Off the beaten path of Fraser Island
January 1, 1970
by Samantha Robinson
Fraser Island is a famous and gorgeous island just off the Queensland coast of Australia if you are ever stuck for where to go this should be top of your list. Visiting the world’s largest sand island, surely that’s something to write on your bucket list.
There are a lot of tours available for you to sign up to and have a relaxing pre-planned trip at not much cost. These are great if you want to socialise with other like-minded individuals, they are great if you want to have your itinerary completely organised and all you have to do is turn up. These tours will take you to the well-known and beautiful spots, the trouble is they all go to the same spots. There is not much unique about these tours.
There are 3 ways to see the iconic Fraser Island;
1. Sign up for a tour
2. Rent a car
3. Bring your own vehicle
As mentioned above option 1 has pros and cons. Option 2 allows you more freedom to see something different but it is very common for the rental company to put limits on where you can go, this is due to some places having a higher risk of vehicle damage. Option 3 is, in my opinion, the best, you can go wherever you are comfortable driving, you will see things people opting for options 1 and 2 will not (also meaning these spots are much more likely to be quieter).
For the purposes of this article, we are going to presume you have taken my advice and gone with Option 3.
When should I go?
It will obviously be cheaper outside of the school holidays, most of the accommodation available on Fraser Island will increase their prices for not only the Queensland school holidays but also the New South Wales school holidays. Something else to consider is the weather, seems obvious, during wetter months it will be a lot easier to drive about as the sand will compact down. The sand is also harder to drive on in the busier months as the more cars on the island the more the sand gets moved about, creating less friction.
How do I get on the island?
There are two barges, one from Hervey Bay (River Heads), one from Rainbow Beach. Which barge to get does not always come down to which location you live close to. If you are staying at Kingfisher Resort or Central Station you will definitely want to get on the Hervey Bay barge, this will take you around 45 minutes to get across to Fraser Island. If you are staying anywhere else my advice will be the same. If you are towing anything heavy you will want to get the barge from Rainbow Beach, this will take you about 10 minutes to get onto the island, the inland tracks are harder for you to drive on if you’re bigger.
Where should I stay?
If you have taken my advice this far, you are a smart person and should also take my recommendation on this. Stay at Cathedrals on Fraser. Want to stay in a cabin? Want to camp but don’t want to lug your own tent and bedding across the country? Want to camp with your own gear but away from the wind of the beach? Want all your home comforts, to use all your electronics without bringing your own generator? You can do all of these things at my personal favourite spot to place my head at night on Fraser Island. Great location, halfway up the east coast, you can reach all the best spots at equal distance. This is the ideal campsite if you want to see the north, south, east and west.
So you’ve sorted your car, you barge is booked, you’re staying at a gorgeous location with great management. What’s left to organise? The best bit.
Where should I go once I am on Fraser Island?
Lake Birrabeen and Lake Boomanjim
These are two separate lakes but they are on the same road if you go to one you should hop over to the other. I’m sure you’ve been told that the must-see lake is Lake Mackenzie, it is undoubtedly gorgeous there and the blue waters are unforgettable, however, it is always busy. Lake Birrabeen and Lake Boomanjin are both beautiful lakes, white sand, blue water, quirky trees loved by the eye of everyone’s inner photographer. The winning attribute? They are both much lesser known therefore much quieter, play your music, let your children run wild, have a great day.
Smaller than other creeks but still just as fun. There is a small pool of water around the back with little fish that are not bothered by your presence, very refreshing but mind the march flies during the warmer months.
You have been up Indian head and seen the breath-taking views and you still have some energy left. Keep going north and boulder over rocks while watching water crash as if you’re in the Little Mermaid. Friendly for all ages as long as you have reasonable fitness.
Beautifully calm, this creek has it all. Peace and quiet, rocks to climb, tree ropes to swing, water deep enough to swim in flowing into shallower water for the smaller people in your life to splash in. Located on the west side of the island, this is somewhere you can only visit if you are driving your own vehicle. This is the perfect place to set up your BBQ and watch the sunset.
Another one of my favourite spots is also located on the west side. Time your visit carefully, arrive on low tide and stay until the tide comes in. This creek is unique as it connects largely to the ocean. On low tide the water is beautifully red and as the day goes on turns crystal blue. There are lots of fish, mud crabs, and the occasional ray to watch.
You have to go to Eli Creek, it’s a must. When you have ridden your inflatable ring all the way down, drive a little south (slowly or you could miss this hidden gem) and play around Kooloro Sandblow. This steep mound of sand has a great view from the top and goes back further than your energy will probably take you. You’ll feel like you’ve just discovered a half pipe made of sand that cascades up two sides of forestation.