Why go to Fraser Island?
This is the largest sand island in the world and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site
4WD is the most ideal and the most popular way to get around, but the terrain can be challenging
With its diverse landscape and plentiful wildlife, Fraser Island is an ideal destination for nature lovers
Fraser Island Cruise Port Facilities?
As time ashore on Fraser Island is likely to be between five to seven hours depending on how soon passengers disembark, there is good reason for independent passengers (those not taking shore tours) to stay close to Kingfisher Bay and the nearby Kingfisher Bay Resort.
Facilities for day visitors are located near the jetty -- two swimming pools, a play area for teens and children with video games and pool tables and the Sand Bar bistro. The Jetty Hut, located on the jetty itself, doubles as a bar and tour booking kiosk for short tours such as canoes, stand-up paddleboards and Segway bikes. It also serves as a bar selling alcoholic drinks as well as soft drinks and ice creams. A beach volleyball court is nearby. Sunset Beach is a long sandy beach fronting the resort. Other west coast beaches are located within an easy walk and are generally calm, making them good for young children and families. During cruise ship visits, tourism and resort staff set up stalls near Sunset Beach selling souvenirs and providing information about the island.
The Kingfisher Bay Resort Village Store, a five-minute walk from the beach, sells an array of beach wear (such as swimming costumes) as well as fluffy animals (dingoes and other creatures), groceries and toiletries, sunglasses, sunscreen and fishing gear. It also sells snacks, such as hot pies and sandwiches and soft drinks and bottles of wine and other alcohol. There is also a petrol station nearby.
The resort welcomes visiting cruise passengers who are free to use the bar, restaurant and other facilities.
Good to Know?
Expect lots of sand on the world's largest sand island. 4WD drivers can be easily bogged and sink into the deep sand or be thrown about by the deep ruts and potholes in the tracks. Tides on the eastern side of the island mean that beach driving is only possible at certain times of the day. There are no 4WD driving tracks on the west coast.
Dingoes (wild native dogs) roam the island. While there may look like normal dogs, they are not and should not be approached and certainly not fed.
On foot: It's an easy walk five-minute walk to Kingfisher Bay Resort and minute or so to the village store. There are several bush and beach walks that begin at the beach: a 10 to 15-minute walk to the lookout for a glorious view over Great Sandy Strait to the mainland; a three-hour return walk along the beach to another jetty called McKenzie Jetty and various short walks over boardwalks in the rainforest area around the resort.
By Segway: Guided Segway tours with a ranger take place on the sandy beaches when the tide is out. No set times are provided and interested cruise passengers should ask at the Jetty Hut or resort reception desk about departure times. Tours are $79 per person for an hour.
By 4WD vehicle: Apart from taking a tour the only way to see beyond the west coast area is to hire a car and drive along the sandy roads leading to the main visitor sports Lake McKenzie, Central Station and east coast beaches. Aussie Trax 4x4 Rentals offer half-day rentals from Kingfisher Bay Resort. All cars are manuals, so passengers wanting an automatic car must pre-request it. Two types are available: a small version seating two passengers; and a larger vehicle with up to eight seats. Renters must buy a national parks permit (provided by the 4WD operator on the day) and undergo a comprehensive briefing. Driving on the sandy tracks of the island is quite challenging, and should only be attempted by experienced drivers.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
Currency is the Australian dollar (AUD). It's best to come to the island with enough cash for the day. There's just one Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) in the foyer of the Kingfisher Bay Resort, however there are EFTPOS facilities available to pay for drinks at the bar and meals at various resort outlets. Credit cards are accepted by the car hire operators, in and around the resort, and in the resort village store. For currency conversion rates, visit www.xe.com.
Where You're Docked?
Very few cruise ships actually visit Fraser Island, as navigation along the Great Sandy Strait, the waterway that separates the island from the mainland, requires exact precision. Vessels must enter and exit the strait at specific times to coincide with the tides as the waterway is very shallow in parts. Ships anchor in the strait about 500 metres off the island on the sheltered western side, at the same point on the island as the biggest accommodation provider, Kingfisher Bay Resort. Passengers are tendered to a jetty that extends for several hundred metres into Kingfisher Bay. They then walk along the jetty to Sunset Beach. It's then a five-minute walk through bushland pathways to the resort itself. There is a day visitor pavilion near the jetty that offers a bistro, games area for teens and children and two swimming pools, while the beach itself is calm and perfect for families, although it's quite shallow at low tide.