Fraser Island has been very high on my bucket list for a very long time. Organised tours really don’t work well for me with my anxiety the way it is sometimes, so I don’t do them often. However, the desire to see this beautiful world heritage listed island was strong – and I had one of the best travel days of my life!
Thankfully, when we booked our Airbnb in Hervey Bay, the owner of the apartment asked if we would like him to take us on a private guided 1 day tour of the Island instead of booking with a big company. Paul is a registered tour guide in the area and his knowledge of the Island was absolutely incredible. More on that later. Book your first trip with Airbnb and receive £25.00 travel credit when you click here to book.
My alarm went off at 4:15am on Tuesday 9th January. For the first time since arriving in Australia 5 weeks ago, I was awake before sunrise. Waking up 1.5 hours before I need to leave the house allows me to gather myself properly. I watched the sun rise over the huge acreage of the property and made myself a brew. We were leaving at 6:10am sharp.
We arrived at the Fraser Island Ferry terminal at River Heads bright and early. The 45 minute trip on the boat over to the Island was comfortable and relaxing. The boat has everything you need on board. There is a little coffee shop with snacks, tea, coffee and even alcoholic drinks too. (Although a bit too early for that!). IBS friends out there – yes, there’s even a toilet. It was clean- which is a bit of a surprise for boats like this!
Disembarking the boat in our four wheel drive, Paul drove us through incredible sand tracks and out on to 75 mile beach. Check out this video of us driving up the beach. Here we stopped to marvel at the Maheno Shipwreck, which washed ashore to Fraser Island in 1935 after being wrecked in a cyclone. Possibly even more interesting was the fact that the ship was originally built in Dumbarton, Scotland!
Then, we headed further up the beach, swerving light aircraft along the way who use the sand as their take-off and landing strip!
Arriving at the volcanic formation ‘Indian Head’, named by Captain Cook some time in May 1770, we took the short hike to the top of the headland to admire the view. It was postcard perfect. Exactly how you would imagine it to be. The water was a sparkling turquoise, we could see for miles and we even spotted a shark in the water below. It can be quite time challenging to fit in getting to Indian Head on a 1 day tour, but our guide Paul managed to squeeze it in for us, and I’m so glad he did!
Paul drove us back in the direction we had come from, to a picnic area for morning tea. Whilst my friends indulged in delicious looking muffins and cookies, I had my fruit and nuts. Since finding out that I have a severe gluten intolerance, I’d had to avoid lots of foods like this, which can make eating out a bit tricky. I bring my own packed lunches everywhere I go now and it takes the stress out of eating.
After our morning tea, we took the car to Eli Creek where we discovered crystal clear, fresh water pumping almost 5 million litres of water into the ocean every single hour! How incredible is that? We drank some of the fresh water, it was ice cold and very refreshing! We took our bathers and had a paddle in the creek, then walked the length of it out towards the ocean. It was quite an experience as the creek is surrounded by huge ferns, trees and other rainforest plants.
From there, we made our way inland through some seriously bumpy sand tracks to freshwater Lake Mackenzie. What can I say? Another breathtakingly beautiful part of this country. There are so many. We took a dip in the lake, did some swimming and cooled off a little before lunch. By this point, we really needed to cool off! I don’t think the photographs actually do this justice but I will add some anyway.
A short drive found us at Central Station for lunch. Central Station is really a bit of an overstatement. The buzz that once was is now absent, but this history remains steadfast. We learned about the logging industry, how Fraser Island came to be named and about the indigenous communities that still exist here. After picnicking for lunch, we took a short walk in the rainforest. Rainforest walks are up there in my top 3 things to do whilst traveling, so I was in my element. We came across lots of different types of trees, plants, and even saw an eel in the freshwater creek. There is no rock or stone on the island, so the creek runs silently through the rainforest with absolutely no noise whatsoever. It’s quite eerie. The insect and bird noises make up for the water’s silence though. We even came across some funnel web spider nests. You certainly don’t want to be messing with those!
The day was quickly coming to an end and we had to start heading back towards the ferry terminal at Kingfisher Bay Resort. By this point, I have to admit that I was pretty much over the whole four wheel drive thing! If you suffer with travel sickness, I would advise you take every precaution possible before hitting the sand tracks of Fraser Island. I rarely suffer with travel sickness anymore, but towards the end I was very close to puking out the car window!
With feet on steady land again, we spent around 40 minutes having a look around Fraser’s top resort – Kingfisher Bay Resort. By this point in your 1 day tour, you are going to be GASPING for a cold drink. Trust me. Take advance of the Day Resort’s bar and treat yourself to a reasonably priced ice cold white wine, beer or soft drink. You’ve earned it!
In my opinion, Fraser Island is an absolute must do – my only regret is not spending the night there and taking two or three days to see more of the island. If you get the chance to do this, snap it up. There are lots of opportunities to camp, or spend time at one of the two resorts on the island. I most certainly will be going back at some point to do this.