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Introduction

Basin Lake

The world's largest sand island is a popular tourist destination. While the major activity on the island seems to be four wheel driving, there is some nice walking hidden away from the roads. The island is huge being 120 km long by about 14 km wide and the sand dunes tower over 240m in height. There are over 40 freshwater lakes on the island, some being perched 200m above sea level.

The northern end of the island is a National Park and provides some fine wilderness walking - that is no tracks or facilities of any type. The major difficulty of walking in the north is access is difficult to arrange as very few drive to it and there is little information on where to walk. The rangers want to keep it track free and have requested me to not write detailed track notes to the area.

The centre of the island contains the biggest site of attraction on the island and is actually more scenic than the northern end anyway. With numerous lakes, good camping areas and quiet walking tracks or closed roads, there is some excellent walking. Combine this with the easy access and you will see why the centre is the most popular walking area on the island.

There are numerous short walks. The main overnight walks are a three day circuit based around the Central Station area and the newly created Fraser Island Great Walk which includes most of the central circuit plus new tracks to the the north to Happy Valley. . There are not many hills to ascend or descend but walking in sand can be tougher than expected and we have graded these walks as being around medium standard. They are suitable for begineers but can he harder to walk than expected.

One issue on the island are the dingoes. They can be aggresive and have been known to tear open tents searching for food. Each campsite is either enclosed within a dingo proof fence or has a dingo proof enclosure for food storage. Place ALL food in a dingo proof area or enclosure.

Wild dingoes are common on the island

Location

Fraser Island is located 250 km north of Brisbane. The main service town near the island is Hervey Bay. This was originally 3 small seaside towns that have grown together to become one long narrow town about 4 km long. The island is clearly visible from the town.

Access

Hervey Bay is close to the main highway that runs along the coast north from Brisbane towards Townsville and Cairns. It is serviced by multiple numbers of buses daily from Brisbane. Access to the island is by barges which carry vehicles or by passenger launches - the Kingfisher Fastcat is popular with walkers. These services several times daily. Inquire around in Hervey Bay as prices vary between different services. On the island, Fraser Island Taxi Service (tel 07 - 4127 9188) provides transport to track heads and a food re-supply service (if you dont want to carry all of it).

Maps and Track Notes

Maps are highly variable. The detailed contour maps leave most roads and tracks off while the Tourist Maps do not have contours but show most roads and tracks. In practice it is wise to take both. The SUNMAP or Hema 'Tourist Map Fraser Island' is very useful and the NATMAP 1:100,000 Wide Bay and Happy Valley are less useful. Detailed track notes and a topographic map of the two walks are available from Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (around $8)

Suggested Itinerary

Central Circuit

1 Eurong to Lake McKenzie, 19km
2 Past Central Station to Lake Boomanjin, 22km
3 Past Dilli Village and along beach to Eurong, 17km
Fraser Island Great Walk

1 Dilli Village to Lake Benaroon,13.5km                       
2
Lake Benaroon to Lake McKenzie, 13.8km
3
Lake McKenzie to Lake Wabby, 11.9km
4
Lake Wabby to Valley of the Giants, 16.2km
5
Valley of the Giants to Lake Garawongera, 13.1km
6
Lake Garawongera to Happy Valley, 6.6km

Permits

None are needed for walking but a general permit to camp on Fraser Island is required ($4 per night). This can be obtained at the local council offices, by phone on 131304 or inquire with the barge services that will take you out to the island.

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John Chapman, PO Box 5042, Laburnum, 3130, Australia
Photographs and text are copyright © 2000-2006 John Chapman.
Last updated : January 15th 2006