How To Get To K'gari (Fraser Island)
Updated Tue 06 Dec 2022
Sunrise at Eurong Resort
K'gari is one of Australia’s most iconic holiday destinations. Located off the east coast of Queensland, Fraser’s many attractions, such as Eli Creek, Lake McKenzie, Champagne Pools, Indian Head and the Maheno Shipwreck, are visited by up to half of a million people each year-But once you step foot on the island, you'd never know it! If you're considering making a trip to the largest sand island in the world, you're probably wondering how to get there. K'gari is separated from mainland Australia by the Great Sandy Strait and, since the island has no bridges, visitors must either get there by sea or air.
The most popular way to get to K'gari is by a ferry or barge from Hervey Bay - the whale-watching capital of the world, or Rainbow Beach. Alternatively, if you are a more adventurous soul, you can fly over to the island in a light aircraft and land on the beach itself! No matter which way you choose to get here, we've got everything you need to know before planning your perfect K'gari holiday!
HOW TO GET TO THE FRASER COAST
To get to K'gari, travellers will need to visit Hervey Bay or Rainbow Beach on the Fraser Coast to catch a ferry or light aircraft. There are many options for getting to the Fraser Coast to start your K'gari adventure - here’s a handy list to help you choose the best option for you! You can read how to get to K'gari in more detail by your departure city below:
Map of K'gari (Fraser Island)
Self-drive K'gari Trip
The Fraser Coast is a comfortable 3-hour drive north of Queensland's capital city, Brisbane, which passes through many scenic small towns along the Bruce Highway.
Many visitors to K'gari arrive in Hervey Bay or Rainbow Beach in a campervan, car or another vehicle before boarding a ferry for the crossing. This is a great option for those who will be taking a 4wd across to K'gari, especially as only 4WDs are allowed on the island. Alternatively, there are free and paid parking options available if you wish to leave your vehicle behind.
Sunrise, 75 mile Beach
Driving times to Hervey Bay/River Heads:
- From Brisbane: 3.5 hours
- From Byron Bay: 5 hours
- From Noosa: 2.5 hours
- From Sydney: 13 hours
- From the Whitsundays/Airlie Beach: 9.5 hours
- From Cairns: 16 hours
Driving times to Rainbow Beach/Inskip Point:
- From Brisbane: 3 hours
- From Byron Bay: 4.5 hours
- From Noosa: 2 hours
- From Sydney: 12.5
- From the Whitsundays/Airlie Beach: 9 hours
- From Cairns: 15.5 hours
If you are self-driving, make sure you familiarise yourself with ferry times to ensure you have enough time to reach your destination.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service permits are required for all 4wd vehicles travelling to K'gari and must be purchased before going to the island.
Rail to K'gari
The closest train station to Hervey Bay is the Maryborough West Train Station. Queensland Rail operates regular daily services along the Fraser Coast from Brisbane, Rockhampton and Cairns to Maryborough West. From here, Queensland Rail offers RailBus Coach Connections to Hervey Bay - just let them know at the time of booking and they will make sure your chosen service meets a connection.
Travel times to Maryborough West Train Station:
- From Brisbane: 3hr 30m approx.
- From Rockhampton: 3hr 40m approx.
- From Cairns: 20hr 15m approx.
Bus to K'gari
Both Greyhound Australia and Premier coaches offer daily services from Brisbane, Maroochydore and Cairns to Hervey Bay or Rainbow Beach. While Greyhound offers airconditioning, onboard toilets, free wifi and in-seat USB chargers, Premier has reclining seats, onboard toilet and entertainment. Ask us how you can package your tour with your bus ticket and save!
S.S. Maheno Shipwreck, 75 Mile Beach
Travel times to Hervey Bay:
- From Brisbane: 6hr 5m (Greyhound) or 6hr 50m (Premier)
- From Maroochydore: 5hr 25m (Greyhound) or 5hr 20m (Premier)
- From Cairns: 23hr 50m (Greyhound) or 21hr 30m (Premier)
Travel times to Rainbow Beach:
- From Brisbane: 5hr 25m (Greyhound) or 5hr (Premier)
- From Maroochydore: 3hr 25m (Greyhound) or 4hr 30m
- From Cairns: 1d 1hr 30m (Greyhound) or 1d 15m (Premier)
There are also many shuttle bus transfers that offer door-to-door service between the Fraser Coast, Brisbane and Maroochydore.
Tours on K'gari
When it comes to the spectacular heritage-listed K'gari, there is no shortage of exceptional guided and tag-along tours to choose from. One advantage of joining a tour is that everything will be taken care of for you - no need to worry about ferry schedules, you will meet your tour group on the mainland and travel to the island together.
K'gari tours come in many variations, from day trips to overnight 2 or 3-day adventures. Depending on the tour you choose, your pick-up location may be in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Noosa, Rainbow Beach and Hervey Bay. Choose the most convenient location for you and remember to be aware of you pick up time - the majesty of K'gari awaits!
Fraser Explorer Tour Bus, 75 Mile Beach
For more information on which tours depart on which days, click here, or chat to our team by clicking the chat button!
Air to K'gari
Although there are no commercial airports on K'gari, you can easily fly to Hervey Bay Airport before taking the ferry. There are regular direct flights from Brisbane with Qantas, or from Sydney with Virgin Australia. Once you arrive in Hervey Bay, take a quick drive south to River Heads to catch the ferry. Alternatively, you can make a memorable landing on the beach at K'gari with Air K'gari on the world's longest runway, 75 mile beach!
Air K'gari Scenic Plane
Flight times to Hervey Bay Airport:
- From Brisbane (Qantas): 50 minutes
- From Sydney (Virgin Australia): 1 hour 45 minutes
K'gari Ferry / Barge Services
There are two companies that operate daily car and passenger ferry services to K'gari; K'gari Barges and Manta Ray Barges.
K'gari Barges depart from River Heads near Hervey Bay - there are 3 services to Wanggoolba Creek (8.30 am, 10.15 am and 4.00 pm subject to change) and 5 services to Kingfisher Bay (6.45 am, 9.00 am, 12.30 pm, 3.30 pm and 6.45 pm subject to change) daily. Different ferries have differences in travel time, for more information click here.
Manta Ray Barges operate from Inskip Point at Rainbow Beach departing approximately every 30 minutes between 6 am and 5.15 pm daily.
Which departure point you use will depend on whether you are self-driving K'gari or if you are joining a tour group. While tour groups will have a predetermined departure point if you are self-driving the departure point you choose will depend on which part of K'gari you wish to start your journey on. For more information, you can read our article on the differences in arrival points on K'gari.
Travel times by ferry to K'gari
Since there are several departure points and arrival points, the ferry and barge times will vary to get to K'gari.
- Departing River Heads: 50 minutes to Kingfisher Bay
- Departing River Heads: 30 minutes to Wanggoolba Creek
- Departing Inskip Point: 10 minutes to Hook Point
TIP: Passengers can book one-way or return tickets, but return tickets are a significantly better option. Two one-way tickets cost much more than a return ticket so it's best the plan your entire trip before going to the island so you can cut some of your costs.
As you can see, there is no shortage of ways to reach K'gari. Visitors come from all over the world by all modes of transport to be captivated by its beauty and wild nature. No matter which way you choose to get to K'gari, you can be sure that you won’t be disappointed when you arrive!
For more information on things to do on K'gari, click here.
Ready to book your perfect K'gari holiday?
Chat to our friendly Fraser experts LIVE, or call +61 74914 2425 to find out how you can package and SAVE!