The world’s largest sand island is just a one-hour flight from Brisbane and a short ferry ride from Hervey Bay. Whether you want to explore lush rainforest, swim in dreamy freshwater lakes or take your 4WD out for a wild ride, here’s our beginner’s guide to the island.
Two ferries service the route between Hervey Bay and Fraser Island, both of which accommodate passengers and their 4WD vehicles. Let your itinerary determine which ferry works better for you. The Kingfisher Bay Barge will take you directly to Kingfisher Bay Resort in 45-minutes. The Fraser Venture barge will drop you off at Wanggoolba Creek, 10 kilometres further south as the crow flies. Both recommend that you arrive at least 20 minutes before your scheduled departure when heading home.
To get around the island, you’ll need to either hire a 4WD from Hervey Bay or book a tour. Tip: It’s illegal to 4WD on Fraser Island without a beach driving permit, which you can also organise at Hervey Bay.
Spend a night in Hervey Bay before heading off bright and early to Fraser Island. A tourist destination in its own right, this seaside village is home to plenty of dining and accommodation options. It’s the place where you can pick up a 4WD and stock up on supplies if you’re planning to camp on the island.
The main highway of Fraser Island is the soft-sand 75-Mile Beach – the inland ‘roads’ are unsurfaced, narrow paths winding through the dense rainforest. While the white-knuckle 4WD experience is fun for some, most travellers prefer to let a professional take the wheel as part of an organised tour. There are plenty of different tours to choose from, book them in advance in Hervey Bay.
Bayshore Holiday Apartments: Offering accommodation and Fraser Island tour packages, the booking office at Bayshore can also help you round out your trip with snorkelling, sky-diving and whale watching adventures. These apartments are conveniently located on the Esplanade, close to restaurants and tourist shops, so no car is required. A front door pick-up and return service means you can sit back and enjoy an unforgettable tour of the Great Sandy National Park without the hassle of car hire and licenses.
A day trip is a great way to get a taste of Fraser Island, but it’s worth staying for a few days to make sure you fit everything in. Spend days exploring the rusty glory of the Maheno shipwreck and relaxing in the Champagne Pools or the pristine Mackenzie Beach. Come sunset, wash off the sand and rest your head at one of the island’s resorts.
Where to Stay:
Eurong Beach Resort: Located on the east coast of the island, this resort is perfect for those who love to fish due to its close proximity to 75-Mile Beach. Tucked into tranquil forest, the resorts is fully equipped with Wi-Fi, kitchenettes and BBQ facilities. Each unit features a deck or patio and you’re sure to love the two pools at the end of a hot day, but the highlight is the uninterrupted view of spectacular wilderness. Fuel up you 4WD at the onsite petrol station and grab a bite to eat at McKenzie’s Restaurant or the Bakery before setting off on another day of adventure.
Kingfisher Bay Resort: This award-winning 4-star resort is the luxury option on the island, with villas sporting modern beach décor. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, soak your cares away with a Spa Villa, complete with a foamy bath on a private deck. Make a reservation at the resort’s Seabelle Restaurant where the Native Spiced Tasmanian Salmon Fillet regularly has visitors in raptures, or swap stories over a casual cold one with new friends at Dingo Bar.
The resort is located on the calmer water on the west coast, with ideal conditions for canoeing. It’s also an aspiring photographer’s dream; head to the water’s edge just before sunset to witness the heavens come to life.
Whether you choose a day trip, tour, camping adventure or luxury resort, the natural wonders of Fraser Island are sure leaving you aching for a return trip. Paradise found.