Everything you need to plan your Fraser Island camping trip
Please note the temporary closure of all Queensland campgrounds in national parks, state forests and state-managed recreation and protected areas, in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
Camping on Fraser Island is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in its natural beauty.
By day, there are crystal-clear lakes, pristine beaches and rainforest trails to explore on this World Heritage-listed island. By night, it’s hard to beat the peace and quiet under the stars.
Before you go, you’ll need to organise a permit and pick out your camping spot.
Here’s everything you need to know to plan your Fraser Island camping trip.
Before you go
First up, pre-arrange a permit for your vehicle and your campsite. You can do this easily on the Queensland Parks website.
You’ll also find the latest island condition report (helpful for picking your campsite if you’ve never been there), how to get there, track closures and dingo safety tips.
Permits can also be arranged through Fraser Island’s barge and ferry providers (see below).
Pack a first-aid kit, essential medications, insect repellent, a fuel stove, rubbish bags, extra camping pegs/ropes and lockable food containers.
Not sure what else you should pack? Check out this handy camping checklist.
You’ll need a 4WD to explore Fraser Island (or alternatively, book one of these Fraser Island tours).
Fraser Island Barges depart several times a day from River Heads near Hervey Bay.
You can either go to Wanggoolba Creek (30 minutes) or Kingfisher Bay (50 minutes).
From Inskip Point at Rainbow Beach, jump on the Manta Ray Barge, which leaves every 30 minutes between 6am and 5pm. The trip to Hook Point takes just 10 minutes.
Fraser Island’s 75 Mile Beach is one of the few sand landing strips in the world.
Air Fraser Island’s fleet of light aircrafts can transfer you to the island from Sunshine Coast Airport or Hervey Bay Airport.
Choosing a campsite
Fraser Island has 45 camping areas to choose from, with numerous fenced sites to keep out the dingoes. Where you stay will depend on what you want to be close to (shops, beach), amenities (not all campsites have toilets and showers), and what you want to do.
Best sunrise: If you want to wake up to a beautiful sunrise every day, head to Ocean Lake or one of the eight other camping spots on the eastern beach.
Best sunset: Head west to catch mango-coloured sunsets.
Family-friendly: Fenced sites are great for young families and are located at Central Station, Lake Boomanjin, Dundubara and Waddy Point.
Most isolated: There are 10 remote sites on Fraser Island – including the Sandy Cape at the northern tip – to bypass the crowds. Most of them are on the north-western side of the island between Moon Point in the south to Wathumba Spit in the north.
Best for fishing: You’ll hook a fish and a shady campsite at Ungowa on the south-western coastline.
Sites with fire pits: For the campfire experience, you’ll find fire pits at Dundubara and Waddy Point, but you’ll need to BYO clean, untreated timber. Open campfires aren’t allowed, so if you’re camping elsewhere, pack a gas/fuel stove.
Driving on Fraser Island is dependent on conditions, so take tides and ease of access into account when choosing your camping spot.
How to spend your days
Fraser Island has no shortage of hotspots to visit, but you’ll need a vehicle to get to most of them.
A 4WD gives you the flexibility to explore the island at your own pace.
Try a guided tour that combines the best of the island into a single day to help you get your bearings, then revisit your favourite spots on your own time during the rest of your stay.
Swimming in the ocean is not recommended in most areas of the island due to the dangerous conditions, especially along 75 Mile Beach.
Lake McKenzie makes up for it with its white sand beach and vibrant blue water. You could easily spend an entire day here.
For a change of scenery, the Wanggoolba Creek boardwalk takes you through the towering rainforest and follows the crystal-clear creek. The 700-metre circuit takes about 30 minutes to walk around.
Spend the day on the water at Kingfisher Bay, where you can hire canoes, kayaks and stand up paddleboards. Located on the sheltered western side, it’s safe for families to swim in these calm waters.
Fraser Island has some gorgeous pockets that are slightly off the beaten track. If you have the time and the inclination, add The Valley of the Giants, Lake Allom and the Southern Lakes Circuit to your hit list.
If you’re only visiting for the weekend, here’s how to spend 48 hours on Fraser Island.
Fraser Island lets you camp your way. If you like to rough it away from civilisation where it’s just you and nature, no problem. If you want a campfire, hot showers and flushing toilets, you’ll find everything on your wish list at numerous campsites around the island.
When it comes to Fraser Island, the most important thing to do is fuel up before you leave. On the island, you can purchase fuel at Kingfisher Bay Resort, Eurong Beach, Happy Valley, Cathedral On Fraser and Orchid Beach, but you’ll pay premium prices. You’ll also be able to pick up water, ice, basic grocery items and souvenirs at all these locations.
Oh, and if you don’t feel like camp cooking, Eurong Beach Resort’s pizzas are delicious. The island’s coffee offerings aren’t quite up to capital city standard, but they will give you that all-important fix until you’re back on the mainland. The doughnuts at Eurong Bakery are a must-try.
Mobile phone coverage is patchy, so you’ll have to wait until you’re near the resorts and townships for the best reception.
Fraser Island’s wildlife
The wildlife on Fraser Island is incredibly diverse. There are 47 other species of mammals, more than 354 species of birds, and 79 species of reptiles, including 19 types of snakes. But perhaps the most famous locals are the dingoes.
Fraser Island is one of the best places in Australia to see dingoes. They roam freely among the island, and while it’s a rare treat to watch them in their natural habitat, it’s important to keep your distance from these wild animals. Dingoes are naturally cautious of people, however they are opportunistic hunters and scavengers so it’s essential that you do not feed them or leave food scraps around.
If you’re camping at a site with food lockers, use them. If you’re not, lock your food up inside of your vehicle, bury fish innards deep and use the waste transfer stations. Never leave food or eat inside your tent – the scent will draw dingoes. Dingoes are also attracted to cooking gear, soaps, shampoos, clothing and toys, so secure them in your vehicle. Do not take any food to lakes, as they are common stomping grounds for dingoes.
Families with children under the age of 16 are advised to camp only in fenced areas. Never travel alone on Fraser Island, and keep kids within arm’s length. You should never encourage a dingo’s attention and do not excite them. If they come close, stay calm and stand tall.
Cast your eye out to the ocean to spot dolphins, dugongs, turtles and rays playing not far from the shore. The abundance of bait fish off the beaches is handy for fishing.
From August to October, migrating humpback whales don’t just swim by, they often stay awhile. The best whale watching spot on Fraser Island is in the calm waters of Platypus Bay on the western side. Or, get up close on a whale watching tour, which can be booked through Kingfisher Bay Resort.
Eco-friendly tips for Fraser Island
It takes a team effort to keep Fraser Island beautiful.
Follow these eco-friendly tips during your visit:
- Refrain from applying sunscreen or insect repellent until after swimming. The chemicals may impact water quality and harm its inhabitants.
- Don’t feed, touch or approach native animals. Human interaction can alter their behaviour patterns, potentially endangering them and yourself.
- Use the bins provided or take all your rubbish with you when you leave the island. Do not bury rubbish.
If you want to half your time between camping and accommodation, eco-resort Kingfisher Bay Resort is a great family-friendly option on the calm western side. Fraser Island Retreat is centrally located on the eastern ocean side in the heart of the Happy Valley town, with easy access to inland tracks and the beach.
For more amazing places to pitch a tent, check out some of Queensland’s best camping sites.