The Fraser Coast has everything, from the dunes and rainforest of the world’s largest sand island with its wild, purebred dingo population and crystal blue lakes to the ocean abound with migrating humpbacks and a coastline of the purest natural beauty.
Only a place like Australia could combine so many oddities of nature in one place.
Just an hour and a half flight from Sydney, or a 3-hour drive from Brisbane, the Fraser Coast is a unique part of the Australian coastline.
Where else do you find the world’s largest sand island covered in freshwater lakes and rainforests next to a whales’ playground?
There’s so much more to this area of Queensland than just Fraser Island so here are 7 reasons to visit the Fraser Coast.
1. Fraser Island
Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island. It’s the obvious drawcard and the jewel of this coastline. It doesn’t disappoint. The contrasts in the landscape are stunning and whether you see this island by land, sea or air you’ll never see the same thing twice.
2. Whale watching
My first thoughts on whale watching, I expected to need binoculars to see whales in the distance or maybe we’d see one or two a bit closer. But Hervey Bay is something else. The whale-watching season runs from late July to October and is the best place in the country to get up close to humpback whales.
In fact I’d even say it’s the best place in the world. After the calves are born, their parents bring them to the warm, calm waters of Hervey Bay to grow before they continue their migration south.
3. Hervey Bay
If you consider this town just a stopping point on your way to Fraser Island then you’re missing out. There is a vibrant community here that makes it a destination in its own right. With its new foodie scene, restaurants like Coast and Eat at Dan & Steph’s are making a mark.
Grab a coffee at Aquavue Café before you head out to the beach.
For a stay with a difference, check out the Best Western Quarterdecks Retreat, which is like a home away from home.
4. 4-wheel driving adventures
Fraser Island is the biggest sandpit you’ll ever get to play in. Take your truck and have fun! I am a novice 4WD’er but in just a few hours with the Australian Off-Road Academy I was ready to take on the tracks to Lake McKenzie myself.
They’ll take you round their practice track first to get you confident on any kind of terrain you’ll come across. Then you can drive on 70 Mile Beach, a huge sand highway on Fraser Island’s eastern coast.
You can even take your own 4WD and really learn what it can do.
Otherwise, if you’re flying in, the academy can help you hire a 4WD so you can explore the best parts of Fraser at your leisure.
5. The beach is your runway on a commercial flight
Fraser Island is one of only two places in the world where you can take a commercial air flight that takes off and lands on a beach. (The other place is in northern Scotland).
I used to be terrified of small planes but the uniqueness of this experience made me jump at the chance. I even took the co-pilot seat!
Find out how I go over my fear of small planes here and see why this is a must do on Fraser Island.
6. Jet Ski adventures
Between Fraser Island and Hervey Bay is a sparking stretch of calm water. From the beach in Hervey Bay you can hire Jet skis to explore at your own pace.
Better still, join up with a half day adventure with Aquavue out to Pelican Banks. I have never seen such blue water and stunning sandbanks. We saw stingrays and turtles from our jetskis and if you’re lucky you may spot a dugong, dolphin or even a whale.
The feeling of flying across this calm bay has stayed with me and I can’t wait to go back.
7. Bush tucker
If you want to do something uniquely Australian, book a table for dinner at Seabelle Restaurant for a bush tucker dinner in Fraser Island’s Kingfisher Bay Resort.
The chefs here have prepared a menu featuring things like emu, crocodile, kangaroo and a wide array of Aussie plants, herbs and spices. The dishes are all delicious and look beautiful too.
Bonus tip: See the sun set over the ocean
There aren’t many places on the east coast of Australia where you can watch the sun go down over water. Fraser Island is one of them though, with the mainland barely visible on the edge of the horizon.
As the sun sets, find a good pozzie on the beach or – if you’re staying at Kingfisher Bay Resort – on the old wooden pier. There’s even a little bar called the Jetty Hut if you fancy a cold one.
If you’re only here for a couple of days, here’s our 48-hour guide to the Fraser Coast.
Do you have any tips for what you can do on the Fraser Coast? Have you ever been 4-wheel driving or jet skiing? Tell us in the comments!