Car and Buggy Travel

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Car and Buggy Travel

Fraser's east coast favors two Australian passions: beaches and vehicles. Unrestricted access has made this coast a giant sandbox for four-wheel-drive vehicles, busiest in school-holiday periods.

The southernmost tip of Fraser Island is just more than 200 km (125 mi) north of Brisbane. The simplest access is via barge from Rainbow Beach or Hervey Bay, 90 km (56 mi) farther north. For Rainbow Beach, take the Bruce Highway toward Gympie, then follow signs to Rainbow Beach. For Hervey Bay, head to Maryborough, then follow signs to Urangan.

Every vehicle entering the island by barge from the mainland must have a one-month Vehicle Access Permit (A$39.35). To obtain these and island camping permits (A$5 per person, per night), contact DERM.

You can rent four-wheel-drive vehicles at Kingfisher Bay Resort and Village for upward of A$275 a day, or from Budget car rentals at Urangan on the mainland for considerably less.

Four-wheel-drive rentals may be cheaper on the mainland, but factoring in the ferry ticket makes rental on-island a viable option. Most commodities, including gas, are pricier on-island.

Wet weather and sandy surfaces can make island driving challenging and hazardous. Consult DERMs Web site for detailed information on safe driving and local hazards. Basic mechanical assistance and tow-truck services are available from Eurong (07/4127–9449). Orchid Beach has emergency towing only. If you can't get the mechanical assistance you need, phone Eurong Police.

If you prefer your wilderness sans dune-buggying, head for the unspoiled interior of the island, where they're not allowed. They're a necessity everywhere else, unless you're a fit walker or cyclist or can ride a motorcycle pretty well.

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