Fraser Island is undoubtedly the star of the show, but the Fraser Coast region goes beyond this floating sand dune. There's Hervey Bay, whale watching capital of Australia, where humpback whales come to rest, play and socialise each year. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, dugongs and green sea turtles in the waters of the bay and the Great Sandy Strait too!
Set foot on Fraser for the first time and it doesn’t take long to realise why this piece of paradise off the Queensland coast is considered a great natural wonder. World Heritage-listed K’Gari, as it is known to the Butchulla people, boasts a mix of glorious uninterrupted beach, coloured sand cliffs, unique rainforest, sand dune lakes and creeks so crystal clear that they inspire a double take.
Fraser, the largest sand island in the world, is rich in wildlife and a haven for walkers, nature lovers, four-wheel-drive adventurers, beach explorers and anglers alike and is just a 50-minute barge ferry ride from the mainland.
Fraser is all about the environment, whether it is taking in the wonders of the east coast 75-mile beach, boasting some of the best beach fishing in Australia, or exploring the quieter west coast on the Great Sandy Strait. The Fraser Coast offers some of the best beach four-wheel-driving opportunities you'll ever come across, recently joining forces with the Sunshine Coast region to create Queensland's Great Beach Drive.
If you don’t feel confident enough to hire a 4WD vehicle (or confident enough to drive your own on the sand), there are guided tours you can join to take in the island highlights.
Must-sees include the freshwater paradise at Eli Creek, the impossibly clear Lake McKenzie with its silica sand beach, the Cathedrals coloured sand cliffs, and the remains of the shipwrecked SS Maheno. Keep a lookout for wildlife, including the iconic Fraser Island dingoes.
Eat & Drink
Apart from Fraser providing one of the best spots in Australia to catch your dinner from the beach, there are several other alternatives to reeling in your supper. Visitors on camping trips should stock up on the mainland as options for purchase on the island are limited.
There are restaurants and bars at Kingfisher Bay Resort on the western side of the island, including the signature Seabelle Restaurant, which focuses on the freshest local ingredients, some grown in its own nursery. Take your tastebuds on a bush tucker tour, trying delicacies including emu, crocodile and assorted, edible plants traditionally used by the Island's Indigenous peoples.
The east coast Eurong Beachfront Resort has a bar, restaurant and bakery. There is also a bar and bistro at the Fraser Island Retreat, Happy Valley.
Where to Stay
If you are looking for an island adventure safe in the knowledge you can finish the day under a roof rather than canvas, you can choose from hotel rooms, self-contained villas, apartments, lodges and cabins. There are also several private homes for rent.
While accommodation on the east coast is accessible only by 4WD, you can stroll straight from the ferry to Kingfisher Bay Resort on the west coast. There are also plenty of lodgings available on the mainland in Hervey Bay.
If you are looking for high-street type shopping, make sure you indulge on the mainland before making your way across to the island. If you are travelling up from Noosa North Shore to the barge connection at Inskip Point, Noosa and Rainbow Beach are your best shopping spots.
Alternatively, Hervey Bay is a key regional shopping centre for those travelling across from River Heads. There are shops at both Kingfisher Bay and Eurong Beach Resorts, a general store at Happy Valley and small stores at the Cathedrals campsite and Orchid Beach.
Fraser Island Like a Local
Exploring by 4WD is one of the great pleasures (and privileges) of a visit to Fraser, but stick to the rules to make the most of it. 75-mile Beach is a designated highway and highway laws apply, including “keep-to-the-left” as well as a beach maximum speed limit of 80 km/h (30 km/h on inland tracks).
It is also a landing strip, so watch out for visiting light aircraft! Locals and long-time visitors know that 4WD sand driving is very different from driving on the road and the relatively inexperienced should do their research before heading out. Never drive on the beach within two hours either side of high tide. Taking a 101 course from the experts at Australian Offroad Academy is highly advised for first-timers.