Itinerary of Where to Go and What to Do for Moderate to Beginner Drivers Part 2
Fraser Island is a ‘must-see’ for any visitor to Queensland. The Island is renowned for being a 4WD heaven and the Island is strikingly beautiful. The Aboriginal word for Fraser Island is K’gari, meaning paradise. Fraser Island is exactly that.
With sandy beaches that stretch seemingly forever and no proper roads, the only way to see Fraser Island is by 4-wheel drive. You can go with a tour group or take your own 4WD vehicle for a spin. Don’t have a 4WD? No need to worry, you can check our Fraser Island 4WD hire vehicles to find your preferred 4wd hire vehicle.
If you have yet to witness 4WDing on beaches, you are in for a thrill. There is something absolutely enthralling about driving off a ferry and onto an island full of beautiful beaches with the freedom to head out in whatever direction you desire. The sun, sand, and adventure are an intoxicating elixir, creating a rush of excitement and joy. Fraser is undisputedly one of the top four-wheel driving destinations in all of Australia. Considering the innumerable beautiful 4WDing treks available here, Fraser’s claim to fame says something about its’ immense beauty and unique topography.
Quick Links To The Itinerary of Where to Go & What to Do for Moderate to Beginner Drivers
- 4WD Trek on Fraser’s 75-mile beach
- Quick Tips for Driving on Fraser
- Know the Rules
- What to do in an emergency
- Fraser’s 75 Mile Beach Trek
- 1. Quick Stats
- 2. Camping
- Getting There
- 2. Hook Point
- Locations to Know
- 2. Eurong
- 3. Lake Wabby
- 4. Eli Creek
- 5. Happy Valley
- 9. Indian Head
- 10. Champagne Pools
- 11. Beyond The Pools
- Heading Home
1. 4WD Trek on Fraser’s 75-mile beach
According to the Wikipedia over 300,000 tourists visit Fraser Island every year. Despite the large numbers flocking to Fraser, there are still places of solitude, respite, and absolute wilderness. If you are looking to enjoy a bit of quiet, it’s best to go in winter when it is not a school holiday.
Fleet Crew’s guide to Fraser is geared for those who haven’t never been to Fraser before or are new to beach driving. It is designed to show you the best of Fraser while avoiding the most treacherous driving treks. You can check our Fraser Island 4WD Preparation guide on all information regarding ferry, camping and more.
We would like novice drivers to note Fraser’s capacity to be unforgiving. It has claimed and buried an untold number of 4WD vehicles, frequently when drivers are reckless or not paying attention. A quick Google Image search will demonstrate that becoming bogged down in the sand or stranded is not uncommon. Before heading out, know how to drive in the sand. Read the pamphlet, ‘Survive Your Drive on Fraser Island’ for a brief overview. Fleet Crew will also provide you with driving tips and instructions.
2. Quick Tips for Driving on Fraser
- No stunts. Climbing sand dunes, figure eight driving, skylarking and doughnuts can cause excess damage and harm. Don’t do it.
- Follow the speed limit. There are unmarked police who will give fines for dangerous driving and speeding. The speed limit on the beach is 80 km/hr. Never exceed it and go slower if driving conditions are not perfect. Most damage done to hired vehicles is from impacts, often the result of going too fast.
- Watch the tide. It is best to start the journey during an outgoing high tide as the sand will be firmest. Another rule of thumb is between two hours on either side of low tide, and avoid beach driving 2 hours either side of high tide. Bring a tide chart with you.
- Drive where the sand is firm. The sand is most firm between the water line and the high tide mark. Don’t get too close to the water; one unexpectedly large wave is all it takes for the ocean to lift or flip your 4WD.
- Don’t drive on dunes unless it is a marked crossing. Dunes are extremely fragile and are required to sustain Fraser’s diverse and unique ecosystem. Damage to dunes will harm birds nests and vegetation.
- Know what conditions to predict, tropical storms can be dangerous and swift. Some regulations change due to weather and season. Call Queensland Park and Wildlife (13 74 68) and visit Fraser Islands Alerts & Updates before heading out.
- It is illegal to put gear on top of a hired 4WD, so load your gear inside.
- The beach is considered a public road. Keep left, indicate if overtaking, and pass on the right. Obey road signs and always wear your seatbelt.
- Give way to pedestrians and be mindful that they often cannot hear you over the crashing of waves from the ocean.
- Never approach or feed dingoes. Fines apply to feeding dingoes as it makes them dependent and aggressive.
- Give way to wildlife (including driving around flocks of birds instead of through a flock).
- Driving permits are required. You can secure your permit to drive by paying online.
- Never drink and drive or drive when tired. Stay alert, stay alive.
- 75 Mile Beach serves as a landing strip, share the beach with planes and be on the lookout.
- Dogs are not allowed on the island to prevent cross-breeding with Dingoes. Fraser’s Dingoes are the only remaining purebred Dingoes remaining on the East Coast of Australia.
- Don’t swim in the ocean for three primary reasons: they are unpatrolled and have sharks and strong currents. Need we say more?
4. What to do in an emergency
If you have an emergency dial Triple Zero (000). Try 122 if you do not have reception. Fraser is remote and help can be hours away depending on where you are on the island. Always bring a first-aid kit (basic kit available with our 4WD hire) and medication if you or travel companion takes them.
These rules and tips are not to scare you off, but to help you make smart choices. Hundreds of novice 4WDers take vehicles on Fraser each year, delighted by the adventure and head home safely. Come prepared and act smart.
Fraser’s Western shore is notoriously boggy; the sand is not firm and the driving requires experience. Fraser’s inland treks will take you through old growth forests and isolated pristine lakes, but they are sometimes difficult drives requiring experience. That leaves novice drivers to the easier driving of Fraser’s Eastern Shore: 75 Mile Beach. The name explains it all – an amazingly long stretch of beach. It also doubles as a public road for four-wheelers to access campgrounds, creeks, sand blows, restaurants, shipwrecks and more.
Feel upset you can’t see it all? Don’t be. The island is huge. Fraser is the largest sand Island in the world. (Yes, that’s right, the entire island is made from sand. As a result it’s always shifting and changing by the forces of wind and ocean.) Fraser is so large that you would not be able to see all of it unless you could stay for over a week or moved extremely fast. Moreover, 75 Mile Beach is a favourite for everyone, both novice and experienced drivers. By heading to Fraser’s 75 Mile Beach, you will get to witness Fraser’s iconic locations. This trek will take you from the Island’s southernmost tip and then 97 km up the coast to the Champagne Pools.
5.1. Quick Stats
|Trek Distance||97.2 km|
|Route||Hook Point to Champagne Pools|
|Fuel and Supplies||Eurong, Happy Valley and Cathedral Beach|
|Distance from Brisbane||260 km|
|Time required||2 to 3 nights, 3 to 4 days|
Fraser provides a variety of accommodations to meet the needs of every traveller. If you are looking to rent a cabin for your family, enjoy a relaxing time at a resort, or camping on the beach to the sound of waves, Fraser has it all.
6.1. Hotels, Houses, or Cabins
Dilli, Eurong, Happy Valley and Cathedral Beach provide an assortment of accommodation options in addition to camping. Some have cabin rentals and hotels. When deciding on where to stay, take a look at tide times and your itinerary to see what location and spot on the island will best suit your holiday. Additional information on each spot is included below.
Private camping sites are listed above. Most camping, however, is done through the Department of National Parks. Secure camping permits and lodging beforehand. There are a number of campgrounds available along 75 Mile Beach; some include dingo deterrent fencing. If you’re looking to enjoy some peace and quiet there is ample beach camping all along this trek. These locations, however, do not provide any camping facilities such as toilets or BBQ.
7. Getting There
The trek starts at Hook Point on the Island’s southern tip. Getting to Hook Point requires a short Ferry trip from Manta Ray Ferry Services. Manta Ray Ferry Office is in Rainbow Beach, a 2 hour 40 minute drive from FleetCrew Brisbane Office. If you are leaving on a late Friday afternoon, expect traffic out of Brisbane to slow you down by 40 minutes.
Rainbow Beach is worth the drive in and of itself. Check out Coloured Sands and Carlo Sandblow if you can. Carlo Sandblow is a 5 minute drive from the city centre, and the view is remarkable. Rainbow Beach has some amazing adventure sports if you have time and the hankering to jump out of a plane.
7.1. Manta Ray Ferry
The ferry operates continuously, starting at 6:00 AM and ending at 5:30 PM. A two-way trip for a car and its passengers is $120. Booking is not required, as the ferry runs on demand. If you buy a ticket online, your printed confirmation email will sub as your ticket. If you don’t have a printer, head to the Manta Ray Barge and Permit Office to pick up your ticket. Alternatively, you can simply pay for your ticket on board.
You need a driving permit on hand before getting on the barge. The Manta Ray Office supplies Fraser driving permits if you need one. If you have a printed your email confirmation, have camping and driving permits, you can head straight to Inskip Point, where the ferry departs. Inskip is a 14 km drive north of Rainbow Beach.
Before getting on the Barge ensure you attach your Vehicle Access Permit to your windscreen. It is not uncommon for beginners to get stuck in the sand here. Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in the front. Pick obvious tyre tracks and stick to these. Engage four-wheel drive and keep your momentum to prevent getting stuck. Avoid stopping until you are at the end of the que for the barge.
|Manta Ray Ferry|
|Offices: Open from 6:00 Am to 4:00 PM, Monday- Sunday Location: 66 Rainbow Beach Rd, Rainbow Beach QLD 4582 (One of the first buildings on the left hand side as you approach Rainbow Beach) Phone Number: (07) 5486 3935 Website: www.mantarayfraserislandbarge.com.au|
7.2. Hook Point
From Inskip Point, the ferry is a 10 minute trip to Hook Point. Drive off the ferry and get your bearings. First things first, make sure you do the following:
- Zero your trip meter to track your distance
- Take note of the time and tide, make sure you have enough to get to your campsite or accommodations. Notice the surf line and the hide tide line, and stick between them. If you arrive near high tide to Hook Point, it will not be passable. There is an inland road which takes you into the headland to allow you to pass Hook Point when the tide is high. Be aware that the mostly dirt road is hard and has had a number of accidents and large pot holes. It is advisable to drive carefully, reduce speed, and re-inflate tyre pressure. It is not recommended to drive on the beach two hours on either side of high tide. Using the alternative road inland track to pass Hook Point is usually not required. Remember, use lower gears when on soft sand or going up steep sandy hills and maintain momentum to keep you moving through the tough spots. All set? Take a right and head north along 75 Mile Beach. Your adventure has begun!
7.3. Driving Distances
|Hook Point to Dilli Village||25 km (See Map)|
|Dilli Village to Eurong||10 km (See Map)|
|Eurong to Cornwells Camping Zone||6 km|
|Cornwells Camping Zone to Poyungan Valley||8 km|
|Poyungan Valley to Happy Valley||6 km|
|Happy Valley Cathedral Beach||14.5 km|
|Cathedral Beach to Indian Head||25.5 km|
|Indian Head to Champagne Pools||2 km|
8. Locations to Know
8.1. Dilli Village
>Dilli is the first place to stop after starting out. You can grab some supplies here if you wish. If it’s late in the day, you can spend the night here. It is fully fenced, and only a few minutes walk from the beach. You can also make your own campfires, and visit the watering hole.
Eurong is a beach resort with restaurants, police station, general store and a variety of accommodations to suit diverse budgets. The resort area takes about an hour to reach from Hook Point. If you are feeling adventurous and would like to extend your trek, Eurong is an excellent entry point inland to the famous Lake Mackenzie. This lake is vey popular for its crystal clear waters and stunning beauty.
8.3. Lake Wabby
The hike to Lake Wabby is 4.8 km return, but well worth the effort. The lake is created in part by giant Hammerstone sandblow, as it has damned a natural waterway. The sandblow which has created the lake, will one day take it away. It’s estimated that in 100 years, the ever growing sandblow will consume the lake.
The water is fresh, emerald green and teeming with fish (sorry no fishing is allowed in the fresh water lakes). The lake is the deepest on Fraser, sinking 11.4 meters down. The trek up from the beach will take you on a walk across another-worldly sand dune and through Fraser’s fabulous forests to be rewarded by a refreshing dip into Lake Wabby.
8.4. Eli Creek
Crystal clear water rushes out of Fraser’s forest and into the ocean, dumping millions of litres of fresh water into the ocean every hour. Eli Creek may not be passable during high-tide. There can be steep banks on either side, and the water can be unpredictably deep. If it is high tide, wait it out.
Enjoy a picnic here and have a float down the Eli creek as it rushes towards the beach. Eli Creek is a short 5 km drive from Happy Valley.
8.5. Happy Valley
20 km north of Eurong is Happy Valley. Stock up on supplies at their general store or crawl into a fresh set of sheets after a busy day exploring Fraser.
8.6. Maheno Shipwreck
The 5,323 ton ship got stuck to the shores of Fraser when an unseasonable cyclone hit the area. She was being towed to Japan when the tow line snapped. Her propeller had been sold earlier and she had no way to fight the strong winds. She helplessly drifted to where she rests today. Eight years later, she serves as a symbol of the ocean’s power and strength.
A mere 3 km north of Maheno Shipwreck are The Pinnacles. A spot worth stopping and exploring on your trek north. The Pinnacles are some of the best examples of coloured sands on the Island. They have an amazing 72 individual colours of yellow, orange and brown woven throughout in layers. The colours were created over hundreds of thousands of years, by the slow release of iron-rich minerals being released through the sand. The coloured cliffs have been gradually exposed into exotic sculptures by the forces of wind and water. Additional coloured sands along the beach can be found at The Cathedrals and Red Canyon.
8.8. Cathedral Beach
Find accommodation or stock up on supplies at Cathedral Beach, a few km past the Pinnacles. Hot meals, fresh coffee and fuel are all available.
8.9. Indian Head
In an evening in May of 1770, Captain Cook sailed past an outcropping of rocks near the northern end of the Island. He called it Indian Head and the name has stuck. As you near the end of your drive up the coast, you can see an outcropping of rocks looming in front of you. They are approximately 18 km north of the Pinnacles. If able, climb to the top of Indian Head for an insane 360 degree views on the headland. If the weather is clear, try to spot Manta Rays, turtles, dolphins and whales. It is estimated that four to five thousand Humpback whales pass Fraser on their yearly migration from July to November. If it’s whale season, you will likely spot a few.
8.10. Champagne Pools
The foaming Champagne Pools marks the treks turn around point, 2 km past Indian Head. These pools are a very popular destination, as they are the only feasible place to take a dip in salt water anywhere on the Island. There are timber tracks to the pools for easier access.
Please be aware of swimming hazards here, the rocks are slippery and sharp. The oceans can be a danger by nature. Moreover, like all of Fraser’s Eastern Coast, currents are strong. If you cannot resist to stay dry, stick very close to shore.
8.11. Beyond the Pools
Want to keep going? The northern tip of Fraser is increasingly wild and remote, in part because access is difficult. The track continues inland from the Champagne Pools to Waddy Point and Orchid Beach (6.5 km north). Driving along the Coral Sea is possible all the way up to Fraser’s northern most point. These treks are recommended only for experienced and well equipped four-wheel drivers. The treks are narrow and steep, and the northern beaches have more coffee rocks and loose sand to derail your ride.
9. Heading Home
Before you start your journey back, set your trip meter back to zero. We hope you have a stunning, unique, inspirational, and safe trip to and from Fraser Island. Enjoy paradise on our behalf!
FleetCrew hopes every visitor to Queensland has the opportunity to visit this truly breathtaking island. We offer a range of 4wd hire vehicles to fraser island. You can hire recreational 4WD vehicles in excellent condition at affordable rates.