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What Do You Need To Know Before Going To K'gari (Fraser Island)

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Gabby Boucher
Updated Thu 16 Nov 2023

What do you need to know before going to K'gari (Fraser Island)? From dingo safety and ocean safety to knowing the tide times, it’s important to do a bit of research before visiting the world’s largest sand island. Though it’s a popular tourist destination on Australia’s East Coast, it is still a remote place where wilderness thrives and cell reception is limited. To ensure your trip to this majestic and wild island runs smoothly, here are some things to know before going to K’gari (Fraser Island)!

girl looking at the sunrise over the ocean on K"gari

8 things to know before going to K'gari (Fraser Island)

Whether it’s booking your permits and ferries in advance, or knowing to ditch the sunscreen before swimming in Lake McKenzie, there are a few important things to know about visiting K’gari (Fraser Island). These 8 tips will prepare you for your trip and hopefully inspire you to do a bit of pre-trip planning and research

But just know that if you’re visiting the island with a guided tour, pretty much everything is taken care of for you! You won’t need to worry about permits, ferries, tide times, or getting fuel and supplies if you’re travelling to K’gari with a guide, as most tours are all-inclusive. But if you’re visiting the island on your own or with a 4WD hire, it’s a good idea to brush up on some of this knowledge before tackling the terrain of the island.

Visit the beautiful K'gari yourself on one of these tours!

couple posing in chairs on the shores of Lake Mckenzie

Book your permits, ferries, and campsites in advance

When visiting K’gari (Fraser Island) on your own, you must make sure you book a vehicle access permit in advance. You can do this online through the Queensland National Parks website. This is the same website where you’ll need to book your camping permit and campsite if you plan to camp on the island. 

It’s also a good idea to book your ferry to the island in advance. Though you can technically just show up and get on the ferry, there is a chance the ferry will be booked out and you don’t want to delay your trip to the island! So just make sure you plan your trip in advance and book all your permits and ferries as early as possible. It will save you the hassle of getting this done last minute. 

girl smiling on the ferry over to K'gari

Tide times

Knowing the tide times is essential for driving on the beach on K’gari. Salt water can damage 4WD vehicles, and wet sand is not ideal for beach driving. Plus, some thinner parts of the coast may be inaccessible during high tide. The general rule is to avoid driving on the beach 2 hours before or after high tide. Make sure you know the current tide times so you can plan your itinerary around the tides! If you’re hiring a 4WD, the staff at the office will generally give you a map and recommended itinerary based on tide times before you depart for the island. 

See a 2023 tide times guide for more info!

aerial view of waves rushing onto shore on K'gari

Locations for fuel and supplies

It’s also handy to know where you can buy fuel, ice, food, gear, and supplies on K’gari (Fraser Island). Though it’s a very remote and rugged place, there are 5 major shops where you can stock up on essentials if needed. K’gari Beach Resort, Kingfisher Bay Resort, Orchid Beach Trading Post, Happy Valley, and Cathedrals on Fraser are the most accessible locations for getting fuel or supplies on the island!

fuel station at K'gari Beach Resort on the island

4WD driving tips

One of the most important things to know before going to K’gari (Fraser Island) is basic 4WD beach driving tips! If you’re getting behind the wheel on a tag along tour or you’ve got a hire vehicle, brushing up on your driving tips will help you get around the island’s sandy tracks more easily. 

The most important things to know include releasing air from your tyres to make them more flexible on the sand, having a recovery kit in case you get bogged, and taking your time! It takes much longer to drive on the curving, sandy inland tracks than you would expect. So don’t rush, but drive with confidence. Always buckle up, obey the speed limit, and watch for wildlife!

person driving a 4wd through the sandy tracks of the rainforest

Dingo safety

K’gari (Fraser Island) is home to a thriving population of dingos, a beautiful and mysterious breed of wild dog. The island is one of the best places in Australia to see dingos in the wild, and you’ll often find them roaming around the beach scavenging for food. Though dingos are incredible creatures, practicing good dingo safety is essential. 

Never approach or feed a dingo. Remain in your vehicle and feel free to admire them from afar. Though they look like normal dogs, they are wild animals and can be unpredictable! Also be sure to keep all food safely locked away and dispose of rubbish properly while camping otherwise you may attract dingos to your campsite. If you’re camping with children, book a campsite with a secure dingo fence

dingo on the beach on K'gari

Recommended swimming spots

It’s super important to know the dangers of swimming in the ocean around K’gari. With heavy rip currents and lots of shark sightings, the ocean around the island is not safe for even the strongest of swimmers. Though the beach may look inviting, stick to the safe swimming locations!

The only safe place to swim in the ocean on K’gari is the Champagne Pools on the north of the island. This stunning rock pool has a natural barrier to protect you from the ocean currents, though it’s important to also be wary of the occasional big wave that can rush into the pool. Other than that, stick to the freshwater lakes and creeks for safe swimming!

people floating in the champagne pools on K'gari

Don’t pollute the lakes

Speaking of lakes on K’gari (Fraser Island), many of the island’s freshwater sources are susceptible to pollution and must be protected. Perched lakes, such as Lake McKenzie or Lake Birrabeen, do not connect to any other water sources and are solely formed from rainwater. Though the sand creates a natural filtration system that keeps the lakes pristine, some man-made chemicals cannot be removed from the water. So skip the toxic sunscreen, perfume, and makeup when swimming in the precious lakes on the island! Otherwise, these chemicals will remain in the beautiful lakes forever. 

girls posing in the crystal clear water of lake mckenzie

Have fun!

Though all these K’gari (Fraser Island) travel tips are useful, the most important thing to remember is to cherish every moment on this amazing island! The breathtaking landscapes are truly unique, so take lots of photos and just live in the moment. As long as you’re a responsible traveller who uses these recommendations to stay safe and respect the environment, prepare to have the time of your life on K’gari! There is no other place like it in the world. 

people posing in front of the Pinnacles sign on K'gari

If you have any more questions about visiting K'gari (Fraser Island), visit our FAQs page or contact our team of travel experts!

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