4WD Destinations

Fraser Island 4WD Hire Destinations

Self-Drive Recreational 4WD Hire | Off-Road 4×4 Rental | Bush Camper Hire Fraser Island, Seventy-Five Mile Beach, Lake McKenzie, Maheno Wreck, Hervey Bay and Kingfisher Bay Resort

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There’s a reason some 400,000 people visit Fraser Island every year. Could it be for the island’s towering tropical rainforests which grow out of inhospitable sand? Or no less than a hundred freshwater lakes boasting crystal clear water? Perhaps it’s for the world-class beach fishing, or the 250 kilometers of sandy beaches? Whatever your reason for coming to Fraser Island, you can’t go wrong with this spectacular UNESCO-listed outdoor playground.

Named the “Great Sandy Peninsula” by Captain Cook in May 1770 (as he mistakenly thought it was connected to the mainland), we think its original name of K’gari or “Paradise” given to it by its original inhabitants some 5,500 to 20,000 years ago, the Butchulla people, is much more fitting. According to Aboriginal legend, the great god Beeral changed a beautiful spirit named K’gari into what is now known as Fraser Island, and gifted her birds, animals, people, trees, and flowers to keep her company.

While legends may have faded, the reality is still very much a paradise. Some 123 kilometres in length and 22 kilometres across at its widest point, Fraser Island is considered the world’s largest sand island. Most of its 1,840 square kilometres as well as the marine zone around the island falls within the Great Sandy National Park and Great Sandy Marine Park, thereby giving this pristine wilderness island a measure of protection.

The island received further recognition when it was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Centre in 1992 for its “exceptional natural beauty” highlighted by long, sweeping stretches of wild ocean beach, vividly coloured sand cliffs, majestic old-growth rainforest rising from sandy dunes and a unique collection of rare flora and fauna, including the famed Fraser Island dingoes.

For 4WD enthusiasts, Fraser Island is truly a wilderness adventure. With no sealed roads, the island is strictly 4WD-only, adding a fun off-roading component to Nature’s sandy playground sculpted over hundreds of thousands of years by winds, waves and ocean currents.

Steer your Fraser Island 4WD Hire Bush Camper towards Queensland’s Fraser Coast, about 300km north of Brisbane. Just south of the Great Barrier Reef’s southernmost coral cays, Fraser Island is accessed by vehicular ferry from the mainland at Inskip Point towards the northern end of Rainbow Beach (landing on the island’s southern tip) or from River Heads (30km south of Hervey Bay), arriving at Kingfisher Bay on Fraser Island’s west coast. Before you head off, enjoy views over the Great Sandy Strait or perhaps a gourmet meal at the posh Kingfisher Bay Resort.

From there, jump on the island’s many thrilling 4WD tracks and explore the mind-blowing array of outdoor activities on offer. While there are no sealed roads on Fraser Island, the de facto “highway” is the famed Seventy-Five Mile Beach on the island’s east coast. However, be prepared to share this long stretch of track with small aircraft which use the beach as a runway.

Get your bearings and head up the dune crest of Wungul Sandblow for awesome coastline views. While Seventy-Five Mile Beach is not swimming-friendly because of its strong currents and large sharks, you’ll find some incredible sights along this sandy highway, including Rainbow Gorge, just south of Happy Valley, and the Pinnacles, raucously colourful cliffs made up of up to 72 different colours of sand in mostly red and yellow hues. A spiritually significant site to the Butchella people, the Pinnacles are located about 20km south of Indian Head Lookout. If you stay for any length of time, you’ll see the colours change from reds and yellows to browns and oranges as the sun makes its way across the sky over this masterpiece of iron-rich clay and sand.

Head further north on Seventy-Five Mile Beach to the Champagne Pools, so named for the pools of bubbling water that form as the waves roll over volcanic rock. The only place on the island where saltwater swimming is allowed, the pools are accessed by walking along a 350m-long boardwalk and down some stairs. Picnicking is allowed on the beach and nearby cliffs. One of the ways to enjoy the pools in the early morning before the crowds arrive is by staying at the Waddy Point camping area. Facilities include flushing toilets, coin-operated hot showers and communal rings for campfires. There are fenced tent sites as well as beach camping. As a bonus, head to nearby Binngih Sandblow for panoramic views across the headland and beyond.

Also along Seventy-Five Mile Beach is the wreck of the SS Maheno. Originally a Scottish ocean liner plying the waters of the Tasman Sea in the early 20th century, the ship was sold for scrap and on its way to a Japanese wrecking yard, when a cyclone grounded it onto the shores of Fraser Island in 1935, about 10km north of Happy Valley. Today, only a rusted skeleton remains, making for great photos against the crystalline blue waters of the Coral Sea.

Seventy-Five Mile Beach is also home to some of the best beach fishing anywhere. Warmer months see whiting and bream while swallowtail, tuna, mackerel and even sharks can be found year-round. From August to October, fishing enthusiasts gather for the Tailor Run, when huge schools of these aggressive fish make their way down the coast to breed. Other superb fishing spots on the island’s north and east coast include Sandy Cape, Waddy Point, Indian Head, and Middle Rocks. In addition to beach fishing, fly and reef fishing are also available on the island while mangrove jack and bream can be found in the island’s inland creeks.

All along Seventy-Five Mile Beach, you’ll find one Fraser Island’s most distinctive features – its mobile sandblows. Continually formed and re-formed by the prevailing winds while being stabilised by grass and other coastal plants, Fraser Island’s sand dunes are nevertheless actually moving across the island, covering and uncovering ancient forests on their way.

All this soft sand makes Fraser Island a fun 4WD destination, either along Seventy-Five Mile Beach or heading inland on the Central Lakes scenic drive to take in the islands many stunning freshwater lakes.

Please keep in mind that there are speed limits on the island – 80km/h on the beach and 30km/h on the inland tracks. The island’s unique topography also means off-road drivers need to be aware of softer sands, for example, on the foredunes along the beach, and pools created by the falling tide, which can easily bog down a vehicle. It’s a good idea to stick to the harder sand between the high tide mark and the waterline.

It’s also recommended that you travel at low tide, or within a two-hour window on either side of low tide. In recent years, some vehicles have been caught by the tide, tempting drivers to drive at higher speeds which make some vehicles prone to dangerous roll-overs.

As a response, the Queensland Government now prohibits hired 4WD vehicles from having Roof Top Tents (RTT’s) or anything loaded on roof racks. Penalties can be issued on the spot.

To accommodate, Fraser Island 4WD Hire has multiple 4WD and Bush Camper configurations and categories to allow you to enjoy a safe and comfortable holiday. Jeeps are a great option for those travelling light and exploring Fraser Island for the day or perhaps staying in one of the posh island resorts. For those utilising the island’s many campgrounds and caravan parks, our fleet includes Bush Campers that come with Ground Tent (GT) set ups that comply with the law.

Some of our most popular options are:

  • Small 4WD Jeep – best suited for couples without camping gear who want a soft travel option
  • Bush Camper Medium GT 4WD – excellent for couples with camping gear
  • Bush Camper Large GT 4WD – best option for families with camping gear

Our Fraser Island 4WD Hire vehicles are low-range and high clearance, ideal for navigating the island’s bumpy roads and sometimes tricky sand conditions.

In addition to Fraser Island’s ruggedly beautiful beaches, the interior of the island is home to more than 100 freshwater lakes, not to mention streams and tributaries, putting it just behind Tasmania for having Australia’s highest concentration of lakes. In fact, the ground beneath the sand dunes is thought to hold an astounding amount of rainwater, between 10 and 20 million mega litres!

The island is home to some 40 perched dune lakes, half of the total number in the world. Perched lakes are formed when wind creates a depression in the land which is then covered in compacted sand and hardened organic matter like leaves and other vegetation. The lake then fills up with rainwater. While high acidity together with low nutrient levels means very few plants or animals inhabit the lakes, they make for some of the cleanest lakes in the world with incredibly clear water, perfect for swimming!

At 200 hectares, Lake Boomanjin is the largest perched lake in the world. The reddish water comes from the tannin of Tea Trees. While oddly-coloured, the shallow lake is great for relaxing and swimming. There are flush toilets and picnic areas around the lake for those who want to make a day of it.

For more traditionally beautiful water, the island’s most popular perched lake has to be Lake McKenzie, often called the “Jewel of Fraser Island” for its amazingly clear, blue water surrounded by blindingly white silica sand, all enveloped by a forest of green trees. Easily accessible from either ferry drop-off point, once you arrive at the car park, it’s just a short 100m walk along a jungle path and down some stairs to the lake. Facilities include hybrid toilets and a fenced picnic area with barbecues. The lake is home to some turtles and fish, so feel free to bring a snorkel and mask along. Other popular perched lakes include isolated Lake Bowarrady, the black water Basin Lake, and Boomerang Lake, the world’s highest perched dune lake at 130m above sea level.

A second type of lake which Fraser Island is famous for are barrage lakes, formed when wind blows a sand dune into the path of a flowing creek or stream. One of the island’s favourite barrage lakes is Lake Wabby. At over 11m, it’s the deepest dune lake on the island and its emerald waters are home to 12 species of fish. Come early to see the morning mist rising from the lake or hike up to the Lake Wabby Lookout for spectacular views. Either way, you’ll need to do some work to enjoy this secluded spot, as access is via two hiking trails, a shorter 1.5km hike from the Look Out Car Park, or a longer 2.4km hike closer to the town of Eurong.

For a slightly different swimming experience, head to Eli Creek, a large freshwater stream on the island’s east coast, not far from Happy Valley and the wreck of the SS Maheno. Walk along the wooden boardwalk, swim or float down the fast-flowing creek or simply soak in the atmosphere while enjoying a picnic lunch.

Bushwalking is another great way to appreciate the island’s natural beauty up close. While there are lots of shorter walks, the epic, 90km, six-day Fraser Island Great Walk takes in most of the island’s notable sites. For something slightly more manageable yet still challenging, the Lake McKenzie Circuit is about 20-24km round trip, exploring beaches, walking along boardwalks, and through scenic forests.

A range of walking trails to enjoy Fraser Island’s rainforests start from Central Station and the surrounding Pile Valley. Originally a logging camp, Central Station is the gateway to the area’s rainforests which grow from the sand, a remarkable feat considering that sand is notoriously nutrient-poor. Take some time to view the displays about the island’s development as well as its unique collection of plants and animals before striking out on one of the walking circuits through lush rainforests and along creeks. As you walk, notice how tall and straight the trees are, better to reach the sunlight through the thick canopy. Many visitors choose to make Central Station their base while on the island due to its large fenced campground area and availability of basic facilities.

Walking and driving around the island, you’ll also notice a diverse animal population, ranging from dingoes and lizards to sugar gliders and possums. The island is home to nearly 50 mammal species, 79 reptile species, and more than 350 bird species. A favourite spot for naturalists is Lake Allom, also known as Turtle Lake, for its large population of freshwater turtles. The waters around Fraser Island can also claim dolphins, dugongs, turtles and rays as residents. Especially between August and October, Fraser Island becomes a prime whale watching spot to see migrating humpback and minke whales.

Extend your trip to Fraser Island by camping at one of the island’s 45 camping spots, ranging from remote beach camping with no facilities to camping sites with dingo deterrent fences, ideal for families with young children. Some of the larger sites offer coin-operated hot showers, sinks for washing up, and flush toilets. However, with your fully-equipped Fraser Island 4WD Hire Bush Camper with Ground Tent set up, you’re free to immerse yourself in the beautiful surroundings while enjoying all the comforts of home.

Fraser Island 4WD Hire is part of Australian 4WD Hire, a nationwide network of premium rental agencies strategically positioned in close proximity to all famous 4WD destinations and hotspots as well as major regional and capital cities throughout Australia, ensuring you’re never far from a pick-up point.

Australian 4WD Hire is renowned for our meticulously maintained vehicles and top-tier customer service. Our fleet is constantly being updated to ensure you enjoy your self-drive adventure in comfort and safety. 4WD Tourism is one of the best ways to see the broad range of amazing sights Australia has to offer, with the flexibility and freedom to discover the outdoors at your own pace. For your Fraser Island 4WD Hire adventure, please contact us at 1 300 360 339 or +61 7 5527 6191. Or email us at sales@australian4wdhire.com.au or visit us at www.australian4wdhire.com.au

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