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Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Guided tours
Yes
Backcountry camping
No
Lodging
Yes
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Fraser Island, or K'gari, is the largest sand island on the planet, built over 750,000 years of accumulated sand and sediment. The island stretches over 123 kilometers in length and 22 kilometers in width. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an incredible part of Australia’s natural and cultural heritage and is protected for all to explore the exceptional natural beauty that spreads across the island. K’gari, or "paradise" in the Badjala language, was the original name given to Fraser Island by the indigenous Butchulla people who inhabited this island, and is especially befitting for the 250-kilometer stretches of sandy beaches that line up against multicolored sand cliffs, ancient rainforests that grow out of the sandy earth, and crystalline blue lakes that have formed in the interior of the island.

There are a multitude of activities to explore on Fraser Island, though it is best known for opportunities to four-wheel-drive down iconic 75 Mile Beach, see humpback whales as they make their migration north from Antarctica, swim in the many freshwater lakes, and spot a wide diversity of Australian wildlife in nature.

How to Get There

Ferries transport both passengers and four-wheel-drive vehicles to Fraser Island. The Fraser Island Barges ferry follows the course between River Heads (20 minutes south of Hervey Bay) to Kingfisher Bay or Wanggoolba Creek. The Manta Ray barge runs between Inskip Point (Rainbow Beach) and Hook Point. There are also flights available via Air Fraser Island. Guided tours include transportation to and from the island, as well as on-island transit, and more information is included below.

Accomodation

To best access Fraser Island, it is suggested to stay either in Hervey Bay, the main hub for transportation to Fraser Island, or directly on the island itself. There are options for every budget, including over 45 campsites to choose from (permit required) or luxury options at Kingfisher Bay Resort and Eurong Beach Resort. There are small supply shops at the main settlements on the island, but it is suggested to bring all of the supplies you will need camping.

Four-Wheel Driving

The entirety of Fraser Island is suitable for four-wheel-drive vehicles only with reasonable under-vehicle clearance, as this is necessary to drive the sand tracks up 75 Mile Beach and across the island. Vehicle permits are required and can be obtained at the River Head barge landing, Kingfisher Bay Resort reception, and online. There are many four-wheel-drive vehicle rental companies in Hervey Bay to rent from that can also help you to plan and organize vehicle, ferry, and camping permits. If you haven’t driven your own vehicle onto the island via ferry crossing, there are four-wheel-drive vehicles for hire at Aussie Trax 4WD Hire in Kingfisher Village. Police monitor the roads, and standard road rules apply. Make sure to deflate your tires for sand driving, bring recovery gear (tracks, shovel, and snatch strap), and bring a good map or GPS.

Guided Tours

Simplify your visit by taking a tour to Fraser Island that will include transportation from your accommodation, meals, visits to the island’s most popular sites, all while learning about the culture and history of the island from an expert guide. The Butchulla people are thought to have inhabited Fraser Island for more than 5,500 years, and the stories shared are fascinating. Learn of the peaceful first encounters with Captain Cook in 1770 that occurred here, and of the eventual turmoil that befell much of the Aboriginal people in Australia. It’s inevitable that you’ll come away with a greater appreciation for how antiquitous are the land and the culture. Fraser Explorer offers single-day and multi-day tours available departing from either Hervey Bay or Rainbow Beach.

Things to Do on Fraser Island

Drive 75 Mile Beach

Explore the 75 miles (120 km) of sandy beaches that run most of the east coast of Fraser Island in a four-wheel-drive vehicle! Drive onto the sands of 75 Mile Beach around low tide to best take advantage of the plethora of different environments and sights to see along the way. Do keep in mind that the beach does partially disappear when the high tide comes in, so plan to be off the beach for 2 hours before and after high tide. The beach is also considered a highway and is a rather busy road filled with other drivers, planes, tourists, and beach fishermen, and strict road rules are enforced by police.

  • S.S. Maheno Shipwreck: Along 75 Mile Beach is the shipwreck of the S.S. Maheno, a former Trans-Tasman luxury passenger ship built in 1905 that later served as a World War I hospital ship. While being towed to Japan in 1935, a cyclone hit about 80 kilometers off the coast of Queensland and ripped the ship from the town chain. It was washed ashore here on the east coast of Fraser Island, where it remains today.
  • Eli Creek: Visit the clear, fresh waters of Eli Creek that pumps 80 million liters of water per day into the ocean. It is family friendly and great for tubing down its length, wading, or swimming through.
  • Sand Dunes + The Pinnacles: Fraser Island was formed by 750,000 years of sand accumulation on volcanic bedrock that catches sediment carried north by offshore currents from the southeast of Australia and Antarctica. These coastal dune systems have the longest and most complete age sequence in the world. The great volume of shifting sands over the years formed U- or V-shaped parabolic dunes that were stabilized over time with plant growth. See the colored sands at The Pinnacles, Red Canyon, Rainbow Gorge, and The Cathedrals formed by hematite, which stains the sand and also cements the dunes.
  • Indian Head: Visit the easternmost point and rock headland for panoramic views over the ocean and 75 Mile Beach, and also to spot humpback whales during migratory season.
  • Champagne Pools: Cool off just north of Indian Head in the Champagne Pools, a natural rock pool named for the clear, bubbling waters that are fed by the ocean over the rock walls that form the pool.

Take a Joy Flight

From 75 Mile Beach, Air Fraser Island offers 15-minute joy flights on small planes that take off directly from the beach! The view is unique and offers views up and down the coast, over the huge sand dunes, and above Butterfly Lake. During season, migrating humpback whales can sometimes be seen as well.

Go Beach Fishing

Some of the best beach fishing on the planet can be done from 75 Mile Beach, so take the opportunity to try your hand at it while here. Along the beach, surf gutters may be found, which make this a great location for all-season angling. Swallowtail can be caught year round, while whiting and bream are plentiful in the warmer months. Tailor season brings fishing groups in the winter months along the beach. The headlands of Indian Head and Waddy Point are great to catch the usual rock species and also serve as a calmer location in which you may launch trailer boats.

Swim in Lake McKenzie

Drive inland from the town of Eurong on the Central Lakes scenic drive to visit fantastic Lake McKenzie, situated 100 meters above sea level. This is one of over 100 freshwater lakes found on the island. Underneath the surface of the perfect ice-blue water, the sand is made of almost-pure silica and shines white as can be. This is some of the cleanest water in the world, fed only by rainwater, and sunscreen and soaps should not be used while bathing in the lake so as to prevent water pollution. Another lake to visit is Lake Wabby, the deepest on the island at 12 meters, to plunge into its cool, emerald waters on a hot, sunny day.

Hike the Fraser Island Great Walk

There are many different overnight hikes to do on Fraser Island, which will require campsite reservations along the route. The greatest of these is the Fraser Island Great Walk, a 90-kilometer long trail that traverses the path between the island’s best sites, including Lake McKenzie, Lake Wabby, Wanggoolba Creek, and the towering rainforest of the Valley of the Giants. This track takes around 6 days to complete. There are shorter hikes, such as an overnight hike to Lake McKenzie, that may be done independently or as part of a guided tour.

Spot Wildlife

Given the incredible geological history of Fraser Island and the unique environments that it contains, it isn’t surprising that there is a wide diversity of wildlife inhabiting the island. Protected as part of the Great Sandy National Park, there are many birds of prey, sea birds, bats, reptiles, amphibians, and even saltwater crocodiles present. The wetlands of the Great Sandy Strait that separate Fraser Island from the mainland shelter up to 40,000 migratory shorebirds, dugongs, turtles, Illidge’s ant-blue butterflies, and eastern curlews. Mammal species include dingoes, swamp wallabies, echidnas, sugar gliders, bandicoots, ringtail and brushtail possums, phascogales, potoroos, and flying foxes.

The Fraser Island dingo population is considered some of the final remaining “pure” dingoes in Eastern Australia, and they are threatened by human activities on the island. Feeding dingoes is fineable by law and discouraged as this makes them more habituated to human activity, which is part of the reason that occasional dingo attacks do occur. Humpback whales and dolphins are commonly spotted offshore, and larger shark species like great white sharks, bull sharks, and tiger sharks have been seen approaching fisherman that wade in the shallow waters. Understandably, this is why there is strictly no swimming allowed on the shore! Head to the inland lakes, Eli Creek, or the Champagne Pools to cool off.

Whale Watching from Hervey Bay

The waters off the coast of Fraser Island are considered one of the best places to view humpback whales on the planet. From July to November, more than 1,500 humpback whales stop here on their migration north from Antarctica to teach their young behaviors such as breaching and fin slaps, and these acrobatics are truly a sight to behold. Special whale watching tours depart from Hervey Bay on the mainland to ply the calm and protected waters around the island. Read more about Hervey Bay whale watching for information on tour operators, humpback whales, and Hervey Bay.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Fall
Summer

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

Vehicle Fee

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Incredible scenery. Variety of activities. Rainforest. 75-mile beach.

Cons

Popular sites crowded.

Features

ADA accessible
Family friendly
Flushing toilets
Guided tours
Potable water
Lodging
Surfing
Whale watching
Wildlife
Historically significant
General store
Rental facilities
Marina
Geologically significant
Big vistas
Fishing
Horseback riding
Bird watching
Wildflowers
Native artifacts
Near lake or river
Wi-Fi
Picnic tables
Covered picnic areas
Swimming pool
Old-growth forest
Tide pools
Boat ramp(s)
Bicycling
Lighthouse

Location

Field Guide

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