Blue skies, sandy white beaches, ancient rainforests and moonlit nights listening to the haunting howl of dingoes – we are camping on Fraser Island, a world heritage site and the world’s largest sand island. Aborigines call it K’gari meaning Paradise.

dingo in our camp while camping on fraser island
Fraser Island is home to the native dingo.

Wanggoolba Creek Ferry Landing

We arrive on the late ferry so our first camp is at Central Station, the closest camp to the ferry landing. The sandy track takes us through the great diversity of plant life that is unique to Fraser Island. We drive through eucalyptus and scribbly gums forest, with red gums, smooth-barked apple and lemon-scented native flowers. The landscape morphs into lush green rainforest of towering palm trees, kauri pines, fern trees and rare ferns. Our vehicle is dwarfed by mythical giant trees that flourish in the only place on earth where rainforest grows in sand.

rainforest fraser island
Driving through the rainforest

Central Station

Nestled in the rainforest, wooden stairs lead to our tent on a raised platform, surrounded by centuries-old forest and fallen logs covered in green moss. The birdlife, such as kookaburras and cockatoos is abundant. A few mosquitos buzz around, so don’t forget the insect repellent!

Our campsite and tent at central station while camping on Fraser Island
Our camp at Central Station

The fenced campground has toilet and shower facilities. There is also a separate area with tables and gas barbeques for day use. A great base if you want to explore the inland lakes or rainforest walking tracks.

crystal clear rainforest
The crystal clear Wanggoolba creek

Some of Fraser Island’s great walks start from here, the boardwalk beside the crystal clear Wanggoolba creek is the start of the 11 km walk to Lake McKenzie.

rainforest boardwalk
Some of the island’s walking tracks start from Central Station.

Lake McKenzie

Lake McKenzie is the most popular of the 40 lakes on the island. It looks exactly like it does in the travel brochures. The sandy beach is silky soft and the ice blue water shimmers in the shallows and turns azure blue in the deeper part. It is invigorating and refreshing and once in, it’s hard to tear ourselves out! It gets very busy here during the middle of the day, but a quiet spot can always be found. The lesser known Lake Birrabeen is also pretty and visitors will more than likely have it all to themselves as no tour buses visit here.

fraser island lake mckenzie
Lake McKenzie

Wongai Camp

Our next camp is Wongai on the east side of the island near Eurong. Known as 75-mile beach, an expanse of pure white sand that stretches the entire length of the east side. This is the ‘highway’ as Fraser has no sealed roads.

dingos on fraser island
Most visitors hope to spot a dingo.

Wongai camp is a basic bush camp with no amenities, typical of most camps on the east side. We pitch our tent on the sand dunes that overlook the ocean. What a view! To top this off we see our first dingo while setting up camp. Most visitors to Fraser hope to see at least one dingo during their stay. We go to sleep listening to the crashing waves and the sneaky pitter patter of paws that check out our camp…

Fraser Island sunrise
Sunrise at Wongai camp

We wake to a sunrise that illuminates the beach with an orange glow and a pack of dingoes with five pups frolic and play on the water’s edge. Wongai is definitely our favourite campsite while camping on Fraser Island!

dingo fraser island
Big brother

The pups have not long left their den. They appear to be in the hands of an older brother. He is very gentle and the pups walk all over him. The pups spend the majority of their time with him. Their mum and dad appear on the sand dunes every now and again to check on them. When the pups see them they get so excited and rush over, they lick each other and howl. We watch in amazement at the greetings.

Dingos rest in the shade outside our tent on Fraser Island
Dingos rest in the shade outside our tent.

Dingoes, like wolves, are very social. They have a tawny coat with white feet (pure-breed dingoes have white feet and a tiny white tip on their tail). Their intense dark eyes show intelligence and cunning. Fraser Island dingoes are the purest strain of dingo in Australia. Their conservation is significant to the Island’s ecosystem.

Dingo pups sit outside our tent
Dingo pups outside our tent

Eli Creek

We travel further up the east coast to Eli Camp near Eli Creek. Once our tent is set up we have a refreshing swim in the turquoise freshwater creek. Surrounded by overhanging paperbark eucalyptus and ferns the picturesque spring fed creek is the largest freshwater creek on the island. When the tour buses arrive here it gets very crowded. Our camp is close so we go for an early morning swim without the crowds.

sue at eli creek
Sue enjoys a dip at Eli Creek

White bellied sea eagles, pied oyster catchers, crested terns, sandpipers and pelicans are but a few of the birds on the beach. We notice hundreds of mutton birds washed up on the beach. Every year they migrate from Siberia to rookeries as far as Tasmania. Some years they fly into severe storms and fall into the ocean from sheer exhaustion. It is sad to see but nothing can be done for them. It makes us think about the gruelling and harsh journey these little birds make every year. They have incredible endurance and spirit.

mutton bird
An exhausted migrating mutton bird

Further up from Eli Creek, the Maheno wreck rests in the shallow waters. Once used as a hospital ship by New Zealand to transport wounded troops from Gallipoli during World War 1, it was washed ashore during a cyclone in 1935. Magnificent in its day, it is now a rusty and disintegrating skeleton.

We pass Dingoes searching and scavenging on the shoreline. Fraser Island is known for its great fishing and some hang around popular fishing spots in the hope of getting fish from the fishermen.

A dingo that was in our camp while camping on fraser island
A dingo takes an early morning walk on the shoreline.

Not far from Maheno wreck are The Pinnacles. Significant to the local Aboriginals, the coloured sands have formed over 1000s of years from minerals leached through the sand. To fully appreciate the rainbow of colours it is best to visit here during the soft morning or afternoon light.

champagne pools at sunrise
Champagne Pools

The Champagne Pools

Further up is another natural wonder. The Champagne Pools is one our favourite places on the island. A scenic boardwalk leads down to the bubbly pools. Depending on the tide, the waves crash or cascade over volcanic rocks creating a sparkling effect into shallow sandy pools. Rips, undertows, stingers and sharks make it the only safe place to swim in the ocean on Fraser Island. The boardwalk above the pools loops around the rocks and there are great views of the Indian Headland. We stop again at Champagne Pools for sunrise the next morning. The sun reflects in the pools below and a pod of Humpback whales swim past in the distance. It’s serene and we have this enchanting site all to ourselves.

view of indian head from champagne pools
View of the Indian headland from Champagne Pools

Marloo Camp

We do some remote camping and out next camp is Marloo, about a 10 minutes’ drive north from Waddy Point. We also want to be close to Champagne Pools for sunrise.

It’s really windy here so we set our tent up behind the sand dunes for protection. The zipper on one of our tent screens has broken and it’s not until later as we try and sleep that the buzzing of mosquitos becomes unbearable. There’s no breeze behind the sand dunes, the stillness is stifling, made worse by the fact that we have the sheet over our heads to stop the mozzies from biting. Mozzie coils and insect spray doesn’t help.

Dingo footprint
Dingo footprint

In desperation, we drag the mattress down to the beach edge. The wind keeps the mosquitos away and we have a beautiful cool sleep under the stars. We wake in the morning and there are dingo footprints all around our mattress. Unbeknown to us they’ve come and checked us out through the night…

dingo on the beach on fraser island
The dingoes make Fraser Island a unique place to visit.

West Coast

We drive the inland sandy track through the Northern Scenic Drive past pink bloodwood, banksia flowering with yellow spikey flowers, scribbly and blue gum trees to our last camp on the more remote west coast of the island at Woralie creek.

Dingo visits our tent
A dingo visits our tent.

No one else is here and it feels like a deserted island. We pitch out tent right on the beach. The blue ocean glistens, the powdery white sand is scattered with seashells and the sunsets are romantic. There are no amenities, but the creek is fresh water and sparkly clean for swimming.

camping and sunset on the westcoast
We have this all to ourselves.

The only company we have is a dingo. We see many dingo footprints in the sand and hear them howling in the bush at night but only once comes close to our camp. While camping on Fraser Island we are lucky that not only do we see the dingoes, but we also witness them socialising and interacting with each other. Fraser Island wouldn’t have the same attraction and charm without them. We hope many other people get to see this vanishing icon in the future.

dingo pup on fraser island
A lot of Fraser’s charm is about the dingoes.

Fraser Island is one of our favourite places in Australia. The sandy beaches, tropical rainforests, translucent lakes, wild dingoes, epic sunrises and sunsets – this Island of contrasts is one of the world’s natural wonders.

westcoast sunset
West coast sunset

Dingoes

Dingoes have a social hierarchy system and as with all wild animals, they have their own individual personalities and some are more cunning, dominant, mischievous and playful than others. They have to feed themselves on an island where food is scarce, protect their pups and survive in a place overtaken by humans. People can avoid negative encounters if they act appropriately. We are in their territory and doing so should be at our own risk.

dingoes on fraser island
Fraser Island is their home.

When Fraser Island was listed as world heritage in 1992, the state government realised the money making potential and took control. They implemented practices to control the dingoes so they wouldn’t be an inconvenience or nuisance to the growing number of visitors. Before this, the dingoes were living a happy and harmonious life on the island interacting with visitors and locals.

Management practices in the past and present include culling, hazing, ear tagging of puppies, shock collars, non-lethal poisoned baits, electrified grates and fences.

Demonised by the media and mismanaged by authorities the dingo population on Fraser Island is dwindling.

A vanishing icon...
A vanishing icon…

For more information on Fraser Island Dingoes

More Information about camping on the island

Our Fraser Island Camping Tips

24 Responses to “Camping on Fraser Island”

  1. Outstanding! It is so good to see someone sticking up for the much maligned Dingo. You show them as comparable to any other exotic species in danger of extinction. I agree, our native dog should be preserved, not considered a feral threat. Good on you! It is so easy to see your love of the animals you highlight. And obviously they return the empathy. Such a spectacular Island! You’ve certainly shown how to get the most out of a camping experience.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comments again Marie. We love Fraser and we love camping. The two just go together! It is one of our favourite places in Australia. We have always had a soft spot for the Dingo and think they have been mismanaged and treated unfairly. We have so many animals in Australia that need preserving and the Dingo is one of them.

      Reply
  2. Thank you Ray and Sue for such a wonderful blog and beautiful photography, it only goes to prove that encounters with our FI dingoes can be a positive and inspiring experience.

    Reply
    • Cheryl we agree it can be a positive experience if you respect and treat them like the wild animals they are. Most people we spoke to said they hope to spot a Dingo during their visit. They are certainly the main attraction. Thanks for reading our blog and your lovely comment.

      Reply
  3. What joy to see these photos of the dingoes on Fraser Island. Thankyou for sharing and updating us on your experience.

    Reply
  4. Amazing photos and details about your stay on Fraser Island, the dingoes all look happy, healthy and relaxed which is great to see. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    Reply
  5. Gwen Turner

    WOW!!! Amazing photos and what an amazing time you must have had.

    Reply
  6. Vicky Schell

    Absolutely amazing! inspires me to go back to Fraser Island! the dingoes are beautiful and I just hope there are still some left on Fraser Island next time I go!

    Reply
    • Hi Vicky. Thanks for your comments. We are glad to inspire you to go back to Fraser Island. Don’t leave it to long, because the population of Dingoes are dwindling!

      Reply
  7. Jesse Wachner

    Beautiful photo’s! Really shows people the humble nature of dingoes. I’ve never been to Fraser Island before but these photos are absolutely breath taking. Looks like the perfect place to relax!

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comments Jesse. Fraser Island is a beautiful place for nature & relaxation. One place to have on your list!

      Reply
  8. Michael Lambie

    Fabulous images with many taking a very unique perspective compared to those you typically see… or I could just say WOW!

    Thanks so much for your assistance with our trip to Australia this November. Hopefully we’ll have a bit of luck with the Dingoes ourselves.

    Reply
    • Ray & Sue

      Chris, they certainly are cute! They are still around, and you will see them for sure if you camp for a few days. We went in November and the pups were leaving the dens and gaining their independence, so there were a few around. Fraser is beautiful and one of our favourite places to camp in Queensland.

      Reply
  9. Hi Ray and Sue,

    I came across your blog the other day and oh wow, you have the most stunning photos of dingoes!! They are so gorgeous, how lucky were you that you got to be so close to them!!

    We recently went to Fraser and I only saw one measly dingo. I would have loved to see more and see them up close like you did. What time of the year did you go? And did you see more on the west coast or around the eastern beach?

    I’ve looked at your dingo photos a few times now, so jealous. 🙂 They are just beautiful!!

    Reply
    • Ray & Sue

      Hi Kati.Thank you so much. We had some of the best subjects ever! We went in November which was a good time as the dingo pups were leaving their dens and gaining independence. Though they are more scarce now because of the mismanagement of them, we found Wongai camp was one of the best places. A pack of them live in the bush behind the camp. We hope this helps and good luck for next time!

      Reply
      • We spoke with a ranger while we were there at Christmas and he said that there are some 200 dingoes on the island at present. But apparently they’re not real keen on all the noise (who can blame them) so they weren’t as visible as at other times.

        November sounds like a much better time to go! 🙂 We spent a lot more time up in the north so maybe we’ll need to stay around Wongai next time.

        Thanks!

        Reply
        • The figure the ranger gave you is more than likely a historical figure. The dingoes are declining due to the treatment of them from authorities that include culling, hazing, shock collars and non-lethal baits. Once they would be more out and about no matter how many people on the island. They possibly now have a fear of humans due to their treatment from the rangers.

          Anyhow, we wish you luck for your next visit. It is an amazing experience to have a pack of dingoes living in your camp!

          Reply
  10. Hello Ray and Sue, was really nice to see some great photos of fraser island, we are doing a post on top 10 things to do in fraser island, can i use some of your pictures in our article.. i will reference your pictures in our blog as well..

    is that ok?

    Thanks
    ben

    Reply
    • Ray & Sue

      Hi Ben. Thanks! Yes of course you can use them. Let us know the link to your post. We would love to see it.

      Reply

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