“ Country: Australia / World Region: Australasia / Pacific „
Before undertaking our trip to Australia I spend time planning the places I wanted to visit. As we only had 7 weeks (not long for such a vast area) I had to make some difficult decisions about the places that were *must sees*. At the top of my list was Fraser Island, the world's largest sand Island and a world heritage site.
Fraser Island is located off the coast of southern Queensland. We travelled from Brisbane and spend a few days in Noosa, before hiring a car and heading to Harvey bay. From Brisbane it will take you about 4 hours to Harvey bay. We travelled on the Bruce highway exiting at the Maryborough exit and continued to Harvey bay. It is an easy journey as the roads are quiet and well signposted.
There are flights to Harvey bay from Brisbane (Qantas) and from Sydney and Melbourne (Virgin) .The tilt train operates fro numerous locations and stops in Harvey bay as does the Sunlander train. There are also stations in Maryborough.The Greyhound bus has a regular timetable from the North to Harvey bay.
We had booked to stay at the Kingfisher resort on the Island. The crossing leaves from River heads about a 15 minute drive from Harvey bay. It is a scenic drive and we spotted numerous kangaroos on route. Only 4 wheel drive vehicles are allowed onto the Island as the roads are unsuitable for any other types of vehicle. You will also need to obtain a permit if you intend driving on Fraser Island. The Kingfisher resort ferry terminal is situated in an office at the Riverheads shopping village. We had pre-booked a package deal that included secure parking for our hire car. The check in was really efficient and we were given a code for the gate where our car was stored. Our luggage was taken and we boarded a bus to take us to the ferry (or barge as they are called). The crossing takes about 50 minutes and was really enjoyable. There are 6 return crossing every day. The return fare is 50 dollars for an adult and 25 dollars for children.
You can also take a day trip to Fraser Island from several towns including Noosa. However to do the Island justice I highly recommend you plan to spend a few days there.
Fraser Island is the world's largest sand Island measuring 123 km's long and 22 Km wide. With 250 KM of white sand beaches, ancient rainforests, freshwater lakes and sand dunes reaching up to 260 metres above sea level, this really is a unique landscape! The Island has been inhabited for thousands of years and was the home to the indigenous aboriginal people who know the Island as K'gari. There is still a lot of evidence of ancient settlements dating back thousands of years such as middens. The native people were removed from the Island when valuable timber was discovered in the 1860's.
The main *road* runs along 75 mile beach and travelling along it is an amazing experience. We took a day tour and so travelled in a 4 wheel drive bus. There were numerous 4 wheel drive vehicles travelled along the beach and it is certainly not somewhere to sunbathe or swim! The beach is the home to the Maheno shipwreck that run aground during a tropical cyclone. There are small planes that operate scenic tours from the beach.
The sand tracks around the Island are really difficult to negotiate and I really wouldn't fancy self driving! However there is a lot to see and explore so you will either need to book a tour or hire a vehicle. Inland there are over100 fresh water lakes; 40 perched on sand dunes! We visited the famous, and utterly gorgeous, Lake McKenzie where you can swim in the clear turquoise water.
The enormous sand cliffs and blows record the climatic and sea level changes that have occurred over thousands of years. I loved the beautiful cliffs with their different coloured sands.
Inland there are tall trees growing into sand. There is a good trail through the rain forest from central station. This is the site of the old logging station. There are numerous other trail although you do need to be aware of the wild dingoes that live on the Island.
From the Kingfisher resort there are several good walks. We really enjoyed walking through the forest trail to the beach and then along to the pier. We saw dingo tracks and really felt we were being watched! We also saw a sting ray and loggerhead turtle in the crystal clear water. It is not recommend for swimming due to strong currents.
To the North of the Island is Indian head, a rocky outcrop and a good place to spot sharks swimming in the clean waters below. This is also one of the best places to Whale watch from about the middle of August when they migrate. The so called champagne pools is also in this area. The natural rock pool collects water and the bubbles give it is name. It really is like a natural Jacuzzi albeit a crowded one!
Our tour stopped at Eli creek, a fresh water stream that flows into the sea. It is great fun to allow yourself to be carried down the shallow stream on the fast flowing current! This is a safe activity for all ages! There are pit toilets in this area where you can change.
Fraser Island is an expensive place to stay as you would expect! We stayed at the Kingfisher bay resort in July and paid about 1000 dollars for 1 adult and 2 children. The package included secure parking, return ferry crossing, 2 nights' accommodation with breakfast and a 1 day tour of the Island. The eco resort has hotel rooms sleeping up to 3 and villas. There is an expensive restraint and bar. There is also a less expensive eating place a few minutes walk from the hotel. The daily rate now being quoted is 138 dollars per room per night. As I intend to review the Kingfisher resort in a separate review I will just add that it is a lovely place to stay! Kingfisher resort is on the Western side of the Island.
The Eurong beach resort is another option and is on the ocean side of the Island. We stopped at this resort for lunch during our day tour and I didn't think it was nearly as nice as the Kingfisher resort!
Fraser Island also has backpacker's accommodation and several camping sites. If you choose to camp you will need a permit .There are also beach houses for rent.
We had breakfast each morning in the hotel and so didn't need to eat lunch. However there is a small supermarket a few minutes walk from the hotel although the choice was both limited and expensive! If you intend to camp then I suggest you shop in Harvey bay before you leave. The open restaurant near to our resort served basic food such as fish and chips, pizza and burgers. The food was expensive and poor. However we didn't come to the Island seeking a fine dining experience!
Flora and fauna.
As a family we really enjoy being one with nature and loved the *night life* on the island that consisted of star gazing and looking for nocturnal animals! There is no light pollution on the Island and so the stars are amazing! My son was fascinated that the constellations were *the wrong way round*! We also enjoyed a ranger led night walk where we saw sugar gliders and several species of spiders including a trap door and funnel web spider. I wasn't so thrilled when we were asked to shine our torches into an area and hundreds of spider eyes shone back!
The Island has230 species of birds including the rare ground parrot. We loved watching enormous sea eagle fishing and also saw lots of brightly coloured insect eating birds and a black stone curlew.
The Island is probably best known for its pure breed of Dingoes. There are strict laws that prohibit feeding the Dingoes and if caught you may well also be deported! We saw several of these animals. You are advised not to interact with them in any way as they can be aggressive. There have been attacks including a recent one.
We also saw several flying foxes; very large bats and numerous very noisy frogs.
As I have said there are really only 2 ways of getting around the Island; either take a tour or hire a 4 wheel drive vehicle. I did briefly consider the second option, but decided against it as the tracks really are not easy to negotiate! However if you decide this is for you, then a 7 seater vehicle will cost around 220 dollars for a half day and 325 dollars for a full day. There is also a hefty deposit required and you will be shown a film giving driving tips. The main highway that is 75 mile beach is subject to a fast incoming tide and so you will need to be careful when setting off. Don't even think about *running the waves* as not only are you likely to find yourself cut off by the tide, you will also lose your large deposit if there is any sign the car has been in salt water! You can also hire a 4 wheel drive from Harvey bay although you will have to get a permit to allow you to drive on the Island and pay 150 dollars for a car ,driver and 3 passengers on the ferry.
If you choose to stay at the Kingfisher resort then you will be able to join in one or more of the ranger led activities. I can recommend the free and really interesting talks. We particularly enjoyed the Dingo talk. There is also a kayak trip and activities especially for children.
Overall I loved Fraser Island and would love to return one day!
Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and is an impressive 76 miles in length and 16 miles wide. Because of this, a visit to the island should perhaps be a little more than a day trip as there is an awful lot to get around.
Fraser Island is named as such following the shipwreck of the Stirling Castle. Captain James Fraser and his wife Elizabeth survived the wreck and landed on the island. They were subsequently captured by aborigines and Captain Fraser died. Elizabeth survived however and was rescued and returned to England where she told the story of what had happened. This also later inspired a novel by celebrated Australian writer and Nobel prize winner, Patrick White - A Fringe of Leaves.
The island is a World Heritage area and is a mix of sprawling beaches, rainforest, huge lakes and dense terrain. A network of small roads runs throuhgout the island offering some access although 4x4s are recommended. Regular ferries operate between Fraser and a number of ports such as Urangan, River Heads and Inskip Point around the Hervey Bay area.
One of the most famous attractions on the island is the aptly named 75 mile beach. It runs pretty much the length of the east coast of the island and boasts some amazing scenery. It is also home to the striking Maheno shipwreck which lies like a beached whale across the sands.
Lake McKenzie should also be on the "must visit" list as it really is a photographers dream. The crystal clear waters are surrounded by sandy white beaches and a dense forest of blackbutt trees.
As you can perhaps imagine, there is a wide array of wildlife on show at Fraser and it is not uncommon to see freshwater turtles in some of the inland lakes. A word of warning should be heeded though in that dingoes patrol the island and historically have been known to attack. Also, caution should be taken on the beaches as shark attacks are not uncommon in the treacherous waters around the island.
There are various camp sites and hotels that have sprung up on the island and a spattering of bars and shops but as a whole, the island remians very underdeveloped and natural. There really is something for everyone here, whether you're a keen walker and want to enjoy any one of the number of wildlife walks around the area or whether you're ready to don a 4x4 and go exploring with no boundaries. There is also enough for a day trip here, but it will leave you frustrated that you don't have more time to truly discover the island.
I have just returned from a Fraser Island tour for 1 night and 2 days.
Fraser is a huge sand island off Hervey Bay. Our tour Cool Dingoes picked us up from our hostel, took us to get checked in and then took us to the ferry where we were met on the other side by our guide Ashton.
He immediately started the tour and off we went for a bush walk in the rainforest. There was a freshwater creek and it was very pretty although loads of mosquitos!
After that we were taken to Lake Mckenzie which is a freshwater lake that you can swim in. It was crystal clear waters and was beautiful, then we were taken home for dinner and to our lovely hostel which was very comfortable and had some nice people staying there.
All meals were included so after breakfast we went to Indian head via the Maheno shipwreck which was very spooky! There were loads of other 4x4 self drives but they all had to get out of the way for our huge 4x4 coach! Indian heads had a great view but the water wasnt clear so we couldnt see any sharks which surround the island.
We spent a few hours at the champagne pools swimming in sea water on a cliff edge, then went back via a creek which you could swim in and some interesting sand formations and a view point.
Our guide was great, the people on our tour were quite chatty but calm and not interested in drinking like the self drive people seemed to be. Im glad I did a tour instead as I felt safe at all times and the coach was way more comfortable than the back of a 4x4!
The weather was nice most of the time although we did have some rain at swimming times!
I can recommend this to everyone although if you have small children its not a great thing to do as dingoes tend to go for small children. We saw 2 dingoes and although cute looking they can turn vicious if they get fed by humans and can attack.
Cool Dingoes cost $295 including all meals and accomodation and pickup and dropoff from accomodation in Hervery Bay.
If you are ever lucky enough to travel up the East coast of Australia, you will most definitely hear about Fraser Island. It is the largest sand island in the world and its beauty attracts tourists of all ages!
You can book the trip separately, or as part of a package along with 'whitsundays', although we didn't have time to do both so only visited Fraser Island. There are two ways of visiting the island, as an organised trip or self drive. Both have their positive and negatives. If you are on an organised trip you don't have to worry about who will be a skilled enough driver, you also don't have to be concerned about navigating around the island. Whereas if you self drive you can visit parts of the island at your own pace!
My friend and I booked our trip (to make sure we didn't run out of money) quite far in advance, which I would advise against, as you move further up the coast there are more companies advertising the trip, so you are likely to get a better deal. Plus you have more chance of meeting people who are wanting to go at the same time. Whereas we ended up being put in a group, 3 of which didn't speak English!
My opinion of the island is probably also tainted as we had terrible weather for the weekend we were there, it rained so much that the hostel we were staying in flooded! At that point we were so happy we were in a hostel, although we would have really wanted to camp if the weather had been better, people looked like they were having so much more fun.
On the island there are many beautiful lakes, with the clearest water I have ever seen. Unfortunately we were not able to sunbath on the beach due to the rain, but if were thought it was beautiful then, I can only imagine what it is like in the sun! Same for the lookout point, our views were ruined by the cloud, but on a clear day you can apparently spot sharks in the sea. Also on the island, there is a shipwreck to visit and a creek that you can float down - very relaxing.
There are a lot of dingos on Fraser, there are signs everywhere informing you what to do if one approaches you, it is worth giving these a quick read as they do approach you. And beware, although these look like cute animals, remember they are wild dogs, fantastic at hunting!
If you ever travel down the east coast of Australia, or are at the moment, one thing you MUST MUST do is the Fraser Island visit.
Usually comes as a package - the Whitsundays and Fraser Island - which I signed up to do with beaches in September with my partner. Was a little expensive and we probably could have found a cheaper deal but this was just easier.
Stayed at base camp on the Island which was fun as we had to put our tent up (which I had never done before) which was in a nice area.
So you basically go around the island in a 4 wheel drive and can take it in turns to drive provided that you're over 21. Can be a little scary but its a lot of fun. Lots of gorgeous things to see, some lovely beaches. Champagne pools were lovely too. Was a little disappointing as we went to this look out where you are likely to see dolphins, whales, all sorts, out at sea. But all we saw were some turtles, and we were there for a long while.
There are some negative points about the trip:
1.) The base camp site has lights out at about 9-10pm so everyone heads down to the beach to get drunk!Myself and my partner didn't actually know this, and luckily some of the others in our group didn't so we were a little left out but it was good in the morning because you didn't feel like rubbish and were ready for another day's adventure.
2.) You can't swim in the sea as it's full or jelly fish and sharks (the champagne pools are fine tho). This is a little worrying when people are getting drunk down at the beach just a few metres away from sharks!
3.) You get really sick of the sand by the 3rd day and just want to be on normal land, so I wouldn't recommend going for longer than 3 days!Was glad to get back to Hervey Bay!
4.)Showers cost you $2 - thats if you want hot water.
5.)The shop near beaches is a rip off
Apart from those negative points, it is definately worth doing if you're doing the east coast, certainly an experience!!
When you arrive in Australia if you havent already done your research into where you want to go, all you will hear about is Fraser Island and The Whitsundays. Both are very nice destinations to visit.
My girlfirend and I recently visited Fraser and we stayed in Hervey bay the night prior and after our Fraser adventure. We booked up with a company called Beaches who were rather expensive compared to others, and i would probably reccommend shopping around to ensure you get the right deal for you.
When on the island most people tend to do a self drive visit, where you get a set amount of days, usually three, to go around parts of the island and discover things for yourselves. This sounds like a good setup, however if you want to see the things on the itinery then it doesnt leave you with a huge amount of time to spend at each destination, espicially if you havent done any sand driving before.
Regarding the driving, if you do it through a company like this, you will have to be at least 21 to be able to drive, as i was only 20 i wasnt able to, this was frustrating but just a word of warning.
For accomadation there are usually two types, the one with my package was called Base camp, where you have a campsite sith facilities and you just pitch up tent. The other option is to sleep wherever you like, this sounds good but with wild dingoes around which are still quite wild, i wouldnt reccommend this option.
If you do stay at the Base camp, they have an annoying lights out at 9 policy, then everybody goes to the beach and drinks, so to fit in you have to be prepared to get quite druunk. My girlfriend and i didnt realise this so ended up buyin alcohol on the island, a huge mistake as its about three times more expensive than on the mainland, so buy before you go.
The island itself is beautiful and it will be an experience you wont forget, you just have to hope that you get a good group to share it with.
Overall this can be fantastic value for money, and is a must do down the east coast.
Fraser Island is a must see destination in Australia. You can get to the island from Hervey Bay or Rainbow Beach which on the Sunshine Coast just above Brisbane, although Hervey Bay is closer and offers a larger variety of tours to choose from. Different tours are available - you can either go on a guided tour where a guide drives you round and does most of the stuff for you or there is the self drive tour which I have to say I think is the better choice. On the self drive tour you are in a group of 10-12 people and are left to do everything by yourself. Although this might sound a bit daunting it really was one of the best things I ever did. If you are 21 or over and hold a driving license you are able to drive the van but if you'd prefer not to you don't have to. The road are bumping paths through the forest or the long beach which is the main road. You are given everything you need such as camping equipment and cooking utensils and before you leave you are given maps and an itinerary and talked through what you should do so you are not left completely in the lurch.
We did a 3 day 2 night trip and yet we still didn't have enough time to do everything we wanted there are so many amazing things to do. There are a lot of freshwater lakes, most of which there is quite a walk to get to, but every one is well worth it. Every time you see a new lake you will be even more awed by the next one every time. Lake Wabby has the hardest walk, through some forest and then over some sand dunes. It's an amazing experience when you're walking across the sand - you can't see anything else around you at some points and it feels as if you're walking in a huge desert. Although the walk is very tiring, when you reach the lake it is all worth it. The lake is down a steep hill, which you're not meant to roll or run down but, boys being boys, the ones in our group had so much fun running and rolling down into the water. This lake isn't very clear and so you can't really see what's in the water so you might get a shock if something brushes up against your leg or you see something swimming in the water but don't worry it's only the catfish that live in this lake! From Indian Head, where you can climb the cliff and stand up high above the water, you can view all the tiger sharks that swim in the sea. This is the one and only disadvantage about Fraser Island that you can't swim in the sea at any time of year as there are tiger sharks all around the island. But the lakes make up for that anyway.
Lake McKenzie is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. The lake is in the centre of Fraser Island and you have to walk through the trees to get to it. When you come out of the trees into the open area where the lake is everyone just stops and stares because it is so amazing. There is just this huge bright blue lake surrounded by trees with a small island in the middle that you can swim to. The only thing wrong with it is that, because it is such a sight, there are always quite a lot of people sunbathing around the lake, but that still doesn't ruin the experience.
There are just 2 resorts on the island but the camping experience is much better. You put your tent up just before dark each night (before the dingoes come out!) and cook dinner over a small put-up stove. Don't let the stories about the dingoes scare you - they are harmless animals that have been made out to be vicious just so you leave them alone. There are a lot of them on the island and you will get some come sniffing around when you're cooking food so make sure you don't leave anything unattended but they're just a gorgeous dog looking for some food. People have been bitten by them before but that's usually because they've teased them or frustrated them. If they come near you just shoo them away like you would any other animal.
As you're falling asleep in your tent after dinner and having some drinks around a small fire, the sound of the waves a few meters away from you, along with the howls of the dingoes in the distance is an experience you will get nowhere else.
Fraser Island is the World's Largest Sand Island and is World Heritage Listed. It is located off the North east Coast of Australia and is most easily accessed from the beach towns of Hervey Bay (where the is an airport with flights to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane) or Rainbow Beach.
I took a 3 day, 2 night self drive 4x4 group tour organised by Palace Backpackers in Hervey Bay. There were 10 people in my group, and after a lot of safety videos, instruction about how to drive the van and checking everyone's driving licenses (you had to be over 21 with a full driving license) we were off!
Fraser Island is huge and there is so much to see so the company gave us a suggested itinerary to follow. The main beach is the main Highway on the island, and there are a number of "roads" which go across the Island. We saw some beautiful lakes, climbed some cliffs for some breathtaking views, saw Whales and dolphins in the sea, swam in rock pools and saw a ship which was wrecked up on the main beach.
At night we camped on the beach which was fun but there's also a Youth Hostel there if you don't fancy camping and you can take day trips if you have little time.
What a way to start a New Year, on the world's largest sand island! Fraser Island is located off the East Coast of Australia, accessible from the coastal town Hervey Bay. We were picked up from our hostel early in the morning and taken to the jetty where the boat departs. It was about a 30 minute journey. We had booked a 2 day, 1 night excursion with Fraser Explorer. Our trip was on a 4x4 coach with very comfortable seats. We chose this way due to time constraints but the more common way of exploring is to rent a jeep with a group of people and explore it yourselves.
The Island has many gems and varied nature. On arrival we went on a 40 minute trek through a dense forest. The trees here are enormous and we got to see a one of the many symbols of Australia - a Kookaburra bird! The 'Kauri' trees' bark here have a natural camouflage which the Australian Army base their camouflage on!
Next was a drive on 75 mile beach. This beach is a public highway and can get quite busy! We also found out that it is also an air strip for the small planes! We got a picture of a plane landing 20 feet in front of our coach! Very surreal! The police even patrol this beach checking speed etc! On this beach is a very famouse shipwreck - the Maheno shipwreck. It is a spectacular site and has a lot of history around it which our guide had plenty of knowledge on! It is actually on the beach so is easy to look around, but rules do apply. We saw someone get fined for going inside it. It is an actual law not to go inside and the fine is A$50 - be warned! The ship was washed ashore in 1935 whilst being transported to Japan. Four decks are still buried below the sand! The next stop was Indian Head, a great stop. Here we saw our first wild dingo (a native of this island) and were wary at first but as long as you don't go near them or intimidate them you should not have a problem. India Head was named by Captain Cook in 1770 as he saw 'natives' from his boat. After a 15 minute walk to the top the views of the ocean are amazing and we saw turtles, stingray and sharks in the cove beneath! For the night we stayed at Eurong Beach Resort. This hotel has all the basic amenities you need and is very comfortable. We also saw another dingo walking along the grounds. Dingoes are wild dogs who will attack if provoked - do not feed them! Although native to the Island, there are now only as few as 150 - 200 left on the Island!
The next day we discovered 2 amazing lakes. First was Lake Wabby. After a 1.8km walk over the (hot) sand dunes we were greeted by the most amazing coloured lake - Emerald Green! The colour exists due to the mix of light from the sky, the sand and the algae in the water. The water was very refreshing and deep. A great way to cool down after that walk! The second lake is Lake Mackenzie. The water here is alkaline and the lake exists purely from rain water. There are no strams running in to it! The sand is mostly silica (about 98%) which is great for cleaning any dirty jewellery! The water is crystal clear and it is a great place to spend the afternoon in the sun!
Fraser Island is a fantastic place to visit and there is so much to see. It is also extremely varied in what you can see! Again, like most of these places it does get busy so book any trip in advance. If you are planning to do it with a group of friends, make sure you have a good tent and plenty of supplies and mind thos Dingoes and sharks in the sea!
Fraser Island is a beautiful island off Queenslands coast. If you're planning on driving you'll need a 4 wheel drive though as it is a sand island. You are able to camp behind the sand dunes for a small fee, and this is an experience that will be remembered. If this isn't your style, there are also various resorts and hotels offering different types of accommodation. There's lots of local wildlife to see, such as the dingos, which at times can be a little too friendly (make sure if you're camping you lock any food away, and bins or the dingos will help themselves). There are some great inland lakes and streams that run out to the ocean which simply must be see. They're also fantastic for a refreshing dip, and most are fresh water so they're good for a bath if you're roughing it. There are also scenic flights available which is a great way of seeing the lakes.
The only negative about Fraser Island is that you can't swim at the beach because of the sharks and jelly fish at certain times of year. Otherwise it's a must see spot in Aus!
On my way to Fraser Island I had to make a stop over in Hervey Bay. As I have previously stayed in YHA's before I decided to give the Colonial YHA a try (I have a review on this hostel if you are interested). The YHA are like a chain of hostels throughout Australia. I had previously got a YHA membership card and the prices per room are membership only prices. If you do not have a membership card (costs $37each) it will cost you $3 per person extra. This card will also get you discount for travel and tours. I would advise someone to get it if they plan to stay in a YHA for more than a week, as it will save you money.
1 Australian dollar is equal to approximately 0.47 United Kingdom pounds.
On my travels in Australia we decided when going up the coast from Brisbane to make a stop off at Fraser Island. The Cooldingo tour was the tour operator we chose. There was several to choose from. For a 3 day, 2 night quad share cost $359, twin/double $409. For a 2 day, 1 night quad share cost $289 and twin/double $339. Extra nights cost $49 quad share and $69 twin/double. There is a National Park Permit Levy you have to pay before boarding the boat. For 3 day, 2 night it costs $24 per person and 2 day, 1 night it costs $16. This levy is additional to the above tour prices. All the prices are from Hervey Bay. You can also get the tour from Brisbane and there is flight packages available for 5 days, 4 nights and 3 nights.
For more information contact Kingfisher Bay Resort, Fraser Island, Queensland, 4655, Australia.
Fraser Island is a National Park, which is heritage listed. It is completely made out of sand with some wonders to be seen in the rainforests, lakes and creeks.
You stay in the Kingfisher Resort, which is made up of timber lodges. Each lodge has 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a balcony (with chairs), an area to sit, chat and eat in which is fully screened to keep the bugs away. There is a fridge in the main area with tea and coffee making facilities. In each room, which you are allocated to, there is a ceiling fan and heaters. Your room can also be locked if you are staying in a twin room in a lodge where you don't know anyone. Our room was larger than what a hostel room would be with two storage compartments, which could also be used as open wardrobes to hang your clothes. The double room was two single beds pushed together which can be uncomfortable but the matrices were comfortable and the linen was crisp white, I was impressed! The bathrooms weren't as clean, they weren't filthy either but ants were crawling everywhere, which put me off. As gum trees and a wealth of bush plans and native birds surround the lodge, I suppose this is to be expected. We had been warned about spiders and other crawly bugs on the first day of our trip and every time I went to the toilet I have to admit I checked under the seat of spiders, I didn't want to get bitten lol! In the main eating area there is a warning that snakes have been spotted and to be careful when moving around at night. There were 2 bathrooms in the lodge and each had 2 showers, 3 sinks and a toilet.
Included in the price are 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners. Breakfast was buffet style. There were several different types of cereal, bread and you had a choice of also having a cooked breakfast. Lunch consisted of sandwiches, which you made up yourself. Several fillings were available with salad, cold meat and cheese. Also buns and cookies were handed out later on in the day as a snack. Dinner was severed at the Dingo bar it was also buffet style. On the first night we had pizza, pasta, salad and bread. On the second night it was wraps and rice. You could eat as much as you wanted on all these meals and seconds could be got if you were still hungry. If you have any dietary requirements they will cater for you but you do need to tell them in advance. At the end of the night if you wished there was a small bar for you to enjoy a drink, this however was at your own cost.
As Fraser Island is made up completely of sand they don't have proper roads. So a 4 Wheel Drive is required. It is extremely bumpy and seatbelts are a must when travelling about. If you get motion sickness easily do beware as it reminded me of a roller-coaster ride. It was fun at the start but I soon started to feel queasy but you are never in the bus for more than an hour at any one time and believe me it was worth it. It is air conditioned for your comfort.
We got picked up from our hostel in Hervey Bay and taken to the Marina were we had to pay the National Park levy and then boarded the boat. Our luggage was stored in the luggage compartment, which was then taken by porters to our accommodation. This was so we could start our tour and not have to worry about getting to our rooms and unpacking straight away. The boat took 30 minutes and was a pleasant sail. Immediately after arriving at Kingfisher Bay we were met by our tour guide and boarded the 4X$ bus to experience the roller-coaster ride over the sandy pathways. First stop was Basin Lake which was dark green in colour were we got to swim with freshwater turtles. Personally I didn't see any but I can't swim so I was more paddling, maybe they could have been seen in the deeper water. Then we were sent for a 30-minute walk through a subtropical rainforest. It was very peaceful and nice to cool down in the shade. Once you finished the walk it took you to what they call Central Station. This was a place where you can get fresh water and use the toilet. We stopped here for lunch. The guide then took the opportunity t o tell us all about snakes, spiders and leeches which we had just walked through in the rainforest. He told us what to do if we got a bite and to watch out for leeches falling on us. To be honest he petrified me but I think he exaggerated and wanted the reaction as he got a kick out of it. After telling us how we could die he then sent us back into the rainforest for another 30-minute walk.
After we had finished next stop was Lake McKenzie which is the most famous lake on Fraser Island that's what is on all the postcards. I had to admit it was lovely here we had a chance to swim in the crystal clear waters and the sand was soft snowy white. The water was turquoise and really looks like paradise. If you put some of the sand onto your hands and put some water on it, it will become a paste and is great to exfoliate and makes your skin feel great. This is because the sand is very fine. The weather was slightly overcast but it still looked great! After our swim we were taken back to the resort to have a nice warm shower and some dinner.
On day two we boarded a new bus as the previous one the day before had broken down. First stop today after breakfast was 75-mile beach, however we hit a problem and the tide was too far in so we couldn't drive along so our plans had to be changed. Hammerstone sandblow viewing point is where we went and it looked like we were in a desert it was picturesque with the lush green trees surrounding it. We were then sent to trek through the rainforest again to Lake Wabby where we went to the lookout first and then walked down to it which took about 5-10 minutes. Lake Wabby is situated inside a massive sandblow. You have to walk down a sand dune to get to it. It is an emerald green lake against a backdrop of a lush eucalypt forest and sand dunes on the other side. You can see the ocean, sand dunes and forest all at the same time. Four Eco zones all merged into one it's breathtaking to look at. We had some time to swim here but I do advise you to go and explore as we did and seen turtles, small sharks (which were harmless and only a foot long) and small fish. A lot of people did not see this, as they were too busy splashing in the water or sunbathing. You have to walk over the sandblow by foot it was like you were in a desert it was very tiring and I was glad to reach the beach. Some people went in the wrong direction, they were found and picked up but make sure you know where to go as getting lost can be done easily. We got lunch at 75-mile beach. Again it was sandwiches.
Next stop after we had drove along 75-mile beach was Maheno shipwreck. It was half in the water when we were there. You could touch the rusty boat and have your picture taken but there was loads of people there. Buses were everywhere and vehicles drove fast with no consideration along the beach so do be careful. Eli Creek was next where you had the chance to go for a paddle. It also was busy and there was a toilet to use if needed. Most places don't have toilet facilities so take good use of this stop.
Then on to Champagne Pools where there were lots of tiny pools, which the ocean kept filling up with bubbling seawater, it was nature's version of a Jacuzzi. Personally I didn't paddle for long as the rocks were sharp and you could cut your feet easily. I found it uncomfortable walking on them. You had to be careful if you went too close to the edge as the waves crashed in and could knock you over to cause injury or you could be swept back out to sea. I didn't really like here for that reason and would advise people who have children or who can't swim to take extra care. As usual you will have the idiots who will go up onto the edge and take no notice of the rules but unfortunately these are the people who end up getting hurt.
On to Indian head which you had to scramble up slippery rocks to get to the top in the hope to spot pelagic sea life like turtles and sharks. Personally I didn't see anything but it was rather stormy and the water was murky. The views were spectacular as you could see the ocean, beaches, sandblows and forest clearly. Last stop to a long day was the coloured sands for a photograph stop. They were cordoned off and you weren't allowed to touch them. Our new bus then broke down and we were picked up by someone else and brought back to the resort.
Onto our third bus which thankfully didn't break down. After breakfast we weren't back to Lake McKenzie for a swim. The water was much clearer as it wasn't as cloudy. After our swim we had a buffet lunch at Eurong which consisted of soup, break and cold meat. The facilities in the resort like the pool and Jacuzzi was also available if you wanted to use them. I had done enough swimming and wanted to relax and eat before getting back into the water. Last place we were taken was Lake Birrabeen it was the most beautiful out of them all and in my opinion the best place to swim in as the water gradually got deeper and didn't just shoot down quickly. So I didn't need to be as cautious as I can't swim. More importantly our group was the only people there which made it much more special I think. To end our tour we were taken back to the docks to get on the boat and go back to Hervey Bay at 5pm.
Personally I think Fraser Island was beautiful with lots of places to swim which were very picturesque. The advantages of doing the tour were that the roads would have been extremely hard to drive and navigate on so we saved ourselves a lot of hassle. Plus we were able to fit more into our trip in the 3 days we were there. Your guide gave you useful information and told you what areas were save to swim in. If I was to go by myself I would never of known where was safe and where wasn't. He highlighted all dangers including wildlife. Maybe a bit too much as he scared me slightly! The group you are travelling with is small (30 people). Meals are included in the price. All planning aspects are covered which leaves you able to set back and enjoy your trip. The downside or disadvantages are that if you want to stay in an area longer you cant and have to stay with the group. If you don't like some of the group you are stuck with them for 3 days. There aren't many activities to do other than swim and look at the scenery and go for walks in the rainforest. So do bare this fact in mind when choosing to do this tour. Overall I would recommend this tour as it is great value for money and you see so much in 3 days.
I was torn between including Fraser Island or the Whitsundays in my itinerary as time wouldnt allow both, and since I hate fish and therefore dont dive or snorkel, I went with Fraser as theres more to see and do there than fraternise with my aquatic enemies.
Fraser is the largest sand island in the world, about 85 miles long by 25 miles wide, and is a UNSECO World Heritage Listed site. Transport is by 4WDs, either self driven or with a guide, and these range in size from personal ones to huge monstrosities, the Australian cousin of Monster trucks, which are essentially coaches on big wheels, holding up to 50 people each. My trip was somewhere in between I was on a tour and we travelled in groups of 12 meaning I was in a small vehicle and could experience and savour every bump. We stayed at the Eurong beach resort on the island, one of two accommodation options for those who want to stay over but dont do tents. Being in a room just means youre safe at night and have somewhere secure to leave belongings we still managed to get up close and personal with the natural wildlife including dingoes who came out to play every night as we sat outside the bar by the pool.
My trip lasted 3 days and 2 nights and that was a good amount of time to spend on the island as we saw everything and had a small amount of idle time you need little more as there are no real towns here, no shops or restaurants outside the resort and though there are pools, its just as nice (and far cheaper) to spend your swimming and sunbathing days somewhere on the mainland. Pretty much everything on the island provoked oh, wow reactions as its a stunning place, but the highlights were:
Lake Wabby our first stop on the island. This is a huge inland lake that requires a reasonable walk of about 15 minutes over sand dunes to access. We did this in the rain but is miraculously cleared as we approached the lake, and the water was unbelievably warm quite different from the sea and swimming holes down near Sydney at that time of year, and as warm as Cairns which is more than 1500 km north of Fraser.
Lake McKenzie not quite like the photos, but close. This is a huge lake in the middle of the island where the water is so clear they ask you no to put on sun tan lotion before swimming as it pollutes the water (applying it an hour before is ok, or if not you could swim in a t-shirt). The sand is a pure white (tick), the water is incredibly warm (tick), the ground slopes away slowly so you can just sit or recline in the water and enjoy the views (tick) and there are no fish due to the unusual mineral content of the water (tick). All in all, a pretty perfect place, though crowded as its a must-see for all visitors. Escaping said crowds is not too hard if you so wish there are several smaller beaches and coves a short walk away from the main one, which most tours dont bother to head to.
Eli Creek again, the photos show it as green but my eyes showed me it as blue, but this was one of the best places we saw. The creek flows into the sea but the main attraction is a few minutes in-land where, if you follow the boardwalk, you come across an entry to the fast flowing water. This flows so fast in fact that you lie back and it carries you down to the shore like a water slide. The floating takes some getting used to and some of the group didnt manage it, but keep your bottom up, your back slightly curved and your arms sculling at your sides and its easy. The water is very shallow so even little ones can stand up at all parts. The only downside of Eli was our run in with a huge eel the same length and diameter as my arm. This skulked around near the entrance to the water and let to a backing up of those wanting to enter the water as very few would while it was around. This was the only wildlife we saw in the water again, not somewhere teaming with fish like the lakes and sea of the mainland.
Central Station once the hub of the then prosperous logging industry this is now the point from which many rainforest walks start. We took a track than lead us deep into the trees and out the other side, along some beautiful, peaceful tracks. At the start theres also some kind of visitors centre no shop or café, but a few information boards and displays illustrating a world gone by.
The Maheno shipwreck sits on the sand further up the beach and looks interesting but not overly impressive until you find out that its several times the size it appears, with multiple decks of the ship hidden by the sand. You are not supposed to touch it as its very fragile, but some of the foreign-language tourists either did not understand or purposefully disregarded this instruction as they proceeded to climb about inside it.
The Pinnacles and Rainbow Gorge are two different yet related attractions, the former a collection of natural sand sculptures and the latter an area where sand in a rainbow of colours can be seen if you redefine the word rainbow to mean shades of yellow and orange, black and white.
I paid $325 (£138) for the 3 day trip with Goanna Adventures which included return transport from Brisbane, two nights in an en suite quad share room, 2 breakfasts and 2 dinners and a fully guided tour including the above attractions and a stop at the Ginger Factor on the way home. It is cheaper to camp rather than stay in the resort but the price I paid I found on the cheap side anyway for what it included, and I didnt run the risk of getting run over by a 4WD as a result of camping in ones path as other tourists have done in the past. I would recommend a guide of some kind as theyre just so knowledgeable and can tell you more than a guide book ever could. They can also adapt routes to cope with the weather or other demands. Plus, they save you having to drive yourself which is something that didnt appeal to me personally.
Fraser is an amazing place because its features are the natural environment of the island, and everything worth seeing or doing is free of charge once youve paid for the vehicle and the island taxes. You shouldnt swim in the sea (stingers .sharks .other nasty things beginning with s) but there are so many other places to swim on the island you dont even notice. It is such a beautiful place that you struggle to do it justice with words, but have a look at photos and youll see for yourself. I very much enjoyed my time of the island and would happily go again in a few years. As it is, I now have something in common with virtually everyone I know who has been to Oz as its a destination on many peoples lists.
Fraser Island is situated of the East coast of Australia and at 123 km long by 15 km wide it is the world's largest sand island. It attained World Heritage Listing in December 1992 in recognition of the island's exceptional sand dune systems, rainforests, wildlife, beautiful freshwater lakes and coast.
I spent three days on Fraser during July a few years ago while I was travelling with my best friend, Gemma, It was one of the most magical experiences of my life and was particularly special as it was her birthday during our time here.
History of the Island
Hervey Bay was named by Captain Cook during his navigation of the east coast of Australia in 1770. He initially thought that Fraser Island was joined to the mainland and the sheltered waters behind it were a bay.
But the first inhabitants of Australia were the Aboriginal people who lived in the area until the English arrived and destroyed their world....
The first permanent white settler at Hervey Bay was Boyle Martin who arrived with his wife and child in 1863. During the years after this the island served as an immigration port for free settlers.
Timber felling and sand mining for minerals became big industries on the island during the twentieth century, but all that ceased when Fraser Island became World Heritage listed. Today, tourism is the backbone of Fraser Island's economy and thousands of tourists flock to the island year-round.
Getting There and Away
Fraser Island is located mid way up the East coast of Australia and it is one of the main attractions on this coast. It is approximately three and a half hour drive north of it's nearer big city, Brisbane and a good days drive from Sydney. It is almost a 24 hour flight to Australia from the UK, which isn't fun at all regardless of how you look at it. Flights will set you back £600-800 depending on season of travel and carrier and you should expect to change flights either somewhere like LA or Honalulu or somewhere like Singapore or Hong Kong depending which way around the world you fly. Stopover flights including destinations such as these are common and are a good way to break up the flight and to see another country. Our flights into Oz were actually a stopover as a part of our flights to New Zealand!
There is a nine hour time difference (ahead of London) and jet lag is bound to a problem for the first couple of days. Rest but try only to sleep during the local night-time, you should be fine within a day ot two and hopefully you will be too excited to let jetlag bother you too much!
The gateway to Fraser is Hervey Bay, located on the mainland to the South-Western tip of the Island where the straight is thinnest. Hervey Bay is a small town, pleasant enough, but you wouldn't go there if the ferry terminal wasn't here. It has everything you could possibly need for your excursion to the island and more and is packed with bars, restaurants, shops and hostels catering for all the tourists who flock through here.
In my opinion the best way to experience the island is in a 4x4 which is what we did. There are countless tour operators in Hervey Bay who will be more then willing to take away your money and help to organise your trip. You will be assigned to a small group or around 7-9 people who you will meet the day before you depart. If you can't drive that isn't a problem, leave the logistics to the operator. The company will give you a 4x4, camping gear, cooking gear, first aid kit and other necessities together with a whole load of advice about what to see, where to camp and getting around etc. You should make a shopping list that evening and assign a couple of people to go and get everything you need that night so you are ready to head of bright and early the next day (food is not included in the price). You need to ensure that you take everything with you that you'll need for the three days as there are no shops. However there are designated camp grounds at a number of points and all have drinking water and toilets/showers attached. You will have to put up your own tent, cook your own food and make your own decisions. Also please ensure that you take your god damn litter home. This is nature's paradise and it is already being ruined by people like me.... don't make it any worse..... There are bins everywhere so use them it makes me so mad to see beautiful places ruined by lazy idiots or can't be bothered to clear up after themselves .
The company will literally spoon feed you everything so you can't really go wrong. Obviously you take a gamble regarding company as you will end up will strangers but hey strangers can become friends and our group were lovely. There were a couple of German girls, a couple of English guys, a couple of Danish guys and then me and Gemma. They will attempt to match people according to age and different companies will cater for difference people depending on your needs.
Primarily there are no paved roads on the island which is why you need a 4x4 to get around. There are several ferry crossings from Hervey Bay throughout the day and the trip only takes about half an hour. Of course, accidents do happen but the bonus about going with a company is that you can be sure that they will come and rescue you if need be!
Hiring a 4x4 is by far the most popular way of exploring the island and it is primarily aimed at independent travels. But if it really isn't your thing then don't fear as there are a number of resorts on the island, particularly in the North. We stayed clear of these areas and as I know little about it then I am not going to say any more about this but if you have kids and/or knocking about a tent isn't your thing then this is definitely an option to explore.
You can pretty much expect beautiful weather all year round which is a bonus, so pack your shorts, suntan lotion and mossie spray. Being the other side of the world Australia experiences opposite seasons to us and thus our Winter is there Summer and vice-versa. We were there in July, the Ozzie Winter, but it was warn enough to wear a bikini on most days, with temperatures of around about 18-20C. In their Winter temperatures will rise to about 30C at the most but thankfully shouldn't get any hotter.
Fraser Island sits on top of a huge underground reservoir of fresh water, composed of rain which filters through the sand held by the rock base. As a result of this unique set up there are an abundance of lakes (around 80) and springs on the island. Some of the bigger 'must see' lakes are detailed below.
This is not the island's biggest lake, but is the best known. Its beach is considered by some to rank amongst the worlds ten best beaches, even though it is inland the sand is pure white! But the water is more spectacular. It is the most stunning and unimaginable colour, literally perfectly clear in the shallows to the edge of the lake, turquoise as the water gets deeper and a deep blue in the very centre. The water was freezing cold but we went in anyway!
Another amazing must see site. This lake is much deeper and therefore the water is very dark, almost black looking. This lake is full of reeds but it is still good fun to swim in. What makes Wabby particularly special are the surrounding sand dunes which are constantly moving and changing. In fact the lake is gradually shrinking because of the sand and it is thought that one day it will disappear We approached the lake from the highest point on the island and you get an amazing view of it with the sea in the background. The contrast of the sand against the water makes it particularly appealing to the eyes. Once on the dunes you can go sand surfing or just chill out and appreciate the view.
This creek carves its way across 75 mile beach to pour 120 million litres of fresh water a day into the sea. You will see it again and again and it is great for a refreshing paddle in the heat of the day.
>>>75 Mile Beach<<<
75 mile beach (which is actually 120 miles long) is a huge and stunning empty strip of sand on the eastern side of Fraser Island, also used as a runway. In addition it is often regarded as the main highway on the island as it is flat and easy to get around after the slow and painful driving across most of the rest of the island. Never drive the 4x4 in the sea this will mess up the insides and you don't want to get stuck now do you! There is great surf on the beach but the water is empty year round . Why? Because of an abundance of great white sharks which patrol the coast year-round. It might look inviting but don't go in the water at any point....
This famous wrecked ship is found on 75 mile and is definitely worth a stop. In her day the S.S. Maheno was the pride of the Union Steamship Company's trans Tasman fleet, crossing in 1907 from Auckland to Sydney in two days 21 hours, setting a record that was to stand for 25 years. She got washed up in 1935 during a cyclone and she remains today, rusty but amazing, dominating the sands .
Indian Head is a coastal cliff point with amazing views across the ocean and the island. It is a must see. Sharks, dolphins, manta-rays, turtles, and whales (in season) can often be seen in the waters below the point. We camped near here on the first night and watched the sunset from here which was amazing.
>>>The Champagne Pools<<<<
Situated on the Northern reached of 75 mile beach, these pool were formed from a barrier of volcanic rock which partially shields the beach from the ocean surf. At high tide waves surge over the rocks, filling the pools and providing a unique bathing experience a bit like a hot tub! Great fun!
I have spent quite a lot of time on this section as nature is a huge part of the experience and you are bound to come across a good selection of weird and wonderful creatures during your stay.
The separation from the mainland and domesticated dogs has resulted in the evolution of pure dingoes; the Australian wild dog. They are thought to have been brought from Asia by visiting boats. Dingoes have a call resembling a howl or yelp rather than a bark. It is advisable to keep well away from the dingoes and not to feed them, they are WILD dogs and there have been as many as 20 people attacked on the island in the past six years. You are very likely to see them as we did but if you stay away from them then they will stay away from you.
We were lucky enough to spot one of these huge green and yellow lizards known as the goanna, creeping through the undergrowth during our stay. They are big, literally as big as your leg!! But they cannot hurt you and they are amazing to see.
Over 200 species of birds flock to the island's beaches and rainforests. Many birds of prey may be spotted including birds sea eagles, ospreys and peregrine falcons. As well as an abundance of seabirds such as pelicans, terns and gulls. In the forest kingfishers and cockatoos may be glimpsed by the lucky ones!
>>> Whales and other Marine Life<<<
Humpback whales migrate between July and November each year alongside the Eastern edge of the island. The waters of the bay teem with marine wildlife such as dolphins and as mentioned previously, sharks! On the northern beaches loggerhead turtles may sometimes be seen in season when they come ashore to lay their eggs.
Possums, flying foxes, echidnas and lizards are some of the other native wildlife. There are also wallabies on Fraser, although we didn't see any on Fraser specifically but we saw loads elsewhere in the country and you are almost guaranteed a viewing. Of course nasty creepy crawlies also feature as throughout Oz so be warned! I won't go into too much detail about these . I don't want to put you off!
Easily five out of five for a Fraser Island experience. I would give it six out of five if that was an option!! This is one of the most spectacular and special places on Earth, with scenery to die for and fantastic weather all year round. You cannot go backpacking in Australia without going to Fraser and I would dearly love to return at some point in the future....
So, if you fancy an out in the open, 4x4 adventure then this is definitely the trip for you!!! It is just a shame that it is half way around the World .
Fraser Island lies of the coast of Hervey Bay, 3 hours drive North of Brisbane on the East coast of Australia. fraser Island is basically a giant sand dune which is constantly on the move (very slowly). You can fly to Fraser Fsland from Hervey Bay, and you land on 75 mile beach. You can take your car there, although you won't get very far unless it is a 4WD or you can leave your car in a car park at Heervey Bay and go over as a foot passenger. There are fastcat ferries which take about 15 - 20 minutes to get to the island or you can take a slower ferry with a journey time of about 45 minutes - 1 hour. There are many places around the Western side of Fraser Island that the ferrys go to. The Western Side is the side facing Hervey Bay. Accommodation on Fraser Island varies from camping (free) to the two 5 star resorts such as Kingfisher Bay (Western side) and Fraser Island Retreat (Eastern side) on the island to cottages, hostels and camping. Camping is the most popular option, especially with back packers and families. Most accommodation is on the Eastern side of the island along 75 mile beach, which is where we stayed the first time that we went there. There are many tour companies on Fraser Island offering day tours, or package tours. As well as the 4WD cars you see on the island, you also see 4WD coaches which are used by the tour companies. Even the garbage trucks are 4WD. Fraser island is a World Heritage Site and it really does deserve this. It is about 100km long and has areas of tropical rainforest, inland freshwater lakes ,coastal beaches thish are ideal for fishing. It has been used for logging, sand mining and whaling, but these activities ceased when whaling was stopped in Australia and when Fraser island became a World Heritage Site. Fraser Island is popular with families who often spend their whole Summer holidays on the island and also on the route of backpackers travelling around Australia, particula
rly British, Swedish and Germans. Now for a bit of advice.... Ferry services are regular, but they can be expensive if you are taking a vehicle. It might be worth considering hiring a vehicle on the island. The only tar sealed road is at Kingfisher Bay resort and this road is about 100m long. Vehicles must be driven on tracks that have been formed. Some are wide enough to allow 2 cars to pass, but most.... well the smaller vehicle gives way to the larger one. There are no speed limits, but just use your common sense. 75 mile beach is quite straight at low tide and it is quite easy to reach speeds of 100km/h, but 80km/h should really be your maximum speed as you need to watch out for dingoes, people and other vehicles. You pass vehicles on your left, the same as in Australia and the UK. One thing you really need to watch out for is washouts. I was driving my Long Wheel Base Pajero, fully laden and with myself and 3 passengers (2 over the age of 60) I was bouncing along the beach and we were all quite relaxed when I hit one of the many washouts. My car was airborne for about 3 seconds before it landed with a bump. I'm glad we were all wearing our seatbelts. One other thing that you have to watch out for is the tide coming in. We were on our way back from Indian Head and the tide had come in, often leaving less than 2m of beach, when a wave came in, it was necessary to duck up the dune and drive along it for a while. I was lucky because each time I had to do this there was a track to go up on. If there was no track, then... I will say no more. Many vehicles are written off on Fraser Island because they are trapped by the high tide after the occupants have gone off somewhere, or even when crossing streams. Be aware of water depths if you have to drive through them, because if the water is too deep, it may get into your engine. If this happens and it is a diesel engine, it will most likely lead to the engine being so badly
damaged that you will need a new one. Towing and repairs are very costly on fraser Island. Others are written off by people who forget that they are driving on a beach or track and roll the vehicle, there has also been the odd head on collision. But don't let this put you off. Fraser Island has a population of dingoes. (very similar to dogs) These dingoes are believed to be the only breed of pure dingoes in Australia, so pet dogs are not permitted on the island. It is also forbidden to feed or approach them. If you are camping, food needs to be stored securely, particularly when you are out in order to avoid it being stolen by dingoes. All rubbish must be put in bags and taken to a rubbish bin also. There are over 40 lakes, 200 creeks, over 200km of beaches and about 100km of walking trails. You may not be staying in the resorts, but you are welcome to visit them and have a meal, or even use their pools. If you are camping, you are charged a permit fee of about £1.60 pp/d. 4WD vehicles are charged a $30 (£12) entry fee to the island. These permits are sold on the island, in Hervey Bay or included in your ferry fare. I would really recommend anyone visiting Australia to include a trip to Fraser Island in their itinery. Hiring a vehicle is a really good idea also, providing you are careful and take the advice of Australian drivers, particularly older ones as they are generally well experienced in off road driving. You really need to spend a week or 2 on the island as you need this time to fully appreciate and explore it. You can buy perishable foods and ice on the island and there are showers available to campers in certain areas. You won't find much nightlife on the island, but remember that you are going there to appreciate the beauty of the island. A good website to look at on Fraser Island is http://www.dkd.net/fraser/
Fraser Island was to be my last stop while in Australia, before going back to Brisbane for my flight. What a way to end a spectacular backpacking trip, with a visit to one of the most beautiful places on this earth. As I travelled up along the east coast of Australia, people everywhere, were recommending Fraser Island to me, saying how good it was - so of course, once a number of people recommend it, curiosity gets the better of you So off I set, after Brisbane, to Hervey Bay - the stop off point for Fraser Island. There are two ways to see Fraser Island - by 4 WD as a group, or on the 4WD bus tours, which have an experienced guide. I’ve heard that there are great benefits of going with the 4WD group, where you go camping, and see the island at your own leisure, but as I was travelling alone, and couldn’t drive! I decided to go on the bus tour adventure safari (the chicken tour as one girl I met described it!). There are a number of bus companies that run tours to Fraser Island, but the one that I went with was Fraser Venture tours, and for a 2 day safari for me it was $170 (roughly £60) and that included all meals, pick up form your accommodation, and 1 nights accommodation on the island in a quad room. Twin rooms are available, but this obviously costs more. 3 day trip are also available, these are more expensive, but obviously you get to see more of the island. While I was waiting on the bus picking me up from the Youth Hostel that I was staying at, I was fortunate enough to meet a Scottish guy who was also travelling alone and going on the same tour as me. That’s one thing about Australia - you’re never stuck on your own for any length of time! The bus drove us to a place called River Heads, where we got a ferry across to the island. Fraser Island is the biggest sand island in the world, and it is definitely a sight to see. It is one of only 2 places in the wor
ld where there is rainforest that grows in Sand, and the whole area has no rock at all. The first part of our tour was spent walking through the rainforest. The guide that we had was very knowledgeable about the vegetation and about the whole island. It was absolutely fascinating. During this trek, we walked alongside the Wanggoolba creek, which has water so pure that you would not even know that it was there, and it runs so silently. We then went to our resort for lunch and to leave in our bags. We stayed at the Eurong Beach resort, which was clean, and the staff were very friendly and helpful. Next we travelled along the main beach to Lake Wabby, which is surrounded by green trees and makes the water looks a lovely shade of green. It is possible to swim in all the lakes on Fraser island, but caution needs to be exercised at lake Wabby as it tends to get extremely deep in places. It was then time for tea back at the resort, and a night of fun and Kareoke alongside the Scottish and dutch guys that I had met there! The next morning we went to Eli Creek which is the largest creek on the eastern shore of the island - good just to lie back and relax and let the water just drift you along… Then we had the chance to go for a flight over the island - at $45 per person, it was well worth it for the amazing photographs that we got of the Whales, Dolphins and Sharks as we flew over the sea, and then of the various parts of the island that we had seem the day before or that we were going to see later on in the day. This was definitely the highlight of my trip, great views, great laugh. When we landed, 20 minutes later, we had arrived at the Maheno ship wreck. This was a one time luxury liner which was blown ashore by a cyclone in 1935. The remains of it are still very prominent today, but this wasn’t too exciting, just a big lump of junk on a beach to be honest. Afterwards we
went to the Cathedrals. This was amazing, in front of us, it looked like huge rocks that were various colours, when in fact it was actually sand pyramids. They are called the rainbow beaches by some, due to the vast amounts of different coloured sand. One aboriginal legend tells the story of a young maiden who was due to be married to a warrior, but instead fell in love with a young man called Rainbow. When the warrior found out about this, he was so mad that he challenged Rainbow to a dual. The warrior had a powerful magic boomerang, that he threw at rainbow, shattering him into a million pieces, and it is Rainbow that we see in the sands at the Cathedrals. This is a special place for many aboriginal women. Then it was back to the Resort for lunch and our bags. Lake Mackenzie was out final stop on the tour - with pure white sands and clear water, it is a stunning sight. The sand is so pure that you can clean your jewellery in the sand at the waters edge (If I’d listened in A-Level chemistry, I might be able to explain this, but flirting with the guy beside me was much more important at the time, you understand). Lake Mackenzie was another highlight of the trip. Fraser Island is a magical place, but it is also a place where caution needs to be exercised. Because the Dingoes that live on Fraser Island are so pure, they are a big tourist attraction. Unfortunately this means that people are tending to feed the Dingoes and to tease them. The Dingoes on Fraser island are not like household dogs, and unfortunately they have already killed one young child earlier this year. It is important not to feed these animals or do anything to attract their attention. But if you do end up with Dingoes around you, it is also important not to run - they will think you are playing with them, and they will run after you. You should walk calmly away from them, always facing them, trying not to panic. It is a shame that many people do not pay
attention to the many signs around Fraser Island, and as a result many of the Dingoes have been culled. There are now only 200 or so Dingoes left on the island. These Dingoes are unique, they are important. Another Thing about Fraser Island where caution should be exercised is beside the sea. You should never swim in the sea off Fraser Island. There are strong undercurrents and sharks in the water. But don’t let these things put you off! Fraser Island is gorgeous. I think that everyone should have the opportunity to see the beautiful things that Fraser Island has to offer, and would highly recommend it to anyone who is going to Australia. If anyone is going to Australia and wants any further details on this, please do not hesitate to contact me, and I’ll try and help you out! Fraser Venture Tours: www.fraser-is.com Freecall (in Australia) 1800 249 122