Fraser Island - what is it really like?

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 21, 2019 at 07:51
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We're thinking of heading to Fraser Island in July school holidays. My husband and I were last there 25 years ago so am expecting it to be different. Our 19 year old son is keen to have a holiday with the oldies and asked to go there. My hesitation is we've been looking at a few videos posted on line and the place seems to be full of 4wds cutting up the country side. I then read a news article that quotes a local saying the tourists are showing up, deliberately running down dingos, shooting them or feeding them to get photos. The article also went on to say that there is little policing by national parks.
So, have we got the wrong view? What is it like these days?
When we camp we respect the environment and the people around us. Would we be in the minority?
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Reply By: rumpig - Sunday, Apr 21, 2019 at 08:12

Sunday, Apr 21, 2019 at 08:12
Was there in June -July school holidays not last year but the year before, the island was practically a ghost town....i'm actually serious, maybe not a ghost town, but was very low on numbers. We rented the house that is right on Poyungan Rocks for a nice change instead of our usual camping on the island that we'd do (normally more around September time period), i think the cold weather and no fires policy keeps alot of people away at that time of year. A few days into our stay I made comment to the guy behind the counter at Eurong store how quiet it was on the island, he agreed and said it was definitely very quiet. On the way back to our house from Eurong we drove through a camp zone behind the dunes to see just how many people were in it, in about 2 klms of camp zone we spotted I think 4 camp sites, all of them small groups of just a couple of say less then a dozen families all up it looked like.
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Follow Up By: Merilyn H - Sunday, Apr 21, 2019 at 08:42

Sunday, Apr 21, 2019 at 08:42
Well that's interesting! Funny though, we live in the Southern Highlands of NSW so we may have different thoughts on what cold is. We also have fitted a Truma gas heater to our soft floor camper so will cope without a fire.
You've given me a bit of confidence with our planned trip.
Thanks for your help!
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Follow Up By: smwhiskey - Monday, Apr 22, 2019 at 19:15

Monday, Apr 22, 2019 at 19:15
We were there in July school holdiays in 2015 and it was the same. Really quiet. No line up for the barge there or back. Light traffic everywhere. And once we got north of Indian Head we might have had the island to ourselves. We stayed in a rental at Happy Valley but there was no shortage of campsites available. Only at Lake Mackenzie did we really have any issue with crowds.

Of course, the disadvantage of light traffic is that you may be waiting for awhile for a "mate" if you get stuck so watch the tides.

Only changes I noticed between this trip and the last trip (back in 1993) was there are a lot more restrictions and rules and regulations and bollards.

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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Sunday, Apr 21, 2019 at 08:21

Sunday, Apr 21, 2019 at 08:21
Hi Merilyn,

We live close to Fraser Island and have visited there a number of times over 30 years.
The Island has changed little in that time but the vehicle traffic has increased considerably. And of course with the number of people holidaying on the island it has become much busier.

The dingos? Certainly they have become much bolder in recent years and you are no doubt familiar with several attack incidents. I have no knowledge of people "running them down" or "shooting them" but certainly they do get fed by tourists which has emboldened them to approach people.
I believe that the rangers manage the dingos as best they can but other than unpopular culling there is little they can do to control their behaviour. There are several camping areas that exclude dingos.

Fraser was once one of Roz's favourite places. She camped there 50 years ago, before barge access, so has seen it in almost wilderness condition but now has said she reluctantly wishes to visit no more.


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Follow Up By: Merilyn H - Sunday, Apr 21, 2019 at 08:38

Sunday, Apr 21, 2019 at 08:38
Thanks Allan. Not worried about the dingos, more concerned about the type of people that would want to "run them down". Of course, willing to accept that locals never like tourists!
I understand not wanting to go after seeing the difference over so many years. Was a bit worried myself after 25 years!
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Reply By: RobynR4 - Sunday, Apr 21, 2019 at 15:16

Sunday, Apr 21, 2019 at 15:16
My grandfather was a timber cutter so my dad spent the first 6 years of his life on Fraser.
He returned over 30 years later and commented on few changes.

I first visited in 1985 and loved it. I camped at Central Station with my parents. The dingos were shy and stayed their distance. Apart from securing your food, the dingos weren't a concern.
I returned a few years later with my husband (to be!) and we just did Fraser as a day trip.
We returned in 2000 and stayed at Kingfisher Bay for a week. I was quite shocked at the way that rangers had to tell people what to do when a dingo approached. The ranger told of the day she witnessed a dingo stalk a young child on the beach and said that from a distance, the child would have been about the size of a wallaby (its natural prey). She ran down the beach ("like an idiot") to distract the dingo and alert the parents who were very nearby but hadn't seen the dingo coming from behind.

I've followed the changes on Fraser and don't like them. I dearly wish they would restrict the number of tourists.

Dear Fraser. I love you too much to return.
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Follow Up By: Merilyn H - Sunday, Apr 21, 2019 at 22:22

Sunday, Apr 21, 2019 at 22:22
Given the popularity and sensitive nature of the area, you would think that restricting visitors is the logical thing to do.
It is sad to have to walk away from somewhere because you can see the changes.
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Reply By: Member - DOZER - Sunday, Apr 21, 2019 at 19:25

Sunday, Apr 21, 2019 at 19:25
Been to Fraser in the 80's and 90's. Back then you could pull up and camp anywhere. Spent 1 night at Mckenzie, 2 troupies pulled up, tents were all around us, and the duke boxes were playing in sterio most of the night....high tailed it back to the Mahino wreck for the remainder of the stay. I hear now you have to book a camp site in thanks.
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Follow Up By: rumpig - Sunday, Apr 21, 2019 at 21:11

Sunday, Apr 21, 2019 at 21:11
Best thing they did was stopping the camping at Lake Mckenzie, the place was a pigsty with rubbish and people crapping in the bushes there....we used to swim at Lake Birrabean instead and have the lake to ourselves.
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Reply By: Gbc.. - Monday, Apr 22, 2019 at 07:49

Monday, Apr 22, 2019 at 07:49
It is a big island and most of the clowns tend to aggregate and drive along 75 mile beach. Winter will be fine.
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Follow Up By: Merilyn H - Monday, Apr 22, 2019 at 14:24

Monday, Apr 22, 2019 at 14:24
Thanks for that bit of info, it's very useful, and reassuring!
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Reply By: Member Kerry W (WA) - Wednesday, Apr 24, 2019 at 00:42

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2019 at 00:42
Visited in June 17 was busier than I expected for winter. Depending on how busy it is (mind you its been a while since visiting at a busy summer christmas etc) we change our habits - up early go visit/swim before the hoards arrive or stay until dark after they have gone. The visitors have changed a lot - a higher proportion of inexperienced drivers often making bad decisions because they dont know their vehicle or conditions. Eg speeding past beachgoers for fear of getting bogged, or by underestimating travel/tide times and rushing to get to camp etc etc. Best to avoid holiday periods.
Kerry W (Qld)
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Follow Up By: Merilyn H - Wednesday, Apr 24, 2019 at 07:26

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2019 at 07:26
Thanks Kerry. I would love to avoid school holidays, but work in a school so have no choice, however I do get 12 weeks off each year (I get a lowered hourly rate to pay for this). So until retirement comes around, we are stuck with the masses.
I think we'll be avoiding the beach as much as possible during the day - will take your advice and get up early to do these things.
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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Wednesday, Apr 24, 2019 at 19:25

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2019 at 19:25
Merilyn, I'm going to do the week long Great Walk (bushwalk) down the centre of the Island in mid May, if I remember I'll give you an update when i get back. If I forget chase me up
Only driving up as far as Happy Valley, then walking back down the spine of the island to Dilli Village.
I was last there more than 15 years ago, I won't be spending a great deal of time on the actual beach though this time and it won't be in school holidays.

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Follow Up By: Merilyn H - Thursday, Apr 25, 2019 at 08:51

Thursday, Apr 25, 2019 at 08:51
Thanks Mark. That sounds more my cup of tea! My memory is sketchy of Fraser Island so couldn't remember if we could avoid the beach for much of our stay. Do you know of one day walks from Central campground? Or somewhere could drive to to do a short walk?
I'd love to be able to go outside of holidays, but work gets in the way :(
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Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Thursday, Apr 25, 2019 at 09:25

Thursday, Apr 25, 2019 at 09:25
There are numerous day walks from Central Station, not yet having done the walk I can't comment more other than what I have seen on the maps at this stage.
Search Fraser Island Great Walk and you will find a quite detailed walking map of the Island showing the various walking tracks & roads, there's an approx 9km loop walk from Central Station around Lake Mackenzie
Definitely get yourself a HEMA map of Fraser Island before you go
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Reply By: Member - Baz Sunshine Coast - Thursday, Apr 25, 2019 at 10:36

Thursday, Apr 25, 2019 at 10:36
Just go Merilyn. Especially if your son wants to be with you guys. Although Fraser is not what it used to be it is still a very special place. Have been going most winters since early 80s. It's a great feeling airing down waiting for the barge at Inskip, you seem to just unwind.
Your are going at a good time. You will certainly catch fish easily(mostly tailor). If you treat the dingoes as sneaky wild animals (not dogs) they are not a problem. I take a slingshot in case they become too familiar. The further North you go the less people. We are up there again late July. Can't wait.
You'll have a great time, Baz
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Reply By: Stevemac - Friday, Apr 26, 2019 at 16:46

Friday, Apr 26, 2019 at 16:46
does anyone know if you can get past Ngkala Rocks now? It was probably a while back now, when storms had damaged and reshaped the beach in the area.
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