Your Need-to-Know Guide to the Fraser Island Great Walk
If your idea of the perfect weekend involves strapping on your hiking boots, switching off your phone and disappearing into the wilderness, the Fraser Island Great Walk may already be on your bucket-list.
Whether you do the entire 90km walk or just tackle smaller chunks at a time, World Heritage-listed Fraser Island is the perfect place to slow down and reconnect with nature on a deeper level.
It’s time to stop thinking and start planning. Read on for inspiration to get you started on your walking trip of a lifetime.
Soak up the scenery without using all your stamina
You don’t have to be an athlete to tackle the walking tracks on Fraser Island, but you will need to pack a moderate level of fitness. Get a taste of the island without committing to a multi-day trek with these short but sweet walks.
● Trek along the ridge of an enormous sand dune on the 8km Beerillbee Trail. Take the steep sand track out of Kingfisher Bay Resort and follow the signs to be rewarded incredible views of the Great Sandy Strait.
● Explore subtropical rainforest and tranquil waters as you follow the boardwalk along Wangoolba Creek, a sacred place of the Butchulla women, Fraser Island’s traditional owners. The 0.9km return trip from Central Station (a former forestry camp) is flat and easygoing, with plenty of wildlife-spotting opportunities.
● Go wild swimming on a 3.1km round trek to Lake Wabby. Bordered by a giant sand dune on one side and lush forest on the other, this spectacular perched lake (one of 40 on Fraser) has deep, green waters perfect for floating and daydreaming. Parts of this walk are exposed dunes, so stock up on drinking water and protect yourself from the sun.
Get off the beaten track on a full day hike
If you’re fit enough to spend a whole day on foot, challenge yourself to take on a few of the longer hikes that make up the Fraser Island Great Walk.
Expect challenging routes of between 12 and 25km that will take you through open forest and wetlands, along rainforest-clad ridges and past giant freshwater lakes. Here are three of the best.
● Take the inland Lake McKenzie circuit walk (25.5km / 8-10 hrs) for a journey to the very heart of the island. Stop at the midway point to bathe in the glassy waters of Fraser’s most famous body of water, a golden-rimmed lake perched high in the dunes.
● If you’d prefer not to encounter other tourists, make beautiful, isolated Lake Birrabeen your destination for the day. Take the 12.8km round trip from Central Station and give yourself a good half-day to complete the walk (don’t forget to allow an hour or two’s swimming and picnicking time).
● Walk among some of the oldest trees on Fraser Island on a track that takes you from Lake Wabby to the aptly-named Valley of the Giants. Trek through shady forest and past views of the Badjala Sandblow on this 7 hour, 16km adventure.
Remember: these sections of the Great Walk are pretty remote, so take everything you need to be self-sufficient. Make sure your pack contains a compass, food, personal locator beacons and plenty of water.
Trek and camp your way around Fraser on an epic 8 day adventure
Looking for even more of a challenge? Immerse yourself in nature on the entire Fraser Island Great Walk, which stretches for more than 90km and can take around eight days to complete.
Marvel at the ever-changing landscape as you journey through coastal wallum to woodlands and subtropical rainforest at the island’s centre. Then pitch your tent or unroll your swag at the end of each day’s hike and let the sounds of nature lull you gently to sleep.
If you prefer to pace yourself, you don’t have to attempt it all in one go. Plan your trip in advance by checking out the locations of various hiker camps and vehicle access points and take your time exploring each part of the island.
Rather sleep with a roof over your head? Kingfisher Bay and Eurong Beach resorts have teamed up with the folks at Auswalk to offer a 7 or 8-day self-guided walking trip, overnighting at both resorts along the way. There’s also a guided walking itinerary with an opt-out option for those that don’t want to cover the full trail distance.
7 quick tips for tackling the Fraser Island Great Walk
- Wear tried and tested quick-dry walking boots (BYO blister kit), take plenty of water, insect repellent, sun protection and a first aid kit.
- Don’t rush it. Buddy up and tackle the trails at the pace of your slowest walking companion.
- Tell someone where you’re going, your route and when you’re due back. Walkers can register these details at both resorts.
- Jump online to sort out your hiker’s camp permit if you’re overnighting.
- Applying sunscreen before swimming in the lakes can damage their fragile ecosystem. Consider a rash vest, hat and sunglasses as an eco-alternative.
- Your goal should always be to leave nothing behind you but footprints. Staying on track helps protect the native flora and fauna.
- Stay dingo safe: plan to reach your campsite by dark and keep food in the food lockers provided.
Looking for more incredible Queensland walks to add to your bucket-list? Try these on for size.