One of the best things to do in Australia is visit the beautiful island of K’Gari (Fraser Island) where you can experience a beach highway, spot wild dingos and plunge into some of the most colourful waters you’ll see. It’s a perfect weekend getaway with very limited signal on the island, plenty of camp grounds and lots of incredible places to get in amongst nature. If you’re a solo traveller, looking to make new friends or if you just don’t want to organise a trip all by yourself (you need to sort out national park fees, 4WD only and accommodation / camping gear) then head over to Ratpack Travel to talk to the team about your K’gari trip! They’re in touch with plenty of tour agencies and have all of their departure dates at their finger tips so it will make the organisation a whole heap easier! This is how I visited K’gari and it was honestly SO much easier 🥰 Plus, Ratpack Travel could also organise a night’s accommodation before / after the trip at Rainbow Beach.
If you’re wondering about the name, for a long time the largest sand island in the world was known as Fraser Island after a survivor of a shipwreck on the island but the name has recently changed to K’gari which means paradise in the Butchulla language, a community with ancient ties to the island.
1. Lake McKenzie
After the ferry crossing from Inskip across to K’gari and our first taste of 4WD on sand, our first stop was at Lake McKenzie where the crystal clear water of the lake and the gleaming white sand were a wonderful sight after the hairy drive from the beach through the trees to the car park!
I took my drone on this trip and Lake McKenzie was a fabulous spot to test it out on! The colours and layers from above look even more impressive to see. Especially where the depth of the lake bed starts to drop and the water becomes a darker, inky colour. When you get to the lakeside at Lake McKenzie, make sure to go plunging into the cool water.
The lake is one of the most visited natural spectacles on the island and that really is because of how lovely and clear the water is. Lake McKenzie contains only rain water due to the impervious nature of the base of the lake which does not let any groundwater in and the rainwater can’t wash away. It’s also not fed by any rivers or streams that would otherwise bring debris into the lake. The water is so pure that it barely supports any life and the white silica sand can be used to clean your hair!
2. Champagne Pools
My favourite spot on the island was the Champagne Pools at Tukkee (Indian Head), towards the north of the island and the most northernly place that we visited on our tour. The champagne are a series of natural volcanic pools which are perfect for swimming in. There are two main pools you can swim in but you do need to be careful at higher tide levels because the K’gari surf can be pretty rough and it is easy to lose your footing if you’re swimming near to the ocean edge of the pools.
Watch as the waves spill over and bubble into the pools and you’ll understand why they’re called the Champagne Pools! The water fizzes into the edge like champagne bubbles spilling out of a bottle and it becomes a lot like a natural spa jacuzzi!
3. Eli Creek
The perfect way to spend a chilled out K’gari afternoon is floating down the natural lazy river of Eli Creek! From the beach, a boardwalk will take you up to the start of the lazy river section where you can either float down on a rubber ring (or giant T Rex like I saw!!) or wade through the creek. I can definitely tell you that if you have a rubber ring this is the best way to do it. Surrounded by tangled vines, greenery of all shades and sun speckles through the shady trees, you won’t want to leave!
4. 75 Mile Beach Highway
A big draw to K’gari is the awesome sense of adventure and feeling like you’re really getting away from it all which begins as soon as you drive off the ferry and onto the beach. Since the island is entirely sand, you can only drive a 4WD here and K’gari’s highway is 75 Mile Beach on the east side of the island. There’s something pretty spectacular about racing along the sand with everyone else and at 75 mile beach, the ‘road’ seems to stretch on endlessly. If you’re in the driver’s seat, you’ll be determinedly focussing on navigating your car through the fluctuating terrain and around the tide ebbing in and out at varying lengths. In the back of a 4WD the ride will feel a whole lot bumpier as you fly over the undulating sand humps but here you can look out and admire the scenery passing by. In particular, sitting on the water side, you’ll really have that surreal sense of wondering how this is real!
5. Maheno Shipwreck
Driving along 75 mile beach, around 10km north of Happy Valley, you’ll start to see a rather eerie sight rising up out of the sand and water on your right hand side. The rusting ruins of the Maheno Shipwreck stretch up to the sky, their stretch slowly deteriorating as exposure to the air and to salt water cuts down and withers their reach. This is the most famous of the K’gari shipwrecks and a busy stop off to see the strength and power that this beautiful landscape can have. The SS Maheno was hit by a cyclone on its journey in 1935 and snapped the chain towing it by another boat and it was dashed helplessly ashore.
6. Lake Wabby
On a sunny day I’m sure the emerald waters of Lake Wabby glitter but we had to make do with a rather drizzly visit to this fantastic lake on K’gari. The walk is not lengthy but it does require some determination, especially on the way back up the sand blow after you finished your dip in the water and is around 45 min in each direction. As you make your way out of the trees and onto the sand blow you can begin to see the lake opening up beneath you although the sand blow is slowly lapping at the edge of Lake Wabby. From above you can see the crater that the lake sits in behind the sand blow!
Lake Wabby is a fabulous swimming spot on the island and on a hot day, you’ll be ready to plunge into its green depths after your trek through the rainforest to reach it. The lake has a fabulous eco system with a number of different fish that call it home including catfish! Keep your eyes open for them, you might even feel one brush against your leg as it swims past you because they didn’t seem particularly bothered by a big group at the edge of their home!
If you’re on Fraser Island for a few days you can’t miss spotting a wild dingo roaming along the beach. On our tour, we spotted two on two separate occasions trotting along the sand. Whilst dingos might look pretty cute, they can be dangerous and aggressive and it’s advised not to walk alone outside of a dingo fenced area. Keep your eyes peeled to spot one but snap that photo from the safety of your 4WD or from a safe distance!
8. Sand Blows
There are a number of different sand blows on K’gari, the one that we visited around a 45 min walk from the Cathedrals camp ground (and I can’t work out what it’s called!). A sand blow forms when a strong onshore wind blows sand from the beach or dunes across the land and form a sandy, dessert like landscape. When you step out on a sand blow the sand seems to stretch on endlessly and provide a great calf work out as you make your way up to the top of one!
Taking a photo from the ground proves tricky to really get the full scale and size of a sand blow so this was a perfect spot to get the drone out to really show the other worldly appearance of this type of landscape. Our tour guide gave us body boards to take to the sand blow and a lot of fun was had careering down a steep dune on the boards to much laughter and amusement from everyone above! I must admit to not being brave enough to give it a try but all of those that did had a great time crashing down through the sand!
On our first night on K’gari we were treated to a fabulous sunset from the top of the sand blow where we all sat as a group to watch as the sky transformed into a series of fantastic colours. The sandy landscape made a perfect backdrop for the sunset as the vast expanse of sand stretched out to reach the canvas of colours being painted and transformed before our eyes.
9. Red Canyon
Just to the north of our campground at Cathedrals, we stopped at Red Canyon to admire the ochre & russet tones of the ancient sand here that has been revealed after thousands of years of weathering. Whilst the canyon isn’t massive, it is a pretty impressive spot to stop and admire even more of K’gari’s natural beauty and the bright orange colour cuts a deep shade into the landscape in comparison to the white sand and blue ocean that surrounds it!
So what are you waiting for?! Get in touch with Ratpack Travel now and find your perfect K’gari trip!