There is no other way around the island but by Feet or 4WD Car.
There are some roads, but they consist -like everything else here - of sand.
So this is the only way. There are tours taking you around, or you can hire a car and drive yourself.
It?s not as hard as it sounds.
There are just a few things to remember that are special here.
- You can drive on the beach and almost everywhere on the island (where there is a route), but don?t drive over the vegetation.
- Don?t drive through salt water (yes, this means the sea, so stay away from the beach if the tide is high) - the sweet water creeks that you have to cross from time to time are ok, though.
- Beware of Eli Creek: its the biggest of these Creeks on the Eastern beach and it is often deeper than expected.
- If you cross someone on the beach, indicate the side on which you are driving (doesn?t always have to be the same one, you can cross on the right or the left).
- There are planes landing on some strech of the beach: so also look up.
There are different ways to get on the island.
Most go by ship, but there is a faster and more interesting version: fly in.
In a Chesna they take you from Hervey Bay and they land right on the Beach of the island.
This only works if it is low tide.
And thats also the reason you should be there at the time they said when you want to fly back....
Air Fraser Island is one of the companies.
They also hire Cars (4WD) on the island, so you can combine it.
1999 the prices were as folow:
1 Day Trip 35 AUS (australian Dollars) per person (flight)
Fly-Drive-Fly: 85 AUS pp
(includes 4WD hire on the island and flight)
Fly-Drive-Camp 150 AUS
(2days, one night, incl 4WD hire and camping gear)
(we made this: it was just great!)
Just be warned that ONLY 4-wheel drive vehicles are allowed on Fraser. The reason quickly becomes apparent moments after you first get stuck in the sand, and everyone has to get out and push. This is only an inconvienence, you will always get out!
Almost all persons and vehicles arrive to Fraser by ferry from Hervey Bay, in Queensland. There are numerous ferries each day, but check times with an agent or the park officials for the first and last times, so you don't end up stuck on the island. 4 PM is the normal last ferry time.
A few crazy people go to Fraser by plane, with a landing being performed on the sand at a beach along the eastern coast.
On Fraser Island it is a must to have a 4WD, and even with a strong 4WD it is not guaranteed, that you never get stuck. But hey, that's the funny thing about it, isn't it???
There are several companies that offer self-driving trips to fraser and provide you with the 4WD and camping gear.
I was on a self-driving trip (with fraser escape) and had a very good time, seeing all the major sights as they provided us with kind of a plan when we should be at what point (also because of the tides!).
There are people with bad experiences on these self-guided trips and of course it depends very much on the group wether you have a good time or not.
We were staying at Noosa Heads and took a 4 wheel drive guided day tour. It was a very comfortable , but long day out, our journey starting with a 6:30am pickup at our hotel. Our new Toyota Landcruiser was ideal for the day, handling the drive along beaches and rainforest tracks extremely well. A champagne breakfast was served on Rainbow Beach whilst we enjoyed a BBQ lunch at McKenzie Lake including wine, beer and soft drinks. Our guide gave an excellent commentary and went out of his way to take us to the special spots. Cost for the day was Au $169 per person, well worth it.
On my last trip to Fraser Island I hire a Suzuki Jimny. There were only two of us travelling and this little 4WD was ideal. It was light and easy to drive and didn't tend to sink into the sand like some of the bigger vehicles did.
It was also the cheapest hire vehicle that you could get at AUD$115 per day plus insurance.
There are plenty of places at Hervey Bay to hire 4WDs, but limited numbers on the Island itself.
We travelled with Fraser Venture Tours for the day. After a courtesy pick up from our accomodation, ferry crossing to Fraser Island, we then boarded the 4wd bus. The driver/guide provided first class commentary through out the day.
There are a number of tour groups to choose from but, from what I can tell I think my wife and I got lucky and choose not only the best one for our 2 day safari but, we also got the best guide for the trip.
The tour that we went on took us to a number of key spots:
-Eli Creek (no big deal)
-Lake Birrabeen (BETTER!!! than Lake Mckenzie)
see other details on other pages for more info on each of those sites.
-We stayed overnight in a somewhat rustic but comfortable tent/cabin.
One of the best parts of our trip was our guide (Steve). If you go on this tour I highly
recommend asking for Steve as your tour guide. Having done similiar work back in
my YMCA days I understand how important it is to have a guide who really loves his
work. I think this company is by far the better choice:
Steve reminded me of myself in what I used to do. Both my wife and I immensely
enjoyed going on his tour.
To be fair we tried one of the other tour groups. It cost more but, we really didn't get
as much out of it. It's clear that paying more in this case will not mean you're getting
The Fraser Island Company tour (with Steve as our guide) provides a much more comfortable
4WD vehicle with much much more leg room than the competition for a much better price.
You can only get around by 4x4. You get there by ferry from Hervey Bay. We booked through Fraser Roving, a hostel in Hervey Bay. You can drive on the beaches and on the set tracks. Driving on the beaches can be dangerous and they show you a video before you go on the island. No one really lives there although there is a very expensive hotel for those not roughing it, and a shop wih beer and a few snacks.
In order to get onto Fraser Island you must take a barge. You can pick it up from Hervey Bay to Moon point, Wangoolba Creek or Kingfisher Resort on Fraser Island or if your like us you can pick it up from Rainbow Beach (inskip point) to Hook Point on the southeren point on Fraser island. Once your on the barge its a good idea to let your tire presser down to 20PSI. Please make sure you read the tide times and keep off beach two hours before and after high tide. Bookings must be made for the barge.
Most Backpacker hostels in Rainbow Beach and Hervey Bay have a special going on. You can do a self-drive 4WD tour with other backpackers. You'll have to buy your own food and drinks (do it before you get on the island) and you can decide where to go yourself. Make sure you inspect the car you get, cause mine had really bad tires, one of them blew and we had to pay for it. Also check for scratches and all that.
Driving across the island yourself is an amazing experience, especially camping out with the other backpackers at night.
We also use the services of another tour group.
Our main point for doing so was so that we could see Lake McKenzie.
Honestly, we didn't enjoy this tour as much. Our tour guide was nice
but she wasn't Steve (see my other page for more info on).
We went to the following places:
-some other places
The tour bus seats were cramped and my prescription sunglasses ended up getting
broken (I blame myself for that but it would have been nicer if things had been more roomy).
For this we paid more money but, we felt like other than seeing Lake McKenzie, we got a
much better deal and program using the services of the Fraser Island Company.
We signed on for 2 tours which also covered the cost of everything we needed to go there (permits, overnight accomodations, transportation, and food).
Apparently, it is necessary to get a lot of permits just to go and to drive around on Fraser. But, good tour packages will cover everything necessary. They will also provide pickup and dropoff services from and to your place of stay.
The ferries do have food and drinks on board.
I think, it took about an hour or so to cross to Fraser.
While on Fraser Island, if you are planning to travel around the island at all you will probably be fortunate enough to ride in a 4 wheel drive (4WD) vehicle..It looks sort of like a mini-bus with huge wheels. If you get motion sickness maybe not such a good idea, because all the roads are pure sand and even with the huge tires the ride is anything but smooth. Its well worth it though, as the guides are very knowlegable and aren't too shabby at driving this beast of a vehicle. Also, you get to see some amazing scenery, like Lake McKenzie and go on a fabulous bush walk through the rainforest.
We saw a couple people who had rented cars while on the Island and were trying to venture out on their own onto the sandy roads. Needless to say, they did not fair too well.