When it comes to off-roading on islands like Fraser Island, everyone has a different set of expectations from their tyres.  Everyone also has a different set of criteria upon which they base their judgements.

Dave Darmody is the chief trainer at Australian Off-road Academy and an expert on heading off piste on the world’s largest sand island. His sagely advice is to consider everyone’s experience and opinion (including his own expert one below) and then form your own opinion.

Tyred of not getting the best out of your 4WD?

Tyred of not getting the best out of your 4WD? Image: Photography by Reichlyn.

Tyred of picking dud tyres?
Not all tyres are created equal. Your tyre purchasing decision should be based upon your needs and ambition – not what your vehicle manufacturer decides. First up, choose between a ‘passenger’ or a ‘light truck tyre’; then decide upon tread pattern.  Lastly, buy a premium brand that meets your needs.  As Dave says, you’ve just forked out a small fortune for your car – don’t skimp on your tyres.

How Low Can You Go?
There are very limited wheel/tyre options so you need to weigh up the potential rim damage and bogging potential when purchasing. The undeniable truth is that low profile tyres are generally a problem off-road and highly inflated low profile tyres are a bigger problem.

IMG_3495Under Pressure!
We’ve all met the bloke who refuses to let his tyres down. They are nearly as obnoxious as the “pfft, I did it all in 2WD” guy.  Just remember that you gain clearance by reducing pressure because you stay on top of the sand instead of going under it.

So, that dude on social media who recommended 22psi – without asking any basic questions
about your load, your tyre size and construction, the terrain and conditions – should probably not be your only source of info.

TOP TIP: As an aside, if you’re headed to Fraser Island, QPWS put out a fortnightly condition report that’ll let you know what to expect, pre-arrival.

One Gadget To Rule Them All!
Purchase a quality tyre gauge and use it because uneven tyre pressures can result in an inconsistent rolling diameter and can cause havoc with your vehicle’s safety and traction systems. But wait, there’s more… look at your driving style and avoid harsh braking and sudden steering and tight turns on higher traction surfaces.

This abridged content has been reproduced with permission.  To read Dave’s full blog, head to the Australian Offroad Academy website.  Want to know more about Dave’s training courses on Fraser Island?  Click here.

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Posted by on May 29, 2015 in Guest Bloggers


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YTravelBlog: When You Can’t Go Camping On Fraser Island, Stay At Kingfisher Bay Resort

GUEST BLOGGERS:  Caz and Craig Makepeace aren’t your ordinary married couple.  They come from the Central Coast of Australia, but thanks to their nomadic nature, now call the world home.  These serial travel addicts have lived in 5 countries and travelled to more than 52 countries.

We first stumbled across them online with their YTravelBlog, Pinterest and Facebook pages and quickly became fans… so you can imagine our delight when the Makepeaces found themselves on the Fraser Coast and we were able to invite them and their two gorgeous daughters across to explore the world’s largest sand island.

From humble beginnings, YTravelBlog has grown to be one of the world’s leading travel blog sites and Caz, Craig and their girls have millions of global followers – across a range of social platforms. We hope you enjoy their Fraser Island adventures with us as much as we did hosting.

Kingfisher Bay Resort

Kingfisher Bay Resort is set in a natural amphitheatre on Fraser Island’s western side

When you think of exploring Fraser Island in Queensland, the world’s largest sand island, you’re mostly thinking adventure off-road 4-wheel driving and a bit of beach camping with wild dingoes – the ultimate adventure.

I was a little bummed we didn’t have the high-clearance 4WD vehicle needed to do it. Driving around Fraser was high on the bucket list of things we wanted to do on our year-long road trip around Australia.

But my disappointment vanished quickly when I arrived at my alternative. Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island – It’s on the quieter western side of Fraser, right where the car ferry from River Head drops you off ($50 return adult $25 child for passengers).


This blog was originally published by the Makepeaces on YTravelBlog in December 2014 and has been reproduced with their permission.  All rights are reserved by YTravelBlog.

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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in Guest Bloggers


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An International Treasure: Fraser Island

An International Treasure: Fraser Island

This Magnificent Life’s Liz and Tim left the big smoke and the rat race for some magnificent time-out on gorgeous Fraser Island.  You can read there story here…

According to the Dreamtime legend of the Butchulla people, Fraser Island was named K’gari after the beautiful spirit who helped Yindingie, messenger of the great god Beeral create the land. Beeral rewarded K’gari by changing her into an idyllic island with beautiful trees, lakes and flowers and gave her birds, animals and people to keep her company. K’gari means paradise. This is Fraser Island.

When Fraser Island was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Listing in 1992, the citation paid tribute to the island’s “exceptional natural beauty” and “an outstanding example representing significant ongoing ecological and biological processes and as an example of superlative natural phenomena”.

Stranger fig at Central Station

Stranger fig at Central Station

Unique doesn’t even come close to describing Fraser. The mighty rainforests growing in sand, the crystal clear freshwater lakes, towering coloured sand cliffs and endless whiter than white beaches.

As you first arrive at Kingfisher Bay Resort, it is hard to determine where the resort actually is. From the jetty you can detect some of the eco-friendly native timber buildings that seemingly blend into the dense Australian bush.  

The resort first opened in 1992. It is remarkably serene, quiet and still except for the occasional kookaburra or rustle in the undergrowth. The landscaping cleverly mirrors the native vegetation ensuring the continual regeneration of both flora and fauna. Fraser boasts a number of species of both plants and animals that are unique to the island.

Designed to minimise impact on the island’s natural environment, clever systems have been utilised to minimise waste, conserve energy.

Extensive recycling programs, gathering waste paper and kitchen scraps for composting the resort’s restaurant herb gardens and worm farms utilising sewage sludge are just part of the resort’s ongoing environmental management.

Kingfisher Bay Resort is ideal for a short break or a week or more with so much to do and so much to see. This is an adventure holiday destination suitable for all ages with experiences for wildlife warriors, kids and everyone in-between. Rooms have been built with relaxation in mind. Super comfy beds and showers designed to ease muscles and wind you down after an action-packed day.

Fraser Island - for tree huggers and adventure seekers

Fraser Island – for tree huggers and adventure seekers

The large balconies take you into the bush cocooning you so that you feel you’re the only humans on the island. It is stunningly quiet with just the occasional kookaburra laugh or rustle in the undergrowth breaking the silence.

There are currently 2 dining options at Kingfisher Bay Resort. (The Sand Bar Bistro is currently closed for renovations and will re-open shortly). Maheno is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with casual snacks in between. Bush-tucker inspired Seabelle is the resort’s signature restaurant. Herbs and garnishes are grown at the resort’s nursery but it is the native ingredients that make dining here special.

The Jetty is the very best spot for a ‘sunset’ at sunset. Grab your special someone and enjoy a quiet tipple and maybe a cheese platter as the sun slowly lowers over the Sandy Strait.

Kingfisher Bay Resort is less of a bucket-list destination and more of ‘what are you waiting for?’ There is no better place to whale watch with tours aboard Quick Cat II departing daily until October 31 and the occasional friendly humpback turning up at the Jetty. (More on that later).

Fraser Island is more than unique – it’s irreplaceable and Kingfisher Bay Resort’s unique eco conscience will keep it that way for generations to come. 

TML were guests of Kingfisher Bay Resort.  All images were captured by the new Nikon 1 V3. Visit MyNikonLife here.

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Posted by on September 2, 2014 in Guest Bloggers


Life Through The Lens…

Fraser Island’s diverse and pristine sandscapes make it a paradise for photographers and videographers the world over.  This pristine, great sandy isle captured the attention of David Trood, a photographer who divides his time between Australia and Denmark and who visited our shores recently.  

David has been involved in creative photography for more than thirty plus years, which he says has given him an eye for creating intriguing short stories in video.  

Here’s David’s story… and Fraser Island, as seen through his lens.


Being a photographer, I love to hear stories and this one about Fraser Island is simple, strong, and so interesting that I want to tell it again.  I was on Fraser Island earllier this year on holiday and was down on the beach early the first morning to get a few shots of the 4×4 in the sunrise.

While the sun was coming up over the waves, I met one of the locals who told me a story – a really really old story, but for me…the tourist…it was new.

The Island is called ‘K’gari’ pronounced Gar – re, and was given to it hundreds of lifetimes ago by the Butchulla people, the local indigenous people to the island. The word means PARADISE.

Fraser Island sunrise

David Trood discovers a patch of paradise in Queensland

After hearing the story about this place they call paradise, the island started to look different to me, and I began to see why it was given that name in the first place.

Now I wonder why it was even changed or taken away.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousands words, to this short video is the story about a magical place in Australia called K´gari.

You can also catch David and see more gorgeous photos on his Facebook page.  This content has been reproduced with David’s permission.

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Posted by on April 10, 2014 in Guest Bloggers


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Getting Down… Under…

Award-winning writer and all-round funster, Thomas Breathnach hails from from Cork in Ireland and loves his travel. His adventures abroad regularly feature in internationally-respected publications such as the Irish Times, Men’s Health, Cape Times and the Mail & Guardian.  

Thomas recently visited Queensland’s boho capital Brisbane before bumping into a neighbour in the middle of nowhere (read: #fraserisland) and heading off in a pink 4×4 called Priscilla. The story was published in The Irish Independent and is re-published here with Thomas’ permission.  Get ready for a wild ride…

Brisbane changed my travelling tune. While newbies to a city might traditionally make a beeline to a tourist office or consult their eBook, I realised that in this age of pop-up urbanism and ever-vacillating culture scenes, there’s truly only one way to procure a city’s insider’s guide: Ask a hipster.

Brisbane's hidden laneway secrets

Brisbane’s hidden laneway secrets

After arriving in Australia’s third-largest metropolis, my first lead was Winn Lane, a hole-in-the wall alleyway in the boho district of Fortitude Valley. Alongside boho bookstores and Alexa Chung boutiques, I began by hitting Flamingo Cafe, a 70s-style kitsch joint fitted with an astro-turf patio and just the antidote to the cookie-cutter CBD I was looking for. A quirky club-sambo of poached chuck and bacon jam and a side order of local tips from my server was the perfect Brissie starter.

Despite its size, A to B-ing it around Brisbane is a breeze. The compact city is wonderfully walker-friendly. It operates a similar bike rental scheme to Dublin, and the city’s water-taxis are a fun way to shuttle up and down the Brisbane River. After grabbing a ferry ride from the Valley, I was soon hovered down to South Bank, the city’s happening cultural precinct and all-round urban utopia.

The district features its own man-made beach, a lush rainforest park home to exotic ibis birds and swooping flying foxes and a magically ambient peace pagoda. Together with a gleaming futuristic skyline, it conjures an almost Asia-Pacific fusion vibe to this sub-tropical city.

South Bank’s most captivating attraction, however, is GOMA, Queensland’s modern art museum which rates as one of Australia’s finest collections. I whiled away a couple of hours inside its mammoth mezzanines, eyeing its exhibits of indigenous contemporary art from watercolour landscapes by Torres Strait Islanders artists to vibrant Roy Lichtenstein-esque cartoon strips.

Paired with its burgeoning arts scene, Brisbane also boasts a well-stockpiled events calendar, with my own visit syncing with both the Regional Flavours Food Festival and the Queensland Music Festival. I began at the former, taste-testing my way through the stalls and food-trucks of Little Stanley Street which were vending all manner of local fare from buffalo halloumi to kombucha blends. At the festival’s Hunting Club (a garden marquee moonlighting as a boutique beer garden), I opted for a tasting paddle of local craft ciders with a delicious batch of wattleseed fried tiger prawns. Queensland tucker at its finest.

Come dusk, my Brisbane swan song led me to the Black Bear Lodge, one of the city’s top music venues, lofted above the heaving clubbing strip of Brunswick Street. Upstairs off the main drag, I was met by a mellowing homage to nostalgic reverie; bearded check-shirted blokes and hillbilly-skirted sheilas lay poised around a retro Rocky Mountain bar, candlelit tables and vintage sofas.

Grabbing a brew and pulling up a pew, I soaked up the awesome scene amid a lounge of merry musos while local singer Ben Salter plucked and chimed his way through an acoustic set. And how did the patrons rate Brissie? “It’s just got that friendly village vibe along with a big city buzz,” said Gwen, a recent transplant from big bad Sydney. “And we’re the only city in the world where drivers have to yield right of way to birds!” piped her mate, Sara, over her vodka-soda-lime. Real-life pelican crossings? Cheers to that.

Fraser Island's famous dingoes

Fraser Island’s famous dingoes

Protected urban fauna and culture vultures behind me, my next Queensland leg took me to the UNESCO-listed wilderness of Fraser Island; the world’s largest sand island, four hours north of Brisbane. After bussing through the Sunshine Coast to Hervey Bay, I made my transit to Fraser via a one-hour ferry hop from River Heads. Joined solely by an elderly Melbourne couple reliving their honeymoon heyday and a curious fur-seal piloting our route off the mainland, we skirted across the Great Sandy Strait towards one of Oz’s easternmost outposts, the air of relaxation lingering more with every passing knot.

Named after the Scottish seafarer Eliza Fraser who was shipwrecked here in 1836, Fraser Island has retained a consistently deserted demographic over the centuries. Today fewer than 200 residents live on the island (which covers an area larger than Leitrim), but it didn’t take long to detect the diaspora.

Checking-in at the Kingfisher Bay Resort, a quick game of accent ping-pong with receptionist Corrina Long revealed, rather extraordinarily, that we were in fact East Cork neighbours, separated by a mere mile of forestry and a parish border. After the initial Irish formalities of establishing mutual acquaintances, Corrina went on to explain that she’s been living offshore for almost three years now. “When I leave the island, it’s just to Hervey Bay to go shopping or stock up on supplies,” she told me. “I’m very lucky to live in such a place!”

Strolling on to my eco lodge, it was easy to appreciate the island’s allure. Known as Kgari — or Paradise, to the

Aborigines — my new demesne was a fantastical lush rainforest chorusing with the calls of kookaburras and cockatoos. Sure, the solemnity was quickly and incongruously interrupted by the blare of from the Dingo Bar’s speakers, but I was in backpacker country, after all.

The Great Sandy Strait, Fraser Island

The Great Sandy Strait, Fraser Island

I’d signed up for a Cool Dingo Tour — a three-day Fraser Island exploration, where I would be joined by a truckload of fellow adventure tourists hailing from Slovakia to Seoul. The next morning, once huddled down and buckled-up aboard our pink 4X4 off-roader (named “Priscilla”), local guide Kirstey was cranking us into Fraser’s almost impenetrable wilds. The tour focuses on outdoorsy surf-and-turf pursuits, and a dip and dive at the screensaver setting of Lake McKenzie was the first invigorating pit stop. Serene hikes followed through the pristine jungles of Wanggoolba Creek and Pile Valley, until we finally navigated our way to where the Coral Sea collides with the island’s eastern shore.

Being the novelty home to Australia’s only beach freeway, this coastal leg made for an adrenalin-gushing ride. Speeding along 75 Mile Beach, we diced our way between boulders, driftwood and fellow-off-roaders, occasionally being dramatically gulped by the ebb and flow of the tide. Given the name of the tour, it also wasn’t long before we spotted some of Fraser’s most infamous residents. With the news of a whale-calf washed up at Cathedral Beach, we soon encountered a plucky pair of dingoes (said to be Australia’s purest sub-species) bounding out of the sand-dunes to give chase to our truck.

I chased my own visit with a sightseeing flight with Air Fraser Island, local operators who offer 15-minute flight add-ons for a not too exorbitant €50. Tucked into the shotgun seat of my eight-seater craft’s rickety monocoque, we heaved off the same beach runway to panoramic Robinson Crusoe moments: lush broccoli-floret rainforests, crystal butterfly lakes and the obligatory rusting shipwreck.

Sunset over the Great Sandy Strait from Kingfisher Bay Resort, Fraser Island

CASTAWAY: Sunset over the Great Sandy Strait from Kingfisher Bay Resort, Fraser Island

As we rumbled out over the squally Pacific, looking for migrating humpbacks breaching beneath us, I could only cross fingers that we wouldn’t meet a Sierra-Oscar-Sierra moment.

Paradise, however, wouldn’t be the worst spot to find myself a castaway.

Getting there

Thomas travelled to Brisbane on Emirates Business Class (01 517 1600; where rates including chauffeur transfers start from €3,550 return. Economy fares are available from €930 return. Bus transfers from Brisbane to Hervey Bay cost from €70 return; or are your best bet for a good fare.

Staying there

The Diamant Hotel (+61 7 3009 3400;; €47pps) in Brisbane’s Sunny Hill district is a bright boutique-style bolthole and a great base for some urban wandering. Free yoga mats are gym passes are also available to help you work off a great brekkie.

On Fraser Island, a three day Cool Dingo Tour (+61 7 4120 3333; including lodge accommodation, meals and ferry transfers costs €280, while a stay at the same resort’s hotel starts from €49pps (+61 7 4120 3333;

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Posted by on January 31, 2014 in Guest Bloggers


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Chef Extraordinaire, Al McLeod, serves up Five Fab Days On Fraser Island

Celebrity Chef, Alastair McLeod may have rubbed shoulders with the world’s best chefs in the Michelin-listed restaurants he’s worked in… but being an ace in the kitchen doesn’t necessarily mean he can ‘cut’ it on the sand tracks of World Heritage-listed Fraser Island… or does it?  This month Al ‘dishes’ up the dirt… erm, we mean sand… about his five fabulous days on Fraser Island and he’s taken us along for the ride.

Al McLeod takes to Fraser like a fish to batter!

Al McLeod takes to Fraser like a fish to batter!

“Use 4 High,” the guy said. “Take a good run at it,” he encouraged.  “Did you drop your tyres to 18 psi?,” he went on.

It’s a whole new world this 4 wheel driving pursuit.  Gee, I thought Psi was the chap who sang Gangnam style!

Gen Y remembers where they were on September 11; my Mum’s generation remember where they were when man landed on the moon.  Me, I will remember forever where I first got bogged deep in the sand in my brand new 4 wheel drive.

My mum was with us that day and I’m sure she will remember the one small step I took back before kicking the car in frustration.

It was a tricky wee bit of the track between Lake McKenzie and Kingfisher Bay Resort where I came unstuck.  Luckily a passing 4WD – well he wasn’t actually passing as he was stuck behind us – came to our aid and offered the aforementioned tips to staying on track so to speak.

Unbelievably, I first set foot on Fraser Island 16½ years after I first landed in Australia. I had seen it across the channel when camping at Inskip Point and from afar on the foreshore in Hervey Bay.  My recent trip there in my one-day-old car was a trip I will never forget.  We careened over the soft sand at Inskip point to catch the barge over to the southern tip of the island.

When our turn came to get off the barge I felt the same nerves experienced at the top of the ski lift. Desperate not to collapse upon disembarkation I confidently selected 4-High and gunned the engine. Once safely on the hard packed sand we were able to relax, lower the windows and take in the extraordinary beauty of this island. There are no paved roads, just sand tracks, making the entire Island one huge 4WD, off-roading adventure.

Maheno Shipwreck Fraser Island © D. LEAL 056

There’s many a picture opp to be had at The Maheno

The next day we headed up to see the spectacular wreck of the ocean liner The SS Maheno which beached on Fraser almost 80 years ago during a severe cyclone. As we pulled up to the wreckage we heard the hum of a twin engine plane flying low overhead and landing just ahead of us using the beach as an airstrip! What a thrilling and easy way to see the 100 plus lakes on the island.

Our visit to one of the jewels, lake Wabby, was a wee bit more strenuous than taking a flight with Air Fraser Island but well worth the effort.  To reach the lake I recommend trekking over the Hammerstone Sandblow, which is essentially a massive sand dune which plunges down to the lake.

Each year the huge sand dune engulfs a little bit more of the lake – as much as 3 metres a year. Swim there with the catfish and turtles in pristine water and walk back to the ocean through a eucalypt forest. You will remember this impossibly beautiful experience forever.

Al made quite an impression on Fraser!

Al made quite an impression on Fraser!

This was my first visit to Fraser and also my first time fishing in the foam. The experience of baiting a huge rod and casting out (what seemed like) a hundred metres with a cold beer in hand, a few curious dingo pups peering from the edge of the scrub, the sun setting, surrounded by family and loved ones… just too perfect.

No, I didn’t catch anything.

I have got to say that with five full days on Fraser, we still only managed to visit a handful of the lakes and covered a fraction of the island’s tracks.

There is just so much to do. I am converted to this style of holiday. I love being at one with nature, getting away from it all, feeling the sand between my toes and …, ahem, retiring for the night at Kingfisher Bay Resort.

But, that’s another story…

Stay tuned for Alastair’s PG-rated (we hope) next installment.  You’ll find him Facebook and Twitter.  And, if you’ve liked what you’ve read, check out his experiences on the surf side of Fraser – it’s published on our Life on Fraser sister site.

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Posted by on July 25, 2013 in Guest Bloggers


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Fraser Island Any Time Of The Year

One of Australia’s most recognised rugby union players, Chris Latham, is tackling a new role as the ambassador and official face of Fraser Coast tourism.  

His service to the Queensland Reds from 1998 to 2008 has cemented him as one of Queensland and Australia’s great sporting icons… and he’s capitalising on his profile by lifting awareness of our gorgeous region by blogging about it… it’s called Fraser Coasting with Chris Latham… and here’s a sneak preview!

Chris Latham as snapped by The Age

Chris Latham as snapped by The Age

Chris recently brought his family across to World Heritage-listed Fraser Island for a little R&R… here’s his story…

It is a jewel in our crown and one of my favourite places in the world to be. Fraser Island is a playground on our doorstep that needs to be treated with respect, but nonetheless it also needs to be enjoyed whenever the opportunity arises.

I think any time of year is a good time to get across to the island, and with the warm weather we’ve been having pre-winter, the current clear crisp days are perfect to be on Fraser. I took the family across last week and as always the diversity on offer on Fraser Island is something to behold.

We stayed in the villas of Kingfisher Bay Resort – they’re beautifully appointed and the perfect launch pad whether you’re new to Fraser, or a local who knows their way about.

The sand at the moment is great for the 4WD so it was good the get behind the wheel and across to both the beaches and lakes.

Fraser tip: Check out the Fraser Island Condition Report before heading off on your island adventure.

Kingfisher Bay Resort's jetty is perfect for fishing

Kingfisher Bay Resort’s jetty is perfect for fishing

One thing I hadn’t done previously on Fraser was get out for a paddle board on Lake McKenzie. I would really recommend this with the unbelievable surrounds, and the relaxing undertaking of paddle boarding complementing each other perfectly.

A weekend spent with my family on Fraser Island is getting close to the ultimate for me. The only real thing I could hope to throw in would be to wet a line and see if the fish were biting. Lucky for us the resort had advised there were a few barramundi about, so we got down for an afternoon fish and topped off a great day.

Fraser Island is on our doorstep and easy to take for granted. I encourage you all to remember the diversity of both the Island as well as our whole region. The Fraser Coast really is a region to live life as it should be lived. Until next week I’ll leave you with a few photos…



Thanks to Latho and the team from the Fraser Coast Regional Council for allowing us to reproduce this content.

You can also catch Latho on Facebook.  And if you’ve been on Fraser Island and want to share your photos with us, simply check out our resort’s Instagram account and don’t forget to tag with #fraserisland and #kingfisherbayresort.

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Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Guest Bloggers


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