Fraser Island is the perfect mix of adventure, relaxation, and incredible scenery, making it one of the biggest tourist destinations on the East Coast of Australia. It is the largest sand island in the world (1,840 km2) which is home to many rainforests, sand dunes, creeks, and over 100 freshwater lakes!
You can explore this beautiful island by renting your own car or booking a tour with any travel agency on the East Coast (recommended!). Tours operate daily, leaving from Hervey Bay, Rainbow Beach, or Noosa. Although most tours visit the main attractions, they can vary in forms of transportation (4WD or bus), accommodation (camping or lodges), and length of stay on the island (1, 2, or 3 days). I would highly recommend staying for at least one night on the island as I will explain in #9.
Below 9 must-sees of Fraser Island!
#1. 75 MILE BEACH – imagine 75 miles of nothing but sand in front of you, waves to one side, and endless forests to the other. Fraser Island is known for the long stretch of beach on its east coast, one of the few places in Australia where cars are allowed to drive directly on the beach!
#2. LAKE MCKENZIE – a massive tourist attraction on the island and for obvious reasons. It is a stunning fresh water lake where you can actually swim!!! Yep, you read it right, theres no jellyfish, sharks, crocodiles, stingrays, or any other creatures trying to kill you while you’re enjoying a lovely little swim in the hot weather! With aqua blue water and a preciously soft white sand, Lake McKenzie is the perfect little paradise for a swim or soaking up in the sun.
#3. LAKE BIRRABEEN – the crowd at Lake McKenzie getting a bit too much? No worries! Jump back into your 4×4 and drive down to Lake Birrabeen where you enjoy the same fresh water and white sandy beaches with half of the crowd!
#4. CHAMPAGNE POOLS – my absolute favourite spot on the island. Located at the very end of 75 Mile Beach, Champagne Pools are exposed bedrocks by the ocean where you can go swimming in salt water without having to worry about any sea creatures. It’s also all dad’s favourite destination as they can tell the very popular (and overused) dad joke of “Champagne Pools were great, but we didn’t find any Champagne there!?” Ha. Ha. 😀 Champagne Pools gets its name from all the bubbles that are formed with every wave crashing into the rocks and slowly filling the natural pools. It’s also a great place to go snorkelling for little ones as the pools don’t get very deep and there’s tons of fish floating around! The only downside of the pools is that it can get extremely crowded, to skip the crowds and for breathtaking views, try visiting the pools for sunrise!
#5. INDIAN HEAD LOOKOUT – located about a 5 minute drive from Champagne Pools, the Indian Head Lookout is the most easterly point on Fraser Island. If you’re a sucker for gorgeous viewpoints like me, then the lookout is not to be missed! Not only do you get to soak in 360° views of the island and its surroundings, but very often you can see mantarays, sharks, and whales swimming in the ocean – with a bird’s eye view!
#6. S.S. MAHENO SHIPWRECK – A luxury passenger ship that was built in Scotland in 1905 and sold to Japan 30 years later for parts. However, the ship never made it to Japan as it was caught in a cyclone while being towed to Osaka. 2 weeks later, Maheno was beached on 75 Mile Beach on Fraser Island. Today, the ship is almost three and a half storeys buried under the sand! You can visit this rusty tourist landmark, easily seen and accessible from 75 Mile Beach, but be careful, the rusty ship is not to be climbed as it is a major safety hazard!
#7. ELI CREEK – the perfect way to spend a hot afternoon on Fraser Island? Grab your floats and head to Eli Creek to relax as you float down the largest creek on the east coast of Fraser. Manmade tracks make it easy for visitors to walk to one end of the creek and relax while sipping on their favourite drink as the flowing water takes them to the other end! And the best part? The creek is protected by trees so you don’t even need to worry about getting sunburnt! Ps – did I mention you can drink from the creek? The water goes through so many layers of sand that by the time it reaches the surface it is so pure and fresh, you could literally drink from the creek!
#8. HAMMERSTONE SAND BLOW & LAKE WABBY – a beautiful experience well worth the half hour trek to get to! Lake Wabby is the deepest lake on the island (12m or 39ft) surrounded by the most incredibly random sand dune – in the middle of the woodlands! The lake provides cool, fresh water to energize in after your hike, and if that’s not relaxing enough, there are thousands of Garra rufa fish (aka “pedicure fish”) nibbling on your dead skin as you relax in the water!
#9. STARGAZE ON THE BEACH – last but not least, make sure to spend some time on the beach at night. Fraser is a massive island with so little civilization, meaning there’s no light pollution which provides a magnificent view of the sky at night time. A short little walk from your campsite and you’ll be amazed by how clearly you can see the Milky Way, star constellations, and countless shooting stars!
TIPS FOR VISITING FRASER ISLAND
- The East Coast is a massive tourist attraction for the entire world, so you can imagine all the different options when it comes to booking tours. And with Fraser Island being one of the most popular attractions, the options are endless! That’s why I’ve been talking to backpackers as I travel down the coast about their experiences with all the different tour companies and these 3 have stood out so far: Dingoes (my choice), Pippies, and Nomads.
- If the company is offering to provide your alcohol, I would highly suggest that you take them up on this offer! Their prices are reasonable and it saves you the hassle of buying one more thing.
- Travel light! You won’t need much and the cars are very small so you’ll stress yourself out by overpacking. Check the weather and pack accordingly. Take a maximum of 2 outfits, something to sleep in, swimmers, a pair of flip flops (you won’t need runners), sunhat, lots of sunscreen and bug spray. Optional: if you’re gonna be camping, I’d highly recommend a power bank and portable speakers if you’ve got them! There are limited outlets at the camp to charge your phone but they’re not always available.
- If you are camping, make sure to set up your tent at least an hour before sunset and zip it up all the way. Fraser, being the biggest sand island in the world, is home to millions of mosquitoes and sand flies, not to mention snakes and other creepy crawlies that could get into your tent.
- Many people asked me if they should take snacks with them on the trip. Most companies provide enough food and snacks in between that you don’t need to take anything extra with you. I went with Dingoes and aside from 3 meals a day, we were given cereal bars, biscuits, cookies, and fruit to snack on throughout the day. There was so much food that most of the snacks we ended up taking home with us. Having said that, I think this entirely depends on the company you’re booking with, plus the group of people you’re sharing the food with. I would suggest packing some light snacks just in case!
- Don’t have time to visit Hammerstone Sand Blow on the Island? No worries, Carlo Sand Blow on Rainbow Beach is very similar to Hammerstone, minus the lake at the end. If you have a day in Rainbow beach and want to kill some time, make sure to visit this beauty located only a short walk away from the town (pictured below)!