5-minute Fraser Island camping boot camp
When it comes to holidaying, I always pack my collection of travel tips. In fact, those who know me well, hold their heads and groan when I tell strangers suffering from travel sickness to pop a square of paper against their belly button. Don’t ask me how it works – it’s probably something mind-bogglingly scientific – but it does.
If you’re a queasy traveller, you can try it out for yourself on the ferry trip to Fraser Island.
Fraser, like Queensland’s other fabulous sand islands, is fairly remote, so a little prep can go a long way when you’re camping.
Undoubtedly, the wackiest Fraser Island tip I’ve been given is from a Brissie-based beautician who, in between tearing wax strips from my legs, told me to use flannel sheets to line the bottom of the tent so you don’t feel the sand when you sleep.
The nitty gritty
First up, pre-arrange a permit for your vehicle and your campsite. You can do this fairly easily on the Queensland Parks website: the latest island condition report (pretty helpful picking your campsite if you’ve never been there), how to get there, track closures and dingo safety tips are all conveniently located in one sweet spot.
Pack a first-aid kit, essential medications, insect repellent, a fuel stove, milled timber (if you’re using the fire pits), rubbish bags, extra camping pegs/ropes and lockable food containers. (Not sure what else you should pack? Check out this handy camping checklist.)
Choosing a prime spot
Driving on Fraser Island is totally dependent on conditions, so take tides and ease of access into account when choosing your camping spot to ensure you arrive before dark.
- If you want a fab sunrise, head to Ocean Lake or one of the nine camping spots on the eastern beach.
- Head west to catch mango-coloured sunsets.
- Fenced sites are great for young families and are located at Central Station, Lake Boomanjin, Dundubara and Waddy Point.
- There are 10 remote sites on Fraser Island – including the Great Sandy Cape – to bypass the crowds. If you’re a 4WDing novice, you can always fine tune your skills with Australian Offroad Academy.
- Waddy Point has a great outlook, a nearby bar and showers/loos.
- You’ll hook a fish and a sweet campsite at Wyuna Creek.
- For the campfire experience, you’ll find fire pits at Dundubara and Waddy Point, but you’ll need to BYO clean, milled timber. Open campfires aren’t allowed, so if you’re camping elsewhere, pack a gas/fuel stove.
Oh no! I’ve run out of…
Leaving your sunscreen on the kitchen bench isn’t a catastrophe, but leaving your tent pegs could be. When it comes to Fraser Island and your hip pocket, the most important thing to do is fuel up before you leave. On island, you can purchase fuel at Kingfisher Bay Resort, Eurong Beach and Happy Valley, but you’ll pay premium prices. You’ll also be able to pick up water, ice, basic grocery items and souvenirs.
Oh, and if you don’t feel like camp cooking, Eurong Beach Resort’s pizzas and freshly-baked breads are delish. The island’s coffee offerings aren’t to capital city standard, but they will give you that all-important fix until you’re back on the mainland.
Embrace the unexpected
One of my all-time favourite Fraser Island camping stories popped up in my Instagram feed last year when @funfitwellness posted a shot from their 75 Mile Beach campsite of a Loggerhead turtle making her way to the water’s edge after laying eggs. Needless to say, it was a magical Fraser moment.
Bring a solar charger and power cords, so you can capture the unexpected – the lack of city lights running interference means the stars really pop in the night sky. Mobile phone coverage is patchy, so you’ll have to wait until you’re near the resorts and townships, on 75 Mile Beach and in the far car park at Lake McKenzie to upload your holiday brag shots.
Dingos and other stuff
Queensland Parks introduced rhyming dingo signs a year or two back and whilst they’re a bit of fun, there’s a serious safety message: On Fraser never forget, a dingo is not a pet.
If you’re camping at a site with food lockers, use them. If you’re not, lock your food up inside of your vehicle, bury fish innards deep and use the waste transfer stations.
Leave Fraser as you find it
Fraser Island has some gorgeous pockets that are slightly off-the-beaten track. If you have the time and the inclination add The Valley of the Giants, Lake Allom and the Southern Lakes Circuit to your hit list. Queensland’s fabulous 4×4 clubbies head over a couple of times every year and pick up the flotsam that washes up and the mess that grubs leave behind, so please leave Fraser as you find it.
Class is out. Go get your camp on.