Spending Two Days on Australia’s Fraser Island
Located just off Australia’s east coast, Fraser Island is the largest sand island and the only sand-based rainforest in the world. To get to the 120-kilometer-long island, you need to take a ferry from Rainbow Beach or River Heads in Queensland. The ferries leave a couple of times a day. You can also take a car on board, which, in my opinion, is essential for any trip to the island. Fraser Island is best explored with a four-wheel drive, which you can rent yourself, or opt for a guided tour if you’re uncomfortable driving in the sand.
Visiting Fraser Island was a unique experience that shouldn’t be missed off of any Australia itinerary! Based on my own trip to the island, I’ve put together this two-day itinerary for your next vacation!
Day 1: Hungry Fish and Shiny Stars
Get Used to Driving
Unless you’ve driven on sand before, Fraser Island will be a completely new experience. While the sand along the coast is firmer and easier to drive on, the sand that makes up many of the inland roads is much softer. Driving without a four-wheel drive is impossible on all these roads! Even with the right car, it’s easy to get stuck in the sand and have to recruit someone to push the car for you.
After you’ve gotten used to driving, get ready for your first stop. Lake Wabby, on the eastern side of the island, is a beautiful green-colored lake. It’s the deepest lake on the island (max. 12m) and one of the few that’s home to fish. The lake is great for cooling down in the Australian heat, but don’t be surprised if you feel something nibbling on your feet and legs. The small fish living in the lake like to eat dead skin!
To get to Lake Wabby, you’ll have to follow a small path for about half an hour. The walk through the rainforest and over the sand dunes that surround the lake is beautiful in itself! The sand dunes look great but are in fact the lakes’ biggest enemy. The sand is slowly moving into the lake and will eventually fill it completely.
Watch the Stars
There are a few hotels and cottages on Fraser Island; however, if you’re feeling a little bit more adventurous, I’d recommend staying on one of the campsites. Bring the day to a close with a delicious BBQ and stargazing session. During my stay on Fraser Island, I was lucky enough to experience a completely cloud-free night and the sky was illuminated by stars. I’ve never seen the Milky Way that clear! Not only was the sky shining, so was the sand at the beach. Due to a chemical reaction, the sand glows green whenever someone moves their foot over it quickly!
If you’re out at night, be aware of the dingoes living on the island. While they might look like cute dogs, they are wild animals and will attack if they feel threatened.
Day 2: Great Views and Cool Rivers
Watch the Sunrise
Regardless of whether you opted for a hotel or campsite, I’d recommend you stay somewhere along the east coast of the island. Why? You can get up at 5:00 and watch the sunrise over the ocean!
75 Mile Beach Road
After having breakfast, hop back in your car and head to the Fraser Island Beach Track, also known as 75 Mile Beach Road. The track runs along most of the island’s east coast and is said to be one of best coastal drives in the world. Don’t be tempted to go for a swim; with strong currents and a large shark population, a dip is pretty risky!
Follow the 75 Mile Beach Road until you reach Indian Head, the end of the road and the most easterly point of Fraser Island. Climb to the top of the cliff for a great view over the ocean and island. You’ll be able to see turtles and mantarays nearly all the time, but, with some luck, you might even spot sharks and whales too! The walk to the top is not an easy one and even includes some rock climbing at the beginning. Be sure to wear suitable shoes and don’t get too close to the cliffs!
Drive back southwards on the 75 Mile Beach Road for about an hour and a half to find the S.S. Maheno, a former ocean liner. The famous shipwreck was washed ashore during a cyclone in 1935 and has become one of the most famous attractions on Fraser Island.
The path to Eli Creek begins just 30 minutes from S.S. Maheno. After spending quite a long time in the car, this small river offers is a welcome change to cool down. In fact, the river is a lot cooler than most water bodies along Australia’s east coast, but definitely not too cold to go in.
Eli Creek was one of my favorite stops on Fraser Island: make sure to follow the wooden boardwalk inland and then float back in the creek!
If you aren’t fed up of swimming, there’s one more stop that I’d highly recommend visiting before heading back to the mainland. Lake McKenzie is not easy to reach, as the road through the woods is pretty steep and covered with very loose sand, making it easy to get stuck!
The drive is absolutely worth the risk, as it’s one of the cleanest lakes I’ve ever seen in my life! In fact, the water is so pure that there’s barely anything living in the lake. The beautiful green water is surrounded by white, soft sand, making it a beautiful destination to end your trip. If you’re planning to stay another night on Fraser Island, I’d recommend checking out the campsite at McKenzie.
Caroline is the founder of NextStop24, a brand-new travel inspiration, and review website. She doesn’t believe anyone should spend hours on research: finding your dream destination should only require a few clicks!
Caroline’s always up for a city break or beach vacation but also loves open landscapes like the Australian Outback. Iceland, South Africa, and Canada are just some of the places that are still on her bucket list.