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Fraser Island is the world's largest sand island, located in the central eastern coastal zone of Queensland, Australia, about 200 kilometres north of Brisbane. The island is about 120 kilometres long and 25 kilometres wide, together forming a 1,840 km² big sandy island which was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1992. Named after Captain James Fraser who ran his ship 'The Sterling Castle' aground here in 1836, the island is picturesque and has a unique ecosystem. Apart from loads of sand, there are also woodlands, forests and mangroves, and the fauna is impressive too with many birds, reptiles and amphibians.
Situated some 200 kilometres north of Brisbane, Fraser Island has a hot and humid climate, cooled by sea breezes. The summer maximum average temperature is about 30 °C. People with fair skins need to be wary in midday sunshine which can burn in a few minutes. Hats, cool clothing that protects from the sun, sunscreen and common sense are essentials to enjoying Fraser Island summers. Average temperatures of around 15 °C are usual in winter, which is mild, usually dry, and very pleasant. Most winter days are sunny and there is never any frost.
The only way to get to Fraser Island is by boat from Hervey Bay, as there are no airstrips on the island. Many visitors to the island hire 4WD vehicles from Hervey Bay and explore under their own steam, camping as they go. It is also possible to visit the island as part of an organised tour.
There are a few different options on how to cross the Great Sandy Strait from Hervey Bay to Fraser Island, depending on whether you are driving your own 4WD or not, and where you are headed.
Catch the fastcat transfers at Urangan Boat Harbour, on the southeastern end of the bay. Once in Hervey Bay stay on the main road, which turns into Boat Harbour Drive. At the end make a left hand turn and follow the signs to Urangan Boat Harbour. There is secure parking available at the harbour. You can not take your 4WD with you on the fastcat. Takes approximately 45 minutes and will drop you off at the Kingfisher Bay Resort jetty.
Barge/Ferry transfers from River Heads
If you want to take your 4WD onto the island with you, River Heads is one of your options. The terminal is about 15 minutes north of Maryborough, or 20 minutes south of Hervey Bay. From Maryborough, follow the signs for Hervey Bay and take the right turn onto Booral Road when you see the sign for River Heads. After about 10 minutes turn right at the sign onto River Heads Road. It's about 10 minutes from the turnoff to the ferry terminal. At River Heads you have two choices depending on where on the island you want to be:
Barge/Ferry transfers from Inskip Point, Rainbow Beach
The other departing point to get your 4WD onto Fraser Island with you is Inskip Point. To get there, turn off the Bruce Highway at Gympie onto the Tin Can Bay Road. Follow the Rainbow Beach signs until you get there (takes about 60 minutes). Once at Rainbow Beach, follow Inskip Point Road until you see the barges. The journey from Inskip Point takes about 10 minutes and will take you to Fraser's most Southern tip, Hook Point.
Self drive 4WD is one of the most popular ways to get around Fraser Island, although the environmental effects of thousands of vehicles using Fraser's wide beaches as roads is a controversial affair. Check Fraser 4wd hire, Fraser Island Tagalong Tours or Nomads Fraser Island.
There are a few organized trips around the island which take place in 4WD buses, driven by qualified guides.
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