We spent Christmas 2019 on the beautiful beaches of Fraser Island, we will share a little of what we got up to and a few tips and tricks to help make your first visit on Fraser Island a lot easier! Check out our 4 Part Fraser Island Youtube series https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56a11eQYfjI&t=192s
How to get onto Fraser Island:
For us and the majority that head onto Fraser Island your adventure will start at Inskip point! From here you jump onto the Manta ray barge which requires booking that you can simply do over the phone or call into the office on the way into Inskip! See website here https://mantarayfraserislandbarge.com.au
You will also require a vehicle permit and campsite bookings need to be done prior to jumping onto the island which you can also do through the Manta Ray! The other way to jump on is from Hervey Bay that takes you onto Kingfisher Bay on Fraser, this is about a 40 minute trip where the Manta Ray is about 10, this is also a more expensive option!
How long to spend on Fraser Island:
We had a touch under two weeks to get from Mildura, Victoria (which is a 22 hour drive) and back! Fraser Island is the biggest sand island in the world being over 120km long! We spent 7 nights on the island and this was JUST enough to cover all the main attractions plus to have a few chill out days on the West Coast, another 2 nights would have been ideal. You could do Fraser Island with a minimum 3 days but it would be a pretty rushed trip with a lot of driving, of course there are 4WD day trips available if you don't want to take your own 4WD onto the beach, these tours usually cover up to the Maheno ship wreck along the east coast. I would say the ultimate minimum time to allow on the island would be 5-6 nights.
Driving conditions/tips and tricks
You will hear a lot of people saying "I did Fraser in a 2WD" and yes in fact there a lot of spots along the beach at low tide that is like a highway and you may not need 4WD engaged. We got on late in the afternoon as the tide was coming in and soon as we got off the Manta Ray she was soft! No matter what when we jump onto a beach even if we think it's going to be okay we will air down to at least 16psi in the vehicle and same for whatever we are towing which on Fraser we had the camper in tow. Sometimes it is the big wheel ruts as people cut up off the beach and a lack of body clearance is enough to get you stuck not necessarily the deep sand. There is a lot of little exits off the main beach into attractions, campsites towns etc. which can be quite soft. Fraser Island is a place for everyone but if your taking your vehicle onto Fraser please educate yourself with the basics of how to drive on sand starting with lowering tyre pressures, know what 4WD mode in YOUR vehicle works best for sand, turn off all traction control ESC controls, familiarise yourself a safe recovery point on your vehicle and take at least minimal recovery gear like a snatch strap and recovery boards so you aren't relying on using other travellers gear in a situation you might get yourself stuck! It is all about being prepared before getting stuck, the beach, especially Fraser can be unpredictable and change daily even hourly. Grab yourself a tide times map from the Manta ray office on the way into Inskip and plan your travels around that! You are much better off knowing you are coming into a soft section prepared and getting through easily rather then not airing down and waiting until you get stuck digging massive holes on the track and stuck in a one way track airing down and digging yourself out with a line of cars waiting behind you. We seen this a lot at Ngkala Rocks! Watch it here! https://youtu.be/OcF-JG0rXXU
Things to do on Fraser Island:
A scenic 4WD trip 1 hour inland from Eurong along the tracks will take you to Lake Mckenzie. The lake is 'perched' which means it only contains rain water and is not fed by flowing creeks. The lake is surrounded by pure white sand and super soft to walk on.
Fill the fridge up with plenty of drinks, snacks and some lunch so you can spend the day relaxing on the white sand and swim in the crystal clear water.
If you've heard of Fraser Island you've probably heard of the famous Eli creek! If you want to park up beside the creek and it's not low tide, you will have to cross a section of the creek, as always, make sure you check the depth before any water crossing.
Don't forget to pack your floaty! Handy tip - take an air compressor to pump them up, this will save your breath for the amazing boardwalk which takes you a few hundred meters inland where you can begin your effortless and relaxing float back toward the beach.
Another famous Fraser Island icon! The ship was built in New Zealand in 1905 and later on used in World War I as a hospital ship. In 1935 the Maheno was headed for a Japanese wrecking yard but ended up getting caught in a cyclone and driven ashore to her final resting spot on Fraser Island. 'Maheno' in native New Zealand language, Maori, means 'Island'.
This was amazing to see in person as photos don't do it justice! It was amazing to see at low tide and high tide.
We got up super early to watch the sunrise over the ocean and swim in the natural rock pools, we had the whole place to ourselves!
Watch your step along the rocks as they can be pretty slimy and slippery. There is plenty of sea life that has been washed up over the rocks, whether it be swimming in the pools or living up amongst the tiny gaps in the rocks surrounding the pools.
Another awesome day trip, just a short 4WD track from Orchid Beach heading west of Fraser Island. WOW. This one is worth the trip! Head off early to beat the crowd and find a spot to pull up for the day. Pack your snorkelling gear to explore the sea life in the crystal clear water. It was picturesque!
If you love to give your 4wd a bit of a challenge you will love Ngkala rocks! Depending on tide this is the only way to keep heading north on the east side of the Island. It is famous for being extra soft and big line ups on busy days as it is a one way track. Have your UHF on scan to try pick up convoys on the other side, or as we did if you have a drone through it up so you can see when it is safe to head through! Depending on traffic and weather conditions Ngkala Rocks changes daily. Go in prepared 16psi at a minimum in your tyres, traction control etc off, low range and let it dance! If camping near by it is a great place to park up and watch others take on the challenge! Check out how hectic it can be! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcF-JG0rXXU&feature=youtu.be
Other great places to check out:
Sandy Cape Lighthouse
The small towns/villages