on Sunday, May 8th, 2011
in Accomodation, Animals, Australia, Beaches, Camping, Drinking, Driving, Ferries, Islands, Lakes, Oceania, Ship Wrecks, The World's Most..., Tours, Transportation, UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Fraser Island is one of the best places to visit in Australia, worth going out of your way to see. Fly into Brisbane, and head a couple hours North to Rainbow Beach, Tin Can Bay, or Hervey Bay, the 3 crossing points over to Fraser. You have several options on how to get around: you can rent your own 4X4 doing everything yourself, do a self drive tour, where you ride along in a caravan of 4X4s, but drive your own vehicle, or take one of the massive offroad buses in a group of 15-25. I made the mistake of doing the bus tour, because my license had expired, and this tour provided transport in and out of Gold Coast; I knew straight away this was a mistake.
The Ferry waiting to cross from the mainland to Fraser Island
Some of the booking agents may try to persuade you into the guided tour, saying the self drive caravans are uncomfortable and dangerous, which may have a bit of truth, but the self drive is cheaper, more flexible, and more fun. You get to see what you want, when you want, and likely with a better group of people. There is a lot to see on the island, and my guided tour did not take us everywhere. We spent a lot of time relaxing, too much time, because although hanging out at Lake Wabby for 3 hours is nice, its not worth it when you don’t get to see Lake McKenzie at all. The guided tours stay in the resort, called Eurong, and the self drive caravans usually camp. The one benefit of staying in the resort is they have a restaurant (buffet style, mediocre), and a bar. The bar is pretty big, and a nice central meeting point for the whole resort, however when I was there it was fairly empty. Its setup to be pretty fun, with a dance floor, pool tables, indoor and outdoor seating, and a swimming pool, so I’d imagine when the crowd is right its a great night out. As a camper, you can enter the bar, but be sure to use the foot path gate because the car entrance is lined with electric cables to keep the dingos out.
Jeeps caravanning along the beach at Fraser Island
Be sure to bring your own supplies to the island, alcohol, food, a full tank of gas, etc. Prices are heavily marked up as are most island prices. For example, a 6-pack of Corona cost $33, the cost of 60 Budweisers back home.
An advertisement at the market for a 6 pack of Corona – $33!
How Much Do Fraser Island Tours Cost?
Fraser Island tours generally cost about $150-$400 depending on how long you go for, how many people you’re with, where, when, and how you book them. The guided bus tours will run at the top end of that, and the do it yourself tours with camping
will be at the bottom. There is some sort of park entrance fee or permit required, I believe around $60 at the time of this writing. Ask at a National Park of Wildlife Service office, hostel, or market for more info. There were a lot of park rangers patrolling the island, so I’d be sure you’ve got everything in order, as the fines are rumored to be steep.
A wild Goanna climbing up a tree after we got too close to it
Fraser Island Facts
• Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the World
• Fraser is home to the most pure breed of Dingo in the world
• Fraser Island is the only place in the world where a rain forest grows out of sand
• There are over 200 species of birds on Fraser Island
• Fraser Island is around 184,000 sq. km, and 123 km long! The average width is 15km.
• Around half of the world’s land-locked freshwater dune lakes are on Fraser Island (40 lakes)
• The sand dunes of Fraser are 240 meters high at the peak, and go down an estimated 600 meters below the sea
• Fraser is known as ‘K’gari’ to the Aboriginal people
• There are 72 different colors of sand on Fraser Island
• Some trees on Fraser are so old their trunks have grown to 3 meters wide (~10 ft) • Over 200,000 people visit Fraser each year
The picturesque Maheno Shipwreck on the beach
Fraser Island Highlights (Unordered)
• Scenic Flight Over Island ($75 for 10-15 minutes, take off and land on the beach) *+
• Maheno Shipwreck *+
• Lake Wabby *
• Seeing Dingos +
• Eli Creek
• The Champagne Pools
• Lake McKenzie #
• Fraser Island Rainforest
• The Colored Sands & Pinnacles +
• Lake Birrabeen
• Indian Head Viewpoint – see sharks, turtles, sting rays (We didn’t see any)
• Lake Allom (Turtle Lake) #
* Personal Favorites
+ Requires 30 minutes or less to see
# I did not see, word of mouth
One of the most popular lakes on Fraser, Lake Wabby
Fraser Island Recommendations
• If it’s a nice day, don’t save money by skipping the scenic flight. Find the Air Fraser Island planes and pay the 75$, then take the night off drinking
in return. Its worth it.
• Bring some food and beers (which you purchased from the mainland) to Eli Creek, maybe a BBQ and some music? Spend a few hours relaxing on the edge of the cool waters.
• Be careful of park rangers and wildlife. Park Rangers are common sights, and supposedly quite strict if you wander onto protected areas, leave trash, camp in the wrong spot, etc. Fines are heavy, save your money and be cautious. Also know that the ocean has sharks and blue bottles, as well as strong currents. By land keep your eye out for snakes and spiders, the dangerous versions of both reside on the island.
• Do the self drive tours in a caravan, camp by night.
The pool that forms when Eli Creek reaches the beach
A wild Dingo relaxing on the beach at Fraser Island
Fraser Island Map
, Eli Creek
, Fraser Island
, Gold Coast
, Hervey Bay
, Lake Wabby
, Rainbow Beach
, Sand Dunes
, Tin Can Bay