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Eastern Beach scenic drive

Rob Cameron © Queensland Government

Eastern Beach scenic drive

Walking No Walking
Wheelchair access (may require assistance) No wheelchair access
Mountain biking No mountain biking
Horseriding No horseriding
Two-wheel driving No two-wheel driving
Four-wheel driving No four-wheel driving
Trail-bike riding No trail-bike riding
Canoeing & kayaking No canoeing & kayaking
Boating No boating
Dogs allowed on leash No dogs
Lookout (built) No lookouts
Tent camping No tent camping
World Heritage Area

Legend

Walking No walking
Wheelchair access (may require assistance) No wheelchair access
Mountain biking No mountain biking
Horseriding No horseriding
Two-wheel driving No two-wheel driving
Four-wheel driving No four-wheel driving
Trail-bike riding No trail-bike riding
Canoeing & kayaking No canoeing & kayaking
Boating No boating
Dogs allowed on leash No dogs
Lookout (built) No lookouts
Tent camping No tent camping
World Heritage Area

Explore 175km of glorious island coastline on this 4WD route dotted with spectacular sights, sounds and opportunities.

Take in the hulking ruins of the Maheno ship wreck.
Take in the hulking ruins of the Maheno ship wreck. Maxime Coquard © Tourism and Events Queensland
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Park Fraser
Traditional Owners Traditional Owners
Park Ranger Park Ranger

Spend days visiting unique and incredible landscapes, impressive cultural and historic sites, and quiet beach-side picnic areas.

Stretch your legs on walks to Champagne Pools, Kirrar Sandblow and Rainbow Gorge, Eli Creek, Lake Allom, Lake Bowarrady, and Sandy Cape lighthouse.

At night, pick your favourite camping area from the multitude scattered along the coastline and be lulled to sleep by the gentle crash of waves washing ashore. Don’t miss the chance to greet the sun each morning as it rises over the ocean horizon.

When your Eastern beach experience is over, jump onto one of the other scenic drives and explore the treasures on the rest of the island.

This park is part of the Fraser Island World Heritage Area, famed for its exceptional natural beauty, outstanding examples of coastal dune landform development and evolutionary history.

At a glance

Distance: 137.9km one way (a path where the start point is different to the finish point).
Time suggested: Allow 5hrs driving time (dependent on tides).
Grade:
Journey type: 4WD, Trail bike, Scenic drive

See below for detailed driving notes.

Hook Point to Eli Creek

Distance: 61.5km
Time suggested: Allow 2.25hrs driving time

This is the most popular beach drive for visitors who only have a short time on the island. If the tide is low, you can drive along the beach, otherwise you’ll need to take the inland road. The road crosses a few tannin-stained creeks as Jabiru Swamp releases its waters to the ocean. Dilli Village is just inland from the beach and heading north you’ll find the township of Eurong. Take the inland Wanggoolba Road to the rainforested Central Station day-use area or divert to the Southern Lakes or Central Lakes scenic drives. Still heading north, stretch your legs on the Lake Wabby walk and then take Cornwells Road, which also leads to the Central Lakes scenic drive. At Poyungan and Yidney rocks you will need to use the inland bypass tracks if the tide is high. Take Bogimbah Road, just north of Poyungan Rocks, to link with the Lake Garawongera scenic drive. You can also start the Lake Garawongera and Northern Forests scenic drives from the Happy Valley township, a little further north. Beyond Happy Valley, Eli Creek should only be crossed 2hrs either side of low tide in normal weather. Make sure you have enough time to come back across the creek if you’re returning south along the beach. On the northern side of the creek, the Eli Creek boardwalk is a definite must.

Eli Creek to Middle Rocks

Distance: 36.6km
Duration: Allow 1.25hrs driving time

This section of the drive explores the northern reaches of the island. From Eli Creek you'll travel north to the iconic Maheno shipwreck and learn about the history and tragedy of the luxury liner. Continue to Woralie Road and the northern entrance of the Northern Forests scenic drive. At The Pinnacles and Red Canyon, you'll be blown away by the natural beauty of the area, where coloured sand profiles have been sculptured by wind and water into rifts, spires and canyons. Learn about the connection that the Butchulla Aboriginal people have with this country. Dundubara camping area lies just off the beach and is a great overnight spot for families—don't pass up the chance for a hot shower. The next day, look for the volcanic rocky cliffs in the otherwise flat, sandy landscape as you approach Indian Head. The headland is a natural groyne—impeding the northward movement of beach sands. The sand accumulates so rapidly on the southern headland beach that plants don't have a chance to stabilise it. As a result, beautiful parabolic dunes are formed. The best place to see them is along Indian Head bypass track. At Middle Rock, take in the views to the north and stop in at the Champagne Pools boardwalk just up the road.

Waddy Point to Sandy Cape

Distance: 39.8km
Duration: Allow 1.5hrs driving time

On the northern side of Middle Rocks at Waddy Point, take the inland Middle Rocks Road and follow the signs for 5.7km to the Waddy Point day-use area. Stretch your legs and top up your drinking water at the taps. If it's not low tide, stay the night at Waddy Point beachfront camping area. When the tide is right, drive to the end of the camping area and onto the beach. Waddy Point headland and Binngih Sandblow are on this small southern beachfront. Heading north, you'll pass the road entrance to the Ocean Lake day-use area and arrive at South Ngkala Rocks. Beyond this point you need to have excellent 4WDing skills and experience, and travel in groups. If you do venture north you will enjoy quiet beach camping, catch fish from the wide sand spit at Sandy Cape, and continue your drive westward to the end of the Eastern Beach scenic drive at the historic Sandy Cape lighthouse.

Getting there and getting around

The Eastern Beach scenic drive is on K'gari (Fraser Island), 15km off the coast of Hervey Bay and about 300km north of Brisbane.

  • The scenic drive travels along the east coast of the island, from Hook Point to Sandy Cape and can be accessed at various locations along its length.
  • The main access points are at the barge landing at Hook Point, the Eurong township and Cornwells Break Road.
  • You need more than a day to complete this drive because you can only drive two hours either side of low tide. Access to facilities and features will also be dependent on tides.
  • Drivers heading on Ungowa Road and north of Ngkala Rocks on the Eastern Beach scenic drive must travel in groups and have the necessary experience and recovery gear.

Getting to K'gari

You can get to the island by high clearance 4WD, on foot, by plane or with a commercial tour.

By 4WD

  • Your high clearance 4WD must have low range functions.
  • Remember all vehicles must be registered, drivers must be licensed and all Queensland road rules apply, even on beaches.
  • Read 4WD with care for important information on 4WD safety and minimal impact driving.
  • A vehicle access permit must be purchased. Display the permit on your windscreen before driving in the recreation area.

From Inskip Point (15mins from Rainbow Beach)

  • At the end of the bitumen on Inskip Point Road, reduce tyre pressure, engage 4WD and drive 500m onto the beach.
  • Drive onto the Manta Ray barge for the 10–15min trip to Hook Point on the southern tip of K'gari (Fraser Island), and the start of the Eastern Beach scenic drive.
  • Bookings for this barge are not required.

From River Heads (east of Maryborough)

  • Travel 10.6km along River Heads Road to the Fraser Island Barges landing area.
  • The trip to Wanggoolba Creek on western K'gari (Fraser Island) takes 30–45min.
  • The trip to Kingfisher Bay on western K'gari (Fraser Island) takes 50mins–1hr.
  • These barges run at fixed time and bookings are essential.

On foot

  • Walkers can board a vehicle barge to the island (details above) or arrive by plane.

By plane

By private vessel

  • Access K'gari (Fraser Island)'s sheltered western coastline by private vessel. The eastern coastline of the island is extremely hazardous and exposed to very rough ocean conditions.
  • Launch your boat at one of the many boat ramps on the mainland between Tin Can Bay and Burnett Heads. There are no boat ramps on K'gari (Fraser Island).
  • See Maritime Safety Queensland's Beacon to Beacon Guides for the Great Sandy Strait and Hervey Bay for detailed navigational maps.
  • The waters adjacent to Fraser Island are in the Great Sandy Marine Park.

Commercial tours

  • You can join a range of tours that leave from a variety of centres.
  • For tourism information for all regions in Queensland, see Queensland.com, and for friendly advice on how to get there, where to stay and what to do, find your closest accredited visitor information centre.

Road conditions

K'gari (Fraser Island)'s sandy beaches and tracks have dry powdery sand and all vehicles and trailers must have high clearance. Vehicles must also have 4WD and low range functions. The island is not suitable for caravans, campervans and motorhomes, and trailers cannot access all areas. We don't recommend all-wheel drive vehicles.

  • Tides control access to some beaches, creeks, creek crossings and facilities. We recommend you read all the access information before travelling on the island.
  • Beaches and creek crossing change daily. Deep washouts can form at any time, particularly after heavy rain and rough seas. Wave action can expose dangerous rocks, wash up debris and expose tree roots that are particularly hard to see at night.
  • The roads around the Kingfisher Bay and Eurong resorts are sealed.

Parking

You can park your 4WD perpendicular to the beach and well out of traffic lanes. Indicate your intention to pull over.

Fuel and supplies

You will find fuel (no autogas), supplies, restaurants and takeaway food outlets in the towns on the island.

Wheelchair access

There are several wheelchair-accessible facilities on the Eastern Beach scenic drive.

When to visit

Opening hours

Eastern Beach scenic drive is open 24 hours a day.

Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.

Seasonal closures

To protect nesting and hatching sea turtles, you can only drive north of Ngkala Rocks on the Eastern Beach scenic drive, between 6am and 6pm from 15 November to 30 March.

Climate and weather

K'gari (Fraser Island) has a subtropical climate with temperatures moderated by proximity to the sea. Average coastal temperatures range from 22°C to 28°C in December and 14°C to 21°C in July. Annual rainfall varies across the island, from 1200mm on the coast to 1800mm inland. The wettest months are January to March, with about 160mm rainfall per month. The drier months are winter and early spring. Moderate winds predominate from the south-east. Storms—occasionally quite severe—are common in spring and early summer.

Permits and fees

Vehicle access permits

  • A vehicle access permit must be purchased. Display the permit on your windscreen before driving in the recreation area.

Camping permits

  • To book a group camp site you need to apply for a special account by:
    • logging onto www.qld.gov.au/camping
    • selecting ‘Create account’
    • following instructions to create a group account
    • using this group account to book your group camp site.

Organised events

  • If you are planning a school excursion or organising a group event such as a wedding or large gathering, you may need an organised event permit. Maximum group sizes and other conditions apply depending on location and activity type.
  • To protect dingoes and participants, running events like fun runs and marathons are not allowed on K'gari (Fraser Island).

Pets

Domestic animals are not allowed here.

Staying in touch

Mobile phone coverage

Unreliable. Check with your service provider for more information.

Tourism information

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland, see Queensland.com, and for friendly advice on how to get there, where to stay and what to do, find your closest accredited visitor information centre.

Be prepared

  • Serious injuries have occurred from climbing; running, sliding or tobogganing down; and digging into sand dunes and sand cliffs.
  • Wear protective clothing and insect repellent to protect yourself from bites and stings.
  • If you're travelling or staying in areas without reliable mobile service, consider bringing a personal locator beacon (PLB).

Be dingo-safe

  • NEVER feed dingoes.
  • Always stay within arm’s reach of children, even small teenagers.
  • Walk in groups.
  • Do not run. Running or jogging can trigger a negative dingo interaction.
  • Camp in fenced areas when possible.
  • Lock up food stores and iceboxes (even on a boat).
  • Never store food or food containers in tents.
  • Secure all rubbish, fish and bait.
  • Plan carefully to be dingo-safe on K'gari (Fraser Island).
  • Report negative or close encounters with dingoes to the nearest ranger, or by phoning 07 4127 9150 or emailing dingo.ranger@npsr.qld.gov.au.

Open fires

Rubbish

  • There are bins at the Middle Rocks bypass road (across from the junction with Waddy Point Road) and at beach camping zones 2, 5 and 7.

  • If the bin is full, please use another. Never leave rubbish lying around the rubbish bins.
  • In all other locations you will need to take your rubbish with you when you leave.

Drinking water

Driving

  • High-clearance 4WDs with low range capabilities are needed to explore Fraser Island Recreation Area.
  • Check the K'gari (Fraser Island) conditions report for the latest information on access, closures and conditions within the recreation area.

  • Remember all vehicles must be registered, drivers must be licensed and all Queensland road rules apply, even on beaches.
  • You need more than a day to complete this drive because you can only drive 2hrs either side of low tide. Access to facilities and features will also be dependent on tides.

  • Serious injuries and deaths from vehicle accidents have occurred on K'gari (Fraser Island). Reckless and risky driving, pranks and speed have all contributed to vehicle rollovers and crashes. You need to be aware of the driving conditions and ensure your vehicle is in good mechanical condition.
  • Slower is safer and a safe driving speed may be lower than the signed speed limit. Speed limits on K'gari (Fraser Island) are generally:
    • 80km/hr (maximum) on the Eastern Beach
    • 30km/hr on inland roads
    • 40km/hr in beach pedestrian areas (including the Maheno shipwreck site)
    • 50km/hr on Hook Point inland road
    • 10km/hr in shared-use areas.
  • If you’re hiring a four-wheel-drive vehicle, make sure you are familiar with the specific laws.
  • Avoid beach driving 2hrs either side of high tide.
  • Beach conditions change daily. Deep washouts can form at any time, particularly after heavy rain and rough seas. Wave action can expose dangerous rocks, wash up debris and expose tree roots. Approach washouts, rocks and debris slowly, and use bypass roads if necessary. Avoid travelling at night as these hazards can be difficult to see.
  • Stay on the formed tracks and do not drive or park on the fragile foredunes. The dunes may be soft and unstable, collapsing under the weight of a vehicle.
  • When driving on inland roads give way to buses, trucks and to vehicles travelling downhill or towing trailers. Make use of passing bays and try to drive forward (not reverse) into them.

  • Authorised aircraft have signed landing zones on Eastern Beach and you must heed the instructions of the air traffic controllers.
  • Read 4WD with care for important information on 4WD safety and minimal impact driving.

Camping

  • When outside dingo fences, never leave children alone in tents.
  • Some camping and day-use areas are surrounded by dingo-deterrent fences that have an electrified vehicle grid. Make sure that children are well supervised and that you use the pedestrian gates to access these areas. At all camping and day-use areas ensure you store food in lockers, where provided, in your vehicle, or in strong containers with lockable lids.

  • You can use generators in the beach camping areas between 9am and 9pm if less than 65dB(A) at 7m from the generator.
  • Read camp with care for tips on camping safely and camping softly.

Walking

  • It is safer to walk during daylight hours. Beware of vehicles when walking on the beach.
  • Read walk with care for tips on walking safely and walking lightly.

Trail bike riding

  • Trail bikes must be registered and riders licensed.
  • Keep trail bikes on vehicle roads and tracks—they aren't allowed on walking tracks.

Canoeing and kayaking

  • The island's eastern coastline is extremely hazardous and exposed to very rough ocean conditions. The sheltered western coastline, Marloo Bay, and the lakes of the island are better for canoeing and kayaking.
  • Check the signs at the lake to make sure you can canoe and kayak.
  • Take care when launching your canoe/kayak at the lakes as there are no formal facilities.
  • Read water safety for important information about staying safe in and near water and caring for parks.

Boating and fishing

  • Launch your boat at one of the many boat ramps on the mainland between Tin Can Bay and Burnett Heads. There are no boat ramps on Fraser Island.
  • Fraser Island's eastern coastline is extremely hazardous and exposed to very rough ocean conditions. The sheltered western coastline of the island is better for boating.
  • See Maritime Safety Queensland's Beacon to Beacon Guides for the Great Sandy Strait and Hervey Bay for detailed navigational maps.
  • Wear high-visibility vests and use glow sticks when fishing at night.
  • Fish cleaning is prohibited in camping areas and on some sections of the beach—heed all signs. Where you are allowed to clean fish, ensure no dingoes are nearby and bury frames and offal in a 50cm deep hole, just below the high tide mark.
  • There have been credible sightings of estuarine crocodiles in waters of the Great Sandy Straits.

Swimming

  • There are no patrolled beaches, lakes or creeks on K'gari (Fraser Island) and we don't recommend swimming in unpatrolled waters. If you decide to swim, you enter the water at your own risk. The nearest patrolled beaches are on the mainland at Rainbow Beach Inskip Point and Hervey Bay.
  • Strong rips and sharks may be present in the ocean.

  • Do not dive or jump into the water, or run, roll or slide down the sand dune at Lake Wabby. Serious injuries have occurred here.
  • Stay away from the deeper waters of lakes as they are colder and may cause you to cramp.
  • There have been credible sightings of estuarine crocodiles in waters of the Great Sandy Straits.

  • Be croc-wise in croc country.
  • Beware marine stingers.
  • Read water safety for important information about staying safe in and near water and caring for parks.

Restricted access

Indian Head restricted access area

Last updated: 22 March 2018
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