Fraser Island Travel Guide

The beach on Fraser Island with the ruined old ship
Fraser Island is in Queensland, Australia, approximately 190 miles north of Brisbane and is the largest sand island in the world. Fraser is a place of exceptional beauty, with its long uninterrupted white beaches that are flanked by strikingly colored sand cliffs and 100 freshwater lakes. It is a very popular destination for backpackers and locals alike, especially for those that love 4×4 drives and multi-day camping activities. Just watch out for all the wild dingos!

Typical Costs

Hostel prices – There are no hostels, only resorts, on the island, which are stupidly overpriced. The majority of people come here to camp, which you can do all over the island. You’ll need a camping permit though for just 5.95 AUD per night through the Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport, and Racing.

Budget hotel prices – Single rooms will be a bit pricier around 80 AUD, and doubles will range from 110-135 AUD per night.

Average cost of food –  Plan on bringing your own food unless you are staying at the resorts, where it is provided for you. Groceries in this part of Australia cost about 68 AUD a week, but if you are splitting the cost of a few days camping, this is a great value. You’ll also need to factor in bringing your own water.

Transportation costs – The only ways to get around the island are by 4WD or with a guided tour.

Read more on the costs of traveling around Australia.

Money Saving Tips

Take a guided tour – There are only two ways to see Fraser Island due to its remote nature: You can visit the island through a 1 or 2 day guided tour. These tours leave from Hervey Bay or Rainbow Beach and drive you around in a 4WD bus to see all the major sites. They typically start around 190 AUD and include hotel picks, food, accommodation, park fees, and a guide. You can read about my island tour here.

Travel in groups – The other, and most popular way, to visit the island is through a 4WD self-drive. For about 200 AUD, you’ll join a group of other travelers for a 3 day, 2 night driving tour of the island. These tours let you choose where and when you go. If you are traveling alone, don’t worry as you’ll be put into a group of other travelers.

Bring your own food and booze – You will need to bring your own food and alcohol with you, which makes for a great adventure. These tours can be arranged at any hostel or travel agency, and ends up being a much cheaper (and more fun) option than the organized tours if you’re up for it.

Top Things to See and Do on Fraser Island

Lake MacKenzie – The jewel of the island, Lake MacKenzie, is a large lake with crystal blue waters and white sand. Because of its beauty and popularity, it can get crowded during the middle of the day during peak season.

Lake Wabby – Wabby is a green colored lake about 20 minutes from the beach, with a large sand blow that is slowly encroaching upon the lake. Freshwater turtles and fish can sometimes be seen swimming in the lake if you’re lucky.

Indian Heads – The rocky outcrop at the northern end of the main beach is great to climb, and then look down into the ocean to spot sharks, rays, and turtles.

Champagne Pools – North of Indian Heads, these rock pools provide a safe place to bathe in the ocean—there’s too many sharks around to do so safely otherwise! Their name is derived from the froth created when waves break over the edge and into the pools.

Eli Creek – This freshwater creek midway along the main beach is where bathers can float down with the current. A boardwalk provides easy access to the top of the creek.

Maheno Shipwreck – In 1935, the retired passenger steamer Maheno was being towed to Japan for scrap when a storm forced it ashore. It was used for bombing tests during World War Two, and is now rusty hunk of metal that’s best seen during low tide.

Seventy Five Mile Beach – This length of beach stretches along the entire eastern side of the island and is considered the main road of the area. Many of the island’s best sights, such as the Coloured Sands, Eli Creek, and the Maheno Ship Wreck can be seen along the beach. You can see the entire stretch of beach from Indian Head or up close while 4WD driving.

Hammerstone Sandblow – This huge sand dune will make you suddenly feel like you are in a desert. From start to finish, your adventure begins in a section of rainforest and ends at Lake Wabby. This trek is definitely one better suited for the athletic and fit.

Wanggoolba Creek – In the middle of the rainforest, the Wanggoolba Creek runs crystal clear and is surrounded by rare King Ferns that are said to have existed here for over 2500 years! Unfortunately, due to human destruction, only 60 are left, so visitors can truly appreciate their unique beauty.