Fraser Island adventures : Part 1

2 days camping at Rainbow Beach

On previous trips to Fraser Island we have never stayed at Rainbow Beach instead choosing to drive straight up from Brisbane.  This time, we spent 2 nights camping with friends from Noosa at Gateway Lifestyle Rainbow Waters and tested out our new Black Wolf Turbo Lite Twin 300 tent.  It was the first time we had put it up and I was impressed!  15 minutes to literally pop it up and attach the fly, and perhaps another 10 minutes to peg it all down.  That’s my kind of tent!  Less arguments, less stress, more time to relax and enjoy!

The caravan park is located on the tidal inlet of the Great Sandy Straits and each evening we were treated to a spectacular sunset over the lake.  We were only a hop, skip and a jump from Carlo Point Boat Hire so we hired a pontoon and smaller boat for our group of 15 to explore the area and hopefully spot some turtles and jugong (sadly no luck). The on-board BBQ was perfect for an easy sausage sandwich lunch while the kids splashed around in the clear, shallow waters and we enjoyed the stillness of being out on the water.  Afternoons were spent wandering the shores of Rainbow Beach and up to the coloured sands before taking a dip and heading back to make damper on sticks for the camp fire.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to drive along the beach from Noosa Shores to Rainbow Beach as our timing didn’t work with the tides (you must go at low tide), but we have done it previously and loved it.

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Coloured Sands, Rainbow Beach
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Exploring the waterways

If you have the time, I highly recommend starting your Fraser Island holiday with a day or two at Rainbow Beach.

Our Fraser Island adventure begins … Camping at Waddy Point

There is nothing quite like the feeling of driving along the beach.  Having the windows down, the fresh salt air blowing through the car and watching the waves lapping beside you.  The moment our tyres were off the barge and onto the sand at Hook Point, I felt an instant calmness and excitement for the adventures ahead.

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Hook Point barge landing area

We headed straight up to Waddy Point Camp Ground (pre-book your camp site here), which is located 100km north of the Hook Point barge landing area on the north-east coast of Fraser Island.  We set up camp for the next 3 nights on the beach front but there is also a fenced area for those camping with younger children.

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The fenced campground at Waddy Point

Facilities include water taps (treat water before drinking), flushing toilets, coin-operated hot showers, picnic tables, gas barbecues, communal fire rings, washing-up facilities. Rubbish and recycling bins available at QPWS waste transfer station on the southern entrance to Orchid Beach township.  Generators are not permitted.

Open fires are permitted in QPWS-provided fire rings only and you must bring your own untreated milled timber firewood (it is illegal to collect firewood including leaves and twigs).  Fires are not permitted at Waddy Point when QPWS fire prohibition or local fire bans are imposed.

There is also fuel and basic supplies available at Orchid Beach.

Waddy Point was the perfect base for 2 full days of exploring the north-eastern and north-western end of the island.

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Our sandy campsite at Waddy Point (there are a number of grass spots if you are lucky)

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Evening sunsets at Waddy Point

Day trip from Waddy Point to Sandy Cape …

The next morning we were up and raring to go and after checking the tides and chatting with our ‘neighbours’ we all decided to go to Sandy Cape together (in case we got bogged or ran into any problems).

We headed North up the beach to Ngkala Rocks and joined the queue of 4WD adventurers waiting their turn to pass.  The sand is soft so if you have to stop suddenly, it is likely you will get bogged, so come prepared with recovery gear and if you can, travel with another vehicle.  But in saying that, there are lots of friendly people who are happy to help each other out and it’s all part of the fun!  We waited about 30 minutes for our turn to pass, so be patient as impatience can often cause more problems.

Ngkala Rocks was definitely the highlight of the trip for my almost 17 year old son and husband who had been eager to get the new Landcruiser off-road.  If we had of had more time, I’m sure they would have gone back later in our holiday and spent the day going backwards and forwards.

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Ngkala Rocks: Vehicles waiting on the South side to pass through
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Ngkala Rocks: The beginning heading north
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Ngkala Rocks – the cut out (image above) is to the left
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Heading north through Ngkala Rocks

Once we were through we made our way up the beach and came across the most amazing, determined eagle who nose dived straight in front of our car with its eyes set on its next meal.  A little scary when you are travelling at 80km on sand, trying to keep an eye on the water line lapping towards your tyres and vehicles coming towards you whilst also being mindful that you don’t want to hit this brilliant bird.  We copped a wave  (which wasn’t ideal) but it was well and truly worth it to experience this majestic bird in action.

We stopped for lunch about 15 minutes past North Ngkala Rocks and once high tide had passed we headed to the Cape.  Having not been to this part of the island before, we were in awe of the pristine, crystal clear waters and the difference from one end of the island to the other.  The further North you go, the more remote yet beautiful it becomes.  You really could be forgiven for thinking you were in the Whitsundays!

We couldn’t resist a dip (as did many other visitors) in the stunning ocean waters that were beckoning us, but please take note of all warnings on Fraser Island, especially for stingers and crocodiles.

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Crystal clear waters

Once we dragged ourselves out of the ocean, we came to the end of the ‘road’ and headed off on foot to the Sandy Cape Lighthouse – a 1.2km steep and very sandy walk to reach the top (make sure you bring water and wear shoes).  But once you reach the top, the views are stunning.  The walk back down is much easier and there are plenty of more things to see.

We made our way back from the Cape around 3pm to allow ourselves plenty of time to get back down the beach and through Ngkala Rocks before high tide.

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Overall, this is an awesome day trip for those looking for a bit of adventure and their own little piece of paradise.

Stay tuned for our adventures to Platypus Bay, Wathumba and Champagne Pools.

Disclaimer: This blog post is based on our own personal experiences and conditions at the time of visiting Fraser Island.  Please refer to all appropriate information guides and services including the Queensland Government site for current conditions. 



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