Fraser Island is one of Queensland’s most popular destinations. A UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed island, and the largest sand island on the planet (totaling 1840km2), Fraser also boasts the world’s only rainforest that grows on sand. Fraser Island is situated near Hervey Bay, is 120km long by 30km across its widest point.
Fraser Island boasts a 120km beach along the eastern shore.
Remote and deserted Fraser is not: the island welcomes about 600,000 visitors a year, but for good reason.
The island’s name comes from a shipwreck. In 1836, Captain James Fraser and Eliza Fraser, his wife, were shipwrecked on the island. Captain Fraser died but his wife survived, and was rescued. The island bears their family name.
Fraser Island is known for its dramatic dunes and sand cliffs (which rise up to 240m – among the highest in the world), freshwater lakes, lush sub-tropical rainforests, abundant birdlife, and for having plenty and plenty of.
The island has over 100 dune lakes, and the second highest density of lakes in Australia (after Tasmania). The island’s freshwater lakes are amongst the world’s cleanest.
The regular south-easterly winds continuously move sand onto the island from as far as New South Wales. Sand dunes on the island can move up to 2 metres a year.
Activities (Nature and Wildlife Interest)
Given Fraser Island’s large size and sought-after tourist draw, it offers a plethora of activities, both land- and sea-based. There are more activities than anybody could hope to enjoy!
- Cultural experience: Explore the S.S. Maheno shipwreck, learn about the rich Aboriginal history of the island, or visit the existing fishing village at Eurong.
- Freshwater swimming: Visit Lake McKenzie, which is only about 5m deep but covers around 150 hectares. The lake is famous for its beach sand, which is almost pure silica. Alternatively, head to Eli Creek and walk along the boardwalk or swim in the creek.
- Hiking: Take advantage of Central Station as a launching point for various bushwalking opportunities within the island’s rainforests. Or, embark on the Fraser Island Great Walk, a 90km long-distance trail that takes 6-8 days to complete.
- Fishing: Fishing is popular on the island, especially along the eastern shore; there is even a large annual fishing competition.
- Marine animal watching: Whale-watching is a popular activity – as visitors can witness the humpback whale migration. In fact, this is the world’s leading site to witness the humpback migration, because the calm waters at Hervey Bay present wonderful opportunities for sightings. Whale watching season runs from August to mid-November. Other animals to look out for are dolphins, turtles, and dugong, or tiger sharks along the island’s eastern shore.
- Bird watching: Over 40,000 migratory birds keep birdwatchers very busy on Frasier Island.
- Driving: Explore the island by four-wheel drive and visit the more remote hard-to-reach areas, or hop on a an air-conditioned tour bus to observe the island’s natural wonders
- Flying: Take a helicopter ride to a secluded part of the island for a couple-hour break, including a picnic lunch; a more extended visit; or just a transfer to Happy Valley.
The island offers a variety of accommodation options, such as: Kingfisher Bay Resort, Fraser Island Beach Houses, Eurong Beach Resort and Fraser Island Hideaway. Example of accommodations:
- Kingfisher Bay Resort: An eco-tourism resort which has won numerous environmental, architectural, and tourist awards. The resort offers individual hotel rooms as well as 2-3 bedroom self-contained villas.
- Eurong Beach Resort: Located right on the beach, this resort offers a new complex featuring a restaurant, bars, conference rooms and a large freeform swimming pool.
- Fraser Island Beach Houses: Individual studio, two- and three-bedroom houses located right on the beach on a 1.3 hectare property. The complex features a swimming pool, wading pool, spa, and gas barbecue.
In addition, the island has plenty of private homes for rent.
Camping is extremely popular on Fraser Island. There are both public (5) and private (2) campgrounds on the island, with seven main camping areas. Permits are required for camping – and must be obtained in advance from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Office.
Hervey Bay is along Queensland’s south coast, about 30km north-east of Maryborough, and about a three and a half hour drive – or 300km – north of Brisbane.
A couple of charter airlines connect Hervey Bay to Fraser Island – landing both on Eurong Beach and in Happy Valley.
A number of vehicle ferries connect the mainland to Fraser Island, at regular intervals leaving from both Hervey Bay and Maryborough.
Visitors can cars both on the island, and on the mainland (Hervey Bay, Rainbow Beach, Noosa and Brisbane). Vehicular ferries transport passengers to the island. Only four-wheel drives are encouraged on the island. A RAM permit is required to drive vehicles on the island.