K’gari (Fraser Island) is one of Australia’s most popular travel destinations, and for very good reason. If you’re planning a trip, you’re probably wondering what you should pack. As the world’s largest sand island you can imagine it’s a pretty laid back kinda place, so you can leave your fancy clothes at home (unless you want to, of course). You’ll be doing lots of walking, exploring and swimming, so it’s important to bring clothes that will keep you comfortable throughout the day. Warm layers are also a good idea as it can be chilly when you first set off in the morning.
Essential packing list for Fraser Island
Here is a list of the packing essentials you'll need to have a great time on Fraser Island:
T-shirts and shorts
A sweater and warm layers
A lightweight towel
A sunhat and sunglasses
A daysack or bum bag
A reusable water bottle
1. T-shirts and shorts
Queensland’s East Coast is warm and sunny all year round with summer temperatures averaging highs of 30°C and lows of 21°C. However, summer days can be extremely hot with temperatures sometimes reaching 35+°C. Winter is still warm with average highs of 21°C and lows of 9°C. No matter what time of year you visit, bring breathable clothing that is comfortable to wear in the heat such as tank tops, t-shirts, pants, shorts, dresses, etc. Clothing that can be layered is the best option.
2. A sweater and warm layers
The temperature can drop overnight and it might be chilly in the morning, so bring a sweater and some warm layers to pop on such as long-sleeved tops and shirts. It doesn’t rain too much on Fraser Island but the weather can sometimes be unpredictable. Packing a light waterproof jacket that rolls up small in your backpack is never a bad idea... you’ll thank yourself later.
3. Sturdy footwear
A sturdy pair of shoes is essential for exploring Fraser Island as the last thing you want is to get blisters or foot pain. Boots, sandals and sneakers are good options for venturing into the headland or walking tracks. Hiking sandals can double up as walking and water shoes – perfect for exploring Fraser's rock pools, creeks and freshwater lakes. Remember, this is a sand island so you might decide to kick off your shoes and go barefoot at some points, but you’ll still need a good pair of shoes to protect your feet when walking barefoot or wearing thongs isn't suitable.
Don’t forget a good ol’ pair of thongs! They’re super handy to pop on when walking around your hotel or campsite, or to slip on for short trails or boardwalks when the ground is flat.
You might not be able to go in the sea at Fraser Island, but you’re still spoilt for choice with swimming spots. Jump into the crystal clear turquoise waters of Lake McKenzie or cool off in the refreshing salty water at Champagne Pools. On a hot day, all you’ll want to do is put your bathers on and go for a dip.
6. A quick-dry towel
Bringing a quick-dry towel is a good idea. The last thing you want is a heavy wet towel weighing your bag down and getting your stuff wet. They roll up super small and dry in no time so you can pat yourself down, hang it out for a few minutes and hey presto.
The Aussie sun is strong. It’s easy to get burnt or develop sunstroke when you’re out exploring in the sun for extended periods. Bring plenty of water-resistant sunscreen with a high SPF and make sure you top yourself up regularly. It's important to note that you shouldn’t wear sunscreen when you’re in Fraser's perched lakes as the waters are some of the purest on earth and chemical sunscreens can pollute them.
8. A sunhat and sunglasses
Some areas of the island aren’t shaded and you’ll need a sunhat and a pair of sunglasses to protect you from the sun’s powerful rays. Pack a sunhat that covers your entire head and (ideally) your neck. These items will be particularly useful at the perched lakes where you can’t enter the water wearing sunscreen. Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat are a must, even in winter, as the sun reflects off the white sand.
9. Insect repellent
Insects… you gotta love ‘em! Mosquitoes can be pests at the best of times, but even more so on Fraser Island where it’s warm and full of vegetation. You can bring insect repellent to deter mozzies and sand flies, or pop on a long-sleeved top and pants for an added layer of protection if you don’t fancy using repellent. Friendly reminder: make sure you don’t enter the lakes after spraying insect repellent on your skin (it's the same with sunscreen).
10. A rucksack
Suitcases and sand aren’t the best of friends. You’ll be much better off with a small rucksack or overnight bag. It might seem like there’s a lot of things on this list, but packing for Fraser Island is relatively light and your things can easily fit in a rucksack.
11. A daysack or bum bag
You might also want to consider bringing a small daysack or bum bag to carry with you in the daytime. It doesn’t have to be too big, but big enough to fit your daytime essentials like sunscreen, phone, water bottle, snacks, etc.
12. A reusable water bottle
Staying hydrated is really important, especially when you’re out all day in the sun and being active. Fraser Island has more than 40 lakes (many of which run very deep into the ground) with plenty of fresh water sources that supply the hotels and tourist facilities. There are water refill stations dotted around the island where you can refill your reusable water bottle throughout the day. Hydro flasks are a great option as they’ll keep your water nice and cool.
Exploring Fraser Island all day can work up quite an appetite. Pack some grab n’ go snacks like granola bars, bananas and nuts to curb your hunger in between meals when you’re out and about. These types of high-energy snacks should keep you going 'til lunch and dinner.
Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget your camera. Trust us when we say you’ll be whipping out your camera every five minutes to capture the island’s natural beauty and wildlife. To be honest, most smartphones take pretty incredible photos these days, but just note that you might not be able to pick up mobile phone signal on the island apart from when you're in the main tourist hubs.
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