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Fraser Island Great Walk

© Ben Blanche

Fraser Island Great Walk

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
Lookouts (built and natural) 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
Lookouts (built and natural) No lookouts
Tent camping No tent camping
World Heritage Area

Spend a week exploring towering forests, crystal lakes, golden sand dunes and significant historical and cultural sites.

Park alerts

Fraser Island conditions report

Critical information for your safety is included in the conditions report (updated fortnightly), always check it before you visit.

Subscribe to the RSS feed to receive automated updates. (About RSS feeds)

Overlook the emerald green waters of Lake Wabby.
Overlook the emerald green waters of Lake Wabby. Adam Creed © Queensland Government
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Park Fraser
Traditional Owners Traditional Owners
Park Ranger Park Ranger

Lace up your boots and trek along the world's largest sand island. Enjoy ever-changing landscapes and stunning scenery—from lush rainforests to sparse, golden dunes, you’ll never know what will be around the next corner.

Follow the pathways of the island's original inhabitants, the Badtjala Aboriginal people, as well as old logging roads and tramlines. Stop at lookouts with never-ending views and walk through shady forests of towering trees.

Cool off in picturesque inland lakes on your way to secluded camping areas scattered across the island.

At the end of each day, fall asleep under the stars and rise with the sun for another day of adventure.

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: Up to 90km one way (a path where the start point is different to the finish point).
Time suggested: Allow eight days walking time.
Grade:
Journey type: Walk

See below for detailed track notes for the walk.

Central Station walkers' camp to Lake McKenzie walkers' camp (via Basin Lake)

Distance: 6.6km
Time suggested: Allow 3.5hrs walking time
Grade: Grade 4 walking track

Day one of your Fraser Island Great Walk adventure! From Central Station walkers' camp head towards the Central Station day-use area and connect to the Wanggoolba Creek boardwalk. You'll follow this boardwalk for about 100m, crossing the bridge over Wanggoolba Creek. Stop to admire the clear water fringed by king ferns. Continue through rainforest and climb a steep sand hill dominated by carrol. Look for chain-fruit bushes with their inedible clusters of bright orange fruit. As the track levels off you'll walk through open eucalypt forests dominated by scribbly gums and bloodwoods, with sections of blackbutts. The track soon diverts to Basin Lake, with its deep waters fringed by reeds and a welcoming sandy shore—home to acid frogs and freshwater turtles. From here, continue northwards through banksia woodlands, tall open eucalypt forests and melaleuca wetlands, before climbing to Lake McKenzie walkers' camp. There's a short walk from the camp to the dazzling white shores and clear blue water of Lake McKenzie.

Central Station walkers' camp to Lake McKenzie walkers' camp (via Pile Valley)

Distance: 11.3km
Time suggested: Allow 5hrs walking time
Grade: Grade 4 walking track

Day one of your Fraser Island Great Walk adventure! From Central Station walkers' camp head towards the Central Station day-use area and connect to the Wanggoolba Creek boardwalk. You'll follow this boardwalk for about 400m to the turn-off to Pile Valley. Along the southern bank of the rainforested Wanggoolba Creek you'll have glimpses of the crystal-clear water through tall stands of piccabeen palms, satinay, figs and king ferns. Cross the shallow upper reaches of the creek in a piccabeen palm grove and continue through tall kauri pines, brush box and satinay. Nearly 2.5km into your walk you'll pass Pile Valley—look for it to the east. Heading north you'll follow an old tramline through cool and shady rainforest, which will then open into drier open eucalypt forests of blackbutt, scribbly gums and bloodwood trees. Head past the junction to the Lake Wabby walkers' camp and towards Lake McKenzie—you’ll soon see its white shores and crystal blue waters. Follow the shoreline for about 200m to a track that leads you to the Lake McKenzie walkers' camp.

Lake McKenzie walkers' camp to Lake Wabby walkers' camp

Distance: 12km
Time suggested: Allow 5hrs walking time
Grade: Grade 4 walking track

The day starts with 3.9km of backtracking before you’ll turn-off and walk the 8.1km to Lake Wabby. The walking is spectacular—tall forests of blackbutt and scribbly gum tower over you interspersed with patches of rainforests of lush green piccabeen palms, Fraser Island satinays, kauri pines, brush box, vines, epiphytes, mosses and fungi. Just before you reach Lake Wabby walkers' camp you'll journey through the eucalypt forests typical of the east coast dunes of the island. If you've still got the energy, wander along the nearby Lake Wabby lookout walk for views of the lake and Hammerstone Sandblow, and then down a steep hill to the golden shores of Lake Wabby, the deepest lake on Fraser Island.

Lake Wabby walkers' camp to Valley of the Giants walkers' camp

Distance: 16.2km
Time suggested: Allow 6.5hrs walking time
Grade: Grade 4 walking track

Head off early accompanied by a cacophony of bird calls and walk down the steep hill towards the lake, turning off after 1.1km and before you get to the sandblow. This section of the walk winds through the central high dunes, cloaked with open eucalypt forests and woodlands, and into one of the largest concentrations of rainforest on the island. Enjoy the shade provided by Fraser Island satinay, brush box, tallowwood, kauri pines, strangler figs and carrol. The pockets of open eucalypt forests become increasingly  sparse until you are fully engulfed in the cool forest all the way to the Valley of the Giants walkers' camp.

There’s lots to explore from this camping area. Walk to a spectacular lookout over the vast desert-like sands of the Badjala Sandblow and witness the constant struggle between wind, sand and vegetation. An ancient forest of long-dead trees, previously covered by sand, is now being uncovered as the sandblow moves slowly inland. Other side tracks will take you to some of the largest living trees on K'gari (Fraser Island)—a giant satinay and an enormous tallowwood. You'll need about an hour to explore all of these side trails.

Valley of the Giants walkers' camp to Lake Garawongera walkers' camp

Distance: 13.1km
Time suggested: Allow 6hrs walking time
Grade: Grade 4 walking track

After a restful night, head off through impressive stands of brush box, satinay trees and rainforest that eventually breaks into areas of open eucalypt forest and heathland. After 6km you'll reach the junction at Bogimbah Creek. Turn left and walk a short distance to the historic remains of Petrie's Camp—one of the earliest logging camps and forestry trial sites on the island. Back on the track you'll continue for 7.1km in cool rainforest of piccabeen palms, kauri pines and satinays, and sections of open eucalypt   forest. Stop along the way to take in the spectacular views to Bogimbah Creek and the valley floor. It's not far to the tranquillity of the Lake Garawongera walkers' camp where you can reward yourself with a cool dip surrounded by echoing bird calls.

Lake Garawongera walkers' camp to Happy Valley

Distance: 6.6km
Time suggested: Allow 3.5hrs walking time
Grade: Grade 4 walking track

Pack up camp on this final day and continue through the rainforest and along Lake Garawongera's north-western shore. You'll climb a steep, rainforested ridge to the top of the last high point of the walk. From here, it’s all downhill towards Happy Valley. Notice how the sunlight filters through as the forests become thiner. Eucalypt forests of blackbutt and scribbly gums flank Mellong Sandblow where you might see a startled goanna scuttle up a tree. The sandblow is small yet still impressive. In just two more kilometres your Great Walk adventure ends at the seaside village of Happy Valley.

Getting there and getting around

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

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.

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 no wheelchair-accessible facilities.

When to visit

Opening hours

Fraser Island Great Walk is open 24 hours a day.

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

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

  • Parks are natural environments and conditions can be unpredictable. You are responsible for your own safety and for looking after the park.

  • 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

  • Open fires are not allowed.

Rubbish

  • 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.

  • In all other locations you will need to take your rubbish with you when you leave.

Drinking water

  • Water is available from taps, tanks, lakes and waterholes at all the walkers' camping areas although supply is dependent on rainfall and cannot be guaranteed.
  • Treat all water before use.
  • Treated water is available from the Central Station walkers' camp and day-use area.
  • Use water wisely and report damaged or leaking taps and tanks.


Dump point

  • There are no dump points for human toilet waste kits on the Fraser Island Great Walk. Do not dispose of kits in camping area toilets.
  • The nearest dump points are at Cornwells camping area in Beach camping zone 2 and at the Wanggoolba Creek barge landing.

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.

  • 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.

  • Read 4WD with care for important information on 4WD safety and minimal impact driving.

Camping

  • If outside dingo fence, never leave children alone in tents.
  • Keep your camp small in shared camping areas.
  • Tall blackbutts and scribbly gums readily drop branches in windy conditions. Never camp under these trees in windy weather. Beware of falling pine cones in rainforest areas.
  • Read camp with care for tips on camping safely and camping softly.

Walking

  • Ensure you purchase a topographic map before setting out. Make sure you also have enough water and containers, a personal locator beacon (PLB), and correct gear in good working order.
  • It is safer to walk during daylight hours.
  • Tall blackbutts and scribbly gums readily drop branches in windy conditions. Never linger under these trees in windy weather. Beware of falling pine cones in rainforest areas.
  • Read walk with care for tips on walking safely and walking lightly.

Fishing

  • Fishing is not permitted in freshwater lakes or streams on the island.

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.
  • 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

Lake McKenzie food and drink restrictions regulatory notice

  • Taking, preparing and consuming food and drinks, except water, is prohibited in the car park and on the lake shore.
  • To be dingo-safe, food and drinks must only be prepared and consumed in the fenced picnic areas.
  • Penalties apply.
Last updated: 22 March 2018
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