Fraser Island camping and 4WD secrets
The ever-shifting sands of Fraser Island are a traveller’s dream. A chance to get away from the world, sleep under the stars, and spend a few days finding your inner Attenborough.
It may be one of Queensland’s more popular destinations, but know the right place to escape to and you’ll leave the crowds far behind for a real island escape.
Remember, some of the campsites are pretty remote, so take a few extra supplies (water and food) and read over these Fraser Island camping tips and you’ll be saying hello to my nirvana – beach camping in no time!
Top ‘not-so-secret’ spots
Cathedrals Camp – This is a privately-run site located 10 minutes north of the Maheno Wreck on the eastern side of the island. A newly-installed dingo fence will ease your worries on a night-time toilet trip.
Facilities: Showers, toilets and shop with hot and cold food.
Ocean Lake – Watch the sunrise out of the ocean and set into the lake at this campsite just north of Indian Heads. It’s one of the best places for native bird watching on the island.
Facilities: Toilets and picnic tables. The rest is up to you.
Sandy Cape – Located at the far northern tip of the island, they’re as remote as you’ll find. Aim for Carree and Diray camp zones.
Facilities: Toilets and eating areas, so take everything else you might need.
For the more adventurous camper
Woralie Creek – Cut across the island just north of the Maheno Wreck and arrive on the western side, home of epic sunsets. Turn north and explore 20 kilometres of beachside camping. Find a flat spot, back into it and make sure you’re well above the high-tide line!
Facilities: 100% self-sufficiency required. Take all water and food with you.
Wyuna Creek (just north of Dunduburra) – This spot is a fisherman’s dream, offering up beachside campsites that are so close, you can almost cast into the ocean from your front porch.
Facilities: No facilities here unless you drive back to Dunduburra camp.
Beginner’s guide to 4WD on Fraser
Driving a 4WD on sand roads needn’t be daunting. If you’ve driven a car on grass before, then you’ll be ok; it just takes a little more concentration and momentum. Follow these tips and keep your wits about you:
- Increasing the footprint of your tyres increases the grip available to you. Drop your tyre pressures to 20psi, ideally before you get on the barge.
- Engage 4WD and/or diff locks as you’ll need grip immediately on leaving the Rainbow Beach barge at Inskip Point.
- With low tyre pressure, your vehicle’s performance will be affected. Don’t swerve or brake sharply, or you could easily roll!
- Don’t overload your roof-rack. The higher centre of gravity could tip your vehicle if you have to swerve sharply.
- Momentum is everything when driving on soft sand. Give way to vehicles coming uphill on the soft stuff.
- Don’t brake heavily, instead allow the vehicle to come to a stop by itself. It’ll be easier to get going again without huge piles of sand in front of each tyre.
- When driving on the beach, observe normal road rules. Stay on the left and use your indicators to show the side you’ll pass on.
- Travel at low tide or a couple of hours either side. Stay on the harder sand and don’t drive through salt water if possible – you may get stuck!
- Carry a shovel, sand mats and/or a tow rope to help get you out of trouble.
- Make sure you know the safety procedures for using a snatch strap or winch – they can be lethal if used incorrectly.
- Re-inflate your tyres as soon as you’re back on tarmac or sealed roads. There are inflation points at Kingfisher Bay and Rainbow Beach.
Don’t forget, if you’re driving on Fraser Island you’ll need the right permits to do so – it is a World Heritage Site after all!
Get your Vehicle Access Permit on the NPRSR website. If you’re not in a registered campsite then you’ll need to grab a camping permit from them too.
Best ways to get there?
Take your own 4WD or, if you’re in need of some wheels, Aussie Trax 4WD will supply everything you need from camping gear to permits. Take the Manta Ray Fraser Island Barge leaving from Inskip Point to land on the southern tip or drive into River Heads (15 minutes from Hervey Bay) where you have the choice of two barges heading to the centre of the island. Take the Fraser Venture to arrive at Wanggoolba Creek or the Kingfisher Bay Vehicle barge to arrive at Kingfisher Resort.
Join Australia Fraser Island Escape for fully guided two- and three-day camping trips to explore all the best Fraser Island has to offer including Lake McKenzie and Central Station rainforest. Options for the overnight accommodation include camping at Dilli Village or more up-market digs at Eurong Beach Resort or Kingfisher Resort. Fraser Island Cool Dingo Tours offer numerous packages starting at two days right up to five-day adventures with departure points as far south as Brisbane.
Time for a day trip only
Arrive in style
If you’ve only A day of luxury in a Hummer with someone else driving as your guide – sound like your cup of tea? Fraser Experience Tours kick off with an early start but offer an awesome day out, finished off with champagne and strawberries! If you Instagram followers demand a far more fabulous entry then consider arriving by plane with Air Fraser Island. Following a scenic flight from either Sunshine Coast or Hervey Bay touch down on the beach and then be whisked away to discover the island by 4WD.
Join a tour
If you itinerary around Queensland is jam-packed and you’ve only left yourself a day to explore Fraser Island then join Fraser Island Discovery or Fraser Island Day Tours for an air-conditioned tour of the island.
Still thinking about making the journey to Fraser Island? Seriously, just go it’s amazing.