider only) – $100.00 return
*$5.00 per extra vehicle passenger

You can purchase your tickets from the ferry ramp. You can find out more information here.

Fly direct with Air Fraser Island – Departs Sunshine Coast/Hervey Bay Airports

Of course, there is also the option to splurge if you have the means, flying directly onto one of the worlds few beach runways on 75 Mile Beach.

Air Fraser Island has a variety of packages available including flights/tours/hire cars/accommodation.

As of April 2019 a return flight and hire car for the day package cost $350 per person.

You can find out more information or make a booking here.


When to visit

Being on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Fraser Island is fairly warm year-round. November, December, January are generally the most popular being the hottest months of the lot averaging 30 degrees Celsius during the day. However realistically any time is a good time to visit. Spring is a bit cooler being around 24 degrees on most days, with cooler nights. Winters are generally clear skies with average temperatures of 18 degrees Celsius.

We visited during school holiday time and it was extremely busy, by avoiding these times you will likely have attractions to yourself or with much fewer people.


Must visit spots

Fraser Island - Lake Mckenzie1.  Lake Mckenzie

The jewel of Fraser Island would have to be Lake McKenzie. The vivid bright blue water and pure white sand feels like you have stepped foot into Instagram, but even better! For those searching for the perfect photos of your Australian adventure, this place satisfies a lot of the criteria!  Whether you’re there with the family and kids or by yourself, everyone is sure to love this picturesque beauty.

For a more in-depth guide on Lake Mckenzie check out the post below;

Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia

 

Champagne Pools - Fraser Island

2. Champagne Pools

No trip to Fraser Island could be complete without a trip to the Champagne Pools. These natural pools by the sea’s edge are filled with solar-heated ocean goodness and the best spot to spend a day! This is the only place recommended to swim in the ocean on the island in order to avoid the sharks.

 

For a more in-depth guide on Lake Mckenzie check out the post below;

Champagne Pools on Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia

 

 

3. Eli CreekEli Creek - Fraser Island

Two simple things to ensure you have fun for hours: a creek and a floating ring. It adds to the appeal when the location of the said creek is as picturesque as Fraser Island’s Eli Creek curving through the rainforest out to sea!

 

 

For a more in-depth guide on Lake Mckenzie check out the post below;

Eli Creek on Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia

 

 

SS Maheno - Fraser Island4. SS Maheno Shipwreck

The SS Maheno Shipwreck is definitely one of the coolest things on Fraser Island. This large wreck is one of few in the world sitting on the beach itself, so no diving required! However, every year more and more sand buries the ship, so you better hurry up and book a trip to Australia to see it!

 

For a more in-depth guide on Lake Mckenzie check out the post below;

SS Maheno Shipwreck on Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia

 

 

Central Station - Fraser Island5. Central Station

Ever been in a rainforest growing out of the sand? Nope? Then you should add Central Station on Fraser Island to your bucket list! You will feel like you have arrived in a tropical paradise, enormous ancient trees, stunning fernery and crystal clear rivers. Yep, this place has it all!

 

For a more in-depth guide on Lake Mckenzie check out the post below;

Central Station on Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia

 

Other notable mentions are

6. Lake  Birrabeen

Though not as insanely blue as Lake Mckenzie, this is a secluded pristine and clear lake.

7. Wanggoolba Creek

A recurring theme on Fraser Island is crystal clear water, and Wanggoolba Creeks water is no different. Flowing through the stunning rainforest at Central Station its an ideal swimming spot.

7. The Pinnacles

This rocky cliff outcrop is a unique site as you drive along the beach. The entire cliff is a deep orange colour and looks like something from Mars.

 

For a great map of everything on Fraser Island check this one out.


Fraser Island with Kids

Fraser Island is definitely an awesome spot for kids of ages and the perfect spot to bring everyone together in the great outdoors!

You’ve got all you need for a ripper holiday from the stunning beaches to the pristine swimming holes. The kids can swim and build sandcastles to their heart’s content, whilst fully getting in touch with nature in an idyllic setting! Plus with limited phone reception, it’s a great chance to give your kids a proper digital detox!!

We rode in the back with Ollie to watch how the car seat took the bumps on the inland tracks, however, he was actually much more protected than us. In fact, as many babies do, he usually slept the entire time we were driving!


Driving Distances

Hook Point to Eurong – 40 km – 90 minutes

Central Station to Lake Mckenzie – 10 Km 30 Minutes

Lake Mckenzie to Eurong – 15 km – 1 Hour

Eurong to Eli Creek – 25 km – 1 Hour

Eli Creek to Champagne Pools 35 km – 90 minutes

Eli Creek to Lake Mckenzie 40 km – 90 minutes

Please note these are very rough times and could vary hugely depending on the tides, conditions of the beach/tracks, traffic and any sightseeing. 


Where to stay?

The final big decision of a trip to Fraser Island is where to stay! If camping is your thing there are 45 camp areas to choose from (plus privately run campsites), of these 4 have dingo-proof fences surrounding them. These dingo-proofed campsites are the safest option if staying with children under 14 years of age. They also have amenities such as taps, bins, coin-operated showers and toilets.

In addition to the privately run campsites the ones with dingo fences are;

Cathedrals (Privately Operated)

Central Station

Cornwalls (Private Operated)

Dundubara

Lake Boomanjin

Waddy Point

If camping is totally not your style, fear not there are a handful of hotels and holiday home rentals on Fraser Island.

To save you the serious struggles of searching for the best accommodation options on Fraser Island, we have compiled a list of them for you, simply click on the name to be taken to their booking page.

Kingfisher Bay Resort

This internationally renowned hotel was actually visited by Prince Harry and Megan when they came to Fraser Island. This luxurious rainforest retreat has 152 rooms with large private decks overlooking sea, bush or lakes.

Eurong Beach Resort

If the Kingfisher is out of your price range, the Eurong Beach Resort offers similar facilities right on 75 Mile Beach. It is also relatively close to many attractions. It’s the perfect comfortable base for seeing the entire island.

Cathedrals on Fraser

For the truly authentic ‘camping experience’ on Fraser Island, look no further than the Cathedrals. With options from 1-3 Bedroom cabins, 1-2 Bedroom Permanent Canvas tents, or campsites for your own gear – you’ll be sure to find something for you!

 


 

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