Fraser Island, or K'gari, is a magical island located off the east coast of Australia in Queensland. Fraser Island is well known for its wild dingo population, and while these animals are beautiful to behold, there are different seasons that bring different behaviour with these pack predators. Find out which seasons bring different behaviours of these animals before you visit Fraser Island, so you can prepare for a safe and fun holiday!
Arguably one of the most action-packed natural experiences you can have in Australia, Fraser Island has 4 wheel driving on the longest beach highway in the world, hundreds of freshwater lakes, and stunning vantage points available to enjoy the natural wonder of this incredible country. One of the most unique experiences is witnessing the purest breed of dingo in the world-In the wild!
Fraser Island Dingoes
Also referred to as Wongrari, by the Butchulla people, the indigenous tribe of Fraser Island, or K'gari, dingoes have long been a part of the ecosystem and culture on the island. There were actually two types of dingo: Wongari, or "wild dingo," and Wat'dha, or "camp dingo." The Butchulla had tamed camp dingoes to the point where they could help them hunt and they also believed they protected against evil spirits. When the last of the indigenous tribespeople were taken off Fraser Island, all the remaining dingoes became wild. They are opportunistic hunters and scavengers and live on a diet of rodents, reptiles, insects, echidnas, and the remains of marine life washed up on shore for example. It is because of their hunting style and diet that it is extremely important to never leave fish scraps behind when fishing, or food of any kind out!
Dingoes on Fraser Island are a protected species and have inhabited the island for an estimated 5,000 years or more. There are an estimated 250 wild dingoes on the island, however, different studies have shown that number could be larger. National parks and wildlife have been documenting, tagging, and observing their behaviour for decades in the hope of protecting these wild animals as well as visitors to the island. There is even a hashtag visitors can use to help national parks with documenting these creatures, at #fraserdingowatch to better aid with keeping both the dingoes and visitors safe! Like any wild animal, its always recommended you exercise caution when you encounter dingoes in the wild.
There is plenty of signage around the island posted by national parks detailing how to remain "dingo safe," and there are many places such as resorts that have electric dingo fences for additional protection. If you are unsure if you'll be staying in a dingo fenced area overnight on your tour, check with our knowledgable staff before booking your tour. We highly recommend if you are staying overnight with children or small teenagers that you book to stay in a dingo fenced property or camp.
Dingo Safety Tips
- Always stay close to children, even smaller teenagers, and never leave children unattended
- Never feed dingoes-We can't stress that enough-There are even hefty fines if you're caught!
- Lock up your food in your car or hotel room at night (not in your tent!) and keep food containers firmly strapped down, burying or disposing properly of anything food scented
- If fishing, don't leave bait, catch or any remains behind, and always bury your scraps at least 50cm underground just below the high tide mark.
- Never walk alone, (especially at night) and always stay with your group
- If you see a dingo, do not run-Joggers may need to take a break when on the island!
- Dingoes are not easily spotted, so if you are outside a dingo safe fence, always assume they are around
- Always give dingoes plenty of space, and never try to approach them or call them over for a photo - Photographing dingoes is safest from your vehicle
Dingo Seasonal Calendar
Much like their cousin the wolf, they are pack animals that require plenty of space and depending on the season, may exhibit different behaviour you should be aware of to have a safe experience with them on the island. Below is an indication of which behaviour you may encounter according to the time of year you visit.
Mating season on Fraser Island usually occurs during these months. There can be an increase in aggressive behaviour as males test their dominance, fight for female's affection, and culling members of the pack. Females will also be looking for dens to have their pups, so this is the time of year to exercise caution and keep plenty of distance if you spot any.
Now the female dingoes pups will be born, she will be out hunting for food with the male keeping on pup watch-If you see baby dingo pups steer clear, as parents and packs can be very aggressive towards any perceived threats to the little ones.
Pups will start venturing out further away from the pack to explore and learn to hunt. Sometimes they are left in a safe place while the rest of the pack hunts on their own, so if you come across some young pups alone, please note they have not been abandoned, and do not try to interfere-Mum and Dad won't be far away!
Now the pups can hunt and gather food, they will be practising other pack behaviours. Dingoes have a very intricate pack order, and by now the young dingoes will have learned the rules and hierarchy of theirs. You will see them practice fighting with their brothers and sisters. Engaging with them at all is never wise, as their "language" is incredibly difficult to decipher, and you can easily misread their body language.
There are so many ways you can see Fraser Island, and if you have any concerns at all about dingo safety, you can tell us at the time of booking and we will help you select a tour or 4WD company or tour that can assist and alleviate any stress from the process for you. After all, if we give these animals the respect and space they need, there is no reason you can't have a truly incredible encounter with Australia's apex predator safely in the wild!
Ready to book your perfect Fraser/K'Gari holiday? Chat to our team live online or free call 1 800 550 751 to start planning!