Lying off the coast of Hervey Bay and just south of the Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island and stretches for 123km and spans 166,000 hectares. With complex dune systems which are still evolving, and a number of dune lakes it is an exceptional destination and Fraser Island holidays have even been enjoyed by Prince Harry and Megan Markle on their Australian visit!
The highest dunes on the island reach up to 240 metres above sea level. Forty perched dune lakes (half the number of such lakes in the world), including the much-photographed Lake McKenzie, can be found on the island.
The island also has barrage lakes, formed when moving sand dunes block a watercourse, and window lakes, formed when a depression exposes part of the regional water table.
A surprising variety of vegetation grows on the island, ranging from coastal heath to subtropical rainforest. It is the only place in the world where tall rainforests are found growing on sand dunes at elevations of over 200 metres.
When to go to Fraser Island
Summer (December to February):
It is hot and humid and sometimes wet on Fraser Island during Australia’s summer. Luckily there are stunning swimming spots and rainforest creeks to cool off in. The average temperature is 29°C with night temperatures of around 22°C.
Autumn (March to May):
Autumn is a comfortable time of the year to visit Fraser Island, with high temperatures, yet lower levels of rainfall and humidity than in summer.
Winter (June to August):
Whale Season! Every year from July to November you may be able to see the Humpback Whales on the shores of Fraser Island as they make their way along the coast. There is little rainfall and the humidity is low. The average temperature is around 18°C however it can often be in the mid-’20s during the day with cool nights.
Spring (September to November):
Spring is a great time of the year to visit Fraser Island. Leading into summer, the temperatures begin to rise (as well as the humidity levels). There is little chance of rainfall in September and October and the average temperature ranges from 24°C to 27°C.
How to get to Fraser Island
Fraser Island is only accessible by ferry or barge, with no bridge to and from the island to the mainland.
Unless, like the royals, your budget allows for a private helicopter transfer you will need to self-drive ( in a 4WD), join a tour or catch the passenger ferry from Hervey Bay to Kingfisher Bay Resort.
If you are joining a tour or self-driving you will leave the mainland from one of two locations: Hervey Bay or Rainbow Beach.
Your trip may include a pickup at locations such as Brisbane or Noosa on the Sunshine Coast, before driving to the ferry terminal. Ask your tour operator what pickups are available to you.
Brisbane is located 3.5 hours from Hervey Bay and 2 hours 45 minutes from Rainbow Beach, while Noosa is about 1.5 hours away from Rainbow Beach and 2.5 hours from Hervey Bay. Guests can also choose to be picked up in Hervey Bay or Rainbow Beach, which are closer to the departure locations.
Greyhound and Premier bus lines both stop at Sunshine Coast, Rainbow Beach, and Hervey Bay. Alternatively, you can rent a car or van and drive yourself to your desired starting location. Hervey Bay (HVB) and Sunshine Coast (MCY) also have airports with daily flights and connections to major cities.
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Where to stay on Fraser Island
Kingfisher Bay Resort is the perfect base to explore the spectacular sights of Fraser Island. Set among tree-covered dunes, along the calm waters on the western side of the island, the resort offers a range of nature-based activities, such as swimming, bush walking, fishing, or water sports.
There is a variety of accommodation styles inlcuding self contained beach houses, cabins and hotel tooms.
Relax with a cocktail by one of the four swimming pools, play tennis, indulge at the Island Day Spa, and admire the sunset from the western beach. There are 3 restaurants and 3 bars and you can also enjoy the Tastes of Australia experience which explores native food and flavors.
Kids will love the Junior Eco Ranger program, with interactive wildlife experiences including beach games, crafts, bushwalks, campfires and stargazing, led by the expert ranger team.
Eurong Beach Resort’s absolute beachfront position gives easy access to the vast expanse of Fraser Island’s famous Seventy-Five Mile Beach. It is also centrally placed to visit the southern lakes, which include McKenzie and Wabby, as well as the rainforests around Pile Valley and Central Station.
Resort facilities include a well-stocked general store and bottle shop, a bakery and coffee shop. A modern restaurant and bar overlook a large free form swimming pool. The casual Beach Bar and entertainment centre adjoins a second pool.
Accommodation at Eurong Beach Resort is designed to suit all budgets and ranges from modern, self-contained, one and two-bedroom apartments to backpacker beds and group accommodation.
There are also a few other options for self-contained and motel style accommodation including some privately owned beach houses which are great for families and groups.
For more accommodation on the Fraser Coast CLICK HERE
Camping on Fraser Island
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) manages a number of campgrounds, beach camping zones and walkers’ camps. Camping permits are required and fees apply.
To view, a map of all camping grounds click here.
Things to see and do on Fraser Island
Go 4 Wheel Driving
Seventy-Five Mile Beach is an actual highway that runs up the surf side of the island. Four-wheel-drives share the highway with Air Fraser planes making joy flights. Sand tracks cross the island link lakes and rainforests.
Driving conditions vary with weather and tides. Speed limits are 35kmh on inland roads and 80kmh on the Seventy-Five Mile Beach. Normal road rules apply. Carry essential spares as well as a towrope, spade, water and first aid kit.
If you haven’t driven on sand before, the friendly folk at Aussie Trax 4WD Hire at Kingfisher Village will give you a quick lesson before you set out.
Vehicle access permits are required for all vehicles entering the island. Permits may be obtained from River Head Barge landing, at Kingfisher Bay Resort reception and at Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service offices including Brisbane, Hervey Bay, Maryborough, Bundaberg and Rainbow Beach.
Visit Lake McKenzie
Lake McKenzie is probably the most visited natural site on the island. It is a perched lake, which means it contains only rainwater and is not fed by streams nor does it flow to the ocean.
The sand and organic matter at the base of the lake form an impervious layer, preventing rainwater from draining away. The sand here is pure, white silica and is not only beautiful to look at but feels beautifully soft to walk on.
The sand acts as a filter, giving the water its clarity and helping to make the water so pure it can support very little life. There are good camping facilities here with toilets and cold showers nearby.
Visit Lake Wabby
the massive Hammerstone Sandblow. It is about a fifty-minute walk from SeventyFive Mile Beach.
The lake is slowly being invaded by the sand dune and one day may well be completely covered.
Stop in at Central Station
There is a lovely boardwalk next to Wanggoolba Creek, which carries clear water through a tranquil rainforest filled with ancient ferns.
Visit the Lighthouse
Sandy Cape lighthouse is at the northernmost tip of the island.
Built-in 1870 it is the tallest lighthouse in Queensland and is currently operated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
The lighthouse has significant cultural importance and is on the Queensland Heritage Register. In the precinct around it you can also find a former World War ll bunker down by the beach and a lighthouse keeper’s grave as well.
Sandy Cape lighthouse walk is open 24 hours a day.
Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions to be on the safe side.
Observe Dingoes in the wild
The dingoes of Fraser Island are one of the purest strains of dingo surviving in
Dingoes (Canis lupus dingo) are thought to have been introduced
to Australia between 3,000-8,000 years ago.
It is vital for the success and health of the dingo population, as well as personal safety, that these wild dogs are not fed.
It is also imperative that small children do not become separated from their parents. Extra vigilance is required as dingoes’ behaviour can be most unpredictable, especially from January to May when protecting their young, and when young males are fighting for dominance and territory.
They have been known to attack humans.
Swim in the Champagne Pools
North of Indian Heads, these rock pools are located between Indian Head and Waddy Point along 75-mile beach and provide a safe place to bathe in the ocean.
Their name is derived from the froth created when waves break over the edge and into the pools. Before tourism came to Fraser Island the Butchella people, for whom K’gari (Fraser Island) was the traditional home, used the pools as natural fish traps.
There is a boardwalk along the rocky headland that hugs the side of the coastline. This is a great place to see Whales during whale season and other wildlife such as Turtles and Manta Rays are quite common too.
Visit Eli Creek
Eli Creek is famous for wading, tubing, or swimming through and pumps nearly 3.5 million litres of freshwater in the ocean every hour. The water is incredibly clear and pure as it’s been filtered by the sand for up to 100 years!
The Creek is an extremely significant landmark For the local Butchulla people. Aboriginal mythology claims that from Fraser Island, Eli Creek flows to the Hervey Bay mainland. This Creek was once the meeting spot for the locals and was where children were often baptised.
Eli Creek is one of the most popular stops along 75 Mile Beach, especially busy when all the tour buses congregate so try and avoid that if possible.
Fishing on Fraser Island
Fraser Island’s famous 75-Five Mile Beach has some of the best beach fishing in the world.
Surf gutters along the ocean beaches provide all-season angling. Whiting and Bream are plentiful in the gutters in warmer months and Swallowtail can be caught all year round.
The Tailor season in winter sees dozens of fishing groups along the beach. All the usual rock species can be caught off the headlands from Indian Head to Waddy Point.
Trailer boats can be launched in the calm water behind Indian Head and Waddy Point. Offshore, both northern coral and southern reef species can be found.
Along with North Stradbroke Island, Fraser Island is well known as one of the best places in Australia for hard-core four-wheel driving enthusiasts, it offers so much more for kids, families, backpackers and more.
This is east coast Australia at it’s best, going off-road and creating your own tracks, or following those created by nature.
The ever-changing landscape of this island made of sand and its unique biosystem means no visit to Fraser Island is the same either. This truly is one of Australia’s own crown jewels and we bet the royals agree!