Fraser Island is one of the most beautiful destinations in Australia. It’s the world’s biggest sand island in the world and home to beautiful landmarks.
The eco-system and nature on Fraser Island are absolutely beautiful and if you are visiting Queensland, it must be on your bucket list!
If you are short in time (or budget) you can opt for a day trip instead of spending several days. If you can spend at least 2 days on Fraser Island, that’s highly recommended. But going for a day is nice too!
Hervey Bay is known as the gateway to Fraser island which is why it’s the best place to depart from.
In this article, we tell you everything you need to know to go on a Fraser Island day trip from Hervey Bay.
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Why should you go to Fraser Island from Hervey Bay?
You can also choose to go on a day trip to Fraser Island from Noosa or Rainbow Beach, however, Hervey Bay is the best departure point.
From Rainbow Beach and Noosa, you will be taking the ferry from Inskip Point which arrives at the most southern point of the island. From there, it takes a couple of hours to get to the main attractions.
If you leave from Hervey Bay you will arrive on Fraser Island at Kingfisher Bay Resort which is directly opposite Eurong Beach Resort. This is way closer to the best places to visit on Fraser Island.
In short, if you leave from Hervey Bay, you will be spending less time in the bus/car and will get to visit way more places than if you are travelling from Rainbow Beach or Noosa.
How to go on a Fraser Island day trip from Hervey Bay
There are 2 ways you can get to Fraser Island from Hervey Bay. You can either choose to go by yourself or with a tour.
Please note, you must have a 4WD vehicle to visit Fraser Island. You will also need to be aware of tides and driving condition.
Driving on the sand can be tricky.
If you are only going to Fraser Island for a day, I highly recommend opting for a day tour from Hervey Bay. It’s way easier and you won’t have to worry about anything. In terms of budget, it actually works out cheaper too.
But driving will give you more freedom and flexibility.
Here is a quick overview of both options.
Day tour Fraser Island from Hervey Bay
Opting for a Fraser Island day tour from Hervey Bay is the easiest way to go to the island for a day.
If you are travelling solo or with someone else, it will also work out way cheaper.
The best day tour from Hervey Bay to Fraser Island is the Full day tour with Fraser Island Explorer.
Why going on a day tour?
– Your lunch will be included
– Your driver is also a tour guide and s/he will give you plenty of information about Fraser Island
– You have nothing to worry about, everything will be organised and planned for you
– You don’t need to buy a permit
– Ferry is included
– You don’t need to worry about being able to drive on the sand and check the tides
– It’s way cheaper than self-driving
– It’s great value for money
If you book the tour, you will be leaving from the Hervey Bay Marina in Urangan in the morning. You will be on board of a 4WD minibus all day. From Hervey Bay, you will go down to River Heads to take the ferry. The ride is 40 minutes long.
Once you get to the island, you will first stop at Central Station where you will learn more about the history of Fraser Island. You will also go on the Wanggoolba Creek boardwalk.
After that, you will go to Lake McKenzie, one of the clearest lake on Earth!
After your swim, you will head back to the carpark for lunch. Your driver will have prepared everything!
In the afternoon, you will hit the famous 75-mile beach and discover the Maheno shipwreck and Eli Creek.
You will then go back to the ferry to catch the last ride at 5 pm and make it back to Hervey Bay between 6 pm and 7 pm.
Self-driving and ferry
If you have a 4WD, you can choose to go to Fraser Island for a day by yourself.
Before you do so, you will need to prepare a bit.
Firstly, you need to buy a permit to drive on Fraser Island. Info here.
Also, make sure to check the tides on the Bureau of Meteorology website.
You can’t drive on the beach when the tide is high and being aware of the times is very important. A lot of people get stuck on Fraser Island, you don’t want that to happen to you.
Then, you need to book your ferry ticket. This part is not an obligation. You can also do so on-site. They don’t take online booking anyway but it’s always worth giving them a ring.
The return ticket for a standard 4WD cost between $180 and $205. The driver is included but you will have to add another $5 per passenger.
You can find more information on their official website.
Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s dive into it!
From Hervey Bay, drive 20 minutes to River Heads. That’s where you will find the ferry terminal.
Once you get there, go buy or pick up your ticket. No matter what, you must check-in at least 20 minutes in advance.
There are only 4 departures from River Heads to Kingfisher Bay Resort so make sure you don’t miss the ride!
The departure times are: 6.45, 9.00, 13.00 and 15.30
After 40 minutes on the ferry, you will finally arrive on Fraser Island and can start exploring from there!
Fraser Island one day itinerary from Hervey Bay
There is a lot you can do on Fraser Island in one day from Hervey Bay. Here is the perfect Fraser Island 1-day itinerary!
8 am: Leave Hervey Bay and drive down to River Heads. It takes about 20 minutes
8:20 am: Pick up your ferry ticket, check-in and board the ferry. If you are on a tour, you won’t need to do this as the guide will do it for you.
9 am: The Kingfisher Bay Ferry leaves.
9:40 am: You arrive on Fraser Island. Drive 40 minutes inland to Central Station.
Central Station used to be a logging station. There is a lot of history there. Make sure to also stroll along the Wanggoolba Creek boardwalk. The plants and trees are so unique! There is also a beautiful creek with crystal-clear water.
Please note that there is a huge population of dingoes on Fraser island so keep an eye on your surroundings as you are walking. Under no circumstances you should take food with you.
11 am: Drive up to Lake McKenzie (20 minutes). From the carpark, walk down to the lake and enjoy the beautiful views.
Lake McKenzie is also a great place to swim!
Make sure you put your swimming costume on before getting there. There are toilets in the carpark but once you get to the lake you won’t find any facilities.
Pack a towel and your camera. It’s a beautiful place and you will want to take loads of photos. If you have a GoPro, take it!
12:30 pm: Go back up to the carpark for lunch. There is a picnic area where you can eat safely.
1 pm: Drive to the Eastern side of the island and hit the 75-mile beach. On Fraser Island, the beach is a national highway! You must respect the same rules than on any other road in Australia.
Drive up for about 40 minutes to get to Eli Creek.
1:45 pm: Stop at Eli Creek, go for a swim and walk along the boardwalk.
2:30 pm: Go back to the car and drive another 5 minutes north on the beach to get to the Maheno Shipwreck.
You can park on the side and get closer to the shipwreck. The S.S. Maheno used to be an ocean liner used during the first world war. It has been on Fraser Island since 1935. It’s a pretty unique thing to see. You can walk around the ship, however, make sure to stay a bit away and not to touch it. Some parts of the ship are degrading badly and it can hurt you.
3 pm: Drive back to Kingfisher Bay Resort. It will take about 1h40 to get there so make sure to leave by 3 pm maximum! Otherwise, you won’t be able to catch the last ferry which is at 5 pm.
5 pm: Take the Kingfisher Bay ferry back to River Heads.
5:40 pm: You arrive in River Heads. Drive back to Hervey Bay.
6 pm: You made it back to Hervey Bay!
Fraser Island Itinerary Map
What to take on a day trip from Hervey Bay to Fraser Island
During the day, you will be doing a lot of walking and swimming so make sure to wear the following items:
– Comfortable walking shoes
– Swimming Costume
– Eco-friendly sunscreen
– Shorts and T-shirt
You will also need to take:
– Camera and photography gear
Finally, I recommend taking a jumper in case you get a bit cold. Also, check the weather forecast beforehand. If it’s going to rain, you may want to consider taking a light raincoat.
Here was everything you needed to know about going on a Fraser Island Day trip from Hervey Bay!
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