Best Fraser Island Tours vs Tag Along vs Self Drive
In this guide, I’m sharing the best Fraser Island tours as well as tag along tours and whether you should hire a 4WD and do it alone in a self driving option. Considering there are a fair few ways to visit the world’s largest sand island, I’m breaking it all down so it’s easier for you to understand what’s the best way for you to see this popular East Coast bucket list place.
After my recent visit to K’gari (formerly Fraser Island), it’s only right that I share some home truths about what to expect before you decide on how to visit the World Heritage listed K’gari.
Top K’gari Tours
3 day tour with K’gari Explorer Tours from Hervey Bay
You can read all about the 3 Day K’gari Explorer Tour which we did and absolutely loved. This popular 3 day tour includes a stay in the beautiful Kingfisher Bay Resort as well a K’gari Beach Resort so there’s no camping involved.
You’ll spend the first day at Kingfisher Bay Resort before embarking on a 2 day adventure around K’gari (Fraser Island) to see all of the main sights. It’s a good enough time not to feel rushed while enjoying everything and learning loads on the most comprehensive tour without the stress of getting bogged or having problems with the car hire for the discerning traveller.
If you’re short on time, why not do the 2 Day tour from Hervey Bay instead of the three day tour to K’gari (Fraser Island)? You’ll see the same sights except you won’t spend a night at the beautiful Kingfisher Bay Resort. Even though you’ll spend less time at the World Heritage listed K’gari, you won’t miss out on the main tourist attractions.
If you’re heading up from Sunshine Coast but don’t want to drive as far to Hervey Bay, why not jump on this 2 day tour from Rainbow Beach instead? Visit the World’s largest sand island and see all of the same sights as you would in the 2 day tour from Hervey Bay and you’ll join the coach at Lake Mckenzie for two days of fun.
If you’d prefer to have someone drive you and your loved ones around Fraser Island, book a private tour where you’ll be picked up from your accommodation in Hervey Bay. This tailor made itinerary is perfect for those who are looking to visit specific places and spend your own time at them. And by the way, Kingfisher Bay Resort is fantastic too!
A Fraser Island day trip from Hervey Bay with K’gari Explorer Tour is a great way to see the island if you’re stuck for time. You’ll get to see almost the same sights as you would in the three day tour except Kingfisher Bay Resort and Lake Wabby. Note that you won’t get as much time at the famous attractions on this full day tour, but you’ll be able to tick them off your list when visiting the world’s largest sand island at K’gari (Fraser Island).
Looking to do something a little different on K’gari, formerly Fraser Island? Why not explore the remote Western side of the World Heritage listed K’gari by jumping on this day tour which includes kayaking, snorkelling, swimming and hiking as well as lunch.
Meet at Hervey Bay for an unforgettable four hour eco-sailing adventure to the calm waters of the Great Sandy Strait. Here you’ll head to the heart of the dolphin playground while enjoying the pristine waters of Pelican Bank. This is a fantastic relaxing half-day trip for anyone looking for things to do in Hervey Bay.
Hervey Bay and K’gari (Fraser Island) is some to some of the best whale watching tours in Australia. Jump on this affordable 9 hour day trip to swim with whales! You’ll also get an opportunity to kayak in the crystal clear waters of Awinya or Bowarradt Creek while cruising along the pristine Great Sandy Strait in Fraser Island.
Tag along tours are a great way to drive Fraser Island without having to worry too much about getting stuck on your own. You’ll have a tour guide who will drive one of the car while the other cars follow along. With these tours, you will spend the entire trip driving with other strangers and from what we saw, these tours cater for a backpacker market.
Bare in mind, you’ll be given a run down about the places you visit when you arrive at them but not while you’re driving there so you won’t learn as much as you would if you were on a K’gari Explorer tour. You’ll also need to be over 21 to drive on these tours, but if you’re younger you can still join, just not drive. Most cars don’t have aircon either so you might find it quite hot if you’re in a car with eight people.
If you’re thinking of doing it alone and hiring a 4WD, just bare in mind that if you get bogged or stuck at any point, you’ll more than likely have to wait for another car to come past and help you as there’s very little phone reception on the island. Personally, if you’re not confident with driving on sand, I wouldn’t do this option.
Pippies tag along camping safari
Pippies Fraser Island Tours and Beachouse is located in Rainbow Beach offering multi day tours from there, Noosa and Brisbane for anyone wanting to do a tag along tour which includes camping. You’ll see all of the sights, and camp under the stars at the very basic campsites in Fraser Island.
Fraser Dingo 4WD Adventures offer multi day tag along tours offer all the sights but instead of camping, you’ll stay at a private beach house in share rooms.
We had planned to book the couples 4WD self drive and do a self-drive but the cars are actually pretty small. Considering we always overpack, I now know these cars would have been way too small for us!
While most of the car companies are based on the mainland, why not hire a 4wd from Fraser Island so you don’t have to worry about paying all the fees for bringing a car over. If you hire a 4WD from Aussie Trax at Kingfisher Bay Resort, you can choose the length of the rental from half-day options and more including motels, and camping.
Things to know about booking a tour over a tag-along and hiring a 4WD for self-drive
If you’re unsure which route to take when booking your tour, here’s some tips I learnt on my recent visit.
1. Everyone gets stuck in the sand
We did the 3 night K’gari Explorer Tour and even our tour guide was an ex military driving instructor, driving one of the biggest vehicles on the island has got stuck in the sand from time to time. If you’re considering doing the tag-long or hiring a 4WD to drive it alone, if it’s your first time driving on the sand, consider that you will most likely get stuck a lot. You won’t be driving on the road, it’s literally all sand from the moment you get off the ferry.
We did see cars literally abandoned on the island because they had been rolled or the tyres blew up etc. There is a towing service which I heard is expensive to get towed back to Hervey Bay. Be also careful about how fast you go because there are police on the island who will stop you.
2. You won’t learn as much on a tag along or self-drive
Our guide Sarge is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about K’gari that he taught us so much about the island during our tour. If you did a self-drive 4wd hire, you won’t learn anything about the places to visit in Fraser Island or discover the history behind them. It would essentially be like rocking up to Lake Mckenzie or Eli Creek and knowing nothing about them.
This is similar with the tag along tours where you get to drive a 4wd but follow a tour guide. You won’t learn anything about the places while driving until you arrive at a tourist attraction. So, you’ll just be driving from one place to the next without really getting a good understanding of it like you would on the K’gari Explorer Tour.
3. If you rely on Google Maps, you’ll probably get lost
Fraser Island is pretty remote.The majority of the island is rainforest and mostly without phone reception, so if you get lost or stuck, you’ll have to hope and wait for another car to pass you by. You’ll need to bring a paper map with you when exploring the island as you could end up getting lost several times.
4. You’ll need to be more prepared than you think
If you’re thinking of hiring a 4WD or coming to the island in your own car, then be prepared to bring everything with you. For example, if you’re camping you’ll need to bring your own toilet with you, (you’ll literally be camping on the sand opposite the beach), as well as a shovel and all the necessary pieces of equipment to get you out of the sand if needed. You’ll also need to get camping permits and pay for national park fees as well.
Let’s not forget about understanding the tide times as well. This will be crucial for driving K’gari (Fraser Island) if you’re doing a self-drive option because you’ll be driving a lot along the Seventy Five Mile Beach.
More Fraser Island travel guides
Need more inspiration for your next trip to K’gari? Check out our popular guides!