Fraser Island 4×4 self drive: a 3 day itinerary to this famous island in Australia

Fraser Island is one of the most beautiful places on the East Coast of Australia! There are many cool things to do on the world’s largest sand island. For the ones who love camping in the outdoor and go off the beaten path, exploring Fraser Island by four-wheel drive is a must!

In this blog, you read everything you need to know about a road trip on Fraser Island by 4×4. We share our experiences, tell you where to rent a 4wd for Fraser Island, inform you on top-attractions and give you a 3-day itinerary for Fraser Island.

Relaxing on Fraser Island

3 days on Fraser Island with a 4wd: our experiences!

Here we go, in our big four-wheel drive towards Fraser Island. Below you read about our experiences while staying for three days on Fraser Island. For us the itinerary below was perfect, perhaps it will be for you too!

Day 1: Rainbow Beach, Double Island and Fraser Island

Close to Fraser Island, you have a lovely beach called Rainbow Beach, which borders the Cooloola Recreation Area. You can explore this peninsula either on foot or by 4wd. We go for the last option and make a loop via Rainbow Beach, Double Island, and travel back inland through the magnificent Cooloola Recreation Area.

Tip: if you have extra time, consider visiting Double Island too! This peninsula is located near Rainbow Beach and contains an old lighthouse, beautiful bays and is a good test to drive on the sand.

Travel Guide Double Island Point Lighthouse

In the afternoon we go, leave towards Fraser Island. After a short ferry crossing, we drive onto the beach. A strange feeling, driving on the soft sand during low tide. On one side you see the turquoise sea, with high waves, on the other side you see dunes, some rocks and many small creeks.

Note: you are only allowed to drive on Fraser Island’s beach during low tide.

Dingoes on Fraser Island: the natural resident of Fraser Island

After only a few kilometres of driving, we are welcomed by the famous local inhabitant: the dingo! Dingoes are wild animals that look exactly like dogs. The dingo is descended from the wolf and is beautiful to see.

Here on Fraser Island, dingoes are protected and often curious to new visitors. We drive slowly past the dingo. After reading leaflets on how to deal with dingoes we are a bit scared of them. Later on, we see many more dingoes. If you keep your distance and don’t pay attention to them, they will ignore you too. So, don’t worry about them, but keep in mind they are wild animals!

Day 2: Exploring the 75-mile beach road, the Champagne Pools and Lake Allom

After our first night sleeping at a beach campground, we get up early. At five o’clock to be precise, because we want to catch the sunrise at a large shipwreck. We arrive right on time and it is beautiful!

We continue our journey via the 75-mile beach road (which is the so-called highway of Fraser Island) to the Champagne pools. On our way we make a quick stop to pitch our tent at another campground close to the ocean. This way we don’t have to do this tonight!

Note: Most campgrounds are in the middle of nature, only marked by some poles. At these campsites you won’t find toilets, running water, electricity or what so ever. It is just you and mother nature.

Having fun on Fraser Island Hide and seek

Relaxing in the Champagne Pools of Fraser Island

When we arrive at the Champagne Pools, we realize how popular this place is! It’s one of the few places where you can swim and cool off safely in seawater. The rest of the sea is full of sharks, jellyfish and has a strong current.

During high tide, the small pools fill up with water. The foamy seawater that floats into these pools is the reason why they are called the Champagne Pools. It is a lovely place to cool off, however, there is no shade. So bring sunscreen and a hat.

Travel Guide Fraser Island Champagne pools

Spotting sharks from Indian Head and swimming with turtles in Lake Allom

After an hour of relaxation at the Champagne Pools, we drive to Indian Head. Indian Head is the highest point of Fraser Island. From this viewpoint, you can spot sharks, dolphins and turtles!

Our next stop is Lake Allom. But first, we have to fill up our water tank and take a shower at a paid campground. Lake Allom is located in the inland of Fraser Island. A dirt road takes you through dense tropical rainforest. Although the water is brown-coloured, it is safe to swim. At Lake Allom, you can spot many small turtles and you can make a nice walk around the lake.

We end our second day with our self-cooked couscous salad. The best part? Enjoying our diner with a glass of wine on the beach and watching the sun slowly set!

Travel Guide Fraser Island Lake Allom

Day 3: Hiking and swimming in the best lakes of Fraser Island!

It’s a new day, a new adventure awaits us! Again we drive on the beach. It’s low tide, so the sea is far away from our 4wd. Half an hour later we arrive at Eli Creek, a small freshwater river that flows into the sea. A perfect place to cool off!

Hiking on big sand dunes all the way to Lake Wobby

Our next stop is Lake Wobby, a green lake in the middle of a desert-like landscape surrounded by thick forest. A nice walk of approximately an hour which offers great views! Even better, swimming in this marvellous lake!

Travel Guide Fraser Island Lake Wabby

Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island: the most beautiful lake I have ever seen!

We drive towards Lake McKenzie. And wow, that is really the highlight of Fraser Island! A beautiful turquoise lake, with white sand surrounded by forests. The deeper you go, the darker the water becomes! It almost feels like we are on Bora Bora!

Travel Guide Fraser Island Charlotte Plans a Trip

Unfortunately, Lake McKenzie is also our last sight here on Fraser. After one last night camping at the Central Station campsite, we drive via the 75-mile beach back to Hookpoint. Here it’s time to say goodbye to Fraser Island and our amazing 4×4 jeep with which we have explored Fraser Island!

Read all about Brisbane, the place from where we drove to Fraser Island!

What is Fraser Island and where is it located in Australia?

Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. The island has many beaches, tropical rainforest and wonderful freshwater lakes.

Map of Australia including Fraser Island

Top attractions of the East Coast of Australia Map of Australia Travel Guide

Fraser is located in northeastern Australia, a three-hour drive from Brisbane. You can only enter Fraser Island per four-wheel drive. Normal cars are not allowed on the island (there are no roads on Fraser Island).

Click here for the best Australia East Coast itineraries!

How many days do you need for Fraser Island?

We recommend spending a minimum of three days on Fraser Island. There is a lot to see, the island is quite large and the tides make it difficult to travel fast. We stayed four days and three nights at Fraser Island which was perfect.

Tip: make sure you have enough fuel with you. There are four (very expensive) gas stations on the island.

Want to see more of eastern Australia? Visit Byron Bay or Noosa on the Sunshine Coast!

Charlotte plans a Trip Photography

Fraser Island things to do and see:

There are many things to do and see on Fraser Island. Below you find a map with the top attractions of Fraser Island.  Use the map and explanation below to compile your own itinerary for Fraser Island.

Map of Fraser Island top attractions: Things to do and see!

Travel Guide to Fraser Island Top attractions to do on Fraser.001

75 Mile Beach of Fraser Island

The entire east coast of Fraser is a beautiful long golden beach. At low tide, you can drive for hours on the 75-mile beach road. Enjoy riding on the sandy beaches but keep in mind the maximum speed (e.g 60 km/hour).

Warning: Don’t even think about driving through and near the seawater since this can damage the cars!

Travel Guide Fraser Island walking on 75 mile beach

Floating on Eli Creek in Fraser Island

Eli Creek is a beautiful freshwater river that flows into the beach. The water is cool and there is a soft current. Bring a floaty and you can have hours of fun floating from one end of the river to the other!

Travel Gruide Fraser island cooling of at Eli Creek

Sunrise or sunset at Maheno Shipwreck on Fraser Island

In the middle of the beach, on the water’s edge, lies a huge shipwreck, the SS Maheno. On July 7, 1935, this ship was hit during a cyclone and eventually washed up on Fraser Island. The wreck is still there and has become a popular landmark on Fraser.

Travel guide Fraser Island Things to see Shipwreck sunrise

Indian Head on Fraser Island

In the north of the 75 Mile Beach, you will find the Indian Head hill. After a short hike, you can spot sharks, turtles, dolphins and sometimes even whales in the water around Fraser Island.

Travel Guide Fraser Island Best things to do Indian Head

Champagne Pools on Fraser Island

The Champagne Pools are a must-see on Fraser. These are pools surrounded by rocks which fill up with water during high tide. This is the only place on Fraser where it is safe to swim in seawater.

Tip: swimming in the Champagne Pool is a popular activity and it is therefore packed with tourists between 10 am and 3 pm.

Travel Guide Fraser Island Best things to do Champange pools

Lake Allom on Fraser Island

Lake Allom is a less-visited landmark on Fraser Island, but it is definitely worth a stop. Especially to see the small freshwater turtles that live in the water. They come to you immediately when you step into the water.

Lake Wabby on Fraser Island

This beautiful bright green lake is located in a large sand dune between the forests. Every year Lake Wabby gets a little smaller because more sand blows from the dunes into the lake.

The great contrast between the white sand and the green water is cool to see! You reach Lake Wabby after a hike of 2.5 kilometres from the beach or 1 kilometre from the inland route.

Note: the road to Lake Wabby is quite bumpy and full of tree roots and potholes. So drive slowly and stay safe.

Lake Mckenzie on Fraser Island!

Our absolute highlight in terms of activities on Fraser Island was the visit to Lake Mckenzie. This beautiful clear blue lake with pearl white sand feels like a true paradise!

Tip: make sure to plan enough time for Lake Mckenzie! This is the perfect place to spend a whole afternoon relaxing and admiring this picture-perfect lake!

Everything you need to know about renting a 4×4 for Fraser Island

We did a self-drive road-trip on Fraser Island. By 4wd, we had complete freedom to explore this beautiful island at our own pace. This is something we can highly recommend! It is a great adventure and with the right guidance completely safe!

We rented our 4×4 car and camping gear at Rainbow Beach 4×4 Hire*. This nice family business which has well-maintained Landcruisers and helps you planning your itinerary while informing you about the tides and more you need to know on driving on Fraser Island.

Rainbow Beach 4x4 Hire at Rainbow beach

Is a self drive on Fraser Island with a 4wd dangerous?

No, if you follow the rules, a self-drive on Fraser Island is completely safe. Rainbow Beach 4×4 Hire provides two videos on how to drive safely on a 4wd. Watching this video helped us a lot and made sure we could really enjoy Fraser Island.

Useful tips for driving offroad on Fraser Island:

  • Take into account the tides. During high tide, it is forbidden to drive on the beaches because you can get stuck.
  • Respect the speed limits on Fraser Island.
  • Pay attention to the small rivers that run from the mainland into the see.

We never got stuck in the sand. I guess that has to do with the quality of the vehicles of Rainbow Beach 4×4 Hire.  However, if you get stuck, use the provided shovel and a large piece of wood to set yourself free.

Rainbow Beach 4x4 rentals and shipwreck sunrise

Do you have cellphone connection on Fraser Island?

In most places, you have little to no phone connection on Fraser Island. The map that comes with Rainbow Beach 4×4 Hire shows a number of places where your phone can reach with a Telstra SIM card.

If you have the Optus provider, you only have cellphone coverage at Central Station. Besides, landline telephones are available at ranger stations so that you can still make calls.

Camping on Fraser Island

Where do you rent a four-wheel drive for Fraser Island?

As you already notice, we are a big fan of Rainbow Beach 4×4 Hire. This car-rental company is located in Rainbow Beach close to the barge. They take plenty of time for you, think along and explain everything about the car.

Since Rainbow Beach 4×4 Hire is a small family business, there is a lot of room for personal attention! This isn’t a big commercial and therefore detached car rental company. Tessa and Shenae, our contact persons were highly dedicated to giving us an amazing experience, which we definitely had!

The four-wheel drives you rent for Fraser are well maintained and are easy to drive.

Click here for more information on Rainbow Beach 4×4 Hire.

Young and Free outdoor and adventure

To be honest, planning your own itinerary for Fraser Island is quite a challenge since you have to take into account the tides that change every single day. Fortunately, Rainbow Beach 4×4 Hire helps you very well with this.
They make an extensive itinerary for you, stating exactly when you can and cannot drive on the beaches and how much time to spend between the various sights. Super convenient and helpful!

Travel guide Fraser Island Australia

Where to sleep on Fraser Island: hotels and campgrounds on Fraser Island

There are a number of hotels on Fraser Island that range from luxury hotels to budget accommodations. However, what we did and what we recommend, is camping on Fraser Island.

There are a number of campgrounds on Fraser and there are also special areas where you can camp on the beach. The latter is really cool! You can hear the sound of the waves at night, wake up to a perfect sunrise and enjoy nature!

Rainbow Beach 4×4 Hire provides suggestions regarding fine campsites and camping spots. You can also rent all camping gear at Rainbow Beach 4×4 Hire.

Do you prefer to sleep in a hotel? Look at this practical overview of all hotels on Fraser Island!

Travel guide Fraser Island camping life

How to get to Fraser Island: Ferry (barge) from Rainbow Beach vs Harvey Bay

You reach Fraser by ferry from two locations on the mainland of Australia: Rainbow Beach and Harvey Bay. We recommend taking the ferry (also called barge) to Fraser Island from Rainbow Beach/Inskip Point.

The main reason is that the ferry from Inskip point is cheaper and the duration is much shorter than taking the ferry from Harvey Bay. Besides, you don’t need to book your ferry in advance if you travel from Inskip Point.

4x4 hire and Ferry from Inskip

How much does it cost to go to Fraser Island?

Wondering if visiting Fraser Island in Australia is expensive? Below you will find an overview of the costs when you visit Fraser Island and hire a 4wd with camping gear for three days!

How much does it cost to visit and drive a 4wd on Fraser Island?

  • 4wd rental (3 days): $600
  • 4wd permit: $52.75
  • Ferry from Inskip (barge): $130
  • Gasoline: $185

Total cost for visiting and driving a 4×4 on Fraser: $967,75 Australian dollars. The average costs for visiting and driving on Fraser per day: $323 (2 persons)

How much does it cost to camp on Fraser Island?

  • Camping fee (3 nights): $39.90 ($6.65 per person per night)
  • Camping gear: $70
  • Food and drinks: $50 (i.e. cooking yourself)

The total cost of camping on Fraser Island for 4 days: $159,9. The average cost to camp per day: $39,97 (2 persons)

Curious how much our trip through Australia cost? Then read our Australia travel budget blog!

How to travel Fraser Island on a budget: 4×4 self-drive vs tour

The cost of visiting Fraser Island with a 4×4 is around $362/€200) a day. That is quite expensive. However, a two-day tour, where you explore Fraser Island by bus, cost also around $450/€250 per person!

So, with just two people, renting a 4×4 Landcruiser and doing a self-drive is already cheaper and more fun than booking a tour!

The best way to cut the cost down and get the most out of Fraser Island is by renting a 4wd with four friends! Taking into account space and comfort,  five people would be recommended the maximum for renting a Landcruiser if you have camping equipment. But you can fit up to eight people in the vehicle.

Rainbow Beach 4x4 75 mile Beach Road Fraser Island

Packing list: What to bring to Fraser Island?

Some packing list tips for what to take to Fraser Island. Be sure to bring enough bug spray and covering clothes. There are a lot of mosquitoes and horseflies on Fraser Island and these can be quite annoying!

There are restaurants, shops and even a gas station on Fraser Island. However, keep in mind that everything is much more expensive than on the mainland. If you’re travelling on a budget, we recommend cooking yourself on Fraser Island!

Curious which hotels, hostels and accommodation we like in Australia? Then read our Australia hotels east coast blog!

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All you need to know about a self-drive 4wd adventure exploring the beautiful Fraser Island in Australia! Including handy map, tips and costs overview!

More blogs on making a budget roadtrip trough Australia

* We travelled at the invitation of Rainbow Beach 4×4 Hire with a 4wd over Fraser Island.   Everything above is truthfully written based on our own experiences.

1 Comment

  1. by Jenny on 6 November 2023  21:06 Reply

    I love K'gari. We grew up in Hervey Bay so we went to the island heaps as children. I hadn't gone back for about 20 years until April when I did the Fraser Island Great Walk. Its such a special part of the world for sure.

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