Ultimate Guide to Fraser Island Camping and 4wding

Fraser Island western beach

Western Beach, Fraser Island

Just off the east coast of Australia lies the unofficial home of the dingo and world’s largest sand island, Fraser Island (K’Gari). At 122km long, this World Heritage-listed area has endless white sand beaches, tropical rainforests, sand dunes and freshwater lakes.

Whether you are wanting to escape the hustle and bustle, throw a line and do some fishing or take a tour of the things to do on Fraser Island, you will not be disappointed. Fraser Island is an experience that everyone should do at least once in their life!

Fraser Island barge manta ray

How to get to Fraser Island

Want to get some of those the unbelievably perfect shots of Fraser Island that you’ve seen posted on social media? Now you just have to work out how to get to Fraser Island. Luckily there a few different options.

  • Fraser Island barge – leaving from Inskip Point

    The Manta Ray barge operates 365 days from 6.00am to 5.15pm and leaves every 30 minutes. The total trip from Inskip Point to Fraser Island takes approximately 10 minutes.

    Fares at time of publishing are:

    Car/4wd (including passengers) – $120.00 return
    Car/4wd + Trailer (up to 5 Metres) – $190.00 return
    Car/4wd + Trailer (5 Metres and up) – $220.00 return
    Motorbikes – $50.00 return

You can purchase your Fraser Island barge ticket and permits on board or at the Manta Ray Barge & Permit Office. Office is located at 66 Rainbow Beach Rd, Rainbow Beach (only 15 minutes from Inskip Point). You can find out more information here.
TIP: You can also get a free Fraser Island map and tides chart here. This is highly recommended.

  • Fraser Island barge – leaving from River Heads

    The Kingfisher Bay barge operates daily from River Heads (approx. 30 minutes from Hervey Bay) to Kingfisher Bay Resort on the western side of Fraser Island.
    Departure times from River Heads daily at: 6.45am, 9.00am, 12.30pm, 3.30pm and 6.45pm.
    Departure times from Kingfisher Bay Resort at: 7.50 am, 10.30am, 2.00pm, 5.00pm and 8.30pm.

    Fares at time of publishing are:
    Car/standard 4wd (Including driver only) – $200.00 return
    Large 4wd (Including driver only) – $270.00 return
    Trailer, camper, boat (up to 4 Metres) – $115.00 return
    Trailer, camper, boat (up to 7 Metres) – $153.00 return
    Motorbikes (including rider only) – $100.00 return
    *$5.00 per extra vehicle passenger

You can collect your tickets from the Ticket Hut adjacent to the ferry ramp. Find directions here.

  • Fly – leaving from Sunshine Coast and Hervey Bay

    If you only want to visit the island for the day, you can take a scenic flight from the Sunshine Coast or Hervey Bay to Fraser Island. On arriva,l you can then collect a 4wd and spend the day exploring Fraser Island things to do at your own pace.

    Fares at time of publishing are:
    From $305* per person including return flights

To find out more information or to organise your flights and 4wd experience, visit Air Fraser Island.


Fraser Island permits

You must purchase your Fraser Island permits (vehicle access and camping) before entering Fraser Island. Your permit must be clearly displayed on the lower left side of your cars windscreen.

    • Vehicle access permit fees for Fraser Island Recreation Area:
      1 month or less = $49.90
      More than 1 month (up to 1 year) = $250.80
    • Camping permits for Fraser Island:
      When camping in QPWS camping areas permits are required and must be purchased before setting up camp. It is advised to pre-book prior to arriving on Fraser Island as school holidays and public holidays are very busy and some camping areas have limited capacity.

Fees: $6.35 per person per night or $25.40 per family per night
$3.50 per person per night for students and accompanying adults on approved educational excursions

-A family is classed as 1 or 2 adults and accompanying children under 18 years. Rate applies to a maximum of 8 people in total
-Children under 5 years are free.

You can find out more information or book your Fraser Island vehicle permits on the QLD National Parks website, over the phone (13 74 68) or in person.


Fraser Island camping

Want to camp when you visit Fraser Island? There are 45 camping areas for you to choose from (in addition to privately run facilities), with and without dingo deterrent fences. If you are travelling with children under the age of 14 years, it is recommended you camp in the fenced areas.

Fraser Island camping in a camper trailer at Cathedrals on Fraser

Dingo deterrent fenced camping areas

· Central Station camping area
Number of sites: 40 tent sites and 15 camper trailer sites
Location: southern end of Fraser Island, 8km west of Eurong
Suitable for: off-road camper trailers and tents
Camp site surface: sand
Facilities: flushing toilets, $2 coin-operated hot showers and washing-up facilities. You will also find rubbish bins at the camping area entrance
Fires: prohibited
Mobile phone coverage: No

· Dundubara camping area
Number of sites: 42 tent sites and 5 camper trailer sites
Location: central east coast of Fraser Island, 75km north of the Hook Point barge landing area
Suitable for: off-road camper trailers and tents
Camp site surface: sand and grass
Facilities: flushing toilets, $2 coin-operated hot showers, picnic tables, water taps (untreated) and washing-up facilities. You will find rubbish, recycling bins and portable toilet waste disposal facility 1km north of the Dundubara entrance track at QPWS waste transfer station on the beach
Fires: Permitted in the provided communal fire rings only. Please check local fire bans beforehand
Mobile phone coverage: Not in the campground but there is just a short walk away, near the Dundubara office

· Lake Boomanjin camping area
Number of sites: no defined sites. Large open area
Location: along the Southern Lakes Scenic Drive, southern inland section end of Fraser Island. 18km south of Central Station
Suitable for: tents. Walk-in camping only
Camp site surface: sand and grass
Facilities: toilets, picnic tables and washing-up facilities.
Fires: prohibited
Mobile phone coverage: No

· Waddy Point top camping area
Number of sites: 25 tent sites and 6 camper trailer sites
Location: north-east coast of Fraser Island, 5km north of Indian Head
Suitable for: off-road camper trailers and tents
Camp site surface: sand and grass
Facilities: flushing toilets, $2 coin-operated hot showers, picnic tables, water taps (untreated) and washing-up facilities. You will find rubbish and recycling bins at the QPWS waste transfer station on the southern entrance to Orchid Beach township
Fires: Permitted in the provided communal fire rings only. Please check local fire bans beforehand.
Mobile phone coverage: No
*Important: between Indian Head and Waddy Point it is soft sand and rough track conditions. Make sure your vehicle is powerful enough for the trailer you are towing.

Eastern beach camping (unfenced)

There are 9 camping zones behind the foredunes and close to the beach that spread along the eastern beach from Dilli Village north to the gorgeous Sandy Cape. Each zone has 2-3 designated and clearly signposted camp areas. *The following Fraser Island camping zones breakdown are as shown on the QLD Government NPSR website.

  • Beach camping zone 1 (Dilli Village to Eurong):
    • Govi camping area
    • Wongai camping area
  • Beach camping zone 2 (Eurong to Poyungan Rocks):
    • One Tree Rocks camping area
    • Cornwells camping area
    • Gabala camping area
  • Beach camping zone 3 (Poyungan Rocks to Happy Valley):
    • Poyungan camping area
    • Winnam camping area
  • Beach camping zone 4 (Happy Valley to Eli Creek):
    • Guluri camping area
    • Eli camping area
  • Beach camping zone 5 (Eli Creek to The Pinnacles):
    • Maheno camping area
    • Wahba camping area
  • Beach camping zone 6 (The Pinnacles to Dundubara):
    • Eugarie camping area
    • Yurru camping area
    • Guruman camping area
  • Beach camping zone 7 (Dundubara to Indian Head):
    • Wyuna camping area
    • Burad camping area
  • Beach camping zone 8 (Waddy Point to Ngkala Rocks):
    • Marloo camping area
    • Ocean Lake camping area
    • Duling camping area
  • Beach camping zone 9 (Browns Rocks to Sandy Cape):
    • Diray camping area
    • Carree camping area

Number of sites: there are not specifically designated sites, across the nine eastern beach camping zones, it caters to over 1600 people.
Location: eastern beach from Dilli Village north to Sandy Cape
Suitable for: off-road camper trailers and tents
Camp site surface: sand
Facilities: none
Fires: prohibited
Mobile phone coverage: in some spots

· Waddy Point beachfront camping area
This campground is ideal for launching trailer boats however this is not recommended for the inexperienced.

Number of sites: 20 tent sites and 5 camper trailer sites
Location: on the north-east coast of Fraser Island, close to the Waddy Point (top) camping area facilities
Suitable for: off-road camper trailers and tents
Camp site surface: sand and grass
Facilities: flushing toilets and water taps (untreated). There are coin-operated hot showers and washing-up facilities near the Waddy Point top camping area. You will find rubbish and recycling bins at the QPWS waste transfer station on the southern entrance to Orchid Beach township
Fires: Permitted in the provided communal fire rings only. Please check local fire bans beforehand.
Mobile phone coverage: No

Western beach camping (unfenced)

Just like the eastern beach camping, north-western beach offers 7 remote beach camping areas that spread along the north-western side from Moon Point to Wathumba. These are undefined and very compact sites.

Important: there is very soft and deep sands, rocks and debris and creek crossing that make the risk of submerging and damaging your 4WD high when beach driving.

  • Moon Point camping area (boat access only) – maximum capacity: 20 people
  • Coongul Creek camping area – maximum capacity: 60 people
  • Woralie Creek camping area – maximum capacity: 30 people
  • Bowarrady Creek camping area – maximum capacity: 15 people
  • Awinya Creek camping area – maximum capacity: 20 people
  • Bowal Creek camping area – maximum capacity: 20 people
  • Teebing (Wathumba spit) camping area (boat access only) – maximum capacity: 50 people

Location: north-western side from Moon Point to Wathumba
Suitable for: off-road camper trailers and tents
Camp site surface: sand
Facilities: none
Fires: prohibited
Mobile phone coverage: in some spots

· Wathumba camping area
This campground is set behind the foredunes and is a ‘park and walk-in’ campsite, ideal for launching trailer boats however this is not recommended for the inexperienced.

Number of sites: 8 tent sites and 3 camper trailer sites
Location: on the north-east coast of Fraser Island, close to the Waddy Point (top) camping area facilities
Suitable for: off-road camper trailers and tents
Camp site surface: sand and grass (8 tent sites on grass)
Facilities: picnic tables and toilet
Fires: prohibited
Mobile phone coverage: in some spots

Southern beach camping (unfenced)

Along the south-western beach you will find 2 remote camping areas. Very low-key camping with little to no facilities.

  • Ungowa camping area: maximum capacity 40 people
  • Garry’s Anchorage camping area: maximum capacity 30 people

Number of sites: undefined tent sites and 2 camper trailer sites (Ungowa only)
Location: south-western side of Fraser Island overlooking the Great Sandy Straits
Suitable for: off-road camper trailers and tents
Camp site surface: sand and grass
Facilities: Ungowa – picnic tables. Garry’s Anchorage – coin-operated hot showers, toilets, picnic tables and washing-up facilities
Fires: prohibited
Mobile phone coverage: no

To enjoy million-dollar views and fully embrace the island life on a small budget, camping on Fraser Island is the way to go. It is important to note though that when camping in any of the unfenced Fraser Island camping areas, please be mindful and dingo safe. You can also find additional Fraser Island camping fees and permit info here.

There is of course other accommodation options if camping on Fraser Island doesn’t get you excited. You can stay at the resort, backpackers hostel, hire a house or stay in one of the caravan parks like we did.


Things to do on Fraser Island

Whatever you are into, Fraser Island will have something you will enjoy! Hikers, fishermen, 4wders and selfie enthusiasts will be in awe at the amazing swimming spots, massive sand blows and 4WD tracks available.

view of Fraser Island western beach


Fraser Island Hikes

You have more than likely heard about the Fraser Island Great Walk. If you are wanting to complete the entire 90km Great Walk it will take you approx. 6–8 days. However, if you are more interested in short easy walks to half day adventures, there are plenty of these also available.

You can find a full list of Fraser Island hikes here, including to and from locations, distance and walking times.


Fraser Island Lakes

It is not surprising that Fraser Island is often described as a natural wonder. Supporting more than 100 freshwater lakes, numerous freshwater streams and rivers, this is by far one of the best ways to cool off on a sunny Queensland day. While we aren’t going to list all of the Fraser Island lakes, here are some of the most popular.

Kids playing at Lake McKenzie Fraser Island

Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island

·         Lake McKenzie
Get your camera ready, there is a reason Lake McKenzie Fraser Island is one of the most popular spots on the island. It’s famous for its crystal clear water and pure white silica sand but what is often not mentioned in the social media images you see is how tranquil the area is.

·         Lake Wabby
Lake Wabby Fraser Island is a popular spot for those exploring the sand dunes. The water is dark green in colour and bordered by a giant sand dune that over time is slowly moving into the lake. Experts say that within the next century the sand dune will completely swallow Lake Wabby.

After taking a small hike to Lake Wabby the kids were keen to slide down the dune and take a swim with a number of species of fish that call Lake Wabby home. While this freshwater lake looks pretty great, be aware that it does also smell a bit.

·         Lake Boomanjin
Looking for a quieter place to relax that doesn’t require a big hike? Even though Lake Boomanjin is quite a short walk from the carpark, it has significantly smaller crowds than Lake McKenzie and Lake Wabby. You won’t need to spend very long here as it is not really a lake you will want to swim in but it is definitely a fascinating spot.

At an impressive 200 hectares, Lake Boomanjin is the world’s largest perched island. The red ripples and waters of Lake Boomanjin are stained Tea Tree red as a result of being heavily discoloured by tannin.

·         Basin Lake
While we wouldn’t say this is a picturesque lake, it is certainly one of the quietest. Why? Because it is only accessible by walking from the Central Station day use area – approx. 5.6km return.

·         Eli Creek
Eli Creek Fraser Island is a hot spot for everyone – families, backpackers and adventure seekers. If you plan on spending a bit of time there and want to claim a spot on the bank for yourself, get there early!

Why is Eli Creek so popular? It is the largest creek on the eastern side of the island and has an impressive flow of 80 million litres of water a day. Travellers grab their tubes and inflatables and enjoy the relaxing ride as the stream floats them from one end to the other.

·         Lake Allom
Tucked away in a forest of Melaleuca trees and Hoop Pines, Lake Allom is a hidden treasure that will impress nature lovers. It doesn’t boast the crystal blue waters that many other Fraser Island lakes have but it is unique and beautiful in its own way.

Lake Allom is home to many freshwater turtles that bop their heads up near the platform for you see. But what really sparked our interest was when you hang your feet into the shallow waters, the little fish come up and suck your feet. An interesting and completely unique experience from the other lakes on Fraser Island.

·         Lake Birrabeen
You will generally be able to enjoy uninterrupted swimming at Lake Birrabeen as the tour buses don’t venture there. With white silica sand just like Lake McKenzie, emerald green waters and such a tranquil atmosphere, you will find it hard to stay out of the water!

Kids sliding down dune lake wabby Fraser Island

Lake Wabby, Fraser Island


Fraser Island activities

In addition to the swimming, the gorgeous lakes and the 4wding, there are a number of other sights and Fraser Island activities that you should check out while your visiting.

  • Fraser Island shipwreck – Maheno Wreck
  • Champagne Pools
  • Ngkala Rocks
  • Central Station
  • Kingfisher Bay
  • The Pinnacles

Fraser Island maheno shipwreck

Maheno Shipwreck, Fraser Island

Fraser Island Beaches

·         Eastern Beach
As you might expect from an island, there are beaches in abundance. Eastern Beach, known as Seventy Five Mile Beach is a nationally registered highway and the most known beach on the island. Others along the Eastern Beach include Cathedral Beach and Orchid Beach.  If you keep following the beach around to the most northern point, you will reach Sandy Cape. All the villages and townships are found along the Eastern Beach.

·         Western Beach
There is only a small portion of the Western Beach you can actually drive on, this is just north of Moon Point and just south of Wathumba. This beach is incredible, the blue and green colours of the ocean are gorgeous. When we visited, we had the entire beach to ourselves!


Fishing on Fraser Island

Fraser Island fishing is the sole reason many people visit the island. The fishing is excellent and you can attract many breeds of fish including: Bream, Whiting, Mackerel, Flathead, Trevally, Tailor and even sharks.

Popular fishing spots on Fraser Island include:

  • Sandy Cape
  • Seventy Five Mile Beach
  • Waddy Point
  • Indian Head
  • Middle Rocks
  • Platypus Bay
  • Maheno Shipwreck

Important things to know: Freshwater fishing is prohibited


Driving on Fraser Island

Seen too many people get bogged on Inskip and now second guessing driving on Fraser Island? Here is a quick video we put together when we were there to show you what we did and give you an idea of what to expect.

Tip: It is recommended to avoid driving within two hours either side of high tide as the tide can come in really quick and you will find yourself timing the waves to get past as there is often no beach left.


Fraser Island tours

There are a number of different tour options that eliminate the need to take your own 4wd in the salt water. Some tour companies offer daily trips to the island, while others offer overnight stays as well as the tour. Depending on how much time you have, what you want to see and how many will be travelling with you will determine which Fraser Island tours option is best for you.

  • Tour buses
  • Tag-along tours
  • Guided tours

Best time to visit Fraser Island

It’s sunny Queensland where the weather is warm so the best time to visit Fraser Island is all year round! Obviously November, December and January is going to be hotter than other months but we don’t think there is a bad time to visit paradise.

We have heard school holidays are pretty chaotic, we visited right at the end of the holidays and we often had touristy locations to ourselves or minimal other people.


Fraser Island dingoes standing in bush

Dingo safety

For your safety and theirs it is important that you don’t approach the dingoes, encourage them or feed them. You should ensure all of your food is stored away properly.

The NPSR suggests doing the following if you feel threatened.

  • Stand still at your full height and fold your arms across your chest.
  • Face the dingo, then calmly back away.
  • If you are with another person, stand back to back.
  • Confidently call for help.
  • Wait until the dingo or dingoes are gone before you continue on your way.
  • Do not run or wave your arms.

TIPS before coming

There are a few things you might overlook when planning your trip to Fraser Island. Here are some things we suggest bringing with you when visiting.

  • Water – take lots of it
  • Firewood – if you are camping somewhere that allows campfires, you must bring your own wood as it is prohibited to collect any wood for your fire. (Cathedrals on Fraser sell bags of wood)
  • Cash – not everywhere has Eftpos
  • Jerry cans – fuel is expensive on the island
  • Map – we got a really good one for free when we got our barge ticket
  • Tide chart – we also got this with our barge ticket
  • Take more mozzie spray than you think you will need

Learn more: How much it costs to go to Fraser Island?

We are not surprised Fraser Island is such a popular destination for families, backpackers, fishermen and 4wd enthusiasts. There are countless things to see, do and experience on the Island. Not to mention you will take away unbelievable memories of this incredible experience.



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Happy Go Travel

Embracing everything Australia has to offer with their four kids in tow, Kell and Caleb jump at the chance to explore new destinations as often as possible.

They love sharing their 4wding, camping and travel experiences. Not just limited to the great outdoors though, Happy Go Travel also enjoy the city lights and the finer things in life.
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