"Worlds Biggest Sand Island" Fraser Island by pedroswift
Fraser Island Travel Guide: 166 reviews and 465 photos
Hire or take a guided tour?
Fraser Island is explored by driving on the open surf beach the sand surface of which changes constantly. With numerous washouts and rocky places requiring specialist knowledge to negotiate safely, driving is a challenge and downright dangerous for the uninitiated.
Roads are few. What are called roads are narrow, rutted , soft sand with nose to nose traffic including 4x4 buses.
The beach is a designated road and as such laws and road rules are enforceable.
Conventional wisdom restricts beach driving to a couple of hours either side of Low Tide. So knowledge of tide times is essential!! Movement planning to meet tide time is essential!!!
Problem.Do you have children with you??? By letting them play on the beach you are allowing them to "play on the freeway". Scary at times with the speeding 4x4 traffic.
A Permit to drive on the Island is required. Camping requires permit.
Speed limits are clearly marked and there is a police station on the island. Radar?
If you are not an Australian citizen: if you have never driven a four wheel drive before: if you have never driven on sand before: if you are not familiar with tides, beach topography, the rules re closed sections of beach; if you drink alcohol..............then......if you value your life - my advice to you is to take the latter option - take the guided tour. Don't drive.
This applies to YOU if you are a passenger of a vehicle driven by someone else who meets the above criteria. ie group of backpackers getting together to hire a 4x4.
Every year there are several accidents involving drivers meeting one or more of the above criteria. (42 serious accidents in 6 years). Some accidents result in fatalities.
In August 2008 there was a 2 vehicle accident requiring evacuation of 10 people after a head-on collision. The conclusion - that on the open beach neither driver knew on which side they should pass. One passenger died. What a waste. Pass by remaining on the LEFT (as in driving on Australian roads). If you are the driver keep left & indicate your intention to do so with flashing left indicator. Slow down.
Quite often the accidents are single vehicle accidents.
To meet public liability insurance requirements, Hire Vehicles are set up for on road driving instead of beach sand conditions. Trap for the inexperienced???
Some hire contracts have " a no contact with salt water" clause with financial penalties for entering salt water an inducement for drivers to take reckless evasive action to avoid waves while driving on the wet sand. Dangerous evasive action!!
Every year there is at least one accident involving foreign visitors rolling the hired vehicle. More often than not the head count of passengers exceeds the maximum safe load. Typically the vehicle is top heavy - loaded with camping gear on roof racks.
added April 19 '09-
Sadly on April 18th, 2009 eleven backpackers who met most of the criteria I have listed above were involved in rolling a single vehicle hired 4x4. (11 in car made for 7). Two were killed in the accident. Several severely injured. Driver was "non-Australian, had never driven a 4x4, had never driven on sand before" Sorry to harp on but re-read the above!!
See the warnings and danger tips on my Moreton Island Page
Dec 13 2009. Sadly another foreign tourist is dead and 7 are in hospital after a hired 4x4 rolled near Indian Head. The Japanese driver said at the inquest that he had not understood the hire company's English language video on beach driving.
2nd Jan 2010 First accident of the new year. Not fatal - but one person injured in a 2 vehicle collision.
?do-it-yourself - watch the hire company video on driving advice. If you can not understand the video, don't drive the vehicle!!!
Inspect the vehicle closely before hiring. A recent report after Transport Department Checks of many hire vehicles at several hire places indicated a huge percentage were not safe to drive.
2011: Since the introduction of a system in mid 2010 called "tag along" with which all 4 wheel-drive rental companies must comply, there have been no automobile fatalities on Fraser Island beaches. (accidents ? yes!)
An experienced driver-guide is required in the lead vehicle of hired 4x4's travelling in company.
A hidden statistic of Fraser Island 4x4 use is the number of deaths/accidents which happen to 4x4 hirers before they even get to the island.
4 deaths and 12 seriously injured in the last 10 years between the hire company premises and the Barge.
Keep your eye on the nominated driver and axe him (or her) if you doubt his ability. Don't feel obliged to travel at the speed limit : slower is safer!!
Allow at least 3 days for your camping trip. It's a big island. The need for speed to see it all in 1.5 days - dangerous!
Don't make sudden directional changes eg to avoid waves. I say again, "Don't make sudden directional changes!!!" If you're speeding on hard sand and hit a soft patch, the car often does an uncontrolled swerve. Don't speed.
Never enter sea water outside of rocks!!! Use the inland by-pass tracks!
Stay on the left to pass oncoming vehicles. Indicate with flashers.
Don't get over-confident. It looks easy. If it's easy, How come so many tourists leave in a body bag???
Other nasties waiting to get you!!
Another Warning: crocodiles! Yes the southern migration of crocodiles from the far north has seen several reported sightings of these potential man-killers. Warning signs are in place at Deep Creek and Fig Tree Creek on the western shore of Fraser and rangers have set traps to capture the critter(s).
Be Warned; Be Wary!!(latest reported sighting of crocs west of Fraser Is - March 2013)
If the crocs or dingoes don't get you maybe the Irunkandji Jelly fish will? . Two swimmers have survived stings during January 2009 (10 days apart) while swimming on Fraser Island west coast. Re-write the warning signs!!
mid - March 2012 5 year old girl swimming on western side of Fraser suffered irukandji jellyfish contact requiring three days in intensive care
Early Jan 2012 Irunkandji jellyfish on the move again. Seven recent reports of swimmers on west side of Fraser being stung. One young person seriously. Stay out of water on Western side of Fraser during Summer be aware that the venom of the IRUKANDJI is 100 times more potent than that of a cobra snake!!!
Fraser Island was named after Eliza Fraser who survived the shipwrecked of the brig the "Stirling Castle", 13 May 1836. Subsequently the captain, her husband, Capt. James Fraser sailed the ship's long boat with the survivors towards Sydney but came ashore for water on the island. Read about the story & the survival from being captured by natives.
There is anecdotal evidence that the island was known as "Kgari" or "Carree" by the traditional owners.
Fraser Island was World Heritage listed by UNESCO in 1992 in recognition of its natural values making it a "must-visit" place in Australia. Please stay safe on YOUR visit
Don't Feed the Dingoes +Goannas
Just to keep you on your toes: There are regular reports of dingo attacks on visitors to Fraser. These "wild" native dogs can get aggressive. Most attacks occur when visitors disobey the signs that say "Don't Feed the Dingoes". Mid April 2009: One particularly aggressive native dog was killed after several attacks on humans in this month.
7 August 2009: a four year old Dutch tourist was attacked by dogs that had just been fed by a visitor to Fraser. When will they ever learn? This is the tenth attack since a fatal attack on a nine year old boy in 2001..... Fatal? ...that's right! kid gone forever! I say again Don't feed the dogs!!!!
March 2010 - Animal Behavior Problems. Backpackers with I.Q.s smaller than their shoe sizes are harassing the native dingos in attempts to obtain photos of the dogs being aggressive. Half a dozen of these idiots were bitten by dogs in separate incidents in one week this month.
Jan 2011...Tourist from Korea surrounded by dingos one of which bit her several times...me thinks she was feeding them!!
April 2011....3 year old girl who wandered off on her own over the sandhills while parents waited on the beach for the ferry to arrive has been attacked by a dingo. Witness reported intervention by others prevented a fatality...parental supervision??? Two dingos were killed by rangers as a result. What punishment for the lax parents????
Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on dingo-proof fences around the two most popular residential areas of Fraser(complete with electrified grids at the gates) . As a result the balance of nature has been upset. Goannas, large monitor lizards, are in plague numbers because they are free from their natural predator - the dingo. Locals predict that it only a matter of time before a tourist is bitten by a goanna.
Fraser may be Heritage Listed but little has been done until recently about the desecration of wild beach front camping areas by visitors leaving behind faeces and urine during their camping stay on the island. 90,000 people camp on the eastern beaches each year. Now that's a lot of sh-it. Add the leavings of the 200,000 who visit on a day trip, a large percentage of whom take a quick visit behind the dunes to leave a calling card, and it equals disaster.
The wonderful once pristine perched lakes on Fraser are suffering as well as swimmers use them for baths leaving behind their bodily scum, soap and urine. Some are bright green. No! Not the swimmers: the lakes, silly! Maybe in the future the swimmers will turn green after a swim???
Will building chemical toilets at most visited areas fix the problem?? Hope so!!
Thankfully environmental protection is limiting camping to marked sections along the coast. You're expected to be careful with your toilet facilities.
Message to YOU - don't add your calling card to the mess.
Not wishing to add to the problem, We opted to use a commercial camp ground on our last visit - see accom tips on Frasers at Cathedral Beach.
- Pros:Sand island Scenery
- Cons:Beach driving a trap for the un-initiated.
- In a nutshell:The Worlds Biggest Sand Island
Read the signs before you leave the mainland. Speed Restrictions apply. It is not necessary to drive at the maximum... more travel advice
With the exception of overseas backpackers, the majority of visitors to Fraser Island are Australian recreational... more travel advice
pedroswift's Related Pages
Fraser Island Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "World's Largest Sand Island, World Heritage Listed"
- "Fraser Island: all the Outdoor you want"
- "Fraser Island...The world's largest Sand Island"
- "Largest All-Sand Island in the World!"
- "Fraser Island - paradise on earth"
- "Sweetberry's Frazer Island Page"
- "Worlds Biggest Sand Island"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Fraser Island
- Hotels in Fraser Island
- Transportation in Fraser Island
- Nightlife in Fraser Island
- Restaurants in Fraser Island
- Warnings and Dangers in Fraser Island
- See All...
Badges & Stats in Fraser Island
- 8 Reviews
- 37 Photos
- 7 Forum posts
- 4 Comments
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (21)
Have you been to Fraser Island?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Fraser Island
- Posted in Miscellaneous Forum "Re: Confused by time and distance"
- Wrote a Review Restrictions on Hired 4 wheeled drive vehicles in Fraser Island Transportation
- Uploaded a Photo to "Restrictions on Hired 4 wheeled drive vehicles"
- updated a Fraser Island Travel Page "Worlds Biggest Sand Island"
- Commented on one of pedroswift's Fraser Island travel pages
Photos in Fraser IslandSee All Photos (37)
Top 10 Pages
- Brisbane Intro, 38 reviews, 96 photos, 7 travelogues
- France Intro, 28 reviews, 80 photos, 8 travelogues
- Bourgogne Intro, 7 reviews, 63 photos, 10 travelogues
- Australia Intro, 13 reviews, 35 photos, 9 travelogues
- Fraser Island Intro, 8 reviews, 37 photos, 2 travelogues
- State of Queensland Intro, 21 reviews, 22 photos, 2 travelogues
- Paris Intro, 14 reviews, 27 photos, 1 travelogue
- Top 5 Page for this destination Mooloolaba Intro, 7 reviews, 32 photos, 1 travelogue
- Top 5 Page for this destination Caloundra Intro, 9 reviews, 28 photos
- Villers-Bretonneux Intro, 8 reviews, 24 photos, 1 travelogue