Fraser Island + Noosa
Wow where to start. Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world measuring in at 120km by 15km. It is also the only known place where rainforest grows on sand.
If that isn’t reason enough to visit then the spectacular blue freshwater lakes, ever stretching sand dunes and paradise beaches sure are.
Fraser Island is accessible only by small charter plane, and let’s face it, most of us aren’t that rich, or ferry.
There are various access points to the Fraser Island ferry’s with different tour companies opting for different destinations. Most common points I heard from fellow travellers were Noosa and directly from rainbow beach.
I had chosen to book my tour with Nomads, doing the 3 day 2 night package and their base meeting point was Noosa.
Also as an aside point, if you want to book tours Ratpack travel were the agent I used and they were great.
Sophie who works there secured me some epic discounts and answered all my questions, even giving me a rough itinerary for my whole Aussie trip.
I traveled from Brisbane to Noosa by greyhound bus, the journey only took a few hours.
When you book the Nomads tag along tour this also secures you cheap accommodation at the Nomads hostel in Noosa, which is located just off the main road.
Just bear in mind when booking your buses that you are required to attend a safety briefing at Nomads at 6pm. Failure to attend means you can’t go on the trip.
The Nomads hostel is large, with a pool, bar area and kitchen facilities available.
Ordinarily I would choose to stay in a slightly smaller dorm (I was in a 20 bed dorm) but when it’s costing $10 a night you can’t complain.
The evening before you go on your tour and the evening you arrive back from the tour they organise drinks and social events to encourage you too mingle as well which is great.
Another plus point is the free luggage storage available at the hostel. For the tour you are only able to take a small day rucksack so it’s ideal to have a safe place to store your belongings.
What to pack (3 days 2 nights)
I really wasn’t sure what to pack in advance of the trip, so I thought I would note the items to bring.
- Day shorts x 2
- Day top x 2
- Flip flops (I didn’t find trainers were needed)
- Fresh dry outfit for evening (I wore same thing both nights)
- Something to sleep in
- Cameras + charge cables
- Warm jumper/ jacket for evening
- Snacks (food is provided but you may want extra)
- Driving license (you can’t drive without it + you must be at least 21 and have held your license for at least 2 years)
- Phone (I didn’t actually get signal the whole time but it’s good for pictures)
The tour itself
Getting to Fraser
It’s an early start, you must check out the hostel at 6:30am, store your belongings and be ready for the 7am bus departure.
You are then driven to rainbow beach, there is one stop on the way for breakfast/coffee but options are limited so you may wish to bring some with you.
Once you arrive at rainbow beach you are given a brief and required to fill out some paper work.
At this point the car groups are formed, it’s based on who is happy to drive 1st (road driving) 2nd (sand driving), and splitting up the non drivers but is pretty much left to group. Pick people you think you will get along with, you are going to spend a lot of time together.
I ended up offering to do the sand driving first as no one else was offering in my group. I was extremely nervous having not driven in 5 months, not forgetting the fact it was in a 4×4 and on sand. But it really wasn’t that bad, as soon as I got going it was fine.
Groups sorted you drive to the ferry and make your way across to the island. It’s stunning by the way, and there is something really special about driving a 4×4 along the beach!
Once on the island you go to the Nomads base camp and enjoy a lunch of sandwiches prepared by one of the groups.
After lunch there’s an inland drive which is very bumpy, sandy and a whole lot of fun to reach lake Mckenzie.
Lake Mckenzie is absolutely beautiful, it’s probably one of my highlight stops from Fraser. The water is absolutely stunning and the sand so white, you spend some time here chilling in the water and enjoying the view.
Next up is the drive back to Nomads where you are then allocated your rooms given a briefing for the next day and allowed to visit the camp shop to buy alcohol (it’s not cheap but not extortionate).
There are two accommodation types depending on what you booked, staying in a teepee or dorm. Both were equally as nice.
Evening and dinner
Dinner was at 7:30pm and was spagbol with garlic bread, and it was actually really yummy and definitely needed after a busy day.
It was my cars turn to clear up so once you have eaten you make your way to the kitchen and help get everything clean and tidy.
Chorus done the evening is yours to enjoy, some people chilled in the bar while others spent the evening out by the pool.
By this point you have got to know the people in your car and so even if you initially came alone you have people to spend the evening with.
I’m afraid it’s another early wake up call, breakfast is at 6:45am and consists of toast and cereal.
After breakfast you make your way to hangover creek. This is where it all got a little interesting for car 3.
Due to super moons, time of year and weather conditions (above my head) there was an uncharacteristically high tide. The highest they had seen it in 10 years. This made driving conditions very difficult.
We had to pass a jut in the coastline and there were big waves crashing against the shore, whilst Iris was driving through the creek car 2 for some reason decided to stop (thanks guys).
This meant Iris had to stop in order to not hit them, during this time large waves crashed against the car, the engine started smoking and we were taking on water.
We were not able to get the car to restart and the guide radioed us to abandon cars and go to the safety of higher ground. We all jumped out the car and waded to safety.
Fortunately, a passer-by had a tow mechanism and was able to tow the now wedged car (the waves drag sand from under the tyres causing it to get bogged) out of the water.
After a few mechanical checks we were able to proceed. But poor Iris had decided she no longer wish to drive after the experience! Though now it’s easy to look back and see the humour at the time it was a very hectic and scary 20 minutes.
People passing out
A little further down the track a young girl Katie become unconscious. We all stopped and she was lifted out the car, she eventually came round after approximately 2 minutes. It was a very surreal situation, and everyone was worried for her safety.
Then as if things couldn’t get any worse another guy proceeded to faint! It was a very strange situation with the rest of us not knowing what to do.
The reason for their fainting was unknown. But I assume it was a combination of alcohol consumption and dehydration (they got pretty loose the night before!).
All I can say is our poor tour guide really earned his money that day! Whilst loosing his flip-flops and getting a water-logged phone during the rescue. Thanks Alex!
I forgot to mention how lucky we were, it didn’t end so well for one family! Fortunately all survived.
This is a really beautiful creek with a lazy river (it’s very cold) but you are able to spend some time exploring and enjoying the refreshing waters.
This is also where we had lunch, which was meat wraps and salad.
After lunch you head to champagne pools which is essentially some rock pools that look like champagne pouring when the waves crash against them.
We went in the water and also explored the views.
This is a historic spot that involves a bit of a climb (nothing to strenuous) and a respectful attitude. Here you learn about the tragic past of the Butchulla people and the events that followed captain cooks exploration. However you are also able to enjoy the views.
Again with an interesting historic story to learn about the ship and how it came to be there.
Dinner was steak, potatoes, corn and veggies and it was really delicious!
The rest of the evening, everyone has drinks, some people bought out some magic tricks and everyone mingled within groups.
You guessed it another early start, the alarm is set for 6:15 and you are on your way to lake Wabby before you know it.
The drive isn’t long, but dam the walk is a killer.
It takes around 45 minutes to reach the lake and it’s a lot of up hill tracks. Once you reach the sand dunes there is a great photo opp, it’s literally stunning! But the walk isn’t over.
You must make your way up and over the sand dunes, it’s really hot underfoot and you will most definitely get your sweat on.
It’s ok though, there is big lake to cool off in on the the other side and there is even fish that eat your dead skin!
After the walk back to the cars you head back to the camp, enjoy your last lunch and a dip in the pool then it’s time to make your way back to Noosa.
The journey takes around 3/4 hours depending on traffic from Fraser to Noosa and you are absolutely wiped out after it!
There is an after party with free drinks and nibbles, but I only made it to 9:30pm before I gave up and went to bed.
The early mornings, drinking, late nights and lots of activities really take it out of you!
Fraser Island Nomads tag along tour was absolutely epic, I had so much fun, saw so many beautiful things and made some really great friends.
It’s is most definitely a highlight of my trip and I highly recommend visiting!