Located on Australia’s east coast in Queensland lies the largest sand island in the world, Fraser Island. You can visit on your own but taking a guided tour where you are in a convoy of Four Wheel Drive vehicles as you traverse across the deep sandy roads. There are beaches galore, sand dunes, fresh water lakes, shipwrecks, champagne rock pools and more to see, it can be a great, fun-filled, joyous trip and it certainly is one of the top things on all backpacker’s east coast itineraries.
However, we think there is a few things you should know about Fraser Island that aren’t mentioned in the brochures, read on as we reveal the truth about Fraser Island….
In Australia there are wild dogs called Dingoes, you won’t find them in towns and cities but in Fraser Island they are plentiful, they won’t be interested in adults but have been known to tragically kill and eat babies (!!)
You are warned not to leave food lying around as it will attract the islands dingoes. Once the goon hits it seems hilarious to put food (in our case onions) underneath other people’s tents. And hear in the morning how people were shitting themselves hearing the rustle of the dingoes prowling around their tent.
There are no toilets located at the camping area where you will spend 12+ hours at. You are told to always go in pairs when you need to go, the 2nd person is there to scare away the dingoes (you can do this by waving your arms around). As the night wears on and the goon hits, it seems like a great idea and challenge to venture out on your own. And funny to watch as said persons hot foots it back to the camp. There is also the big issue of needing a number 2 whilst there!... well I can’t sugar coat this so brace yourselves… you just have to act like an animal, dig a hole, squat down, do your business and then cover it up with sand (HA yes truly!) Now you probably won’t want anyone standing waving next to you so whilst squatting you’ll want to be looking around for dingoes and waving yourself. The toilets that are provided at tourist points are drop toilets and if no one has closed the toilet lid before you then you will arrive to find the toilet teeming with flies. Be clever and close the lid afterwards!
Now I have mentioned it already, Goon. The cheap boxed wine which is claimed to contain fish guts, it can be lethal and tastes like piss. But its incredibly cheap and handy to carry around and gets you drunk fast. FYI- It can also used as a pillow if you take it out of the cardboard box. You will get a hangover in the morning and remember you’ll need to be taking a turn to drive at some point!
You are on the worlds largest sand island, sounds like it should be paradise, but it also can rain, and on our stay, rain it did. All night long and as putting up a tent doesn’t necessarily sound as much fun as it is to sit and drink goon, the tents get thrown together and during the night everyone experienced puddles and rain seeping through. Some people (Shannon) were too far gone with the goon that they didn’t even notice they were sleeping in a puddle until the morning light. At that point people clambered into the cars to get more (dry) kip.
Now you will have to share said crappy tents with strangers, we got lucky and shared with a lovely girl called Malika. It’s an amazing place for teenagers that are rowdy and loud, they can let their hair down on what is probably their first taste of being away from parents. It is all fun and games until the rain pours down and you are all forced under the roof of the BBQ area, the noise gets louder as the goon gets drained and then you find some older anti-social t**t that starts getting annoyed at you (read ‘Pamela’).
Now, Fraser Island if you didn’t know is predominantly made up of sand everywhere. So, if on a guided tour, before you start driving you will be given a briefing on how to drive 4WD on the sand. In most areas it will be rather to extremely bumpy and you will be tossed around, there will 5 of you in the car, probably all strangers, who you are trusting your life with. We don’t mean to scare you, but since we returned there was a tragic event where a British tourist died after the 4WD she was travelling in overturned as the car was overtaking. Our group all drove sensibly until at one point another person had to come join us and when it was their turn to drive they were manic, going up on the verges where tree roots were sprouting, making it a very un-comfortable and scary ride.
The group we shared a car with, we must say were wonderful people, we had such a great time and made friends for life!
Don’t let us put you off… in fact for some it might have compelled you to visit even more now… Fraser Island is one of the top trips to take in Queensland, and you'll never meet a backpacker who hasn't got it on their list or already ticked it off...just stay safe and drive safe!
There isn't a lot of relevant photographs to accompany this post, some for obvious reasons, but here are some that do show off the beauty of this dessert island.
Have you been to Fraser Island before? - If so was your experience better or worse?