We had been talking about visiting Fraser Island ever since we bought our Camper Trailer in 2011. As we were short on time, we decided to stay at the Eurong Beach Resort instead of camping. We found a good deal online which also included barge transfer from Inskip Point at Rainbow Beach.
Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. It is approximately 123 kilometres long and 55 kilometres wide. The only safe way to access the island is by 4WD. If you want to drive anywhere else other than on the beach, it is best to have a high-clearance 4WD.
Many of the inland tracks consist of very soft, deep sand that you can easily become stuck in. You should carry a basic recovery kit when you are Driving on Sand. I would also suggest that you would need to be reasonably experienced at driving a 4WD vehicle.
Fraser Island is a National Park so you will need to obtain a vehicle permit before going to the island. If you are camping you will also need a camping permit. These can be obtained from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service on line or there is an office in Rainbow Beach.
GETTING TO FRASER ISLAND
Our first job when we arrived at Inskip Point, before heading out onto the sand, was to stop and let some air out of our tyres. Deflating your tyres when driving on sand gives you more traction and can help stop you from getting bogged. We reduced our tyre pressure from 36PSI down to 18PSI but we could have gone lower if we needed to.
This done we headed out to wait in line for the barge. The Manta Ray Barge runs between Inskip Point on the mainland and Hook Point on Fraser Island several times a day. It can hold up to 16 vehicles (depending on size) so the wait was not very long.
We were the last vehicle to pull off the barge. As we started driving north along Seventy Five Mile Beach I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. We had an awesome view back over the water to the coloured sand cliffs of Rainbow Beach. One thing we noticed was the amount of different birds everywhere.
DRIVING ON FRASER ISLAND
The drive along the beach was fairly easy going as it was well past high tide. It is recommended that you do not attempt to drive on the beach for two hours either side of high tide. There are some parts of the beach that become impassable at high tide.
When driving on Fraser Island the speed limit is 80 KPH unless otherwise sign posted. All normal road rules apply and you can be fined as on any normal road. In fact Brenden was breath tested while we were there. Heavy vehicles and tour buses have right of way. If you are on a two-way track, generally the vehicle going down-hill has right of way. This is because it would be more difficult for them to back up to allow someone else to pass.
One other thing you might need to do when you are on Fraser Island is to watch out for planes! The beach is often used as a landing strip for small planes coming over to the island. But don’t worry there are always signs out and staff around to let you know what is happening. It’s an awesome sight to see if you are around for a landing or take off.
Arriving at Eurong Beach shortly after lunch we decided not to go exploring, instead we settled into our unit. The unit was clean and tidy. It was a little bit older style but did have a decent kitchen. It also had a lovely big balcony that overlooked the water and the pool. This is where the kids headed straight away, while we elected to have a beer on the balcony.
The resort has a restaurant that offers buffet style meals for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Or you can choose from the A-la-carte menu for dinner. Alcohol is expensive. It cost us $15 for a beer and a cider. There is also a bakery, pizzeria and a general store. Some of the food prices were similar to main land prices but a tube of sunscreen was $20.00. Fuel is expensive too – $2.15 for diesel (2014) We took three 20 litre drums with us but only used two of them. We found that we didn’t use as much fuel as we thought we might over the three days we were there.
The following morning we were up early and headed inland to Lake McKenzie. This would be the first time that we had truly been able to test out the BT-50’s 4WDing capabilities and it did not disappoint. There has been very little rain fall on Fraser Island this summer. This fact has made the inland tracks very soft and boggy but we encountered no problems at all.
Lake McKenzie is a ‘perched lake’ and is one of 40 on the island. A perched lake forms when a hard pan of decaying matter settles on the lake floor over thousands of years. It is filled only by rain water and has no stream or spring that it feeds from.
Full of freshwater and almost crystal clear, it reflects the colour of the sky perfectly. With a perfect white sandy beach to match, it is a magic spot for a refreshing swim. Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch but because of the dingoes in the area you must only consume food inside the fenced area.
It really was a lovely spot and I could have quite easily lazed the day away there!
We absolutely loved exploring the inland tracks of Fraser Island and Lake Mackenzie. It is such a beautiful spot.
Eli Creek is a freshwater creek that runs out into the ocean. The water is crystal clear and very cold. It is a popular spot to spend a few hours floating down the creek on tubes and boards. It is shallow in most spots and the fast flowing water is ideal for floating along on. A boardwalk has been built along the creek edges to enable easy upstream access.
This is the spot where we saw our first dingo as well. There were lots of people and cars around at the time, but he was not in the least bit worried. He spent his time sniffing around the area and scratching in the soft sand for food.
Not far from the Maheno Wreck is the small village of Happy Valley. We made time for a quick stop at Happy Valley Resort and I’m so glad we did. Happy Valley is another hidden gem on Fraser Island with cabin and backpacker accommodation available. There is also a general store, petrol pump, restaurant and bar. We decided to grab a quick beer while we were there and we were impressed with the lovely verandah area and the friendly staff member that was there.
The whole of Fraser Island is such a magical spot. We highly recommend that if given the chance, you visit Fraser Island.