Fraser Island, Australia
A World Heritage listed area, Fraser Island is located off the southern coast of Queensland, Australia. Covering an area of more than 184,000 kilometres, Fraser is the largest sand island in the world.
The striking contrast of white sand and blue sea is just one aspect of what makes Fraser Island so enticing. The island is also home to more than 100 freshwater lakes, ranging in colour from blue freshwater to the black waters of Basin Lake.
Between 1856 and 1935, 23 shipwrecks were recorded in the waters of Fraser Islands. Many wrecks can still be seen today, including the Maheno, which rests just off the beach and is a popular attraction.
Featuring a National Park, Fraser Island is the natural habitat for many animal species. Native beauties such as the Small-eared Mountain Possum and the Sugar Glider can be found here, as well as many reptiles and bird species. Some of Fraser Island’s most famous residents are the many dingoes that can often be seen moving across the sands.
The diversity of the island means it has something to suit travellers of every age group. From scrubby edges to lush rainforests, there is a variety of sights to take in. Look for Stone Tool Sand, an active mobile blow, covered with thick forest. Look through the Champagne Pools to spot marine life in the rock pools. In the centre of the island, expect to find subtropical rainforests growing on the sand dunes.
One of the best ways to explore the island is by 4WD. Guided tours are available, or you can hire a 4WD to discover on your own. The scenery is beautiful but can be difficult to drive across, with soft sand and natural hazards to be wary of. Fraser Island also has some of the best bushwalking tracks, perfect for stretching your legs and seeing the sights.
Fraser Island is separated from the mainland of Australia by the Great Sandy Strait. Access is via ferry, boat or cruise ship. Located just off the coast of Hervey Bay, Fraser Island is approximately 250km from Brisbane.
Currently there is not a dedicated port at Fraser Island. Cruise ships are anchored in the deep channel off Kingfisher Bay resort. For this reason, port facilities are limited. Dining options are based around the resorts located on Fraser Island. There are many tour operators available in the area, which can be booked upon disembarking.
How to Get Around
Driving throughout the island is restricted to 4WD, due to the sandy landscape. The main north-to-south highway runs over the beach, while inland roads are also sandy tracks. Driving conditions vary with the tides; it is important not to drive along 75 Mile Beach (the north-south route) for 2 hours before and after high tide.
Currency - The currency used throughout Fraser Island is the Australian Dollar (AUD). Denominations are as follows: coins come in AU$1, AU$2, 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent and 50 cent denominations. Notes come in AUD$5, AUD$10, AUD$20, AUD$50 and AUD$100 denominations. Many tour operators also accept credit cards.
Time Zone – Fraser Island operates on Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), which is 10 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Daylight Savings time is not observed on Fraser Island.
Weather – The sub-tropical climate makes for pleasant weather year-round on Fraser Island. Temperatures are largely controlled by the ocean, with winter temperatures ranging from 14-25 degrees Celsius, while summer temperatures range between 23 and 30 degrees Celsius. As a tropical destination, the wettest months are January to March.
Lake McKenzie – Comprised solely of rainwater, a visit to Lake McKenzie will soon clue any passenger in on the popularity of this spot. The sand inside and surrounding the lake acts as a filter, keeping the water beautifully clear and healthy. Rich white silica sand only adds to the purity and beauty of this area.
Fishing – Beach fishing is very popular on Fraser Island and equipment hire is available. Fishing zones are set up throughout the island, excluding the National Park area and freshwater lakes. Permits are not required for recreational fishing; however, size restrictions do apply for many species.
4WD Along 75 Mile Beach – Offering a new experience, 75 Mile Beach is rugged but pristine. Along the drive, passengers can see volcanic rock, Champagne Pools and the Maheno shipwreck, a trans-Tasman liner driven ashore during a cyclone in 1935.
Paddle the Coastline – Hire a canoe or stand-up paddleboard to see all around the island. This gentle method of exploration is ideal for spotting turtles, dugongs and birds that call this area home.