I acknowledge the Butchalla People, the Traditional Custodians of K'gari, and their connection to land, sea and community, and pay my respects to their Elders past and present.
Fraser Island has a ton of different camping options but for pretty much all of them, you will need a 4WD vehicle. Unless, of course, you’re doing the Fraser Island Great Walk, then you’ll only be needing your legs (and you’ll have the privilege of camping in walk-in camps only!).
On our Fraser Island trip at Christmas (yes, that wasn’t the best time to go…), we camped in three different spots: Central Station, Waddy Point (Top) and Dundabara.
But there are actually more options for camping on Fraser so here’s an overview of the different camping spots for vehicle-based camping.
K’GARI (FRASER ISLAND) CAMPING AREAS
There’s no shortage of campgrounds if you want to camp on Fraser Island but expect all of these to be busy during peak times like Christmas and school holidays.
To start with, you’ve got two commercially-operated campgrounds and a range of Queensland National Parks camping areas to choose from.
We don’t usually stay in commercial campgrounds or caravan parks as they tend to be much more expensive. If you need a powered site or like glamping in safari tents, you could try these:
Cathedrals also has a convenience store, fuel facility and laundry on site if you’re looking for those types of amenities.
3 EASY STEPS TO BOOKING A FRASER ISLAND CAMPSITE
If you don’t need power and prefer to spend a lot less on campsites, choose one of the 45 (yes, that’s right, 45!) camping areas operated by Queensland National Parks.
1. CONSIDER YOUR NEEDS
It can feel a bit overwhelming when it comes to choosing a campsite on Fraser Island. So start with just working out what you actually want or need:
- Dingo deterrent fence or beach location?
- Easily accessible and close to major attractions or remote location?
- Generators allowed during specific times?
- Toilet and shower amenities or bush camping?
My suggestion would be to pick your camping area depending on what facilities you need and the location. You don’t want to spend half your day driving around the island just to see the main sights if that’s what you’re there for.
If you’re after some time out and relaxing, choose accordingly.
Families often also prefer the fenced-in areas, especially those with smaller children.
2. CHOOSE A CAMPING AREA
We spent a week on Fraser and so decided to divide our time between three different camping areas but you could just pick one or two, totally up to you.
DINGO-DETERRENT CAMPING AREAS
These camping areas are surrounded by dingo deterrent fences and have toilet and shower facilities (except Lake Boomanjin). Don’t forget your $2 coins if you want to scrub that stickiness and salt crust off you.
|Camping area||Location||Sites||Toilets / Showers||Generators?||Features|
|Central Station||Inland, about 9km east of Wanggoolba Creek||55 clearly marked sites, incl. 15 suitable for camper trailers, across 2 camping areas||✔||✘||rainforest setting; 2 large, fenced-in areas; wash-up facilities; picnic tables; rubbish bins|
|Dundabara||Central east coast, about 19km south of Indian Head||47 sites in large open areas, incl. 5 sites for camper trailers||✔||✘||large, fenced-in area behind the dunes on the east coast; water taps; wash-up facilities|
|Waddy Point (Top)||North east coast, about 5km north of Indian Head||31 sites in group settings, incl. 5 sites for camper trailers||✔||✘||large, fenced-in area in a coastal woodland setting on the north-east coast; water taps|
|Lake Boomanjin||Along the Southern Lakes Scenic Drive, about 12km north of Dilli Village||no defined sites||✔|
|✘||small, fenced-in area in an open forest setting within walking distance to Lake Boomanjin; tent-based camping only (vehicles stay in car parking area); picnic tables|
BEACH CAMPING AREAS
If you don’t care about having easy access to showers or toilets, or if you simply love beach camping, choose one of these camping areas.
|Camping area||Location||Sites||Toilets / Showers||Generators?||Other features|
|Eastern Beach camping zone||Along southern/central east and northern coast||9 camping zones spread along 75-Mile Beach and up to Sandy Cape; capacity for up to 1,600 people||✘||✔||no facilities (portable toilet required); some camping areas close to main attractions (Eli Creek, Maheno Shipwreck, Wabby Lake, …) and easily accessible|
|Waddy Point (Beachfront)||North east coast, about 5km north of Indian Head||25 sites in large open areas, no defined sites (incl. 5 sites for camper trailers)||✔|
(showers at Waddy Point Top)
|✘||unfenced area in a beachfront setting; tent camping (vehicles stay in car parks); water taps|
|Western Beach camping zone||Along west coast||7 discrete camping areas; capacity between 15-60 people for each zone||✘||✔||remote, unfenced beach camping; no facilities (portable toilet required)|
|Wathumba||At the northern end of Western Beach camping zone||8 sites, incl. 3 trailer sites (max. 60 people)||✔|
|✘||tent-based camping only (vehicles stay in car parking area); picnic tables|
There are another two camping areas (Ungowa and Garrys Anchorage) but these are only accessible by boat. Check the K’gari website for more details.
3. BOOK YOUR SPOT
Once you’ve worked out the best option for your camping on Fraser adventure, organise your e-permit. Don’t forget that you’ll also need to organise a vehicle access permit (about $58 for a month).
The main thing to remember is that, you’ll need to organise both of these before heading to Fraser. You cannot buy them on the island unless you’ve got mobile reception and somehow manage to book your permits on your phone. Definitely not recommended at peak times though!
Also, keep in mind that you’ll only be booking to stay at one of the camping areas. There’s no specific campsite allocation at any of the campgrounds on Fraser. You simply choose the campground online and then you pick your own site when you get there.
We drove around each of the campgrounds a few times before settling on a site as we usually do because you’ve got to assess the situation fully, right?!
OUR EXPERIENCE: REVIEW OF 3 CAMPING AREAS
1. CENTRAL STATION CAMPING AREA: KAURI SECTION
We stayed here for three nights at Christmas with the first two being relatively quiet.
It’s a fairly big campground (60 sites) with some of the tent sites having platforms. It’s hard to get your car into these for easy access though so we ended up picking a flat one.
There are two sections: Kauri and Satinay.
The former seemed much less popular than Satinay, which suited us fine so we stayed there. I couldn’t quite work out why there were way more people in Satinay than Kauri. The run to the toilet block seemed to be the same…
CENTRAL STATION (KAURI SECTION) CAMPGROUND AT A GLANCE
PROS: Tons of shade, picnic tables on most sites (yay, we love having a picnic table available!), cold showers for free, and easy access to Wanggoolba Creek, Pile Valley and a couple of other walks. Also handy for exploring Lake McKenzie or Lake Boomanjin in the south.
CONS: Insanely busy during holiday season. It’s in a valley so any sound is amplified and echoes through the whole campground. It feels like everyone is right next to you even when they’re miles away, which is really annoying when people are into drinking and shouting all night. Toilets were a bit dirty, though that’s probably the crowds. Being in a rainforest, it was also pretty wet and had its fair share of mozzies, though thankfully no sand flies or horrible midges.
COSTS: $7.25 pp/pn (2023); pre-booking required
Outside the wet season and holiday madness, this is probably a really pleasant campground among tall trees.
2. WADDY POINT (TOP) CAMPING AREA
Waddy Point has two campgrounds, one fenced in with amenities (top) and the other along the foreshore (beach) with only composting toilets.
The husband booked the top one, for whatever reason, for our next three nights and luckily for us, that turned out much better than being joined with boofheads along the beach front.
We had some shade in our site but not a whole lot so kept moving our shade cover (not in the picture) around all day.
WADDY POINT (TOP) CAMPGROUND AT A GLANCE
PROS: Close to the beach without being on the beach (i.e. you don’t get blown away by the massive winds), almost no mozzies or other annoying insects, quite a few shady sites, fairly clean toilets, despite the dingo fence and gate it didn’t feel cage-y, and overall a more isolated feel than Central Station
CONS: A constant stream of cars (and 4WD cars are generally noisy) coming in to use the toilets and showers, which ground on my nerves, and showers that wanted $2 whether hot or cold
COSTS: $7.25 pp/pn (2023); pre-booking required
Probably our favourite campground of the three.
3. DUNDABARA CAMPING AREA
We spent our last two nights at Dundabara campground, right next to water pumps! Sleep was somewhat elusive until way past midnight when the pumps stopped.
DUNDABARA CAMPGROUND AT A GLANCE
PROS: Lots of shady sites (though if you’re late, you’ll probably be stuck with the non-shady ones), two toilet blocks which helps with the through-traffic of constant toilet/shower users, picnic tables on some sites, and a fairly short drive to Fraser’s main attractions (Maheno Wreck, Eli Creek, etc.) on 75-mile beach
CONS: Water pumps right next to us, super noisy people but obviously that can happen at any campground, no views of anything particularly special
COSTS: $7.25 pp/pn (2023); pre-booking required
Lots of people obviously choose to camp along the beach, and I think that could be quite attractive during less busy times.
I’ve seen amazing photos of sunrises and sunsets on the beach!
You do need to bring your own toilet or at least a privacy shower/toilet tent and I’ve heard some rather horrid ‘poo everywhere’ stories… So we opted for campgrounds with facilities this time.
Check out Queensland National Parks on camping at Fraser Island for more info, including booking camping permits.
Not sure what the tents and mozzies mean? Check out my tents and mozzies guide.
So that’s it! Feel free to leave comments or post questions if you want to know more about our experience camping at Fraser.
MORE POSTS ON FRASER ISLAND
We stuffed up a few times on our Fraser Island adventure. Don’t make the same silly mistakes and learn from our 9 lessons on Fraser Island.
You can see and do a fair bit on Fraser Island if you have a week, and still have time to relax. Here’s how we spent it.