Fraser Island in a Tribute with camper

Submitted: Friday, May 21, 2004 at 17:53
ThreadID: 13058 Views:5093 Replies:7 FollowUps:5
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I'm planning to drive to Fraser in July in my V6 petrol Mazda Tribute. I've taken the Tribute through the soft sand of Little Desert NP in Victoria and several beaches in SA and found it copes well, and with tyres down to 16psi will get through some nasty soft sand.
Question is, how would it go pulling my camper trailer onto the Island. I intend getting the trailer to just one park and leaving it there for the week while we do day trips.
Has anyone some advice on the best entry point to the island. Are there firmer tracks than others from one of the barges to a commercial camping ground?
Trek notes are good but I hope some recent experience from you guys will make me better prepared.

Don't knock the Tribute :)
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Reply By: Baz (NSW) - Friday, May 21, 2004 at 18:15

Friday, May 21, 2004 at 18:15
Should'nt be a problem let the pressure out of your tyres (camper too) and you will be fine, on and off the ferry at Rainbow beach will be the hardest and ground clearence on the tracks, or you could go via Harvey Bay. When we were there only used 4wd once, on and off the ferry we towed a trailer. Have fun it's a great place.

AnswerID: 59605

Follow Up By: Phil from Eltham - Friday, May 21, 2004 at 22:54

Friday, May 21, 2004 at 22:54
Thanks Baz.

Did you mean the Rainbow Beach access point is the worst choice? Is Harvey Bay a better choice from your experience?

I plan to stop at Dilli and camp there for a few days but could make it Catherdral Beach if the tracks aren't too soft getting there.

FollowupID: 321261

Reply By: Rosco - Bris. - Friday, May 21, 2004 at 18:42

Friday, May 21, 2004 at 18:42
No sweat .. shouldn't have a problem.
AnswerID: 59610

Reply By: Geep - Friday, May 21, 2004 at 20:45

Friday, May 21, 2004 at 20:45 thing is for sure...your camper will not be the first or last to go on Fraser!!......mate, go for it...........Fraser Island is a 4 x 4 drivers dream, there are few places like it in the world. we know, we live just a couple of hours away and have been there many times in our Cherokee.
The trick with driving on Fraser, with or without a trailer, is to spend a few bucks and buy a tide mentioned elswhere the soft sand at Inskip Pt (North of Rainbow) is the your tides and arrange to cross at the lowest possible height...within two hours of low tide is good.
Certainly lower your tyre pressures, truck and trailer, and keep the speed up in the soft stuff..once you get onto the hard sand you can run up the beach in freeway conditions...two words of warning out for kids....especially during (and adults) will not hear you approaching over the surf noise, secondly, the Qld boys in blue now have a permanent station at Eurong and the radars will work overtime during the holidays (80 k/ph)
Cathederal Beach Caravan Pk is hard to beat, it is well positioned, good place to set up a base camp to see everything this magical place has to offer..Eli Creek is your car wash, beautiful clear fresh water runs across the beach and there are a number of places where you can get stuck in with a bucket and wash all of the salt away, and have fun doing it!!
There are many roads throught the islands interior, some are very narrow and you need to watch out for the dozens of tourist buses...I am not talking just Troopies either, I mean full size long distance Greyhound type 4 x 4 coaches!!!...not much room left!!
God I think I;m due for another holiday about now too!!!!
AnswerID: 59633

Follow Up By: Phil from Eltham - Friday, May 21, 2004 at 22:46

Friday, May 21, 2004 at 22:46
Thanks Geep, good feedback.

Yes, it's too long since you had a good holiday. Me too.

Really looking forward to the trip. I had heard that the Rainbow Beach end offered the easiest entry as the track to Dilli from there was off the beach so perhaps firmer. Maps appear to show made roads to and from the ferry at Inskip Point. Is this misleading? Towing thruogh the soft sand is something I thought I should avoid.

I think I'll camp at Dilli and day trip from there. Still getting my wife used to camping again so need toilets and showers.

FollowupID: 321259

Follow Up By: Brad - Saturday, May 22, 2004 at 07:56

Saturday, May 22, 2004 at 07:56
tide chart is important - but you don'y need to spend, look at
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Reply By: Geep - Friday, May 21, 2004 at 23:33

Friday, May 21, 2004 at 23:33
Hi Phil...ok, recently the greenies got their way and a sizable section of Fraser has been made 'out of bounds', mostly to the northern end....this has caused some friction with regulars and is common knowledge that the damage to the fragility of Fraser was being (is still being) caused, not by the smaller 4 x 4's but by the dozens of day trippers on organised tours in the busses...I have seen plenty of evidence of this myself!!...opps, I had better get off my soapbox..!!. A consequense of this is that access along the beach at the southern end has ceased, you now need to drive on a 'formed' road, for want of a better word, the problem here is that the 'road' has been largely formed by dropping road base and grading it flat...semi-deflated tyres and sharp rocks do not go hand in hand!!...a lot of care is required here.
But once you get back on the beach near Dilli the going is good...dont be too concerned about towing thru the sand, we have taken a trailer loaded with camping gear behind a standard (unmodified) Cherokee many times..remember...speed is the essensce.
The road from Rainbow to the soft sand where the ferries pick up is bitumen.
If you are taking young kids be aware but dont be scared of the Dingos on the island...they are generally a beautiful animal but they are also a wild not feed them, do not let the kids out of sight, a young boy was killed by a dingo a couple of years back.
The Maheno is an old shipwreck a bit over half way up the island, you have to stop here and take the obligatory pix but here also, keep the kids at bay...the vessel is all but gone now, just jagged, rusty steel, ready to slice young skin to shreds.
I understand that you need the comforts of home...we usually do to, there are a number of places where you can have all a that, mostly on the eastern side, Kingfisher Bay is a resort on the Western side of the island and is worthy of a day trip, passing through Central Station on the way...thats a great trip, taking in some of the many freshwater lakes along the way...I recommend the Hema Fraser Island map.
Another must see is the pub at Happy Valley...halfway up on the eastern side, a selection of pix and newspaper articles about the Maheno can be viewed while sipping on gods own, Forex beer....
Take heaps of money....not much is cheap on Fraser.
AnswerID: 59650

Reply By: Dave from Fraser Coast 4WD Club - Saturday, May 22, 2004 at 08:09

Saturday, May 22, 2004 at 08:09
GEEP, get your facts straight.

The beach from Dilli Villge to Hook Point is NOT closed to traffic and will not be until after the high tide road is upgraded.

on other things

Are you sure that you are camping at Dilli Village, it has been closed to campers for about 6 months, and will not be reopened to vehicle based campers in the short term, it's now run by the Sunshine Coast Uni, (maybe you know someone??)

If you are concerned about towing the camper, I'd suggest that you get the Wangoolba Creek Barge that leaves from River Heads via Hervey Bay, and camp at Central Station. This is an all new campsite and is truly first class, at least stop in there and have a look, but that is where I would be basing myself in your situation, the road from Wangoolba Creek to Central is a doddle.

Please ensure that the Tribute has rated recovery points and that you have your own shovel and gear, you will find very few Fraser regulars will offer assitance to a vehicle without rated recovery points these days

And I was on Fraser (for work and play) 14 times last year and 7 so far this year!

...and Eli Creek, you don't want to be washing your car there at the moment,
look here
AnswerID: 59663

Reply By: Jimbo - Saturday, May 22, 2004 at 13:05

Saturday, May 22, 2004 at 13:05
I went here a few years ago from Hervey Bay. This means you travel across the width of the island. At the time they hadn't had rain for three months and the tracks were of very soft sand. This meant you had to keep the foot buried pretyy hard a lot of the way. On the way back it was worse and the trailer was bouncing all over the place. Eventually I snapped one of the axle shackles. Eventually did some bush repairs with some chain, D shackles and wire. Got the trailer welded and strengthened with angle iron at Hervey Bay. Spent a very pleasnat three days at Hervey Bay waiting for the trailer. It is a great place too.

Be sure your trailer is up to the task. If my axle had come off in the middle of the soft stuff I'd probably still be there. I was lucky I was back on firm ground when it went. Having to tow a bodgied up trailer at walking pace slows you down. We were lucky that day that the ferry was late or we would have been stuck on the western beach, with the sand flies for the night.

It certainly is a great place, especially in September when the Tailor are running.

AnswerID: 59680

Reply By: Geep - Sunday, May 23, 2004 at 08:17

Sunday, May 23, 2004 at 08:17 apologies regarding beach access from Hook Point to Dilli Village, I got my info from a brochure issued by Qld Tourism, "Hervey Bay and the Fraser Coast". Dave, having been there recently, was able to straighten that out.
Central Station is certainly a nice place to preference is for the beach and the solitude that can offer.
Have a great time.
AnswerID: 59751

Follow Up By: Phil from Eltham - Sunday, May 23, 2004 at 13:54

Sunday, May 23, 2004 at 13:54
Thanks everyone for the advice and encouragement.
Certainly enough warnings to be sure the trip is treated with respect but also to be enjoyed.
I didn't know Dilli was closed. Thanks again for that.
I'll post the results.

FollowupID: 321372

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Monday, May 24, 2004 at 22:43

Monday, May 24, 2004 at 22:43
If you want to be on the eastern beach side, take the Inskip to Hook Point ferry, run up the beach (at low-ish tide) and camp at Dunduburra - it's an easy run with the camper and the entry to Dundubuarra is also pretty straightforward.

Don't worry too much about getting stuck. Just make sure that if you do, it's not below the high-water mark. :)
FollowupID: 321602

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