The Paradise of Fraser Island
The world’s largest sand island, Fraser Island is covered with beautiful sub-tropical rainforest, colourful lakes, magnificent rocky cliffs and kilometres of long sandy beaches. The Aborigines referred to the island as ‘K’gari’ meaning ‘paradise’, a name which suitably describes the natural beauty of the island.
The rainforest on the island features ancient Kauri Pines, massive Brush Box, lush Piccabeen palms, and one of the largest ferns in the world, the rare Angiopteris fern. The wide range of heaths, woodland and eucalypt forest, along with the rainforest are home to over 230 different species of birds, including the rare ground parrot.
Native animals such as wallabies, echidnas, possums, snakes and frogs are common on the island and the surrounding waters are home to magnificent turtles, dugongs, dolphins and migrating whales. Fraser Island's isolation from the mainland has ensured that it's dingo population is eastern Australia's purest.
Follow the walking tracks through changing vegetation along the boardwalks, to the coloured sand cliffs of the Cathedrals and north to the spectacular views at Indian Head. Take a refreshing dip in one of the numerous fresh water lakes, ranging in colour from a magical pale blue, to rich tannin stained red. Visit the numerous time worn shipwrecks, a testament to the raw power of nature and the fragility of human life.
Hire a four wheel drive and choose your own path or join an 4WD tour organized and run by knowledgeable locals. It may be impossible to explore every inch of this mysterious beauty, yet just a taste will leave you craving more.
Fraser Island shows signs of Aboriginal occupation dating back at least 5000 years with research suggesting that a permanent population of around 400 to 600 inhabited the island. The Badtjala (Butchulla) People were the indigenous people of the area, occupying an area north to the Burrum River, inland to Maryborough and south to Bauple Mountain. The same group also lived on Fraser Island, traveling back and forth to the mainland.
For thousands of years the Aborigines lived in peace, on their island paradise ‘K'gari’, nature supplying a bountiful array of seafood and shellfish, and an unlimited supply of drinking water. The lush forests provided strong vines for nets, grasses for baskets, bark for shelter, sweet fruits and honey. Most cooking was done in the fire, or in the hot sands under the coals, with tribal traditions governing hunting, preparation, cooking and consumption of certain animals.
It is believed that certain tribal practices ensured that the available resources were not depleted. Wildlife were not hunted during their breeding season and when a nest was raided, some eggs were always left to hatch. Certain animals were off limits entirely if you ‘belonged’ to that totem. Plants were used for medicinal purposes, and to make nets, ropes and baskets. Stone implements were made on the mainland and carried with the tribes people because of the shortage of suitable rock on Fraser Island. Canoes were fashioned from a single piece of bark, sealed at each end with beeswax.
When temperatures dropped over the cooler winter months, it is believed that the population on Fraser Island would swell to between 2000 and 3000, encouraged by the seasonal increase in available marine life. At this time, Fraser Island was connected to the mainland by a shallow water track near Boonooroo, allowing visiting tribes easy access.
Following the arrival of the Europeans, the aborigines died in large numbers, tragically afflicted by the diseases and prejudice of white man. Sensational tales of violent, aggressive savages, told by Eliza Fraser, were later contradicted by reports from more reputable sources. Matthew Flinders wrote of his landing on Fraser’s Island, and being peacefully met by a group of almost 500 aborigines in excellent health.
European settlement commenced in the 1840’s, and the clearing of land coupled with the introduction of alcohol and opium, destroyed the aborigine’s traditional way of life. By the late 1800s, the majority of Aborigines from the region had been forcefully relocated to a Native Reserve on Fraser Island, in order to control them.
Suffering terribly at the hands of European timber workers on the island, numbers dwindled until there were a mere 60 Aborigines remaining in 1897, when the government established the first Government managed mission station. Joined by fifty natives from the mainland, the Aborigines were housed in a disused quarantine station and encouraged to return to their cultural lifestyle. The mission was temporarily successful, many natives flourishing over the first few months, until corrupted by crews from passing ships frequently anchoring nearby. The corruption continued until the mission was relocated in 1899 to Bogimbah Creek.
By 1901 just 46 Aborigines remained at the settlement, the others having perished from poor living conditions and disease. In 1904 the settlement was closed, when a handful of remaining Fraser Island Aboriginals were transported to Durundur near Caboolture, and Yarrabah near Cairns. The island’s Aboriginal population was destroyed by the time the last native, Banjo Henry Owens, was removed to the mainland in 1930.
Fraser Island’s protection was secured in 1992 when the island was placed on the World Heritage List. The island boasts many archaeological sites bearing witness to Aboriginal significance including campsites, bora rings, canoe trees, middens and scattered artifacts including weapons and tools. Descendants of the original natives live in the area today, striving to share their knowledge of their traditional way of life, and to pass on Aboriginal mythology.
A Cultural History of Fraser Island, 2006, whalewatching.com.au,
accessed 29.12.06, http://www.whalewatching.com.au/island/aborigines.html
The Eliza Fraser Story, 2006, whalewatching.com.au,
accessed 29.12.06, http://www.whalewatching.com.au/island/elisa.html
Fraser Island History - Fraser Island Aboriginal History, 2007, accessed 02.01.07 http://www.fraserisland.net/pgthree.html
Williams, Fred. (2002) Princes K'Gari's Fraser Island - Fraser Island's Definitive History, Updated Edition - First Published as 'Written in Sand', 1982, The Jacaranda Press, Milton, QLD.
The largest sand island in the world, Fraser Island is part of the Great Sandy Region dune system, which dates back more than 30,000 years. Vast ocean beaches make up the island’s east coast, with the longest being Seventy Five Mile Beach, a stunning 120k of unbroken beach. The island's sheltered western coast is punctuated by numerous freshwater creeks, sheltered lagoons and quiet sandy inlets, and overlooks the pristine waters of the Great Sandy Strait.
Many of the island’s features are characteristic of it’s unique geological formation. Magnificent sand blows formed by coastal winds, have forced the gradual movement of sand across the island. The headland separating Orchid and Seventy Five Mile beaches, is a product of the sand build up against the basalt rock of Indian Head, whereas the natural rock pools at Middle Rocks, have been formed by the repetitive motion of the ocean.
Over seventy-two different coloured sands have been recorded throughout the island, with the most spectacular array concentrated along a 35k stretch of beach north of Happy Valley. Hundreds of years exposure to the elements has seen the formation of The Cathedrals and The Pinnacles, multi-coloured cliffs of sand that have been sculpted into towering peaks by the wind. Early morning is the best time to see these formations, as the golden early morning sun enriches the colours in combinations of oranges, reds and yellows.
Despite the years of heavy logging, the rainforests contain massive stands of ancient Satinays, Brush Box, Kauri Pines and Piccabeen Palms. In contrast, the Wallum heathlands on the lower lying parts of the island burst into a richness of colour during spring, and the spectacular coastline is fringed by mangrove forests, providing shelter for a vast variety of marine life.
Formerly the island’s main logging camp, Central Station now serves as the main information centre for the island and is one of the most popular stop-overs. Surrounded by beautiful lush rainforest, the area is famous for it's remarkable variety of flora and fauna, in particular the unique angiopteris ferns, boasting the largest fronds in the world. Explore sandy paths and picturesque boardwalks, taking you over the crystal clear waters of Wanggoolba Creek and through the ancient rainforest.
Fraser Island boasts over 40 freshwater lakes, which capture natural spring water between the sand dunes, and are home to small fish and freshwater turtles. Each lake has it’s own individual character whether it’s perched high above the sea level, stained red with tannin, softened with pure white sands or fringed with subtropical rainforest. Visit the world’s largest perched lake, Boomanjin or the unique Lake Wabby, formed by the winds of a sandblow blocking a natural spring. Amongst the most beautiful are the twin Wabby lakes and Lake McKenzie, although Lake Birrabeen and Lake Bowarrady are also very popular.
The fine sands of the island filter fresh water into creeks and streams, flowing through the forests and out to the sea. The fast flowing Eli Creek, and the well-known Wanggoolba Creek are fine examples, their clear cool waters making them popular choices for an invigorating swim.
On the ocean side of the island, the wreck of the Maheno lies where she was driven ashore by a cyclone in 1935. Serving as a hospital ship in World War I, then as a luxury trans-Tasman ship, the Maheno was on her final voyage, being towed to a Japanese wrecking ground for scrap, when she met her demise.
The main airport for Fraser Island is the Hervey Bay Airport.
Hervey Bay is a comfortable 45 minute flight north of Queensland’s capital Brisbane. Sunstate Airlines and Flight West Airlines have several daily flights to Hervey Bay from Brisbane. Direct flights are also available with Virgin Blue and Jetstar from Sydney. Convenient connections are available to link the services from other major capital cities.
Air links to Fraser Island are via Air Fraser Island from Hervey Bay or the Sunshine Coast to airstrips on the island or beach landings.
The tap water in Australia is safe to drink, though in some areas it might not taste the best.
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Lady Elliot Island is one of only six island resorts on the Great Barrier Reef, and one of only three with direct flight access to the island. The waters surrounding the island teem with marine life, and the island is famous for a resident population of manta rays.
The island boasts a protected lagoon which is ideal for snorkelling, while those visitors with a more adventurous streak can explore the waters of the Coral Sea or try diving off the reefs and drop offs. The exceptional quality of the water allows visitors special encounters with turtles, rays, dolphins, fish and a large variety of coral.
Tour the reef in a glass bottom boat, take a guided reef walk, feed the fish, or just find your own deserted beach on which to relax. Depending on the time of year, you can see turtles hatching on the beach, migrating whales frolicking in the open waters and migratory birds nesting.
How to get there?
The island can only be reached by small airplane. Departure available from Hervey Bay Airport.
• Snorkel Coral Garden and the Lighthouse Path
• Take on a dive tour
• Watch baby turtles hatching from February to March
• Have a drink on the deck of the restaurant
• Relax on the Coral beach
• Take the most beautiful photos of the island from the plane
Located on the beautiful Mary River, Maryborough is one of Queensland's oldest cities, and was the gateway to many of Australia’s free settlers between 1859 and 1901.
This colourful history has been captured in the city's beautifully restored buildings and homes, with arguably the state’s best display of houses from the 19th and 20th centuries. Maryborough has the state’s largest number of original Queenslanders, many of which have been lovingly restored to their former glory.
The high standard of preserved memorabilia and museums and the quality and sheer number of historic homes, have earned Maryborough the title of Queensland’s Heritage City. Visit Brennan and Geraghtys - a fully restored General Store, enjoy the experience of the Heritage Markets or take an spine-tingling Ghost Tour into the city's history.
Explore the treasures of the Maryborough Heritage Centre, take a lazy river cruise or enjoy a traditional Devonshire Tea in the pioneer's homestead "Rosehill'.
Maryborough's 19th century charm, modern facilities, and friendly people, make the city a great place to visit.
How to get there?
Via barge to Hervey Bay, Urangan boat harbour. Maryborough is about 34km drive from Hervey Bay, back on the Bruce Highway.
• Enjoy a lunch along the Mary River at Portside.
• Visit the Queens Park botanical gardens.
• Step in time at the Bond Store Museum.
• Trace your family history at the Heritage Centre.
• Take a guided walking tour of Maryborough heritage buildings.
• Visit Maryborough’s oldest home, the colonial Rosehill Homestead.
• Explore the Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum.
• Take a Ghostly Tour and Tales of the Port of Maryborough.
Credit cards are accepted at the majority of retail outlets, restaurants and hotels. The most commonly accepted cards are Mastercard and Visa.
Major hotels will also accept American Express and Diners' Club, but these are less likely to be accepted by smaller retailers.
Please note that when booking or hailing a taxi it is advisable to discuss methods of payment as not all taxi companies accept credit cards.
Local currency is the Australian dollar, available in units of $100, $50, $20, $10 and $5 notes and $2, $1, 50 cent, 20 cent, 10 cent and 5 cent coins.
All cash transactions are rounded up or down to the nearest 5 cents. Non-cash transactions are usually completed without rounding.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is applied at the rate of 10%. The price displayed usually includes this tax - it is not added at the register.
Tipping is rarely expected in Australia. Exceptional service may be rewarded in restaurants, by rounding up by around 5 to 10%.
It is also acceptable to round up a dollar or two for taxi service.
Telstra payphones are common all over the country. Some accept credit cards, though these are usually only found in metropolitan areas. All other phones will accept coins or a Telstra prepaid phone card. Phone cards are available at post offices, newsagents and convenience stores.
Mobile phones with GSM capabilities can be used in Australia. The most common GSM standard used is 900 MHz, but 1800 is also used. 1900 MHz (used in the USA) is not used in Australia.
Internet access is very common with internet cafes available in most built up areas.
UTC/GMT + 10 hours.
Travellers to Australia need a valid passport.
Visas are required by all visitors travelling to Australia, except for New Zealand passport holders.
If you are planning a holiday or a short business trip to Australia, you will need to apply for either a visa or an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority). An ETA will let you spend up to three months in Australia.
For more information contact the Australian Embassy in your country or visit:
As an island of immense ecological diversity, Australia employs strict customs regulations to preserve its unique habitat, and to protect all who live and travel here.
Organic items such as plants, food, furs, timber, and anything contaminated with dirt or sand will be carefully scrutinised and restricted or possibly prohibited.
Limitations also apply to other items brought into the country, such as tobacco products, alcohol and other personal possessions.
For more information contact the Australian Customs Service:
Ph: +61 (0)2 6275 6666
A passenger movement charge of departure tax is included in the price of airline tickets.
The charge is $38 per person.
Exemptions apply to children under 12 years, 24-hour transit passengers, or transit passengers who stay longer than a day if their departure is delayed by circumstances beyond their control.
The Federal Government of Australia has implemented a Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS). The TRS enables you to claim a refund, subject to certain conditions, of the goods and services tax (GST) and wine equalisation tax (WET) that you pay on goods you buy in Australia.
To claim a refund you must:
- Spend $300 (GST inclusive) or more in the one store and get a single tax invoice
- Buy goods no more than 30 days before departure
- Wear or carry the goods on board the aircraft or ship and present them - along with your original tax invoice, passport and international boarding pass - to a Customs Officer at a TRS facility
- Claims at airports are only available up to 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure of your flight.
- Claims at seaports should be made no earlier than 4 hours and no later than 1 hour prior to the scheduled departure time of the vessel.
- The refund only applies to goods you take with you as hand luggage or wear onto the aircraft or ship when you leave Australia. It does not apply to services or goods consumed or partly consumed in Australia, such as wine, chocolate or perfume. However, unlike other tourist shopping schemes, most of the goods, such as clothing and cameras, can be used in Australia before departure.
- The TRS is open to all overseas visitors and Australian residents, except operating air and sea crew.
Australia recognises international driving licences, provided the information contained on the licence clearly indicates the types of vehicles you are licensed to drive in your home country.
For visitors from non-English speaking countries, it is probably best to obtain an International Driving Permit – that is, a translation of what is on your licence. This enables Australian police and rental companies to compare the licence with the permit, and see what types of vehicles the licensee is allowed to drive.
Australians drive on the left-hand side of the road. Routes are generally well signposted and the majority of roads are well maintained.
Speed limits and distances are expressed in kilometres (km) and a speed limit of 50km/h is enforced in residential and commercial traffic areas, unless otherwise indicated. On highways and freeways the speed limit is usually 100km/h, unless otherwise indicated.
Drink driving is considered a serious offence and is heavily policed. In some states, for example New South Wales, those with overseas licences are subject to special blood alcohol limits (0.02 in comparison with the normal limit of 0.05). Any driver may be directed by the police to provide a breath specimen to measure intoxication. Refusal to provide a breath sample may result in arrest.
The minimum legal 'drinking' age in Australia is 18.
It is recommended that you carry identification if you are going to a licensed venue, bar or nightclub.
If you cannot prove that you are 18 years or older, you may be refused entry. Liquor stores may also ask for identification prior to purchase.
Please note that it is illegal to provide liquor to any person under the age of 18 (minor).
Fraser Island was known as 'K'gari' or Paradise, to the Butchulla people, after a spirit who helped the great god 'Beeral' to create the earth.
It is said that K'gari loved the earth so much that she asked Beeral if she could live there. Beeral granted her wish, changing K'gari into a beautiful island, and giving her trees and animals for company. So that K'gari could look up to her former home in the heavens, Beeral made her eyes into the coloured lakes that Fraser Island is renowned for.
For the ultimate in relaxation, Kingfisher Natural Therapy offers professional beauty therapies featuring specialized facials, blissful spa treatments and revitalizing massages.
Feel the stresses of everyday life slip away as you enjoy an exotic aromatherapy massage or nourishing scalp treatment featuring fragrant essential oils. Experience a rejuvenating salt scrub, individually personalized for your skin type, or indulge in a luscious chocolate body wrap.
If you just can’t decide, spoil yourself with a blissful total body package that will restore vitality and enhance your wellbeing.
There are limited facilities for persons in wheelchairs on Fraser Island.
There are short tracks and boardwalks around Central Station, ajacent to the barge landings, and at other popular spots around the island, but the majority of the island is soft sand and unsuitable for wheelchairs.
Wheelchair toilet facilities are available at Central Station, Wanggoolba Creek barge landing, Waddy Point, Lake Garawongera, Ungowa and Dundubara campgrounds and day-use areas.
The Fraser Coast's largest and longest established 4WD self drive hire operator, Aussie Trax 4x4 is the obvious choice for Fraser Island self-drive experiences. Let the team at Aussie Trax guide you with expert advice about driving on the sand, tide times, suggested itineries and detailed maps of the island, ensuring that your trip is one of the most memorable experiences of your lifetime.
Boasting more than 25 years experience of 4WD Hire, Bay 4WD have the experience and know how to ensure that you are well equipped and on your way to a holiday to remember.
With the reassurance that your hire vehicle has been maintained to the highest standard, you are free to explore long golden beaches, freshwater lakes, calm sheltered coves, and the towering majesty of the rainforests.
Dilli Village to Lake Boomanjin
6.3k – 2 to 3 hours
Cross the timbered boardwalk over a creek and experience different types of vegetation on your trek to the spectacular Wongi sand blow. Continue on through eucalypt forest to the largest perched lake in the world, Lake Boomanjin.
Lake Boomanjin to Lake Benaroon
7.2k – 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours
Explore the north western edge of Lake Boomanjin, before following the track through scribbly gum forest, on to open woodland featuring blackbutt and brushbox. Watch the vegetation change into lush rainforest with palms, vines, staghorns and mosses, descending to Lake Benaroon, and skirting the lake to the walker’s camp.
Central Station to Lake McKenzie via Basin Lake
6.6 k – 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours
Follow Wanggoolba Creek, along the board walk through different forest types before emerging at Basin Lake. Spot freshwater turtles along the waters edge and watch the magnificent sea eagles soaring overhead. Continue on through the forest and into the wetlands before arriving at the miraculous aquamarine waters of Lake McKenzie.
Lake Benaroon to Central Station
7.5k – 2 ½ hours to 3 ½ hours
From the melaleuca fringed shores of Lake Benaroon, follow the old loggers track, past Lake Birrabeen. Pass through tall forests of brush box and satinay before descending into the rainforest at Central Station.
Limited mechanical repairs can be carried out at Eurong and Orchard Beach on Fraser Island, and at Rainbow Beach and Hervey Bay on the mainland.
A towing service operates from Eurong, Yidney Rocks and Happy Valley.
Fires should be reported to the Department of Environment, National Parks and Wildlife Service at:
Eurong Ph:+61 (0)7 4127 9128
Dundubara Ph:+61 (0)7 4127 9138
Central Station Ph:+61 (0)7 4127 9191
Waddy Point Ph:+61 (0)7 4127 9190
Bush Fire Brigades are also located at:
Happy Valley Ph:+61 (0)7 4127 9144
Orchid Beach Ph:+61 (0)7 61 4127 9129
Kingfisher Bay Ph:+61 (0)7 4120 3333
Eurong Ph:+61 (0)7 4127 9120
Mobile phone reception on Fraser Island is limited to areas around at Kingfisher Bay and some reception south of Eurong Beach. While steps are being taken to improve this service, mobile phones should not be relied upon whilst on Fraser Island.
Public telephones are available at several locations on the island including: Happy Valley, Kingfisher Bay, Dundubara, Indian Head, Orchid Beach, Eurong, Waddy Point, Central Station, Cathedral Beach Tourist Resort and Yidney Rocks Cabins.
Fraser Island has a diverse range of bird life and native animals, many with unique characteristics that set them apart from those on the mainland.
Visitors can expect to see hundreds of species of birds including Australia's stork, the fascinating jabiru, possums, flying foxes, echidnas and Australia's purest population of dingo.
In many of the freshwater lakes unique species of turtle can be found, while the water that surrounds the island is home to dugong's, dolphins and turtles. During the months of August through to November, magnificent humpback whales, pass on the western side of the Island, with their young, on their annual migration.
Many of the native animals on the island are small and nocturnal, therefore the best way to experience the wildlife first hand is to take part in a night spotting excursion.
The ocean surrounding Fraser Island is very dangerous with pounding surf and lethal undertows. Sharks are very common, even in the calmer waters of the Great Sandy Strait, making the entire area a no-go zone for swimmers.
Providing a customized service, Safari 4WD Hire is your one stop for everything you need to explore the amazing world heritage listed Fraser Island.
Proudly recommended by major travel guide books, they provide a full range of vehicles and can arrange Island Transfers and Parks & Wildlife permits, ensuring a smooth transition from the main land to the Island.
Maps and itineraries are provided with all vehicle hire and a full pre-departure briefing will bring you up to date with current driving conditions.
Fraser Island’s mild sub-tropical climate is ideally suited to Queensland’s uniform of lightweight casual clothing, with the addition of a jacket for cool mornings and evenings.
To explore the island’s sandy tracks, walkers should wear comfortable walking shoes, consider wearing long sleeved clothing and remember the insect repellant.
Don't forget your sunscreen! Ensure that you are protected from the sun year round, and remember that you can get burnt on cloudy days as well. It is recommended that you wear a wide brimmed hat, shirts with collars and sleeves and apply sunscreen to exposed skin.
Fraser Island has a subtropical climate with moderate temperatures, averaging between 22 to 28 degrees Celsius in the Summer months, and between 14 and 21 degrees Celsius in July, during Winter.
Annual rainfall varies across the island, with the wettest months generally between January and March as Summer storms common in the late afternoon.
Winter and Spring, from June until November are usually drier, and walking is recommended at this time to avoid extreme weather conditions.
Fraser Island does not have a resident doctor, therefore visitors are advised to carry a well equipped first-aid kit at all times. Those visitors who require regular medication will need to ensure they carry sufficient supply to cover their time on the island, as there are no local pharmacy facilities.
During peak holiday periods, the Queensland Ambulance Service operates from Happy Valley. At other times, emergency medical assistance is available at the Ranger’s Stations at Eurong, Central Station, Waddy Point and Dundubara.
Kingfisher Bay Resort has first aid facilities and resident nursing staff to assist in emergencies. An air ambulance is available for emergencies and can be accessed through the Queensland Emergency Service by calling 000.
Postal services, including the purchase of stamps, can be accessed at Eurong, Happy Valley, Cathedral Beach, Orchid Beach and Kingfisher Bay. For added convenience, there is a post box at Dundubara.
Beautiful local hardwood creates a warm ambiance in the modern Satinay Bar and Bistro at the Fraser Island Wilderness Resort in Happy Valley. Relax and enjoy a casual meal in the bistro, or grab a tasty snack to take with you.
The Kingfisher Bay Resort offers a variety of dining options, each with their own individual character. Dine on modern cuisine accented with the unique flavours of bush tucker, and the finest Australian wines, in the beautiful Seabelle restaurant. The Maheno restaurant offers casual themed buffet dining, accented with local seafood and featuring poolside dining on the deck, and live entertainment. If you don’t want to change out of your board-shorts, the nautical Sand Bar and Bistro offers reasonably priced fare and entertainment beside the sparkling pool.
Because the island’s beaches and roads are only suitable for four-wheel-drive vehicles, you may need to organise your vehicle hire in advance. There are a number of companies in Hervey Bay, Fraser Island, Rainbow Beach, Noosa and Brisbane that hire four wheel drive vehicles.
Normal road rules apply on all roads, vehicle tracks and beaches, and the local police regularly patrol Fraser Island. The island’s speed limits are 35km/h on inland roads and up to 80km/h on the eastern beach, and standard give way rules apply.
Many of the roads are narrow and carry two-way traffic and it is advisable to give right of way to heavier vehicles such as buses and trucks, and to vehicles travelling downhill or towing trailers wherever possible. There are numerous passing bays to allow the smooth movement of traffic.
Driving on the beach
Some drivers choose to reduce tyre pressure to help with traction in soft sand. When driving this way, select low gears and avoid sharp turns and sudden braking. It is common for tyres to roll off their rims if ridden too hard under lower pressure. Once on harder sand, and upon your return to the mainland, re-inflate your tyres to normal levels before resuming speed.
Take care when driving on the beaches of Fraser Island, as ever changing weather and tidal conditions have an effect on the conditions of the surface. It is safest to avoid driving during at least two hours either side of high tide, and to avoid travelling at night altogether. Deep washouts can occur at any time, but are more common after heavy rain and rough seas. The constant repetitive action of the waves can expose dangerous rocks in minutes.
High tidal waters can quickly cover the beach, reaching the sand dunes. It is very dangerous to drive through water that covers the beach, as the vehicle can sink or overturn, and be swamped by salt water.
Driving on the western beach is not recommended. At any time, ever-changing weed banks that lie buried under the sand, can deceive even experienced drivers.
Aircraft landing zones are clearly signposted along the beach. Because planes need to land on the harder sand close to the water's edge, vehicles are required to move towards the upper beach, but not venture onto vegetation and it is illegal to drive on dunes.
Always drive to suit the conditions and move slowly when driving around dingoes, birds and other wildlife on the beach. Slow down and give way when passing pedestrians as they often cannot hear approaching vehicles over the sound of the surf. Never sleep, sit or picnic in vehicle traffic zones such as on the beach, roads or campground access tracks and remember that Fraser Island's eastern beach is considered a highway.
Be very careful when crossing Eli, Wyuna and Coongul Creeks, as the large volumes of moving water create steep creek banks. Before crossing any creek, stop your vehicle and walk through the creek to check the depth of water and softness of sand. Never stop your vehicle midstream as your vehicle may sink or stall. Never attempt to cross Wathumba Creek or Moon Point estuaries.
Stay alert when driving on Fraser Island. Most accidents that occur are due to reckless driving or travelling too fast for the road or beach conditions. Slow is safe!
Vehicle entry permit
A Vehicle entry permit is require for the time that you will be visiting Fraser Island. A permit cost approximately $35 and is valid for up to 28 days. The permit must be fixed to your windscreen prior to entry.
Vehicle Entry Permits are available from:
Marina Kiosk, Buccaneer Avenue, Urangan Boat Harbour. Ph: +61 (0)7 4128 9800
River Heads Permit Kiosk, Barge landing carpark, River Heads. Ph: +61 (0)7 4125 8473
There are a number of vehicle and passenger ferries departing River Heads, Hervey Bay and Rainbow Beach, travelling to Fraser Island at regular intervals.
The Fraser Venture travels between River Heads, south of Hervey Bay and Wanggoolba Creek on Fraser Island. Carrying both vehicles and passengers, crossing the Great Sandy Strait takes about 20 minutes.
The Fraser Dawn travels between the boat harbour at Urangan in Hervey Bay, and Moon Point on Fraser Island. Carrying both vehicles and passengers, travelling time is approximately 45 minutes.
The Kingfisher Barge travels between River Heads, south of Hervey Bay and Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island. Carrying both vehicles and passengers, crossing the Great Sandy Strait takes about 45 minutes.
The Kingfisher Fast Catamaran Passenger Service travels between Urangan Boat Harbour, Hervey Bay, and Kingfisher Bay Resort. Passenger only.
A barge is also available for transfers to Fraser Island from Inskip Point, Rainbow Beach. Carrying both vehicles and passengers, the crossing takes about 10min. This transfer do not run to a timetable, instead it runs on demand.
Air Fraser Island is an award winning tourist based air charter service specialising in scenic aerial tours of Fraser Island and personalised air charter services.
Whether you would like to take a scenic flight, explore the island on a day tour, combine the best of both worlds on a Fly/Drive tour, enjoy a spectacular fishing or aerial tour or meet up with a 4WD bus tour, Air Fraser Island can accommodate your needs.
With pick ups from Sunshine Coast and Hervey Bay, tours to and from Fraser Island are integrated with a wonderful scenic flight complimented with knowledgeable commentary by your own personal pilot.
While thundering along the beach in a 4WD is exciting, the best way to explore Fraser Island, is up close and personal. Follow tracks first walked thousands of years ago by members of the Butchulla tribe, the island’s traditional people, to discover the exceptional beauty of the world’s largest sand island.
Get intimate with the island's exceptional wildlife by taking one or more of the hundreds of walking tracks, ranging from short strolls along boardwalks to longer walks around lakes, and across sand blows.
Most of the walks are well-defined, sandy tracks, with a generally firm and stable surface, however there are some sections of soft sand, which can make progress slow and tiring.
Long distance walkers will enjoy the challenge of the 90k Fraser Island Great Walk, featuring camps for that special wilderness experience. The Fraser Island Great Walk is divided into several smaller walks which make comfortable day trips, while visiting some of the highlights of the island.
Before you head out, ensure that you are wearing sturdy footwear and that you read track entrance signs and choose walks that suit your fitness and any time restrictions. Be on the lookout for natural hazards such as fallen trees, and dangerous wildlife, including dingoes and snakes.
It is important that you carry plenty of drinking water, have basic first aid supplies and never walk alone. It is also recommended that you take insect repellant as the mosquitos and march flies can be aggressive at times.
Commercially operated guided tours are available for those who would prefer someone to show them around.
Fraser Island has long been recognized by Queenslanders as the holy grail of beach fishing, but its World heritage listing has increased its popularity, worldwide.
The world’s only sand highway, Fraser Island’s famous 75-Five Mile Beach is right in the middle of the fishing action. Deep gutters along the ocean beaches provide all-season angling and host species such as Whiting and Bream during the warmer months and Swallowtail is common all year round. During Tailor season, July to October, dozens of fishing groups position themselves along the beach to try their luck.
The headlands offer exciting sport and game fishing and many rock species can be caught off the headlands from Indian Head, to Middle Rocks and around to Waddy Point.
Trailer boats can be launched in the calm waters behind Indian Head and Waddy Point and off shore, both northern coral and southern reef species can be found.
Fraser Island hosts a vast array of water sports.
Ease yourself into the aquatic wonderland with a refreshing swim at a beautiful beach or in one of the island's magical lakes.
Water Sports equipment hire is available at Kingfisher Bay Resort, including canoes, snorkelling gear, catamarans, and fishing gear. Novices can also take guided canoe paddles, sailing clinics and ‘how to fish’ classes at Kingfisher Bay Resort.
If you're feeling adventurous, hire a paddle ski or canoe and paddle yourself up Dundonga Creek. The trip takes around an 1 hour round trip and showcases some of the island's beautiful vegetation.
Motorised water craft is not permitted on any of the island's lakes, ensuring that the area remains a peaceful playground for all ages.