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Fraser Island on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Fraser Island, a 4WD and Adventurers Paradise

A visit to Hervey Bay in Queensland’s sunshine coast will undoubtedly lead you to Fraser Island, just off shore. This World Heritage Listed island is largest sand island in the world. You will find no other island on earth were the rainforest grows on sand. Fraser Island is around 120 kilometres long and 30 kilometres across at its widest point. Over the past 800,000 years this island has grown into the unique natural environment you see today.

Fraser Island is home to some of the cleanest freshwater lakes in Australia. Lake McKenzie, Boomanjin, Allom and the spectacular Lake Wabby have all been formed by filtered fresh water. You can also see wonderfully clear creeks including Eli Creek, the most well-known. Not visit to Fraser Island is completed with visiting Champagne Pools, beautiful rock pools ideal for safe swimming.

On Fraser Island you can discover some of the thousands of birds species that call this island home. Keep a keen eye out for the Kookaburra, Kingfishers include the Azure, Sacred and Rainforest Kingfisher, the Brahminy Kite and the White Breasted Sea Eagle. Her warm waters attract dolphins, turtles and the amazing dugong. The magnificent humpback whales, with their young, pass on the western side of the island between August and November. Fraser Island also has a very healthy population of wild dingoes. You’ll find these apex predators all over the island and you should use caution around them. Keep young children away from them,  and do not feed dingoes at all. Although they may appear under nourished at first glance, they are actually very healthy. Feeding dingoes encourages them to enter camps and this can cause problems.

 

Humpback Whale breaching off Fraser Island

Humpback whales head past Fraser Island each year on their migration north to the Whitsundays.

 

Our top ten things to do on Fraser Island

  • Visit the historical heart of Fraser Island, Central Station & Wanggoolba Creek.
  • Drop by Sandy Cape Lighthouse & Sandy Cape Beach
  • See the Maheno Shipwreck
  • Explore Seventy Five Mile Beach and Indian Head
  • Swim in the clear freshwaters of Eli Creek
  • Visit Hammerstone Sand Blow and Lake Wabby
  • Wade in the Champagne Pools
  • Swimming in Lake McKenzie
  • Go Whale Watching in Hervey Bay
  • Fishing at Sandy Cape

 

Visit the SS Maheno Wreck

On the eastern beach, near Happy Valley you will discover Fraser Island’s own shipwreck – The SS Maheno. An ocean liner that was ashore by a cyclone in 1935 where she has been slowly disintegrating ever since. What remains of the wreck today is quickly disappearing but still remains as a popular tourist attraction.

 

An arial view of the wrecked SS Maheno, slowly disappearing over time.

The wrecked SS Maheno, slowly disappearing over time was once an ocean liner steamer between New Zealand and Australia.

 

You can visit Fraser Island either by taking a guided tour, or by driving your own 4Wd onto the island. Access requires crossing the Great Sandy Strait either by barge or charter aircraft.

 

The best beach fishing!

Fraser Island is a true fishing paradise. Top species to target include Whiting, Dart, Bream, Mackerel, Tailor, Trevally, Tuna, Flathead and Sharks. There is no freshwater fishing on the Island as its prohibited.

From August to the end of September parts of the areas from Indian Heads to Waddy Point beaches are “no fish zones”. You only may collect sand worms or pipis by hand during these closures.

 

Beach fishing on Fraser Island.

Fraser Island offers some iconic beach fishing locations that draw many anglers from all over Australia.

 

Top spots for beach fishing include …

  • Sandy Cape, the most northern point you will find on Fraser Island
  • Waddy Point, on the north-east coast of Fraser Island
  • Indian Head, on the eastern (ocean) side of Fraser Island
  • Middle Rocks, just north of Indian Head on Fraser Island

 

4×4 Driving is the only way

If you are planning to drive yourself around on Fraser Island, be aware that 4WD is the only mode of transport on the island. All roads and tracks are sand and there is a lot of beach driving involved if you are to travel up and down the island. If you are not confident with sand driving then we recommend you take part in a 4WD course specific to sand driving. You can take part in a one day sand driving course on the island. Check out our One Day 4WD Off Road Driving Course, Fraser Island.

Only high clearance 4WD vehicles are suitable for Fraser Island’s sandy forest tracks and beaches. You should always be aware of the tides when travelling along the beaches. It doesn’t take long for an incoming tide to completely devour your 4WD.

 

The beaches of Fraser Island are part of the road network.

The beaches on Fraser Island form part of the road network and road rules apply. Low tyre pressure, a constant watch of tide conditions and other vehicles and people are essential while driving.

 

It is essential to run your tyres at a low pressure when driving in the sand. Start around 20 PSI and adjust down from there depending on conditions. Don’t forget your camper trailer tyres if you towing one.

A vehicle access permit is required to drive on Fraser Island. At time of publication allow around $45 for one month.

Getting your 4WD onto the island

To get your 4WD onto the island you’ll need to join a vehicle barge. Vehicle barges leave from:

Inskip Point, a 15 minute drive from Rainbow Beach (east of Gympie) to Hook Point. Barges run daily from 6am to 5.30pm. Trip time is 10 mins and no bookings are required.

River Heads to Kingfisher Bay and Wanggoolba Creek. Bookings are required for this trip. Trip time is between 30 and 50 minutes.

 

The only way to get your 4WD onto Fraser Island is via regular barge service.

Early morning travellers heading to Fraser Island via the regular vehicle barge. These services run every day of the year.

 

Fraser Island Weather

Temperatures on Fraser Island are generally moderated by its coastal location but overall, the island has a subtropical climate. Average coastal summer temperatures range in December range from 22 to 28 degrees Celsius. In winter the temps start around 14 degrees to the low 20s during the day. If you head inland the temperates can be more extreme.

The wettest months on Fraser Island are from January to March with around 160 mm rainfall per month. Annual rainfall can vary across the island. On the coast it is around 1200 mm per year increasing to 1800 mm per year inland.

The driest months on the island are the winter/spring months with an average of just over 50 mm in September.

Moderate winds are prevalent from the southeast. Storms are not uncommon with occasional severe storms.

Fraser Island Temperature Chart

Temp (°C) 25 25 25 23 20 18 17 18 20 22 23 25
Min Temp (°C) 22 22 21 19 17 15 14 14 16 18 20 21
Max Temp (°C) 29 29 28 26 24 21 20 22 24 25 27 28

Fraser Island Camping

The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) offers a number of camping grounds in the Great Sandy National Park. Fees apply and you’ll need to purchase a camping permit.

Family Camping areas. Because of the number of dingos on Fraser Island, if you are camping with family members under 14 years old it is recommended that you use the following camping areas where dingo deterrent fences have been set up.

  • Central Station camping area
  • Dundubara camping area
  • Lake Boomanjin camping area
  • Waddy Point top camping area.

Organised group camping is available at the southern end of Cornwells camping area.

 

One of the many camping areas on Fraser Island.

Whether its camping in a small tent or in a family camper trailer, on or off the beach, Fraser Island has a wonderful camping experience.

 

Remote Beach Camping. Although no facilities are provided at these designated camping areas, these offer an amazing

Eastern beach camping has 9 camping zones allocated. Western Beach camping provides 7 remote beach camping areas. South Western and Southern remove camping areas provide 2 and 3 areas respectively.

Vehicle access permits must be purchased for every vehicle before entering Fraser Island. Camping permits for QPWS camping areas are required and must be purchased before setting up camp.

Camp site bookings can be made up to 6 months in advance. We strongly advise you book well in advance during school and public holidays and other peak seasons.

Open campfires are prohibited on Fraser Island except in the communal fire rings provided.

Hiking Fraser Island

There are many walking tacks available on Fraser Island. Most of the walking tracks are well-defined, sandy tracks. These are generally firm and stable however you should expect to encounter areas of soft sand. Most tracks can be walked in a few hours but if you are up for a more adventurous hike you can undertake the Great Walk.

Fraser Island Great Walk

The Fraser Island Great Walk is a 90km walk which takes 6-8 days. Best months to do the walk is April – December, with rain impacting January to March. You must be fully self-sufficient and carry water. The walk is mostly at sea level making it easy to moderate. It is traversed in one direction starting at Dilli Village and concluding at Happy Valley. QPWS provide 8 walkers’ camps and bookings are essential. See the QPWS link below for more details.

 

Wild Dingo on Fraser Island beach

Dingoes are an apex predator, with their role at the top of the islands’s food chain helping to keep a healthy balance in the natural environment.

 

Wanggoolba Creek on Fraser Island

Wanggoolba Creek is a fresh water creek on Fraser Island.

 

Swimming in the crystal clear waters of Lake McKenzie.

A visit to fresh water Lake McKenzie offers a wonderful swimming experience or just sit and relax in the cool water.

 

Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world has amazing beaches.

Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world has amazing beaches offering swimming and great fishing!

 


Further Research

Camping Fees: https://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/experiences/camping/camping_fees.html

Fraser Island Great Walk: https://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/parks/great-walks-fraser-island/about.html

Be Dingo Safe: https://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/parks/fraser/dingo-safe.html

Driving on Fraser Island: http://www.unsealed4x4.com.au/how-to-do-fraser-island-the-right-way/

Whale Watching Tour: https://www.breakloose.com.au/experience/whale-watching-cruise-hervey-bay-6-hours-adult/

Barges

  • http://www.fraserislandferry.com.au/
  • http://mantarayfraserislandbarge.com.au/

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