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Whilst Fraser Island (K’gari) is well known as one of the best places in Australia for hard-core four-wheel driving enthusiasts, it offers so much more, for kids, families, and well… everyone!
This is east coast Australia at its best – exploring surreal natural beauty, swimming in glistening turquoise blue lakes, seeing wild dingos roam on the lands and migratory whales from its shores. Needless to say, there are a lot of exciting attractions on Fraser Island.
One of the best things to do on Fraser Island is to go off-road and create your own tracks or follow those created by nature. The ever-changing landscape of an island made of sand means no day is the same, and no return visit will be the same either.
Fraser Island was a highlight of our big 18-month lap around Australia. Its original name, K’gari ( ‘paradise‘) comes from an Aboriginal Dreamtime story about a goddess named K’gari who fell in love with the earth and never wanted to leave.
I feel confident that when you visit K’gari, you will not want to leave this paradise either.
If you’re planning your first visit to Fraser Island but you’re not sure what to do, then read on to see our highlights and top attractions.
- Is Fraser Island (K’gari) Worth Visiting?
- Things to Do on Fraser Island (K’gari):
- 1. Experience Sunrise at Eurong Beach
- 2. Drive 75 Mile Beach
- 3. Swim and Wade Through Eli Creek
- 4. See the Maheno Shipwreck
- 5. See The Pinnacles Coloured Rocks
- 6. Enjoy the views at Indian Head
- 7. Swim at the Champagne Pools
- 8. Preserve Your Youth at Lake Mackenzie
- 9. Drive Through A Sub-Tropical Rainforest
- 10. Photograph Wild Dingoes
- 11. Take a scenic flight over Fraser Island
- 12. Watch the Sunset at Kingfisher Bay
- 13. Go Whale Watching
- 14. Visit the Sandy Cape Lighthouse
- 15. See the Turtles at Lake Allom
- 16. Try Beach Fishing
- 17. Hike the Fraser Island Great Walk
- Getting to Fraser Island
- Where To Stay on Fraser Island
- Final Word on Things to Do on Fraser Island
- South Queensland Travel Tips:
Is Fraser Island (K’gari) Worth Visiting?
Fraser Island stretches 123 km long and 23 km wide and is the largest sand island in the world, dumped over 800,000 years ago from places as far as Antarctica when it was still joined with Australia.
It is part of the Great Sandy National Park, which is split into two sections. The first is the Cooloola Recreation Area which is on the mainland (and includes Rainbow Beach and the Great Beach Drive). The second is Fraser Island.
Fraser Island is a World Heritage Site that’s constantly moving and evolving and is the only place in the world where tall rainforests are found growing on sand dunes at elevations of over 200 meters. And then there are the 1,000+ freshwater lakes.
With so much natural beauty, history, and iconic landmarks to explore, Fraser Island is definitely worth visiting.
Things to Do on Fraser Island (K’gari):
Now you know a little bit about Fraser Island, you’re ready to start exploring. Here are 16 of the best things to do on Fraser Island, Queensland.
1. Experience Sunrise at Eurong Beach
One of the benefits of staying at Eurong Beach Resort on the east coast of the island is that you’re only steps away from 75 Mile Beach and witnessing the sunrise of the morning is a spectacular way to start your day on Fraser!
2. Drive 75 Mile Beach
75 Mile Beach is Fraser’s National Highway, the main long stretch of beach on the eastern side of Fraser Island, and is classed as part of the Bruce Highway.
This is coastal four-wheel-driving at its best, and the first time we experienced hardcore 4×4 action in Australia, we were instantly hooked.
The ocean is wild and pounding, the beach landscape ever changing from the tides, there’s camping, and beach fishing, and it’s along this stretch of sand where you gain access to many of the best things to do on Fraser Island listed below.
When driving 75 Mile Beach it’s important you understand how the tides work so you don’t get cut off and can’t make it back to your accommodation.
Low tide is best, you want to drive it when it’s flat and hard, and avoid driving during the two hours on either side of high tide. Check the report of the current conditions here.
And make sure you’re paying attention to the steady stream of other 4WDs, the washouts, wild roaming dingoes, the ambling tourists and beach fishermen, and the joy flights taking off on the beach.
Because it’s classed as a highway, strict road rules apply and there are police present ready to nab those who speed or drink drive.
And if you can time your visit for whale watching season do it. We saw humpbacks breaching and playing Another incredible experience of our drive was spotting migrating humpback whales breaching a few hundred metres off the beach.
If you’re lucky, you might also see dolphins and dugongs near the ocean’s shores too.
3. Swim and Wade Through Eli Creek
Eli Creek is one of the most popular stops along 75 Mile Beach, especially busy when all the tour buses congregate so try and avoid that if possible.
The creek has water so clear you only know it’s there when a leaf floats past you. It’s water that’s been filtered by the sand for up to 100 years – such purity!
Eli Creek is famous for wading, tubing, or swimming through and pumps nearly 3.5 million litres of fresh water into the ocean every hour. There is no place on Fraser quite like it.
4. See the Maheno Shipwreck
Another spot along 75 Mile Beach that is one of the most photographed and visited sites is the Maheno Shipwreck.
The Maheno is a former Trans-Tasman luxury liner and a World War 1 hospital ship that was washed ashore in 1935 whilst being towed to Japan – a cyclone viciously ripped her from the chain and spewed her up on Fraser.
Sunrises are meant to be picture-perfect here with the Maheno as the foreground, as long as the tides are favorable for gaining access. Either way, the Maheno is a postcard moment at any time of the day!
5. See The Pinnacles Coloured Rocks
As you drive along the east coast Fraser’s sand will continue to amaze as you come alongside The Pinnacles, a small section of coloured sandy cliffs along the Surf Beach (I can’t believe they’re made from sand!), just north of the Maheno.
You don’t need much time at The Pinnacles but it’s worth getting out of your car and taking a short walk inland for a closer look.
6. Enjoy the views at Indian Head
Indian Head is a coastal headland on the eastern side of Fraser Island that you’ll get to when heading north on 75 Mile Beach, and is the most easterly point on the island.
Indian Head is one of only three sections of rock on Fraser Island, and this area was named by Captain James Cook who, whilst sailing his ship the Endeavour, spotted a group of Aboriginals standing on the headland.
It offers panoramic views over the beach and ocean, and is a prime whale-watching spot – we saw a few humpbacks migrating past, just magical!
7. Swim at the Champagne Pools
Just north of Indian Head is possibly the most popular swimming spot on Fraser, and for good reason, especially on a sunny day! Our kids, and us big kids enjoyed a low tide dip in the clear, bubbling sea water of Champagne Pools, which is aptly named.
The view from the top as you walk down the staircase is breathtaking and you’ll want to allocate enough time to make the most of this natural swimming spot, keeping in mind the tides for driving back down 75 Mile Beach.
8. Preserve Your Youth at Lake Mackenzie
In the middle of Fraser Island is spectacular Lake Mackenzie, with water that is said to keep you younger and holds the key to youth.
The temperature of the lake was quite cool when we visited, but certainly refreshing after a long day of driving and my feet sure liked it – I could see them easily enough, not a murky streak to be found.
The crystal clear water glows iridescent blue and the white silica sand so powdery soft and provides a great contrast against the lake edge.
And the famous heart-shaped tree adds to the already pretty landscape.
9. Drive Through A Sub-Tropical Rainforest
Our drive from Eurong Beach to Kingfisher Bay along the sandy tracks and through the sub-tropical rainforest was equally as spectacular. It’s hard to imagine that this whole island is made of sand and that you get these incredible trees growing to great heights.
If you have enough time, stop in for a picnic at Central Station and stroll the boardwalk next to Wanggoolba Creek, which carries clear water through a tranquil rainforest filled with ancient ferns at Central Station – once a forestry township for about 150 people.
10. Photograph Wild Dingoes
Fraser Island’s resident wildlife is the dingo.
These are wild dogs who look like a cross between a wolf and a fox, and are native to Australia.
There are many dingoes on Fraser Island, and they are tamer than they should be thanks to the poor choices of humans, and if you have small children like us never leave their side, not for a second, as they have been known to attack and are very cunning.
You’re bound to have dingoes coming pretty close to you on the beaches, particularly near Eli Creek, sniffing for food. And despite signs warning of the danger all over the island, we saw tourists moving close to them to get their shot of the cute wild dogs.
We kept our distance and I relied on my 300mm zoom lens to get these close-up photos.
11. Take a scenic flight over Fraser Island
A definite highlight of our visit and one of the more unique things to do on Fraser Island is experiencing a joy flight with Air Fraser Island which take off from nature’s best runway along 75 Mile Beach.
You’ll be afforded incredible views up and down the coast, fly inland over the massive sand dunes and pretty Butterfly Lake, and spot migrating whales in season.
Air Fraser runs 15-minute joy flights all day long from $75 p/p.
Watch the video of the scenic flight
12. Watch the Sunset at Kingfisher Bay
If you’re staying at Kingfisher Bay Resort on the west coast, don’t miss having a few sundowners at the unassuming Jetty Hut – bottles of champagne and platters of prawns, cheese, and crackers are also on offer.
Kingfisher Bay resort has different accommodation types ranging from two and three bedroom villas, multi-share Wilderness Lodges, resort hotel rooms, and Kingfisher Houses.
Read our review of the Kingfisher Bay Resort
13. Go Whale Watching
Did you know that Fraser Island is a prime location for whale watching?
Southern humpback whales migrate to Fraser Island to give birth to their young and stay while nursing them before heading back for the Antarctic summer.
We have visited Fraser Island during whale watching season before (late July to early November) and saw whales breaching from 75 mile beach, and from the viewpoints at Indian Head and on our scenic flight.
Fraser Island is also just offshore from Hervey Bay, which is the whale watching capital of Australia! Spotting whales is one of the top things to do in Hervey Bay and 20 years of research has confirmed that the Fraser Coast is the only genuine stopover along the migration route where up to 10,000 whales deviate from their annual journey back to Antarctica
So you cannot visit the Fraser Coast during the winter and NOT incorporate whale watching into your trip. I’m sure you’ll sea dolphins and other marine life as well.
The cruises from Hervey Bay go along the tranquil Great Sandy Strait alongside the pristine western side of World Heritage-listed Fraser Island.
You can read our post on whale watching from Hervey Bay.
We also visited Hervey Bay another time and cruised up the Strait to remote Coongul Point on the North Western side of Fraser. Here the beaches were crystal clear with white powdery sand and no one around except us.
WHALE WATCHING TOURS FROM HERVEY BAY
14. Visit the Sandy Cape Lighthouse
Located on Fraser Island’s northernmost point is the Sandy Cape Lighthouse, a heritage-listed lighthouse that was built in 1870, making it the second oldest lighthouse in Queensland.
It was one of the first lighthouses in Queensland to be built out of pre-fabricated sections of iron.
It’s also the tallest lighthouse in Queensland.
The views from the lighthouse are incredible, and you can also take a guided tour of the lighthouse and learn about the early history of Queensland from a knowledgeable guide.
There is also a former World War II bunker near the lighthouse worth checking out. It was once used by the army to detect enemy aircraft and ships during the late-war period.
15. See the Turtles at Lake Allom
Another great spot to see native wildlife is Lake Allom. It’s located off a short side track through the subtropical rainforest, where you’ll find a viewing platform.
Here you can see Krefft’s river turtles swimming in the waters.
The lake is small and surrounded by overgrown reeds and bushes, but remarkably swimming is allowed here.
If you don’t mind swimming in a little murky water, dive straight in! But it’s not as nice as Lake McKenzie. Really, it’s only worth visiting for the turtles.
16. Try Beach Fishing
Fraser Island is a great place to go beach fishing. Casting your line anywhere along 75 Mile Beach can be a rewarding experience, and also a little adventurous as you see 4WDs zoom past you are you’re throwing your line in the ocean.
If you’re visiting between July to November, this is a popular time to catch tailor spawn. It’s also possible to catch bream, flathead, mackerel, whiting, and even tuna.
A good point to cast your line is near Waddy Point, north of the Maheno or Sandy Cape. Simply dig up some worms or yabbies and see what you can get!
Fishing enthusiasts should note that it’s prohibited to fish in the freshwater lakes and rivers on the island, you can only fish in the ocean.
17. Hike the Fraser Island Great Walk
If you enjoy hiking, then you’re going to enjoy hiking The Fraser Island Great Walk! It’s one of the few Fraser Island attractions you can do without a 4WD vehicle.
Although the whole hike covers 90-kilometers, it’s possible to hike just small sections of it if you don’t have much time. It’s a easy trail since Fraser Island is mostly flat, but to do the whole hike will take you 6-8 days.
The hike passes along one of the old logging routes created by the island’s indigenous people, the Butchulla people. It passes by wild beaches, the gorgeous Lake McKenzie, and into the subtropical rainforest.
It also takes you to small villages, Dilli Village and Happy Valley, where you can replenish yourself before tackling the next part. ofthe trail.
You can learn about the history of the island and its people at historic exhibits at Central Station, Wanggoolba Creek, and dune-backed Lake Wabby.
Getting to Fraser Island
Fraser Island Barges operate ferries and barges for both vehicle and passengers daily from River Heads, 20 minutes south of Hervey Bay, to Kingfisher Bay Resort and Wangoolba Creek on the west side of Fraser Island.
Manta Ray operates a barge from Inskip Point (Rainbow Beach) to Hook Point on the south of Fraser Island.
Visiting Fraser Island without your own car can be a challenge. Sometimes the easiest way – and probably most popular for tourists – is to join a tour. I would not recommend doing a day tour from Noosa or Rainbow Beach – you will waste so much time in transit. If doing a day tour, leave from Hervey Bay and spend the night there before hand, or do multiple day tours on Fraser Island.
This 16 day Sydney to Cairns tour with G Adventures incorporates a stop at Fraser Island. Here are some other tours of Fraser Island.
Fraser Island 4wd Hire
Fraser Island is strictly four wheel drive territory as all roads on the island are sand tracks, and if you want to self-drive Fraser you’ll need a 4WD with reasonable under-vehicle clearance.
You can take your own vehicle, we only had an all-wheel-drive, or you can hire a reliable and fully maintained 4×4 from the friendly folks at Atlas 4wd hire.
They’ll get you your permit, give you helpful instructions on how to drive safely during your driver safety briefing (allow 1 hour) and they will even store your vehicle for the duration of your time on Fraser Island.
These driving times are conservative and you should always drive to suit the current conditions:
- Eurong Beach to Kingfisher Bay Resort – 22km (approx 1hr)
- Eurong Beach to Eli Creek – 30km (approx 40mins)
- Eurong Beach to Maheno Wreck – (approx 45mins)
- Eurong Beach to The Pinnacles coloured sands – 35km (approx 50mins)
- Eurong Beach to Indian Head – 60km (approx 1hr 20mins)
- Eurong Beach to Champagne Pools – 63km (approx 1hr 30mins )
- Eurong Beach to Central Station/Pile Valley – 8km (approx 30mins)
- Eurong Beach to Lake McKenzie – 15km (approx 45mins)
Where To Stay on Fraser Island
Fraser Island is not huge but it has some fantastic places to stay. If you’re not sure about where to stay on Fraser Island, then we recommend the following places…
K’gari Beach Resort, formally ‘Eurong Beach Resort’
On the east coast, K’gari Beach Resort, formally Eurong Beach Resort, is a great base from which to explore all the things to do on Fraser Island listed above with its absolute beachfront position on 75-Mile Beach, including the world class beach fishing.
The resort is also centrally located for visiting the southern lakes, which include Lake McKenzie, Basin, Wabby, Jennings, Birrabeen and Boomanjin, as well as the sub-tropical rainforests around Pile Valley, Central Station and Wanggoolba Creek.
Kingfisher Bay Resort
How does a little bit of luxury sound amidst one of the most unique and pristine parts of Australia? Kingfisher Bay Resort is on the quieter western side of Fraser Island, right where the car ferry from River Head drops you off.
Kingfisher Bay has the more upmarket buffet breakfast and dinner at Maheno Restaurant, or you can splurge at the a la carte Seabelle Restaurant.
There’s a lovely pool, cocktail bar, segway adventure tours, guided bushwalks, and different accommodation types ranging from two and three bedroom villas, multi-share Wilderness Lodges, resort hotel rooms, and Kingfisher Houses.
Camping on Fraser Island
Camping is also possible on Fraser Island in several camping locations. Because of wild dingos’, it’s not possible to wild camp on Fraser Island, but there are several sites you can stay at.
Camping on Fraser Island is seasonal, from 1 March to 30 September, because of high fire danger during the summer months.
For more information about camping, visit the park’s official website here.
Final Word on Things to Do on Fraser Island
Fraser Island is a true adventure lover’s paradise off the East Coast of Australia and is somewhere you cannot skip when visiting Australia. In fact, Fraser Island’s indigenous name is K’gari, which means ‘paradise.’
Simply getting around the island is an attraction in itself, and it’s the perfect place to experience the wild and rugged nature of Australia and see wildlife in its natural habitat.
I hope this guide helped you plan your visit to Fraser Island and gave you some inspiration for things to do.
South Queensland Travel Tips:
Are you planning to visit other places in South Queensland? Then you may enjoy these other resources:
- An adventurous weekend getaway to Moreton island
- Weekend getaways from Brisbane, Queensland
- A lovely weekend getaway to the Bunya Mountains
- Things to do on the Sunshine Coast that’s not coastal
- Awesome Beach towns on the Sunshine Coast
- Australia’s Great Beach Drive, Sunshine Coast (includes Rainbow Beach)
- A Noosa Hinterland Road Trip
- A romantic getaway to the Sunshine Coast hinterland
- How to spend 48 hours on the Gold Coast
- Escape to Binna Burra Lodge on the Gold Coast Hinterland
- Things to do in Noosa, Sunshine Coast
- Stunning and adventurous things to do in Queensland
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Do you have any tips on things to do on Fraser Island? Please share in the comments below.