In our opinion, Fraser Island is one place that every Aussie should visit. It is such a magical, picturesque destination, with perfect white rolling sand for as far as the eye can see.
We enjoyed a fantastic week on the Great Sandy Island with our CUB Camper. Towing over the sand isn’t for everyone, and you do need to play around with tyre pressures, but once you’ve got them right, it is a whole lot of fun!
We have been asked for our top tips when exploring Fraser Island, so I’ve compiled a few things that we found were important to be aware of…
The number one most important factor when travelling on the soft sands of Fraser Island is your tyre pressure. We reduced ours down to 18PSI before jumping on the barge to take us across to the Island, but got stuck in the very soft sand at the launching site. (Nothing the good ol’ Max Trax couldn’t sort out!!!) We then reduced the pressures to 12PSI all around. This is pretty damn low, and the danger here is rolling off the rim! So, it is very important to take it easy, with no swift or sharp turns of the wheel!!
There are two ways to access Fraser Island by car – via the barge at Hervey Bay, or the barge at Inskip Point/Rainbow Beach. We chose to cross at Inskip Point, which in our opinion, is far better if you are intending to camp or drive along the beach. You are only allowed to drive along the beach on the eastern side of the Island, and this is also where the majority of campsites are. By crossing at Inskip Point, you are dropped right at the southern end of the eastern beach, and you basically get off the barge, and drive the beach to your destination. If, however, you were to arrive from the Hervey Bay barge, you would need to drive across the Island via the inland 4WD tracks, to reach the eastern campgrounds. (NB – there is one campground/resort on the western side, Kingfisher Bay, however we didn’t head over to look at it, so can’t really comment on it.)
Fraser Island is home to approximately 200 dingoes, all of which are to be considered dangerous. Across Fraser, there is a Dingo Conservation & Management Plan in place, and as such, they are protected under law. The QLD Parks & Wildlife Service do a fantastic job of promoting dingo safety, and ensuring that everyone is ‘Dingo Aware’. As we learnt whilst there, there are a few key things to do/remember in order to be ‘dingo safe’.
- Never leave food or food equipment out in the open (includes things like sauce bottles, dish detergent/cloths, leftovers, etc) as the dingos have a very keen sense of smell. It is also an offence to intentionally, or unintentionally, provide food to dingoes.
- Never leave children unattended, and keep them within arms reach – We were actually warned off allowing our 9yr old to play in the shallows of the beach by a ranger, no more than 20m from where we were. (Whether he was being overzealous, or that was an actual danger, we weren’t quite sure!)
- If confronted by a dingo, stand your ground and back away slowly, arms crossed. It is important not to shoo them, make too much noise, or run from them.
- Consider camping in one of the dingo-proof zones – There are quite a few dingo-fenced campgrounds along the eastern beach, that are a lot safer to camp in, especially with children. These campgrounds provide facilities and amenities, and cater for all types of camping setup. Be aware, though, that they must be pre-booked before arriving at Fraser Island.
One of three dingos we saw whilst at Fraser Island
Before departing for Fraser, we would recommend that you grab a tidal chart or download a weather app (Willy Weather is what we use). When driving along the coast, in some parts, high tide completely cuts off your path, so you are forced to sit and wait for the water to recede. The general rule is that you should plan your trip to be 2 hours either side of low tide.
Ensure you are fully stocked
There are limited resources available on the Island, so unless you want to spend a fortune on supplies, it is best to take as much as you can with you. Everyday items can be purchased at the small villages, however for things such as meat, alcohol and snacks/pantry items, you are much better to take them with you if you can.
As we mentioned before, there is a degree of planning involved when heading to Fraser Island, as all campgrounds must be pre-booked. During peak season and school holidays, this would especially be the case, as you can’t just arrive and pay for/book a site. We visited in October, outside of school holidays, and were pretty lucky in terms of flexibility. As it wasn’t too busy, we were able to change our bookings over the phone, when we decided to go extend our stay at Waddy Point.
Enjoy the wildlife!
There was such an array of wildlife on Fraser Island… Here are a few of our favourites!
Important items not to forget!
This is by no means an exhaustive checklist, but rather a few items that we found utterly invaluable. It’s important to note that we didn’t purchase any of these items specifically for Fraser, but already hand them on hand, and use them regularly on our ’round-Oz adventure’…
- Long handled shovel – these are an absolute must have on any camping trip, as they just have so many uses… In and around the campfire, getting out of trouble in a sandy/muddy bog and building sandcastles are just a few!
- Side awning for the 4WD – with little shade available on the beach, this awning was invaluable! We used it on a daily basis at the beach.
- Firewood – As the whole of the Island is a National Park, you are not permitted to collect wood for campfires. There is possibly wood available for purchase from the small convenience stores, but you are probably better off to take it with you from the mainland.
- Insect repellent & Sunscreen – Camping anywhere in Australia, these two items are absolute must-haves!
All in all, we had a great time during our week at Fraser Island. It is easily up there as one of the highlights of our Aussie adventure so far. There is such so much to see and do if you choose, or alternatively, if you prefer not to be too active, it is great for just having a fish and chilling out! We will definitely be back, and hopefully with some friends next time. It would be great to share this beauty with a great group of mates!