Trip advice - Melbourne to Fraser Island mid Nov 2017

Submitted: Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 08:45
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Hi all,

I'm new to this forum, and in mid Nov we are embarking on a 5 week trip from Melbourne, ending up at Fraser Island (hoping to do at least a week there) and then travelling back down the east coast home. We will have our 7 month old travelling with us (will be 10 mths by the time we leave) which I am slightly freaking out about.

As this is our first big trip, we are a bit overwhelmed with trying to come up with a suitable itinerary. We want to do some off-road stuff but not anything too crazy. We will be towing a camper trailer too.

I guess I was just hoping to ask for some tips regarding some places to check out and anything else we might need to consider. We were thinking about heading up to Broken Hill and then onto Cameron Corner (but I'm a bit worried about the remoteness of that place!) and not too sure where to from there. Any tips would be much appreciated, thanking you in advance!!

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Reply By: RMD - Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 09:14

Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 09:14
Some idea of what you are driving and it's and your capabilities, would be a distinct advantage for anyone answering your request.
You can receive a lot of info but some far in excess of what is possible for you.

I think camerons corner is nowhere near Fraser Island. In 5 weeks you probably cannot go everywhere at once!

If going to Fraser, I would first buy a spray unit and some bulk Lanolin ie like Lanotec, and spray inside the chassis and everywhere under the vehicle.

A lot of people go to Fraser and washing the sand and salt out of the underside is very difficult if you are concerned about tin worm. Many just hose off but the EGGS are still there.
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Follow Up By: Ange_W - Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 10:44

Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 10:44
Thanks so much for your reply! Thats really useful. We have a Np300 Nissan Navara Stx 4x4 full tour spec.
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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 09:18

Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 09:18
Yep Broken Hill onto Cameron's corner would give a great contrast with Fraser Island and lots of things in between.
Do your research, establish what you would LIKE to see, but above all take your time, plan to be pulled up at least three hours before sunset and keep your schedule as flexible as possible with a 5 month old on your first trip.
You will enjoy it a whole lot more instead of having a "ticked the box" but exhausted feeling.
Do a search on Cameron's Corner and Fraser, they come up very regularly here, then ask more specific questions.
As far as remoteness, you are no more than a few hours away from a good hospital in Broken Hill.
Mark
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Follow Up By: Keith B6 - Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 17:47

Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 17:47
I think "at least 3 hours before sunset" is a bit extreme. In November sunset in that part of Queensland is around 1800hrs. so by your reckoning they should be off the road by before 3.00pm?
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Follow Up By: Ange_W - Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 18:40

Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 18:40
Thank you for your reply. I think we will definitely just take our time and be flexible along the way and try and not stress too much!
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Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 19:17

Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 19:17
Keith

When travelling with kids I prefer to have set up the camper trailer, had a beer, cooked dinner and washed up in the daylight. In winter that is no later than 3PM, in summer it may be as late as 6PM.
If I'm driving from Tamworth to FNQ Cairns or Mt Isa & beyond by myself, I'll do it in two days, driving 12 hours per day, setting up and packing up in the dark in winter. But with kids ????
In November in I reckon it could even be later than 1800 hours EST!

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Reply By: rumpig - Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 11:06

Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 11:06
Don't stress to much about the 10 month old...Travelling with young kids is more about the adults copping then the child, the kids tend to adapt to any situation if the adults have prepared properly. Both our kids beach camped in a tent on Fraser when they were around 6 months old, one child had done Cape York at 3 years age and the other crossed The Simpson at that age also. On The Cape trip our child was running a 40 degree temperature one night and hallucinating (which the medication we brought with us sorted eventually), on The Simpson trip our other daughter ended up in Coober Pedy hospital at 1 a.m running high temperatures and vomiting. All you can do is deal with the situation as / if it arises, just like you would do at home anyhow.
The downside to travelling with such a young child can be the distances to travel each day tend to be shorter then when they get abit older, purely due to how many stops you tend to make looking after them.....but you have plenty of time to plan a route around that issue anyhow. Only you will know what travel schedule suits you guys, you're going to get various people saying that's to far to travel in X amount of time no matter what you choose, because everyone is different. We punched out 900 klms in a big day with a 3 year old in the car on our Cape York trip, I know people that can't / won't do that as just adult couples in the vehicle only...everyone is different.
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Follow Up By: Ange_W - Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 18:44

Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 18:44
I think you're right, everyone will have slightly different opinions about schedules that suit them, I think we'll just have to be a bit flexible and be prepared to stop a lot along the way with a bubs, and just go with it! Thanks for replying :-)
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Reply By: Deejay - Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 18:27

Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 18:27
Ange, there is so much to tell you about Fraser Island - not enough room here though. You will have a 10 month old with you (maybe just starting to walk) so you will need to watch him/her very carefully for the following :- sunburn, midges, snakes and dingos. Without reigniting the Azaria Chamberlain issue again, my son and his cousin were stalked in the dunes by 2 dingoes one time when we were there. Fortunately they were both familiar with dogs and ran at them, scaring them off. This happened another time we were there and on another occasion a brownish coloured snake wriggled through our camp. Having said all this we've visiting Fraser since 1975 so in the scheme of things these events don't really rate but it would be remiss of me not to mention them though. I believe Central Station camp ground has been fenced off for this reason but other locations may not be. Make sure you deflate your tyres and once done, do not turn corners at speed. You really should have a long handle shovel, recovery gear and a good air compressor. Consult the tide times and time your arrival at the barge to coincide with low or near low tide. You will have to buy an access and camping permit at Rainbow Beach ranger station but won't need to book the barge. Make sure you put the park brake 'on' when you park on the barge. It is the biggest sand island in the world so allow time and you'll thoroughly enjoy yourself.
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Follow Up By: Ange_W - Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 18:42

Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 18:42
Thank you for replying, you raise some very good points and some things we hadn't yet considered about Fraser Island!
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Follow Up By: rumpig - Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 19:01

Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 19:01
I wouldn't get to concerned about the dingos on Fraser, as I mentioned previously our kids have been camping on the beach there (not in the fenced camp areas) since they were 6 months old (eldest now 14)....usually camped each year for 2 weeks at a time. In that time we have never had an issue with any dingos, simply because we watched our kids like hawks and never let them roam off anywhere alone. We were on Fraser recently for a week and didn't even see a single dingo in that time frame, but obviously that doesn't mean they weren't about, but it was the first visit there I've not seen one. This visit was the first time I've seen a snake on the island, and it was only a tiny python on the verandah at Happy Valley shops. If you decide you want to be in a fenced area, look at Dundaburra or even Cathedrals, they are nicer then Central Station IMO.
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Follow Up By: Members Pa & Ma. - Monday, Aug 21, 2017 at 17:29

Monday, Aug 21, 2017 at 17:29
I wouldn't let a ten month old baby out of my sight with Dingoes around. We lived on cattle stations & know how they work together to move a calf away from it's mother.
I expect that I'll cop a rap for saying this but they're very,very cunning.
If the little one is crawling, I'd have one of those little harnesses that you used to see on kids many years ago.
I think a small spot tracking devise pinned on the child would be good (Like the ones they pop under cars).
It only takes a minute if the opportunity arises.
Friendly Dingoes, don't trust them.
No I'm not trying to scare Ange. With anything that goes wrong as I see it it happens at a time when a set of circumstances come together at just that time
which will never happen again.
We lost our dog's life in just that way. We can't stop blaming ourselves and Yes,
we believe a Dingo did take Azaria.
I think that your trip,taken casually could cover some great areas without rushing & spoiling your trip to fit in Frazer Island, do it later , might save a lot of stress.
Trying to set up camp & have tea & baby bathed etc is best done in daylight. IMHO.
When we were younger we'd try to get as much mileage in as we could due to holiday time, many a near divorce happened trying to set up & cook tea in the dark with torches.
Have a nice relaxed holiday.
Take care, Safe travels Ma.
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Follow Up By: Ange_W - Saturday, Aug 26, 2017 at 23:34

Saturday, Aug 26, 2017 at 23:34
Thank you Ma for your response .I don't think we'll be trusting any dingoes, friendly or non friendly, and hoping we don't actually come across any! I suspect our bubs will be crawling by then so we'll definitely need to think about how we manage that in certain places!
Our aim will certainly be to make sure we are pulled up at each camp spot in daylight hours. Here's hoping it will be a fun adventure!!
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Follow Up By: rumpig - Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 08:23

Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 08:23
Dingos on Fraser is all part of the experience, you used to see heaps of them on the island and now that is not the case (due to them being culled mainly due to tourists behaviour). If you see one it'll be a very memorable experience, one that I hope your family gets to enjoy. Don't be alarmed when you see one, if you use common sense they aren't a huge danger....leave your children alone to wander off behind dunes, fall asleep drunk somewhere on your own etc etc, and the story will be different though. Avoid walking off down the beach on your own also, whilst you'd normally be ok doing this, it is better to not be on your own just incase. They are a beautiful animal to watch, but need to be respected for what they could do also.
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Reply By: Michael H9 - Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 19:54

Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 19:54
Be aware that on Fraser you have to book ahead for the campsites. You can only do it on the island over the counter at the Kingfisher Resort, (to my knowledge), because of patchy phone and internet reception. That's over on the west side of the island and the majority of everything else is on the east side. I find that arrangement very ordinary because you are booking blind.
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Follow Up By: rumpig - Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 20:46

Sunday, Aug 20, 2017 at 20:46
Phones work fine on Eastern side at Eurong as there is a tower there, we had patchy internet recently up at Yidney Rocks / Happy Valley from that tower.
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Follow Up By: Ange_W - Saturday, Aug 26, 2017 at 23:25

Saturday, Aug 26, 2017 at 23:25
Thank you Michael, we were not aware of this, very useful to know!
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Reply By: Member Kerry W (WA) - Monday, Aug 21, 2017 at 11:35

Monday, Aug 21, 2017 at 11:35
Ange - Treat the trip as an adventure!
The rest of the itinerary you can follow your fancies but if you are heading to Fraser - that is worthwhile focus of your trip. Spend some quantity time there.
As for any anxieties or feelings of being overwhelmed - don't plan too much.
People have been doing trips like yours since cars were invented.
Most people manage to survive and actually enjoy the trip.
From my experience travellers problems are caused by fear of the unknown, lack of self knowledge and lack of experience/preparation.
The baby will be fine.
The vehicle will be fine.
The parents? That depends of your state of mind and your sense of adventure!!!
If you treat it like the adventure it is - instead of preplanning "everything" and anticipating "everything" - you will find it much more enjoyable, have fewer dissapointments and be able to make better decisions when you see what a place or situation is actually like.
If you are slightly freaking out now - thats good you are obviously a good parent and that means the baby will be fine - So stop worrying now and enjoy the anticipation:-)
Live in the here and now - you will think clearer and make better decisions and will learn a lot.
Having said that a week on Fraser is a short time. Fraser is magic but you cant rush it you have to experience it and live it. Book a night or two at Central station and walk lots - spend a day or 2 at the lakes (McKenzie and Basin - Fraser has over half of the worlds perched lakes and they are unique - dawn and dusk are good times to visit if you hate crowds ) and walk Pile valley.
Set up for breccy at Eli Creek and wade through - look for Jungle perch. Camp for a week or so on the beach campground at Waddy Pt and explore from there. Spend a day up at Sandy cape sitting on the dune/visiting the lighthouse /fishing/walking/drinking wine/beer etc. Finish off with a couple of nights at Kingfisher bay hang the expense you only live once you will not regret it and remember it for a lifetime.
Im sure you will make good calls about what to do once you are on Fraser - everybody sees new experiences differently you cannot (try to) anticipate what you will feel or do beforehand - that detracts from the adventure.
As for dingos - make the call if and when you meet them. Its been 15 or more years since I encountered an aggressive dingo there - I believe the aggressive ones had been culled.

My two bobs worth.
(My parents took me travelling full time as a kid in a 2wd car in the 60s and Ive taken my kids travelling since they were just months old - the oldest is now 29 and they are all avid adventurers - just saying...Im hopefully qualified to comment).
Kerry W (Qld)
Security is mostly a superstition. It doesnt exist in nature. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
-Helen Keller

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Follow Up By: Banjo (WA) - Tuesday, Aug 22, 2017 at 08:59

Tuesday, Aug 22, 2017 at 08:59
A great response Kerry.
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Follow Up By: Ange_W - Saturday, Aug 26, 2017 at 23:21

Saturday, Aug 26, 2017 at 23:21
Loving your response, Kerry, and sounds like you are most certainly qualified to comment! :-) Those photos are magical! I think a big part of our fear is definitely the unknown. We both like to overplan everything but I do think we need to try and relax and go with the flow a bit more, and treat the trip more as an adventure as you have said! We are certainly considering staying on Fraser a bit longer, but I suppose we won't know for sure until we get there! Thank you for all of your tips, I'm sure they will come in handy.
I can only hope that this is the beginning of many more adventures to come, and that one day our daughter at 29 will love it as much as we do!
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Follow Up By: Member Kerry W (WA) - Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 19:36

Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 19:36
Thanks Ange,
Sometimes I forget to mention things because we avoid them by habit.
Good comments below about midges.
Also the March flies send a lot of campers home early mostly from southern beach campsites.
Midges are rife on the west coast and in some sheltered areas. If going to Wathumba creek take repellant and protective clothing - don't camp there in summer.
March flies are abundant in summer near popular campsites on the more southern end of the east side of the island. They have evolved to be faster and harder to swat.
You will find them in far fewer numbers above Waddy Point beach camping. We take fly spray to reduce their numbers IF they are a problem ... but we usually camp in the north and they don't worry us.
Hope this helps
Kerry W (Qld)
Security is mostly a superstition. It doesnt exist in nature. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
-Helen Keller

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Reply By: Member - John and Lynne - Saturday, Aug 26, 2017 at 20:56

Saturday, Aug 26, 2017 at 20:56
I would suggest Melbourne to Fraser and back by a different route is a reasonable trip for five weeks with a young child. There is so much to see and you could just relax about the itinerary and have a great trip. A week is not long enough on Fraser but look out for the midgies! It might be a good idea to leave Cameron Corner for another time. This would give you a lot of extra distance to cover when the weather could be getting very hot. Heat can be a worry for young children, leading to remarkably quick dehydration. If you are held up on the roadby mechanical or other problems the heat will be an issue. There is a lot to see and do around Broken Hill, Tibooburra and Cameron Corner and en route - plenty for a separate trip when the weather is milder. If this is your first long camping trip with a small child be easy on yourselves. Don't rush and overplan or cause yourselves unnecessary stress! Relax and enjoy so everyone, including your child, has a great time and, most importantly, wants to go again! Lynne
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Follow Up By: Ange_W - Saturday, Aug 26, 2017 at 23:13

Saturday, Aug 26, 2017 at 23:13
Thanks so much for your response, Lynne. We were thinking along the same lines and have decided to leave Cameron Corner and surrounds for another trip. We'll definitely try and keep it as relaxed as possible and be flexible with the itinerary. We might even try and stay on Fraser Island a bit longer, and will look out for the midgies!!
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Lynne - Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 11:04

Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 11:04
You won't regret that decision Ange! Could I add that your life camping will be happier if you have some way of keeping your small child safe while setting up and packing. When ours were little we quickly discovered how fast a crawling or just walking child cam move! And always towards danger! We found it impossible to watch a child carefully enough while setting up a camp! Nor is it a good idea to leave them strapped into a car seat for the duration - they will protest loudly and you will be further distracted! We had a harness and a long lead for ours. If you feel too embarrassed to tie him to a convenient tree or bumper bar where he can watch you safely (we soon gave up being embarrassed!) we have seen other campers lately with very useful folding "play pen" arrangements put out by camping specialists so a small child is safely confined with freedom to move around and watch.
Another thing you will be glad of on Fraser beaches and other places if you don't already have one is a toddler carrier back pack so your hands are free when you are walking and the child is comfortable and can see what is going on. Have a great trip! Lynne
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Follow Up By: Members Pa & Ma. - Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 12:02

Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 12:02
Another thought Ange,
As obvious as it is. check that your air conditioner is working properly by a reputable aircon company before you leave.
Also the Viscus fan.
Your hubby will understand the viscus fan.
You can't see the Midgies, nor hear the little rotters .
Dress bub in very cool but dark clothing & I was warned that just on sunset they're most active.
You can feel them , though , like little feathers toughing your skin.
Take a good medical anti itch cream with you. A chemist near Fraser would know the best.

I hope you have a nice holiday too, not trying to scare you off either, but it pays to be prepared.
Take care, safe travels .Ma.
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Follow Up By: Ange_W - Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 19:38

Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 at 19:38
Thank you Lynne, and Ma for some more useful tips! A few other people have recommended getting a play pen and seems like a great idea. We have a carrier for bubs so will definitely be taking that as well.
And Ma, will definitely mention the viscus fan to hubby and it sounds like purchasing some good anti itch cream might be worthwhile. It's all these little things I wouldn't even think of which is why I love this forum so much! Thanks again :-)
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