15 Things To Know About Planning A Fraser Island Trip

Organising your first World Heritage Fraser Island trip and wondering what to expect? In this guide, I’m sharing some of the important but random things you need to know before going on a trip to Fraser Island, now called K’gari.

After my recent visit to K’gari, I’m sharing some of the things I didn’t know about before I went there, that I think you should know. So if you’re wondering about whether to do a tour, self-drive or a tag along tour, as well as knowing how to prepare for the trip, then this guide is for you.

1. Consider doing a tour rather than self drive


If you’re wondering how to get around Fraser Island, check out our guide for the Best Fraser Island Tours vs Tag-Along Tours vs Self-Drive you have the below four options which are really the best way to discover and see everything on the island:

  1. Do a 4WD coach tour from Hervey Bay or Rainbow Beach (day tours or multi-day)
  2. Join tag-along Fraser Island tours where you get to drive, but follow other cars
  3. Hire a 4WD and drive yourself
  4. Trek the 90km Fraser Island Great Walk

We did this 2 night // 3day 4WD coach tour which is the most comprehensive tour, led by extremely knowledgeable guides. Read our K’gari Explorer Tour Review to learn all about how we got on with the tour for more details. If you’re wondering, you’ll find a mixture of people doing this tour, from backpackers, to couples, local Aussies and older people too.

Originally we wanted to hire a 4WD, but it probably would have been a bit stressful because so many cars get bogged in the sand.

If you’re not experienced driving on sand, I would give it a miss, especially is you’re a discerning traveller. Even our tour guide who was a military driving instructor who can basically drive anything often gets bogged driving one of the biggest vehicles on the World Heritage Listed K’gari.


What you might not know is you need to come to K’gari (Fraser Island) prepared with equipment to get you out of the sand, like bringing a shovel etc if you’re looking to drive yourself, rather than jump on a great tour like we did.

Our tour guide told us many cars roll over and tyres burst which results in people having to pay a big towing fee to get them back over to Hervey Bay. To me, it’s not worth doing. Plus, you’ll need to get permits to drive on the island as well.

2. Mainly backpackers opt for the tag-along tours


From what we saw, it was mainly backpackers who opt for the tag-along tours so they can experience beach driving. If you opt for this tour, you won’t learn much about the places you visit as there’s no commentary in the cars as you’re driving.

The only thing that would put me off doing the Fraser Island Great Walk would be coming across dingos on my own. I don’t think I’d feel very comfortable because they are wild predators and have been known to attack people, like the recent woman who went for a run on the beach.

3. Google Maps might send you the wrong way


Our tour guide told us if we were ever planning to drive in our own car in Fraser Island to be careful because Google Maps will often send you the wrong way. There are quite a few roads on the World Heritage Listed island and if you’re not experienced driving on sand, you could get lost. Make sure you bring a paper map of the roads to make sure you stay on track.

4. Barely any phone reception on the island


Please bare in mind that there isn’t a lot of phone reception on K’gari, formerly Fraser Island, so if you do get lost or stuck when driving a hire car, you might run into a few problems. The only places we had phone reception using Telstra was at Kingfisher Bay Resort and K’gari Beach Resort.

5. It’s the world’s largest sand island


OK, you probably already knew this, but the spectacular K’gari (Fraser Island) is the largest sand island in the world, measuring at 123KM long and 20KM wide.

What you may not realise is the second and third largest sand islands are also nearby being, North Stradbroke Island and Moreton Island. I would highly recommend going to Moreton Island as you can’t miss snorkelling the Tangalooma Wrecks and quad biking around the dunes. I’m not even usually a fan of quad biking and I loved it! You can check out our Day Trip To Moreton Island Guide before you go.

6. It’s also home to the world’s ONLY rainforest built on sand


Fraser Island (K’gari) isn’t just the world’s largest sand island, it’s also home to the only rainforest in the world which is built on sand. Make sure you visit Central Station in Pine Valley to see one of the most beautiful rainforests in Australia. The water in the creek here is so clear, I doubt you’ll ever come across crystal clear water like it anywhere else Australia.

7. Spot the 1200 year old trees on Fraser Island


That’s right, there are trees believed to be 1200 years old in Fraser Island. The satinay and brush box forest is home to trees believed to be more than 1200 years old in the Valley of the Giants! They are more than four metres in diametre, so look out for the wide tree trunks and you could be looking at these ancient trees.

8. You’ll be fined at Lake Mckenzie if you do this one thing


While Fraser Island (K’gari) is home to so many beautiful lakes, you’ll be fined if you take any food or drinks (except water) when you head down to the lake at Lake Mckenzie. The strict rules are to protect the pristine lake as well as people from dingo attacks as they roam around the area.

I recommend checking out our 13 Things You Might Not Know About Lake Mckenzie before you go!

9. You’ll also be fined at Maheno Shipwreck if you do this


Remarkably, I can’t understand why anyone would want to climb an historic shipwreck, but I suppose people will do anything to get photos. There is a sign at Maheno Shipwreck asking people to stay at least three metres from the wreck. Please abide by these rules to protect this historic wreck.

Before you visit the wreck, check out our Tips For Visiting The Famous Maheno Shipwreck to learn more about the fascinating history behind it.

10. Use the Dingo sticks to protect yourself


With 180 or so infamous dingoes roaming Fraser Island, you need to be careful because these aren’t the type of loving dogs you’d find at home. If you didn’t know, dingoes are wild predators and have been known to attack people in their packs. For example, a woman went running along the beach and was attacked by 8 dingoes and airlifted to hospital. Then there’s the infamous ‘dingo ate my baby story’ as well.

Personally I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing a camping trip or the Fraser Island Great Walk because of dingoes. There are places around the island like in Eurong in the village and at Eli Creek with dingo sticks you can use to shoo them off if needed. Oh and FYI – if you’re doing a tour, you’ll be given floaties for Eli Creek so you don’t need to buy them.

If you do come across dingoes, don’t pat them or give them food. You’ll need to stand up straight (do not crouch down), stand still and wait for them to pass you by.

11. Don’t swim in the ocean


You can’t swim in the ocean on the 75 Mile Beach highway because it’s a shark breeding ground. Apparently there are a lot of sharks in the water here, so only swim in the creeks, lakes or Champagne Pools.

12. There’s one thing you’ll find so frustrating


While there are dingoes and sharks to be concerned about, you’ll actually find the most annoying thing are the march flies, especially if you’re visiting during the summer months. While they might look like big flies, they actually bite and it can be quite painful. Just make sure you bring the brown bushmans to protect you from them biting.

13. Be careful of this at Champagne Pools


While Champagne Pools is a big Instagram spot, you’ll need to time your visit with the tides to make the most of it here. When we visited, the weather wasn’t on our side, but most of all I had no idea how sharp the rocks really are in this pool. People came out with blood spewing out of their legs, and I literally just ended up swimming over some rocks and cut my leg too.

We saw people climbing up the rocks and they could have honestly been swept away into the shark invested waters if a big wave crashed up over them. Check out our guide for 10 Tips You Need To Know Before Visiting Eli Creek to learn more about this unique place.

14. Respect the women’s only area at The Pinnacles


If you’re visiting The Pinnacles along the 75 Mile Beach, be aware that the lookout is a scared women’s only area. Please abide by the rules and respect the traditional owners of the land, the Butchulla people and men, stay back by the beach side as you’ll see better views from here anyway.

15. You don’t need to camp on Fraser Island


If you’re wondering if the only option to stay on Fraser Island is to camp, you don’t need to worry because there are some fantastic resorts here. I would recommend booking the fantastic Kingfisher Bay Resort which is located on the West Coast.

It’s an amazing resort situated around the Wallam Wetlands. They have plenty of daily activities here to choose from, tours and even car hire, as well as three restaurants and two swimming pools.

If you’re staying on the East coast where most of the action is, book the K’gari Beach Resort.

More Fraser Island guides to read


If you’re looking for more Fraser Island tips, check out our other guides to help you plan your trip to one of the best islands in Australia.

Things to know before booking a Fraser Island trip

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