Visiting Fraser Island is a wild adventure that requires organisation. Before you hop on a ferry, you will have to make sure you got all the necessary Fraser Island permits for your stay. Rangers check them regularly, and you will get fined if you cannot show your permits. It is important to display the details of your Fraser Island permits clearly at any time on the island. I went through the process and now share with you all the information and my experience of getting Fraser Islands permits.
If you don’t want to bother with organising Fraser Island permits, you can join a tour, and they will take care of all this. If you like the idea of driving, you can look for a tag-along tour. I recommend choosing a tour leaving from Noosa (like this tour for example) so you can see the stunning coloured sands of Rainbow Beach too. There are also tours leaving from Hervey Bay (like this one).
What permits am I talking about and how can you get them?
You may need two Fraser Island permits for your 4WD adventure:
- A vehicle access permit to be allowed to drive on the island
- A camping permit if you plan to camp on the beach or at a designated campground
1. Vehicle Access Permit for Fraser Island
Not only will you need a 4WD vehicle to drive on Fraser Island, but you will also to display a Vehicle Access Permit on your windscreen.
You may even need two vehicle permits depending on your itinerary:
- If you drive from Noosa to Rainbow Beach on the beach via Double Island Point, you will also need a permit for the Cooloola Recreation Area.
- If you follow the usual road to Rainbow beach, you will only need a vehicle permit for Fraser Island.
- If you take the Fraser Island ferry from Hervey Bay, then you will only need a vehicle permit for Fraser Island.
How much does the Fraser Island vehicle permit cost?
Fraser Island vehicle permit costs $51.60 and is valid one month (or $259.50 for one year).
The permit to drive in the Cooloola Recreation Area can be bought for one day ($12.95 online or $19.50), one week ($32.80) or one month ($82.80 when combined with the Fraser Island permit).
2. Fraser Island camping permit
First, you will need to identify which camping you wish to stay at and for how long. Hence, you may want to think about your Fraser Island itinerary before booking your campground. But you will need to book early if you are travelling at the peak season during the school holidays.
If you don’t like camping and want to upgrade while still being in touch with nature, I loved our two nights at The Beachcamp Eco Retreat*.
This map will help if you plan to camp on the eastern beach, and this one will help for other areas. There’s also one private campground on the east coast. It’s always a good idea to check the latest conditions report before making a booking. If you have kids, it is recommended to choose fenced camping to be protected from the dingos (Central Station, Dundubara, Waddy Point top, Lake Boomanjin), or the private campsite with all the facilities. There is no fence when camping on the beach.
Then, you can check availabilities for your dates on the Queensland National Parks website. Select “K’gari (Fraser Island) Recreation Area” in the park name dropdown list. If you prefer the private campground, head to their website for the booking and don’t worry about the camping permit as you won’t need any.
To finalise your permit, you can make the payment online. Alternatively, you can go to a Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service office or permit-issuing agents or call 13 74 68 (see how to purchase Fraser Island permits below).
Make sure you print your permit so you can add the tag to your tent or trailer. It’s recommended to insert it in a plastic pocket, so it stays readable even if it rains.
Warning! Fraser Island is remote and you won’t often won’t have access to basic facilities depending on where you are on the island. Make sure you go there prepared.
How much does Fraser Island camping permit cost?
Last time I checked, Fraser Island camping permit costs $6.55 per person per night. There’s a family rate at $26.20 per family (maximum eight people) per night for one or two adults accompanying children from five to 18 years, as children under five years old can stay for free.
How to purchase Fraser Island permits?
You will need to purchase your Fraser Island permits before arriving on Fraser Island: rangers on Fraser Island do not sell permits.
The best way to apply is online using your personal account on the Queensland National Parks website.
If you don’t want to book it now and won’t have access to the Internet, you can also book it over the phone (13 74 68) or go to a Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service office or permit-issuing agents. Make sure you book your Fraser Island permits in advance as mobile reception is unreliable on the island.
You can find a few of permit-issuing agents on Rainbow Beach Road that are open every day: Shell Service Station, Manta Ray Barge and Rainbow Beach Tourist Information Centre.
There’s also a Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service office near the barge at Tewantin if you plan to drive on the beach from Noosa to Rainbow Beach.
There are also permit-issuing agents in Hervey Bay: at the Visitor Information Centre, at Fraser Magic 4WD Hire in Urangan (not far from the famous Urangan Pier) and at the Kingfisher Ferry Terminal in River Heads.
Did you organise Fraser Island permits for your trip? Share your tips in the comments below!
Where is K’gari/Fraser Island?
K’gari is the aboriginal name for Fraser Island. It is the largest sand island in the world and one of Queensland’s largest islands. It is very close to the East Coast of Australia and can be visited as a long weekend trip from Brisbane, Australia’s third-largest city.