Fraser Island also called K’gari, is a heritage-listed site in Queensland 250kms north from Brisbane. It is a fascinating place and is considered Queensland’s largest island and the largest sand island globally. Its amazing eco-system makes it for an exciting environment to explore. It is a unique place of rainforests, dunes, mangrove forests, and diverse animals and birds.
Over 500,000 people arrive here every year to enjoy this giant sandpit with a surface area of 120km x 15 km. If you plan to visit the East Coast of Australia Fraser Island must be on your bucket list.
The Best Time to Visit Fraser
The best time to explore the island is during winter from May to August when it is dry, and the chances of rainfall are slim. You will need to have a 4WD to get around and thoroughly explore the destination. One great way would be to take a guided tour around the island. Many guided 4WD-tour options range from day trips to multi-day trips that cover the cost of renting a 4WD, your ferry pass, and luxury tours, including accommodation.
Best Places To Visit On Fraser Island
The 75-mile beach is a rugged stretch of sand on the east coast of the Island. It is not a safe place to swim and is also a landing strip for aircraft, but there is a lot you can do here. It has many amazing sites that you must visit like the Maheno Shipwreck, Champagne Pools, and the striking volcanic rock formation of Indian Head. You can enjoy a 20-minute scenic flight over this magnificent place to take in all its splendour.
The largest creek on the eastern beach is Eli Creek, and it is a very popular swimming and picnic spot. It has a boardwalk that takes you inland through the gorgeous greenery. At the end of it, you can swim or float down the swiftly-flowing creek for a refreshing experience.
The Maheno Shipwreck was a former luxury liner, and a World War 1 hospital ship washed ashore in 1935. It is an incredible sight, and just a few minutes drive away from Eli Creek. When the tide is favourable, you can go closer and take some beautiful pictures of it.
The Pinnacles Coloured Rocks
A few minutes north of the Maheno Wreck you will see the multi-coloured cliffs called the Pinnacles. It is a fantastic mix of reds, yellows, and browns created by minerals that leave the sand looking vibrant. It is a lovely picturesque spot, and you can spend some time admiring this natural spectacle. Take a short walk inland as well to get a closer look at Cathedral Beach.
Indian Head is a natural monolith at the top end of the fantastic 75-Mile beach. It offers magnificent views over the beach and ocean. It is an excellent place to stretch your legs by walking along the boardwalk. You might also spot passing whales, dolphins, turtles, and even sharks.
North of Indian Head you will find the most popular swimming spot on the Island: Champagne Pools: a breath-taking natural place with clear bubbling water formed by the waves crashing over the rocks. It is the only safe spot for swimming in the ocean and an excellent place to laze around, build sandcastles and to finish off your day. From there you can also drive along Orchid beach to admire the stunning wilderness up to Waddy Point.
Lake Mackenzie and more lakes
The crystal clear Lake Mackenzie is located in the middle of the island, and it is the most visited lake on the island. It is a perched lake that looks beautiful against shimmering white sand, which you can use as a body scrub. Its water is pure and ideal for swimming in. Besides this, there is also Lake Wabby the small half-moon shaped lake at Hammerstone Sandblow.
The Wabby lake formed when a huge sand blow filled a freshwater creek. It is the deepest lake on the island, and it has lots of fish so that you can take a swim among big catfishes.
Another swimming spot is at Lake Boomanjin which has a red hue from the surrounding tea trees. Despite its reddish-look, its waters are pure and a right place to relax in.
Seeing Dingos in The Wild
Fraser is known for its population of resident Dingos. Some tours often drive around the island where you can spot wild dingos along with other animals. When driving along the beach or on one of the inland tracks you may suddenly spot a dingo so be sure to never get out of your vehicle if you see one. You can admire these beautiful animals from afar, do not harass them and do not feed them or encourage them to come close.
If you camp, do not leave food scrap, which may attract them to the camping ground. It is best to keep a dingo stick with you as well as give them their space. There are leaflets to collect at the information centre with all information on how to handle Dingo threats.
Watching Humpback whales and dolphins
If you travel to Fraser between September and November, you will have the privilege to witness the spectacle of the giant Humpback whales on their annual migration.
How to explore the island: Self-Drive vs Tours
To go on a self-guided drive of Fraser Island, one needs good experience with handling a 4WD. This is because some of the routes can get a bit tricky with dramatic dunes and sandy trails. If you do not have experience with such a vehicle, or want to enjoy the gorgeous beaches, glittering lagoons, and lush rainforests on a guided tour, there are so many fantastic 4WD Multi-day Tours.
A Self-Driving Trip Adventure
When self-driving, you should include a trip to the East Coast because of its famous landmarks. Drive up or down the beach where you will find icons like the Maheno Wreck, The Pinnacles, and Eli Creek, stop to check out The Champagne Pools where you can swim in the saltwater. At Indians, Head take a short walk up to the cape lasting 30-45 minutes.
There are also two new inland-track drives for which you will surely require a 4WD. The first track is along Cornwells Break Road to reach the Lake Wabby Lookout. You can even explore one of the world’s most intriguing rainforests at Central Station. The second inland track is 70km long and takes you to a lookout on Knifeblade Sandblow and Lake Allom.
4WD Fraser Island Tours
If you want to explore the spectacular beaches, gorgeous lagoons, and lovely rainforests of this sand island you’ll need to hire a 4WD. If you do not have experience handling such a vehicle, don’t fret there are ample 4WD tours of the island.
Some tours take you to the famous Seventy-Five Mile Beach, the Pinnacles’ sand cliffs, Wanggoolba Creek, the Champagne Pools, and Pile Valley Rainforest. You will find guided “tag-along” tours to explore the island in a convoy of 4WDs. There are also 2 or 3-day 4WD tours where you can camp out on the island. Those are the one I recommend.
Wildlife Night Tours
There are gorgeous night tours to learn about the unique Fraser Island wildlife and birds. These tours will pick up from your resort. It’s a unique experience if you love animals and especially birds. Also, Night Sky Tours are available. You will gaze up at the Milky Way and thousands of gleaming stars over your head. An enriching experience.
Where to Stay on Fraser Island
Fraser Island has many hotels and guesthouses in Eurong and Happy Valley. The Eurong Beach Resort is very close to the Seventy-Five Mile Beach and has accommodation to suit all kinds of budgets. On the West Coast, you will find the Kingfisher Bay Resort overlooking the Great Sandy Strait.
Here is the splendid Kingfisher Bay Resort that is 50 minutes by ferry from the mainland. It offers modern eco-friendly accommodation and has many amazing amenities to make your stay comfortable. Along with that, there is beach access, and it is just 12 km from Lake McKenzie.
Eurong Beach Resort
Eurong is on the east coast of the island, and it faces the Coral Sea. Here you will find the fantastic Eurong Beach resort which provides suitable accommodation for every budget. The famous Eli Creek and Indian Head are just a short distance away from it.
The rangers that work there take guests to explore the island on eco day-tours and other guided walks. There are 45 camping areas across the island each equipped with various facilities for those who enjoy camping. And if you crave adventure, you may want to camp at Cathedral Beach Resort & Camping Park.
There are some caravan parks on the Hervey Bay beachside suburbs too. Luxury accommodation is plentiful in the form of eco-lodges or retreats. So there are plenty of beautiful places to stay on Fraser Island. Click on the link below, select appropriate filters to find your location on the island and mainland.
How to get to Fraser Island and explore the island
If you plan to drive to Fraser Island from Sydney, it will take 12-14 hours. From Melbourne, the drive is 23 hours along Newell Highway, and from Brisbane, it’s a 6-hour drive on the Bruce Highway.
A more relaxed way to get there is to enjoy a train ride through the NSW Train-Link from Sydney to Brisbane and a second train from Brisbane to the Fraser Coast. This journey can take almost 20 hours.
You can get a rail-bus coach connection from the train station to bring you right to Hervey Bay, where you can take a ferry over to Fraser Island. But you can also take the boat at the southern end from Rainbow Beach, a popular little beach resort for backpackers.
By Bus the travel time ranges from 23-26 hours. You will also have a layover in Brisbane where you will switch buses. Buy a Hop-On-Hop-Off pass suited to the distance that you wish to cover on your trip.
Taking a flight is comfortable. From Sydney Airport, there are daily flights right to Hervey Bay, one of the island’s main terminals. You can even fly from Sydney to Brisbane and from there take a bus or drive 290km along the Fraser Coast.
From Melbourne fly to Hervey Bay, and then drive onto Fraser Island. Lastly, if you fly from Brisbane Airport to Hervey Bay Airport, the direct flight will take 50 minutes.
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First published in 2019 last updated in Jan 2021
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