Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world, and provided arguably the best 2 days of our travels through Australia. It’s located a 45 min ferry ride off the coast of Hervey Bay. We went with Cool Dingo tours, and had an absolute blast 4-wheeling on sand roads in a massive truck, visiting crystal clear perch lakes, a 75-mile long beach, pristine aquifer rivers and the only rainforest growing from sand in the world. Taking a tour is highly recommended as the roads are completely made of soft sand, and unless you are a practiced 4-wheeler driver and have the proper vehicle, you will get stuck and won’t be able to access the whole island. Our guide Davie had grown up with the island and was very entertaining. He knew the best times to go to each must-see location, making our trip way more fun. Our tour cost $350, and you travel around with a fun group of about 30 other people. It’s mostly catered to younger “partying” travellers, but you can make the trip whatever you want it to be. The only time anyone was partying was at night; it’s not a huge day drinking party tour. It included two full days on the island, transportation from our hostel to the island and back, transportation around the island, accommodation overnight on the island and food throughout our stay.
We were picked up at our hostel the first day around 7:30am and made it to the ferry by 9am. Our driver was very nice, but he wasn’t with Cool Dingos so he wasn’t able to answer a lot of our questions. Most of your luggage is packed onto a separate truck once you get there, so you just take a day bag with you. You don’t need much, just a bathing suit, and if you want to have drinks during the day or while you watch the sunset, you should bring those in your day bag. You don’t get access to your large luggage until just before dinner.
After our 45 min ferry ride we arrived on the island and met up with our superstar guide Davie. He got us all set up, and went through dietary needs for our meals for the next few days, then we set off to Lake Mackenzie. We loaded into a school bus-like 4 wheel drive machine and tackled the soft sand roads. It was a bumpy ride but super fun, the back of the bus was especially chaotic. Davie gave hilarious commentary the whole time and was incredibly informative about the island. Growing up there he knew pretty much any fact you wanted to know.
Once we arrived at Lake Mackenzie (pictured in the feature image at the top of the page) we changed into bathing suits in the bathroom and had about 2 hours to enjoy the crystal clear perch lake. Since it was a stagnant lake completely composed of rain water, you could see right to the bottom. The pure white sand and surrounding forest also contributed to the amazing experience. While we were playing in the water and striving for the perfect tourist-less picture, Davie was setting up our lunch of make-your-own sandwiches, pasta salad and chicken. He also had a constant supply of cold water so bring a water bottle to fill up. We enjoyed our meals and were visited by Kookaburras and a good sized monitor lizard.
Once our stomachs were happy we headed out on a nature hike, narrated by our knowledgeable guide. We ended up at a sacred aboriginal birthing river, which was fueled by an underground aquifer and was also crystal clear like Lake Mackenzie. We saw kingfishers, a dingo and cockatoo along the way. Davie also pointed out some trees that were only found on Fraser Island.
We drove back to the jetty to watch the sunset over the mainland, then headed to our lodging. We grabbed our larger packs and were given our assigned room keys. The lodges were pretty nice; each had 4 rooms with two bunk beds in each, all attached to an open space with a kitchen and a large balcony out front. The lodges had a separate girls and boys bathroom as well. Just a short walk down the road at Dingo Bar was where the buffet was set up. The food was pretty good, it had a happy hour for drinks later in the evening and we all had a fun time.
Got up super early to grab breakfast and get on the bus at 7:45am. We trucked over to the 75-mile beach on the east side of the island, which is a beautiful sight all on its own. We were given the option to take a short scenic flight over the island, taking off and landing on the beach. It costs an additional $80, so being cheap, we opted out but a lot of people did it and had a blast. You’re able to get a better sense of how large the island is, and how many perch lakes are hidden in the rainforest.
Our first stop was at the Colourful Pinnacles which were towers of sand coloured with different minerals. After that we went to Indian Head, one of only three rock formations on the island. We hiked up and got an awesome view of the long beach, and we were also able to see manta rays, turtles and dolphins swimming in the water. From there we drove the last little bit of the beach to Champagne Pools. Here we were able to swim in pools created by a rock formation, while waves from the ocean crashed over us. No risk from the sharks that are common along the Fraser Island coast, but if you bring a mask you can check out some tropical fish swimming around the pools. We had about an hour and a half to swim and climb around the rocks before our make-your-own wrap lunches.
After lunch we headed back and made a stop at a shipwreck. The S.S. Maheno was a massive cruise ship, but only the rusted top bit is visible, the rest being buried under the sand on the island. Our last stop was at Eli Creek for some lazy tubing and relaxing. The cool aquifer water is amazingly refreshing. We spent 1.5 hours there then headed back to our lodges by 7pm. We packed up and ate another buffet dinner before our ferry left back to the mainland at 8pm. From there a coach bus took us back to our hostels, and since we weren’t staying the night our driver was nice enough to drive us to the bus station.
The tour did a great job of fitting all of the highlights of the island into two excitement filled days. We had friends that did the third day which is an option for an additional cost, and they said it was fun but we didn’t miss anything important. Davie our guide really made the trip special. His immense knowledge and constant hilarious commentary kept us entertained. We highly recommend visiting Fraser Island, and we think going with Cool Dingos is the best way to do it.