Fraser Island is an iconic Australian destination that every family should have on their holiday bucket list. Only a few hours north of Brisbane, this World Heritage Listed paradise is the largest sand island in the world, has a population less than 200 and boasts some of the most spectacular beaches, lakes, rainforests and wildlife in Australia.
Perfect for family adventure, this magical island offers luxury resorts, rugged wilderness camping, swimming, fishing, shipwrecks, rainforest walks and everything in between. Two car ferries provide access from the mainland to the island, but once you are on the island you will need a 4WD to navigate the inland sand tracks and the open beaches. If you don’t have your own 4WD you can either hire one from the mainland or simply book a 4WD tour from Kingfisher Bay Resort.
Whenever my husband and I sit down with our four kids to plan our upcoming holiday adventures, Fraser Island is one that we all just can’t get enough of. Whether we head there with friends, or by ourselves, whether it is for a long weekend or a few weeks, Fraser Island promises to provide a different adventure holiday every time.
Interested in finding out why? Here are our top 9 reasons why Fraser is the ultimate family playground:
1. Two Family-friendly Resorts
If resort accommodation is your style, Fraser Island will not disappoint.
KingFisher Bay Resort
This 4 star eco-resort is on the protected western side of the island and offers a range of accommodation options, three restaurants, four pools, day spa, rainforest walks, water sports, guided Ranger Programs and island tours. Even if you don’t stay here, we recommend you visit for a daytrip. The pizza and bistro menu at The Sand Bar is a welcome treat and the kids can swim in the adjoining pool while you wait! There is also a convenience store, fuel pumps and car wash bay available to resort guests and day trippers.
Eurong Beach Resort
This 3-star resort on the eastern side of the island is accessible only by 4WD, or resort transfer from Kingfisher Bay. While still providing luxuries including restaurants, two pools, tennis courts and island tour options, Eurong Beach resort offers a taste of the more remote and wild feeling of Fraser Island’s 75 Mile Beach.
2. Three Remote Villages
On the eastern side of Fraser Island, three small townships provide for all your basic needs, including fuel, food and camping and fishing basics. These villages each have their own character and are worth a visit for a coffee, ice-creams, lunch and supplies.
Eurong – an extension to the Eurong Beach Resort, the village offers fuel, a licensed convenience store, limited takeaway meals and a sensational bakery. The island’s police station is also located a short distance away.
Happy Valley – the home of the island’s only paramedic service, this village offers fuel, a licensed convenience store and the eat-in or take-away Satinay Bar & Bistro.
Orchid Beach – the northernmost village on the island sits on top of the vegetated dunes looking down over the beach. It has its own light-plane airstrip as well as offering fuel, a general store and The Driftwood Bar next door, offering meals and drinks.
3. Beach House rentals
Dotted along the eastern beaches are a number of little enclaves of privately owned villas and houses available for rent. These are definitely worth checking out if you want family convenience with water views in more remote locations.
It doesn’t get much better than camping on the largest sand island in the world. If you have younger children, the dingo-fenced campgrounds are the way to go, there are six of these scattered across the island. For experienced campers, you can also book one of nine unfenced camping zones along the western beaches. Tents, camper trailers and even off-road caravans are all fantastic options out here.
5. Four wheel driving
This is 4WD heaven! There are no sealed roads on the island and you will need a high clearance 4WD to get around the sand tracks and beaches. Experienced 4WD families will love the challenge of driving past Ngala Rocks and all the way to Sandy Point, the very tip of the island. You have to time it for low tide though, otherwise you risk joining those before you who have lost whole vehicles to the soft sand and ocean waves.
6. Inland Lakes
Lake McKenzie is the most famous inland freshwater lake and is a must-see with its perfect white sand, turquoise water. We spend hours here with the kids every time we visit. If there are a few crowds and you prefer some quieter, try the nearby Lake Birrabeen. If you are after some sandboarding adventures, head to Lake Wabby with its steep sandhills that slide directly into the deep lake.
Beautiful and dense rainforests sprawl across the island’s interior. Central Station, the historical logging centre of the island, is a favourite with families. It offers picnic areas, history boards and a serene rainforest boardwalk along the Wanggoolba Creek, a creek so clear that from a distance you can’t see the water at all.
8. Maheno Shipwreck
A favourite with the kids, originally a WW1 hospital ship SS Maheno was being towed from Sydney to Osaka for scrapping in 1953 when a cyclone hit and it was separated from the tow-ship and wrecked on the island. Some sources suggest that subsequently the wreck became an aboriginal sacred site where men gathered to play digeridoo and women sought shelter to give birth.
9. Adventure & Wildlife activities
Fraser Island offers a myriad of family-friendly adventures, and the best part is that many of them change a little with each tide and weather event. So every time you go, you will find something different to explore.
Eli Creek – no trip to Fraser Island is complete without grabbing a flotation device, running upstream along the rainforest boardwalk and jumping into the crystal clear creek to float past the fish all the way back down to the beach.
Champange Pools – the kids will love this shallow natural rock pool which froths and bubbles as the waves break over the surrounding rocks.
Wathumba Creek – on the protected western side of the island, this campground provides an idyllic spot for a picnic, fish, kayak and turtle spotting.
Sandy Cape Lighthouse – families with their own 4WD can head all the way to the top of the island and walk to the Sandy Cape Lighthouse, which is still active today. Built in 1870, this is the tallest lighthouse in QLD, standing 33m. The kids will love the views from the top and also exploring around the keepers cottages and out-buildings.
Marine life – dolphins and turtles are common year-round, and whales can be seen migrating from May to November. However, sharks are also prevalent on the eastern beaches & in recent years stingers have appeared in the waters around the island. Hence, ocean swimming is not recommended, swimming in creeks and lakes is safest.
Beach Fishing – Fraser Island is a fishing paradise! Bring your beach rods and you will be almost guaranteed of catching your dinner.
Dingo spotting – dingoes are native to Fraser Island and are beautiful to see in their natural habitat. However, in recent years their population has increased at the same time as their access to food has decreased and some of these animals have become aggressive towards humans. Injuries have been inflicted by dingoes on both adults and children, so it is very important that you heed advice of local rangers, keep your distance from these animals and be careful not to leave food or fish scraps around to attract them.
So, go and look up your calendar and start planning your next family adventure to Fraser Island. This unique paradise offers something for everyone and will not disappoint.