Spending just 48 hours on Fraser Island, Australia, doesn’t seem like enough time – and of course you could spend much longer there – but a 2-day trip is still enough to get a feeling of what the world’s largest sand island has to offer and go home very happy.
It’s great to be back on Fraser Island. For me this was to be my third time to Fraser and for Mrs Romance her second. When we were there before, we went with a group of backpackers in a rental 4×4.
Since we last visited, the self-drive option that a lot of backpackers took up has been abolished. Gone are the days of squeezing up to a dozen 20 year-olds into the back of an over-loaded Land Cruiser.
And that’s a good thing.
There’s much less traffic on the island, there are fewer incidents (there were a number of fatal accidents involving self-drive backpacker camping trips until the ban), and therefore a much nicer experience for those now visiting this incredible place.
But with an area over 123km long and 23km at it’s widest point, what’s the best way to get a comprehensive overview of Fraser Island in just 48 hours?
How to make the most of 48 hours on Fraser Island
Where to stay
Camping is still a popular way to spend the night on Fraser, and it is a unique experience, but even better is the experience of lying on a soft bed in a room with fly screens and air con.
Kingfisher Bay Resort
The largest, most established hotel on the island, Kingfisher Bay Resort is just down the road from Kingfisher Bay and the ferry terminal.
It’s an early example of an eco resort, so it’s been designed to be as low-impact as possible, but it’s still very comfortable with all the mod cons you’d expect from a 4-star resort.
The rooms are very large and are more like chalets – each with its own balcony.
What to do
There are a hundred and one things to do on this magnificent island. Here’s a quick run-down of what we did.
Sunset over Kingfisher Bay
There’s a short boardwalk from the resort to the beach. People set up picnics on the sand to watch the sun go down. Alternatively, pull up a seat at the little bar on the jetty.
If you have a spare 30 minutes and $75, have a go on the Segways on Kingfisher Bay beach. Book them at the bar on the jetty. You can only go about 500m up the beach and back, but they’re great fun.
I managed to fall off mine and break it, and dragging it the full length of the beach wasn’t fun at all, but then – as Mrs Romance reminded me – I was ‘skylarking around’.
Bush tucker school
In the resort, the head chef of the Seabelle restaurant delivers a class on all different native Australian food. You get to taste some of these special ingredients, most of which are found locally in the area.
4×4 bus tour of the island
It’s funny, when Mrs Romance and I were here last, we looked down our noses at these buses on their giant wheels. Pah! Who’d want to do that?
I would! Thinking about all the accidents and really how uncomfortable it was in the back of those Land Cruisers, it’s a no-brainer for me now. Being high up in the safety of the bus with a professional driver who can tell you loads of interesting things about the island… and there’s no stress about being late, where to find food, where to camp… no. I’ll take the bus, thanks.
Our driver was excellent and the Beauty Spots tour, which goes for about 6 hours, shows you the best sights. There’s a second tour to Indian Head and Champagne Pools you can do the next day, or create your own personalised tour.
The bus tour also includes a great bushwalk through the rainforest in the middle of the island, which we’d highly recommend.
If we had to pick a highlight of the trip, it’d have to be the flight over Fraser Island. It’s the only place in the southern hemisphere (with only one other in the world) where you can take off and land a commercial plane on the beach.
The flight lasts for about 15 minutes and is $75 – the same price as the Segway. So if you only have $75 to spare, save it for the flight. It’s a little, family-run company, and it’s definitely an experience not to miss out on.
Where to eat
If you take the 4×4 bus tour, morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea is all included, so it’s only really breakfast and dinner to worry about on your 48-hour trip.
For breakfast, go for the buffet at the Kingfisher Resort. It’s pretty good actually.
Go for dinner in the Kingfisher Bay Resort’s restaurant Seabelle. Most of the things in the bush tucker class are used in the Seabelle’s menu. As there were four of us at dinner, we tried a range of different things on offer. I’ve got to say, by dessert we’d all almost given up. We were stuffed – and very pleasantly so!
Where to stay and where to eat in Hervey Bay
Back on the mainland, there are many options available in Hervey Bay at many different budget levels.
Best Western Quarterdecks Retreat
The Best Western Quarterdecks is close enough to the marina to walk to and is a bit like a little village, and some people do seem to live there permamently.
Our ‘room’ was enormous. It was a 3-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom split-level apartment, perfect for three couples or a large family. It even had a media room on the top floor and a full laundry next to the kitchen.
We talked about getting a few friends together and staying in a place like this for a week. It would be perfect.
There are some amazing rates online – especially if you’re sharing with a group of people.
We had dinner in Bistro Aubergine, which is right on the marina about 10 minutes’ walk away, and has a great menu.
Next door to Aubergine is Café Balaena, which can knock up a pretty good breakfast and the coffee’s not too bad either.
Boats to go whale watching leave from the marina too, so you’re in the perfect spot to do that. Humpback Whale watching is something we’ll never forget doing – here’s our write-up on our experience aboard the Freedom III.
The Fraser Coast really is a must-see area of Australia. The history and natural beauty here is fascinating. We’d love to come back again and explore more of the area, and we think you should too!
Have you been to Fraser Island? Would you go on a scenic flight in a small plane? What are your thoughts on dingos? Tell us in the comments!