How We Planned For The Trip
I was on holiday in Queensland with my partner and kind of spontaneously decided to visit the island. Fraser Island is located about 200 km north of Brisbane, Queensland. You may fly to Brisbane or to Sunshine Coast and continue through the land.
When you’re planning a trip to Fraser Island you can choose to book a tour or organize it by yourself. As usual, there are pros and cons for each option.
To get to the island, you need to take a ferry that runs regularly from Rainbow Beach, the ferry`s name is Manta Ray. You must have a 4x4 off-road car. Moving non-stop on sandy terrain requires a proper preparation. In addition to the car, people buy traction aids, ropes, and shovels. Be sure to deflate the tires a little so you have better traction on the sandy highway. You also need to work out a driving technique (e.g. most often you have to go fairly quickly, otherwise you may sink in the wet sand) and watch out for the tide (high tide makes it impossible to ride on the beach). If a car breaks down or sinks in the sand, it completely blocks the path, making it impossible for other drivers to pass through. We witnessed a situation like that. Best to assess your skills before you decide to go by yourself.
Another possibility is to buy an organized excursion. This was the choice we made after analyzing the pros and cons. No need to rent a 4x4 car and worry about possible problems on the road. Accommodation and meals are provided (no need for camping equipment, such as a tent, cooking equipment, etc.). The group is looked after by a guide who has a lot of insight and knows the history of the island. You can see relatively many interesting places in a short time. For an inexperienced tourist, unfamiliar with the terrain, I would definitely recommend this option.
A trip on Fraser Island does not come cheap, whatever option you choose. We used a company, buying a 2-day excursion. The cost was $ 800 for two. The price included a pick-up from the mainland and transport to the island, a tour guide, accommodation, food (all meals + snacks, coffee). We traveled by a large off-road modified coach, going to several places every day. We didn’t have to worry about taking things other than personal (like clothes, toiletries). This was basically our cost for the whole trip.
Here is the link https://fraser-tours.com/fraserisland/fraser-explorer-guided-tour-2d-1n-ex-rb
Alternatively, you can rent a 4WD car and either book a place to sleep (there are few options to choose from – hotel, house, etc.) or go camping. If you choose camping you need to own all the gear and equipment or rent it.
Comparing the cost of the car and good insurance (that is essential for this kind of trip), accommodation and food, I found it cheaper to go with an organized company.
If you can find travel mates or make some friends from the hostel who are also looking to go to Fraser Island at the same time, you can make this trip in a more affordable way.
Places We Visited On The Island
Lake McKenzie is located 169 m above sea level. Water is very transparent, and the white sand around the lake is silica. There are no fish in the lake. The island is rich with lakes, there are 100 freshwater lakes on the island and some of them are truly spectacular.
Pille Valley. It rains about 200 days a year here. The local rainforest contains trees that are up to 50 meters high and 800 years old. The island has been a supplier of timber for shipbuilding since 1842. Currently, logging is no longer performed since the island is a national park and listed as a World Heritage Site.
Wanggoolba Creek. A fine place for a picnic and relaxation. There is a beautiful, marked route that is easy to walk. The water there is extra clean because when it rains the sand acts as a natural filter.
Hammerstone Sandblow Dunes lead to Lake Wabby. The lake has a greenish color, which is rare on the island and is home to several species of fish. To get to the lakes you must go down a fairly steep wall of sand along the dune.
75 Mile Beach is like a highway here and gets you wherever you would like to visit on the Island. Interestingly, police may conduct normal checks from time to time about the permits and breathing tests, just like in the city. This beach runs from the south to the north of the island.
Indian Head foreland is a place worth visiting. You can admire the beautiful view of the island from here, and it is also close to Champagne Pools. A natural ocean basin created by volcanic rocks. This is one of the few places on the island where you can swim in a natural rock pool.
Returning to the south of the island through the 75 Mile beach, you have to stop at the Maheno shipwreck. During the First World War, it was a hospital and belonged to New Zealand. In 1935, the ship got stuck on Fraser Island during a cyclone and is now one of the tourist attractions.
Eli Creek area is where the water from the rainforest flows into the ocean. Our guide gave us tire tubes to float on. It was our last highlight on the second day and there was no time left for us to walk around the area.
Important Things To Note
Fraser Island is home to many animals. We were lucky enough to spot a few dingos! It is estimated that there are currently about 200-220 of them on the island. They are wild animals and there are information signs about the rules at every turn. Under no circumstances should the dingo be fed, and any food should be well secured so that animals do not try to get to it.
The waters surrounding the island are home to dolphins, turtles, stingrays, and sharks. What is extremely important, swimming is only permitted in certain areas. The waters are dangerous due to the animals and the structure of the land, one minute you’re in shallow water and the next you can fall even 7 meters down. You shouldn't enter the water at all on the main beach (75 Miles Beach).
Fraser Island is a dream! We loved it there, and while it's not a cheap excursion, it's definitely good value for your money. The wildlife, the scenery, the dingoes! I hope to go back there again one day and discover more.