Fraser Island

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 16:23
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Hi,

I've seen many posts on here about Fraser Island and its got me curious. We'll be at the Sunshine Coast for a few days before Easter and will be able to go to Fraser for about 4 days, probably over the Easter. A couple of questions about Fraser, never been there and know very little about it.

1. How big is the island, if I hear of people buying fuel on the island then it must be big, right?. The LC holds 140 Litres, will I need more?
2. Should I buy or do I need a guide book for the island or can I get enough information on the ferry, camping spots, where to go and where not to go from tourist offices locally?
3. Is it a really bad idea to go over Easter? Will it be mobbed? Will I need to book the ferry?
4. Can I get a good feel for the place with only 4-5 days? Any must see places?
5. Know any good web sites?

If you know anything else please tell me,

Yours in ignorance,
Alan.
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Reply By: Redeye - Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 16:39

Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 16:39
Great Place.

4 days will be full.
The island is large but you should not require fuel if you fill up before going on the barge. I lasted nine days on one tank GU Patrol.

Here is the QLD Gov site.

http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/projects/park/index.cgi?parkid=1

You can book and pay for all here except the barge. $50 for 4x4 + $50 for trailer. (return).

You will be given a map, tide chart and other information if you call in at the ranger station at Rainbow.

AnswerID: 93795

Reply By: MrBitchi - Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 16:42

Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 16:42
Hi Alan,
Briefly, yes it is a big island. About 90KM to the tip if memory serves me right.

140 Litres will be fine but you can buy fuel if you need it (expensive though.

You'll need a permit for your car and for camping, available at Rainbow Beach Ranger Station. Maps etc available from here too.

Easter is the busiest time of the year. Lots and lots of people. If you want to use the camp grounds you'll have to book in advance, but there's plenty of beach camping spots.. If thats the only time you have then go for it.

Ferry is first come first served, about $60 at Innskip Point, takes about 15 minutes.

4-5 days is OK to have a look. Just get the map and go exploring, see whatever you can. It's all good.

The tracks will be soft (all sand) unless it rains and you'll come across plenty of stuck vehicles at that time of year so be prepared to wait a while.

If you're going up the beach from Noosa then be careful at Mudlo rocks, Rainbow beach. Only go this way if you'll be at Rainbow on low tide.

Have fun...
Cheers, John
AnswerID: 93796

Reply By: Member - Steve (ACT) - Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 16:52

Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 16:52
We had 4 nights so really three full days on Fraser. We set up camp at Central Station and planned day trips out of there and did most tracks and areas in the Southern end, had an absolute ball.

Our plan is to do another similar trip camp in the Northern end and do that part next time, would've been great to have longer and do it all in one go, but time was an issue.

We topped up a little just before the trip home $1.25lt, a lot of things are a little expensive like beer. But our thought is if you don't buy locally, and use the services they provide, then thats jobs and services that may not be continued. (we didn't end up needing the extra fuel).

It's well worth the visit it's a beautiful place.

We purchased our permits online and with that we received and information pack with lots of detail. We bought the Hema Fraser Island Map which was great.

Sandy and Steve

ps. We went just after the Easter weekend and it was busy but not too bad, Central Station camping area was quiet, but the more secluded areas seemed packed.
AnswerID: 93800

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 19:29

Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 19:29
Good idea about the North end, we stayed at Cathedral Beach when it was run by "the biatch", and found the people at the fuel stop up north were fantastic down to earth and willing to impart knowedge and make a holiday a restful thing.

Have a great time 4 days will be full but fun! And so what if theres hundreds of others, just go for it
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Reply By: Trace 'n Marc - Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 16:57

Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 16:57
Hi Alan
Can answer a few of your questions.. though not as a camper. A few years ago we hired a 4WD from Rainbow Beach, and spent about 3 nights on Fraser. We stayed in a holiday house in Eurong (at the time it wasn't long after that 9 yr old boy was killed by a dingo, so with 3 children under 10, I don't think I would have been comfortable camping... I was jittery enough just walking through the bush in a couple of places - freaking out if the kids strode out ahead of us.!!) As it was, we had a dingo hanging out in the back yard of where we stayed... that was enough for me!!

It was certainly enough time to get a feel for the place, though obviously with more time you'd get to see more - but that applies to wherever you go. You have to time your runs up and down the beach with the tides, but one day we drove up to the Champagne Pools near Waddy Point... and back in one day (checking out things on the way there and back), and explored the inland on another day... went up to Lake Mackenzie for a swim (when the tide times weren't as suitable)... and on a bit of a walk that looked out over Lake Wabby, where you could see how the moving sand would eventually gobble up the lake. We went in October school hols, and some places were a bit crowded with the tour groups... but we did learn a few things by happening to be near a guide at a lookout over Lake Wabby!! I'd recommend each of those places.. the champagne pools because of their saltiness for whatever reason, make you extra buoyant!! Lake Mackenzie was nice for a dip, and we got there late afternoon which was even nicer, as people started packing up and we had the place to ourselves.

From memory with the short time we spent there we didn't need to refuel while there.. but as there is fuel at Eurong, perhaps we did - it was no big deal apart from probably being more expensive. (The OH isn't around at the moment to check). I don't think we had to book the ferry across from Rainbow Beach.. but that could have been arranged with the hire package. Sorry, can't remember now!! With the hiring we had to watch a video with the usual dos and don'ts.. if nothing else, the Wall of Shame (photos of vehicles caught by the incoming tide) in one of the shops in Rainbow Beach will remind you to pay attention to the tide times!!

The tourist map we got of the island had bits of info all over it, and was good enough for the time we spent there. Worthwhile getting that. I'm sure if you just googled Fraser Island you'd pick up other bits and pieces.. as I recall that was how I found the holiday house.

If I was to camp there (without the dingo/children stress), I'd consider moving camp so you weren't time limited by the tides, but then again, if you camped half way up the island it might not be as much of an issue.

Above all, it's well worth a visit.. but if I had the option, I'd do it out of peak holiday times (like Easter), but if you can't, it's still worth the visit. It's sadly another case of us loving a place to death. The wildlife has been affected by the people... apart from dingoes growing over-bold, even the kookaburras were over 'friendly'.. got swooped by one when having a picnic lunch.

Hope this helps.

Tracey
AnswerID: 93802

Follow Up By: Trace 'n Marc - Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 17:32

Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 17:32
(Just reading threads posted while I composed mine.) Central Station!! Yes, we went there too.. beautiful. Still can't get over the clear water in the creek. Did a walk there that was great too... (Gee, we did fit a bit into a few days!!) In October we didn't encounter too many silly drivers, but I can imagine how one inexperienced driver could cause holdups on the inland tracks. While we don't own a 4WD (yet!), OH has had a fair bit of experience through his work.. I was certainly happy he had that experience and was doing all the driving.
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Reply By: Gone 4by'ing - Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 16:59

Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 16:59
Going there is easter is not the best situation but should provide some light relief watching all the "experts" negotiate their way around.
AnswerID: 93803

Reply By: glenno(bris) - Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 17:06

Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 17:06
http://www.exploroz.com/TrekNotes/QldCoast/Fraser_Island.asp
AnswerID: 93805

Reply By: Melly - Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 17:54

Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 17:54
1 thing that i didn't realise about Fraser before going there was that it is actually alot more commercial than i thought it would be, i don't mean this in a bad way, what I mean is that if you want beer u can buy beer, if you want bread you can buy bread, there are few mini supermarkets on the island and even a restaurant and bar. This really doesn't mean alot if you are totally self sufficient but it is still nice to buy an ice cream after a good day fishing!
AnswerID: 93814

Follow Up By: Lyds - Wednesday, Jan 19, 2005 at 09:51

Wednesday, Jan 19, 2005 at 09:51
Yeah, surprised me too.

Actually, the prices for a good lunch at Kingfisher Bay resort were very reasonable. Not a bad shop there too.
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FollowupID: 352861

Reply By: Brian B (QLD) - Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 17:54

Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 17:54
Hi Alan,

Follow this link as it will answer a lot of your questions. CLICK HERE Download the PDF and it will help you out.

I'll try and answer your questions as best I can.

1. Island is approximately 120km in length and covers an area of 166,038 hectares so it is large.

2. The info sheet you will get at the link I gave you includes a basic map. I carry a copy of Hema Maps Fraser Island and it has a lot of detail including tourist routes, camping spots etc. When you get your vehicle access permit, you will receive a pack which contains basic maps and information on being dingo smart etc.
3. Easter will be busy for sure. Some of the camp grounds you can prebook but others such as Central Station you can't. Incidentally the new Central Station park is great and much better than the old one. If you are taking the barge over from Inskip Point you don't book. The service is very regular and you just queue up to get on. At busy times there can be several barges running.
4. You will get a feel for the place in 4 to 5 days but will not cover it all in that time. It certainly will wet your appetite for another visit.
5. Just do a search on the web and you will find loads of good sites on Fraser.

I'm sure you will enjoy the trip.

Hope this helps a bit.

Cheers

Brian
AnswerID: 93815

Reply By: Lyds - Wednesday, Jan 19, 2005 at 10:01

Wednesday, Jan 19, 2005 at 10:01
My tips:

1. tides, tides, tides - driving on soft sand is hard work

2. be VERY careful driving at night (ie avoid), 1 missed creek and ouch

3. see Lake McKenzie and Sandy Point

4. there are bins for your rubbish, but still be thoughtful
AnswerID: 93894

Follow Up By: Gone 4by'ing - Wednesday, Jan 19, 2005 at 10:26

Wednesday, Jan 19, 2005 at 10:26
5. Don't feed the dingoes

6. Ask for a ranger name Alan if in trouble . ( He is a mate of mine and a very helpful bloke.)
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FollowupID: 352866

Reply By: Member - Alan S (NSW) - Wednesday, Jan 19, 2005 at 10:31

Wednesday, Jan 19, 2005 at 10:31
Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply, much appreciated. We may try to delay our holiday by a week or more so that we can avoid peak season. Even if that is not possible I think we have decided to go anyway.

Some great tips...
AnswerID: 93897

Reply By: Member - Tim - Wednesday, Jan 19, 2005 at 12:38

Wednesday, Jan 19, 2005 at 12:38
We have been to Fraser in August for 4 days for the last 7 years. At that time of year things are fairly thick with fishermen for the tailor which is why we go up. We do spend a fairt bit of time travelling as well though. It is a fantastic place to visit and was what originally got me turned on to 4wding.

1. The island is big, bigger than you think and it is not generally possible to get from end to the other and back on the same tide and still stop to see anything so the tides can really affect how much you see.

2. If you use the inland tracks do not expect to travel fast. Most of them are single lane tracks with occasional areas to pass. If you meet someone coming the other way then one or other of you have to find a place to get off the track. If you meet one of the very common 4wd tourist buses then you will have to find a place to get off the track as they do not. If you meet inexperienced 4wders (usually a hired troopy full of backpackers) then there is a fair chance you will be helping them to get unbogged before you can move on. We have talked to some of them and they were told not to lower their tyre pressures below about 40psi unless they went further north than Waddy Point. The numbers of both of these lessen the further north you go for the very reason mentioned in point 1 as they cannot get back to their accomodation if they go too far.

3. We stay at Cathedral Beach camping area and have put up with the person mentioned above but when we went up last August it was new owners and seemed to be running smoothly. How it will effect the camping remains to be seen, after all we go to Fraser to see the island not all the people. Beach camping is good if you can be self sufficient. Dundabarra is a national park campsite just north of Cathedral beach that is quite good but has to be booked and may already be booked out for Easter.

4. The last couple of years we have towed a camper trailer (see profile for a picture) without any trouble but yet again the tides control this.

5. Despite the crowds etc the lakes and central station are definitely worth the trip.

6. Further north than Waddy point requires self sufficiency as the last shop and petrol is at Orchid beach and yet again it would be difficult to get up there and back on the one tide unless you were camping somewhere up there.

7. If you or someone else does get stuck in the sand often the quickest way to get them out (after asking what their tyre pressures are set to) is to get a bunch of people pushing. You would be amazed how many can be got out that way without needing a snatch strap.

8. If you do a lot of travelling on the tracks you will use more petrol and may have to buy it on the island. Yet again the further north you go the more expensive it gets and we have paid up to $1.40 a litre. That's not really that important though when you get to travel a spot like this.

Go for it , it is a fantastic experience. Accept that there will be other there as well and just enjoy what you get.

Tim.
AnswerID: 93913

Follow Up By: BigPop - Wednesday, Jan 19, 2005 at 15:16

Wednesday, Jan 19, 2005 at 15:16
I fully agree with Tim,
We go up there every May for 3 weeks for the Toyota Fishing Comp and have been doing so for quite a number of years now. We beach camp North of Orchid Beach towards Ocean Lake and in doing so are fully self sufficient.

Someone mentioned Tides, tides, tides - that also is something to be very mindful of - the best time to travel on the beach is 2 hours either side of Low water - but again depending on the height of the high water at your time of travel sometimes you can get by. But DON'T ATTEMPT it unless you definitely know what you are doing and where you are going - to be safe - keep with the 2 hours either side of Low water tip.

It is a fantastic place, plenty to see and do, great fishing and you may meet up with some terrific people too. Don't forget the Insect Repellant either as the sandflies can be a real bugger - especially on the western side. We use Bushman and have found it to be the best so far.
Also beaches on the Western side are not traversable in most parts so be wary if you venture over there for a look. Wathumba is very pretty and a good place for a day trip - head across from Orchid Beach.

The lighthouse at Sandy Cape is well worth a visit too but again depends on where you are camped as it is at the tip of Fraser and can take you a while if you are camped down on the Eastern Beach.

The run from Inskip (barge) to Orchid Beach takes a good 1 1/2 hours without any stops travelling at around 80KPH so you can get an idea of how long the eastern beach is. ( It is not called 75 mile beach for nothing :):) )

You will enjoy your visit that's for sure - I'd recommend one of the proper campgrounds or maybe even a cabin etc for your 1st visit - you can always go back for anaother trip and rough it if you want.

Someone also mentioned doing the beach run up from Noosa via Double Island Point to Rainbow Beach - that also is a terrific trip and well worth doing, but make sure you are at the Rainbow beach end around low water or you may have trouble getting past the rocks there and many unwary travellers have come to grief there as the photos in the pub can attest to.

Have fun and enjoy your trip there as I am sure you will.

Regards,
BigPop
(I never get lost because everyone tells me where to go)
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FollowupID: 352892

Reply By: old-plodder - Wednesday, Jan 19, 2005 at 16:04

Wednesday, Jan 19, 2005 at 16:04
Going from Rainbow beach and catching the ferry at Inskip pt, no one has mentioned Hook Pt., which you need to get around to access the surf beach when coming off the barges to head north.

Very narrow steep beach and only accessible 2 hours before and 2 hrs after high tide. There has been numerous vehicles in trouble here.

Otherwise use the track from the barges, which is alot slower going.
If you want to try and dart across the narrow sections between waves at Hook Pt, about 1.5 hours each side of high tide.

Otherwise go for it and have a great time.
Well worth the trip.
AnswerID: 93947

Reply By: Nick R - Saturday, Jan 22, 2005 at 23:47

Saturday, Jan 22, 2005 at 23:47
Hi,
was up there last week for 3 days, my lc 80 used 130 litres of unleaded, I was towing a camper from inskip point to the top end of cathederal beach, about 15 Ks from indian head but only had a load of 7 people from then on fuel on the island was either 1.42 or 1.48/litre.
we were there just after the xmas new year rush, only 8 groups between hook point and indian head, it was great
i asked around on the way there and once on the island, was told that one shouldn't make plans on fraser to any great extent as there are so many variables!!! tides, track conditions etc
just have a rough plan and they will give you a tide chart when you get your permits.
Wathumba creek is a must though

Also, even with a load on, my tyres were at about 12-15 psi and had no probs.
have fun,

NickR
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AnswerID: 94480

Reply By: Damian007 - Monday, Jan 24, 2005 at 09:04

Monday, Jan 24, 2005 at 09:04
Just got back from Fraser a couple of weeks ago...We thought it would be a lot more crowded than it was...Being Christmas and New Years Holidays...

We camped at Cathedral Beach..One thing I have noticed that is missing from the Posts is that you have to make sure that you take plenty of Aeroguard or Rid..The March Flies were eating us alive..I have never seen so many..They bite, and they bite bloody hard..My toes were bleeding!
Sandflies are apparently just as bad on the other side of the Island..

Lake McKenzie is a must see and swim place..I've never seen such a pretty Lake and the water was so clear..

Fuel was $1.54 on the Island and for the 5 days we were there we used around 120ltrs..(Hilux Surf 2.4ltr Turbo). Covered about 700kms..The Inland Sand is so soft and hard going for a fourby..

All in all we had an excellent time..

Cheers,
Damian
AnswerID: 94613

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