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Australian 4x4 Tag Along Tours - Fraser Island

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Fraser Island - Beautiful one day, perfect the next

One of Fraser Island many beautiful beaches

Fraser Island - Australia

Always welcoming - always beautiful

Off the coast of South Queensland, Fraser Island is one of Australia's most in demand holiday and four wheel driving destinations. No wonder why, it is just a magnificent spot that offers incredible beauty, natural diversity and, almost always, predictably good weather.

Fraser Island is the world's largest sand island being 123 kilometers in length. It has over 100 fresh water lakes set in the sand dunes, even though the island is made up completely of sand and, apart from Tasmania, Fraser has the highest concentration of lakes in Australia.

Lake McKenzie is one of the more popular and is situated roughly in the middle of the island inland from the Eurong Beach Resort, on the east coast and the Central Station Campground. The lake is approximately 100 metres above the sea level.

Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island

Some of the sand dunes rise to around 250 metres high and are caused by coastal currents and winds. As the sand falls on the island it covers the vegetation and new growth takes its place as it combines with minerals in the soil and forms a substance called coffee rock.

It is this that gives the islands dunes stability as well as being the reason that the water in the lakes doesn't just seep out.

There is an wide variety of flora and fauna to be seen on the island including the long necked turtle, an interesting species.

In addition you are likely to see dingos, flying foxes, swamp wallabies, possums and their cousins the sugar gliders, echidnas, the occasional brumby and a variety of goannas, skinks, snakes, lizards and frogs

Bird life includes over 340 species from the very rare ground parrot, to birds of prey, including falcons, osprey and eagles, cockatoos and parrots.

The main access onto the island is via ferry from Rainbow Beach, south of Hervey Bay. Booking is desirable as there can, at times, be long queues and long delays getting onto the ferry. However it is also very popular to be on an organised tour and stay at one of the island's resorts, or to fly in and also stay at a resort. Don't be surprised to see the odd walker who is simply walking and camping. 

After all there is the Fraser Island Great Walk that can take you through some pretty remote areas of the island. If you are planning to walk the Great Walk you should not do it on your own. Always go at least with someone else.

If you are driving on Fraser Island is regarded as being a fairly easy four wheel drive trip. Follow your common sense and observe a few basic precautions and you should have a wonderful and very memorable trip.

If you are driving yourself over then lower your tyre pressures as you approach Rainbow Beach and the ferry. Many have overlooked this small point and have got themselves stuck in their haste to get on the ferry. You will need them lowered on the island anyway

Again, if you are driving yourself, Try and plan your arrival on the island for a falling tide, low tide is best, because the high tide will push you up into soft sand and a probability of getting stuck once you get onto the beach. Initially, when you leave the ferry, take the inland road up the island for the first few hundred meters and then head onto the beach.

The lower the tide the better choice you have as to where you drive. High tide can force you into very wet water on occasions. Take caution driving on the beach, drive slowly and watch out for creeks flowing over the beach. These can create deep enough channels to give you a seriously uncomfortable crossing if you hit them with any speed, at best, and they are probably likely to cause serious damage.

Be careful passing rocky outcrops close to the water and always attempt to pass them inland to the sea. Nothing worse than being bogged close to the water with a rising tide. Many a vehicle have been written off in this manner. Please always follow existing tracks where possible.

Don't try and make your own, firstly it spoils it for everyone else and you will get a heavy fine if caught.There are designated camping areas on the island with facilities, however you are allowed to camp away from these areas if you wish, but you do require permits to do so.

Whilst it has several local names along the way you are able to drive the full length of the beach on the eastern, or seaward side of the island, which is Seventy Five Mile Beach, which, in fact is only 58 miles long, or 92 kilometers.

There is lots to see and do on the way up the beach including a shipwreck, volcanic outcrop, cliffs of coloured sand and creeks that flow out over the beach, of which, Eli Creek, located a little north of Happy Valley Fraser Island Wilderness Retreat photographed above, is the largest.

Also, don't be surprised to see the odd plane landing on the beach. You can actually walk up a boardwalk to the head of Eli Creek and then swim back or come down on a board. You could experience some difficulty getting through the creek at high tide.

The Maheno Shipwreck on Seventy Five Mile Beach is probably also worth a visit. The Maheno is located a little over halfway up the beach between Happy Valley Fraser Island Retreat to the south and Frasers at Cathedral Beach Resort.

Maheno Shipwreck on Fraser Island

She was built as a luxury passenger cruise ship in 1905. Used as a hospital ship during World War 1 it was de-commissioned in 1935 it was decided that it was too old for the purpose that it was built.

During the tow to a Japanese ships scrap yard from Melbourne it broke its tow and ran aground on Seventy Five Mile Beach.

Not much of the ship is now visible as most of it has become buried. Look, take photos but if you feel tempted to start climbing over it, don't, it's out of bounds.

The beach is the quickest route from one end of the island to the other and a reasonably easy run up to Indian Head where the sand gets a little softer. Just north of Indian Head is the Orchid Beach exclusion zone.

You can walk in the area if you wish, but you have to drive inland a little up to Waddy Point. From here the run is still OK up to Ngkala Rocks, where it gets a lot tougher.

Do not attempt to go further than Ngkala Rocks if you are inexperienced. The beaches around Waddy Point tend to be a little more sheltered than other beaches on Seventy Mile Beach, probably because the beach now faces north rather than east and is not quite so exposed. Not that the beaches on Seventy Five Mile beach are unpleasant by any measure.

Here you turn westwards and are able to traverse a very small distance down the beach on the western side.

The inland tracks on the island lead to the many inland lakes, many of which are larger than you would expect, with their crystal clear waters and gleaming beaches.

Take time to stop and unwind. This is nature at its best.There are tracks leading all over the place and you could spend quite a while here seeing something different every day.

Beware of Dingos, they look just like a pet dog but be very cautious dingos are wild animals, treat them as such. Do not feed the dingo or any other wild animal or bird on the island.

Dingo on Fraser Island

Australian 4x4 Tag Along Tours operates relaxed and informal 12 to 15 day 4wd Tag Along Tours that include the Simpson Desert, The Outback and The Victorian High Country. Give Amanda or John a call if you are interested of follow the Tag Alongs link at the top of this page.

Disclaimer - The information provided on this web page is for use as a guide only. If you are planning to undertake this trip you must seek out other authorative advice and information. The owners of this website shall not be held responsible for any damage or injury that you may experience during any conventional vehicle or four wheel drive trip. Distances between places mentioned on this page are as a guide only. You must verify these details yourself using professional maps and/or mapping equipment before you set out on the trip.

This web page and images are copyright and may not be copied. Photograph acknowledgments to Jenny Rollo, Lana Howard, Jana Stiller, David Simmonds, Damien Moorehouse, Neil Gould and Damien King

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