Fraser Island photo

Photo by peterjoel1

Why Visit Fraser Island – Best places to see in Australia

Fraser Island lies just off the east coast of Australia. At 122 km long, it is the largest sand island in the world. Majestic remnants of tall rain forest growing on sand and half the world’s perched freshwater dune lakes are found inland from the beach. The combination of shifting sand-dunes, tropical rainforests and lakes makes it an exceptional site.

Fraser Island – How to get there

A number of charter operators fly light aircraft on to Fraser Island, landing on the main beach (at low tide only).

Virgin fly direct from Sydney, you can catch a taxi or limousine to Riverheads and walk on to ferry/barge to Kingfisher Bay.

Fraser Island – How to Visit

Driving
One of the most enjoyable ways to visit Fraser Island is by 4WD. To visit most of the main sites you should allow three days. You can hire vehicles with camping gear or stay in accommodation on the island.

  1. Pippies Beachhouse Fraser Island Tours – www.pippiesbeachhouse.com.au – the ultimate Fraser Island Camping adventure – 4wd tag tour staying at a private campsite with personal tour guide. Ph 1800425356
  2. Fraser Magic 4WD Hire Family run business, with a Swiss-Australian background. Provides 4wd hire from 2 up to 6 seater Land Rovers. Accommodation or camping packages available. ph. +61 7 4125-6612
  3. Fraser Island Tagalong Tours Fraser Island Tagalong 4WD Tours for the budget traveler.
  4. Nomads Fraser Island Tours 4wd tag-along tours on Fraser Island. Two day and Three days tours with a guide (fully equipped with sat phone and first aid kit, new Fraser Island regulations for 4wd companies). Email: info@nomadsfraserisland.com
  5. Other 4WD hire companies serving Fraser Island with self-drive tours include: Aussie Trax – 1800062275 : Safari 4WD – 1800689819 : Koala – 180046644 : Sunset Safari : Sargen Hire

Driving can be quite difficult especially during the dry season as the sand roads can be very difficult to get through. The sand can be soft and it is not uncommon if a vehicle becomes stuck to have to wait for hours before a bus can come by to tow the car out. The best time to drive is after there has been some rain when the sand road is more solid. Getting stuck relies on the help of others to get out. If you are not comfortable driving, taking a tour is recommended. Typically the longer the tour is, the smaller the group traveling.

What to see in Fraser Island

  1. Lake MacKenzie – the jewel of Fraser Island, Lake MacKenzie is a large perched lake with crystal blue waters and white sands. The area is one of the most popular on the island so can get crowded during the middle of the day in peak season. While there, you can do the nearby Wanggoolba Creek – A walking track runs along the creek, it’s a beautiful bush walk where you can see giant fern trees.
  2. Lake Wabby – a green colored lake some 30min walk from the beach, with a large sand blow that is slowly encroaching upon the lake. Freshwater turtles and catfish can sometimes be seen swimming in the lake. The path to the lake will split with only 100m difference between the two however the slightly longer way takes you over Hammerstone Sandblow, a huge sand dune. This split is well marked. If you take the one way into the lake over the sand dune you will be walking down the sand dune – much easier than up the sand dune. On the way out, walk along the lake with the lake on your right and you will see the second path at the edge of the lake taking you through the rainforest. Walking through the sand dune can get quite hot during the summer and it’s a good idea to bring water along. Locals bring bodyboards to slide off the sand dune into the lake. Do not run into the lake off the sand and attempt to dive. Many people get seriously hurt and even paralyzed trying to do this every year. The only toilet facilities available are at the beginning of the walk in.
  3. Indian Head – the rocky outcrop at the northern end of the main beach. Climb to the top to look down into the ocean and spot sharks, rays, turtles and dolphins. Beautiful outlook.
  4. Champagne Pools – north of Indian Head, these rock pools provide a safe place to bathe in sea water. Their name is derived from the froth created when waves break over the edge and into the pools.
  5. Eli Creek – a freshwater creek midway along the main beach where bathers can float or walk down with the slow current. The water in the creek can vary quickly but does not get above waist height of an adult 5’9″. The deeper parts can usually be avoided by walking on the other side of the creek. A boardwalk provides access to the top of the creek. It is an easy walk both on the boardwalk and through the water.
  6. Maheno shipwreck (see photo) – in 1935 the retired passenger steamer Maheno was being towed to Japan for scrapping when a storm forced it ashore. Once, it was one of the fastest ships in the world. In World War Two, it was used for target practicing by the Australian Airforce. A few km north of Eli Creek.
  7. Coloured Sands, also called The Pinnacles – sandstone cliffs in many different reddish colours. About 5km north of Maheno Shipwreck.
  8. Central Station – Main quarter of the loggers and forestry station from 1920 to 1959. Today, there are displays on the history and ecology of the island. The place is surrounded by pine trees which are not native, but were planted by the loggers. Picnic facilities if you plan to bring your food.

Where to sleep in Fraser Island – from budget to best lodging

Sleeping on Fraser Island ranges from luxury resorts, holiday houses through campsites to rough camping among the dunes along designated stretches of beach.

Lodging

  1. Eurong Beach Resort (Ph. +61 7 4127-9122) – with rooms to suit a variety of budgets, Eurong sits towards the south of the main beach on the east side of the island. Many guests will join 4WD bus tours from the resort. The area also contains shops, fuel and other facilities, though note that prices are substantially greater than on the mainland.
  2. Kingfisher Bay Resort and Village (Ph. +61 7 4120-3333) – a more upmarket option on the west of the island, but it also has some cheaper huts, with restaurants, pubs and shops.
  3. Sailfish on Fraser (Ph. +61 7 4124-0287) – Beautiful appointed 2 bedroom apartments at cozy Happy Valley.
  4. Waiuta Retreat (Ph. +61 419 722 098) – Quality, modern, beautiful 5 bedroom holiday house at Kingfisher Bay. Sleeps 11 guests, great for families and groups.

Camping

There are a number of campsites on the island which house standard facilities (toilets, showers etc.) and are fenced to keep dingoes out. Fires are permitted in these sites within fire rings, but noise is forbidden after 9PM. Never bring any food inside the tents as dingoes will tear apart the tents looking for it – even if it’s already gone they can still smell the food that was there and will look for it. When possible keep food in a dingo cage off of the ground.
In the backcountry, along the main beach, there are designated areas for camping amongst the dunes. These are marked by wooden signs indicating areas where camping is permitted and where it is forbidden. In all cases, a permit is required to camp, and in some areas advanced bookings are required.
During busy periods, arrive early in the day to ensure your camping area. Camp fires outside of the official campsites are no longer permitted, with Rangers patrolling the beach and issuing fines for infringements.

Tip: Be dingo safe; lock all food away when unattended.

Fraser Island photo

Photo by eGuide Travel