If you’re looking for the most beautiful and secluded camping spot on Fraser Island away from the crowds, head to Bowarrady Creek!
With ancient sand dunes to climb up, a freshwater tannin creek to swim in, crystal clear calm ocean waters, white sand and maybe just one or two other people around – it is simply stunning. Bowarrady Creek is the perfect place for some R&R and is often stated by many people as the best camping on Fraser Island. Even if you aren’t planning to camp overnight, it makes a fantastic place for a day trip.
Where Is Bowarrady Creek?
Bowarrady Creek is located on the west coast of Fraser Island (K’Gari) – the world’s largest sand island located in Queensland, Australia.
Fraser Island (K’gari) is a World Heritage Area known for it’s spectacular natural beauty. It is therefore a very popular place for tourists, but they usually just stick to the east coast of the island as this is where the majority of the tourist sites are.
Venture out to the west side of Fraser Island though, and you will discover a hidden paradise full of the best untouched remote beaches and just a sprinkling of people. It is estimated that for every 700 tourists on the east coast of Fraser Island there is one tourist on the west side. That’s just how remote Fraser Island’s west coast is!
Due to it’s access, Bowarrady Creek is even more remote than many of the other west coast beaches you will find – how’s that for finally finding some peace and quiet?!
The beaches along the west coast of Fraser Island (K’gari) are really the best spots on the whole of the island. Not only are they a lot less crowded than those on the eastern side of Fraser Island, but the sea is a clear turquoise blue and the sand is an incredible white colour.
The beaches are also more protected from the wind than the beaches on the east coast of Fraser Island, plus the sea is very calm – it’s almost like glass, so it makes it perfect for a swim!
Just behind the beach is the creek known as Bowarrady Creek. Bowarrady Creek is a freshwater creek with tannins in the water, which give it the brown appearance.
What To Do At Bowarrady Creek Fraser Island
Despite it being in a remote location there is lots you can do at Bowarrady Creek to keep you entertained! You can easily spend a couple of hours or even several days here at Bowarrady Creek if you wish!
Near the mouth of Bowarrady Creek are the Bowarrady Blow sand dunes. Hike up these – it’s a steep climb but it’s not too high (and there’s a rope to help you climb up). It’s definitely worth the climb – the views are incredible from here!
Taking a dip in the turquoise water of Platypus Bay here is a must: it is so clear and so appealing. The waters are really calm, making it the perfect place to go for a relaxing swim.
Or if fishing is your thing, see if you can catch something for dinner as it is a good place for fishing. If you have the equipment, why not go for a kayak or paddle board in the calm waters of Platypus Bay too.
And if you don’t fancy going for a dip in the ocean, head into the freshwater creek just behind the beach. It’s cold but it’s so fresh as it comes from underwater reservoirs. Even though the water appears brown – this is just from the tannin on the trees and you can drink this water.
If you’ve got a drone you can get some really nice views of Bowarrady Creek from above.
Alternatively, at low tide take your 4wd along the beach and explore or you can take a nice long stroll along the beach – the pristine white sandy beach stretches for kilometres!
Or if you just want to sit back and relax on the white sandy beach with a good book whilst listening to the waves – take your beach chair out and enjoy until the sun goes down. Sunsets from here are also stunning!
In addition, from the west coast of Fraser Island you can do whale watching in the winter months as humpback whales use Platypus Bay as a resting spot during their annual migration so there are many humpback whales in the bay from July to October! Just look out towards Platypus Bay and you’re bound to spot some whales! This is one of the best places to view humpback whales, so it certainly won’t be long before you spot one!
There is so much to do at Bowarrady Creek and it makes a perfect place for families, couples or solo travellers. Keep an eye out for dingoes as they often frequent the area (we saw a dingo here) and keep children supervised at all times.
Bowarrady Creek is such a wonderful relaxing place full of beautiful scenery that you won’t want to leave by the end! You’ll only ever find a few people here and that’s one of the things that makes the west coast of Fraser Island even more appealing. It has all the beauty but no crowds!
When Is The Best Time To Visit Bowarrady Creek Fraser Island?
In terms of what months of the year are best to visit Bowarrady Creek, it’s up to you. The warmer months provide great weather, whereas the humpback whales are around during the winter months of July to October – even if you’ll probably need a wetsuit when you go for a dip in the ocean as the water is cooler.
Seeing the whales is spectacular, and even more special if you are camping overnight here and get to wake up and witness the whales splashing and breaching just a few hundred metres from you in Platypus Bay!
What To Bring To Bowarrady Creek
Despite being just an hour or so boat ride away from Hervey Bay, or 1.5 hours drive from the east coast of Fraser Island, Bowarrady Creek is incredibly isolated and there is often no phone reception so you need to be prepared.
Make sure you bring everything you need. Extra fuel if you’ll be driving or taking your own boat, suncream, sunglasses, swimming costume, plenty of water and food, camping gear and any water activity equipment you will use such as snorkel gear, kayak or stand up paddle board.
How To Get To Bowarrady Creek Fraser Island
Even though Bowarrady Creek is in an isolated location, it is not too difficult to get to with some planning!
The easiest way to get to Bowarrady Creek is by boat from Hervey Bay with Tasman Venture on a day trip tour. If however you would like to camp overnight or stay longer at Bowarrady Creek you will need to go independently.
Day Trip Boat Tour
This is by far the easiest way to get to Bowarrady Creek as someone is doing all the navigating for you, so you just have to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride! Book on the Remote Fraser Island Experience day trip from Hervey Bay with Tasman Venture. I did this trip and had the best time, I honestly can’t rate the trip high enough!
Tasman Venture will bring kayaks, snorkelling gear and an inflatable tube so there are plenty of activities to keep you entertained! The inflatable tube is like a giant inflatable chair that they attach to the back of the speedboat. It is a LOT of fun whether you are young or old!
The staff will do a guided walk up the sand dunes, as well as take you over to the creek for a swim and you’ll also have some time to relax on the beach afterwards. You’ll also do another stop on Fraser Island, as well as maybe get the opportunity to swim with whales if you visit during the whale watching season!
If you’re short on time to see the west coast of Fraser Island or want to see it in the most economical way, booking a Remote Fraser Island Experience with Tasman Venture is definitely the way to go. The boat departs from Urangan Marina at 07.30am and costs $205. Extremely worth it and a very fun, stress-free day!
If you have your own boat you’ll most likely depart from Urangan Marina in Hervey Bay and head across the Great Sandy Straits Marine Park to get to Bowarrady Creek.
However you absolutely MUST check the wind and tide forecasts beforehand. Certain wind directions can really change conditions here, so it’s wise to speak to a local skipper before you attempt the journey from Hervey Bay.
Particularly westerly, north-westerly and south-westerly winds create a challenge and can make the journey to Bowarrady Creek quite difficult. It is advised to not make the journey during these times and instead wait until the much-favoured south-easterly trade winds.
As a rule of thumb, if the favoured south-easterly trade winds are more than 15 knots, approach the crossing with caution. Especially the first half of the crossing – from Urangan Marina to Moon Point, can be especially difficult if the wind is pushing against the tide and it shouldn’t be underestimated.
All the above ways detail a water crossing on how to get to Bowarrady Creek from Hervey Bay as this is quicker than bringing your vehicle onto Fraser Island, driving up along the east coast and then inland across to Bowarrady Creek.
However if you are already staying on Fraser Island (K’Gari) then of course it is possible and absolutely worth it to reach Bowarrady Creek by 4WD. As Fraser Island is a sand island (yes, the highway here is sand, not a road!) 4WD are the only types of cars permitted on Fraser Island – all other vehicles are prohibited.
If you are on Fraser Island with your own high clearance 4WD it is possible to drive to Bowarrady Creek. A Vehicle Access Permit will need to be purchased and displayed on your windscreen. You will need a high clearance, low range function 4WD to reach the campsite.
To get across to the beaches on the western side of Fraser Island from the east, drive down Woralie Road – an inland track located between Maheno Wreck and The Pinnacles. It can take around 1 hour to a 1.5 hours to get to the other side of the island on this track – weekends will always take longer as there is more traffic so allow more time than you think.
The ride is quite bumpy and rough – especially as you turn off near The Pinnacles you’ll see some tree roots in the track! It is just a one lane track, so always keep an eye out for incoming traffic and drive slowly. If there’s a 4wd coming the other way you’ll need to pull over to let them pass.
Bowarrady Creek lies between Awinya Creek and Woralie Creek, so once you are on the west coast of Fraser Island you can drive to Bowarrady Creek either from Woralie Creek or from Awinya Creek. Bowarrady Creek can only be accessed by driving on the beach at low tide, which makes it even more remote than some of the other beaches on Fraser Island’s west coast. To reach the campsites and the beach at Bowarrady Creek you will need to cross over the creek in your 4WD.
You are no longer allowed to rent a 4WD and bring it to the west coast of Fraser Island. Too many rental cars were getting washed away with the tide and insurance companies were shelling out too much money. So if you want to drive to the west coast of Fraser Island you can only do so with your own 4WD. And absolutely do not underestimate the tides when considering where to park your vehicle.
Bowarrady Creek Camping Area – Best Camping On Fraser Island
The picturesque camping area at Bowarrady Creek is truly special, surrounded by eucalyptus trees, white mahogany and the shallow freshwater creek. Many people who camp here at Bowarrady Creek say it is the best camping spot on Fraser Island and one of their favourite camping spots in the world and they even camp for several weeks here!
Camping along the remote western beaches of Fraser Island without all the crowds you’ll find at most other Australian campsites, and waking up to these views of the white sand and turquoise water and the sound of the gentle waves is absolutely incredible.
In addition, as Bowarrady Creek is harder to access than many of the other west coast beaches on Fraser Island, it is more remote, which usually means there are even less people camping here and sometimes you get the whole place to yourself!
Be mindful however that you are camping near a creek so do not forget your Bushmans insect repellant and incense coils for the mosquitoes, midges and sandflies – there are plenty of them around! Bushmans is honestly the best bug spray in Australia – all other brands just don’t keep the bugs away like Bushmans, and most Aussies swear by it.
Campfires are not allowed at all on the western beaches of Fraser Island. Don’t think you can get away with it. Bushfires here are extremely difficult to handle due to the sand, as well as limited access, and cause utter devastation.
Also it goes without saying – leave without a trace. Put all rubbish in the bins. There are plenty bins so there is no excuse.
If you want to camp overnight at Bowarrady Creek you will need to obtain a Camping Permit. The parking rangers do occasionally pop round so just get one to avoid any dramas. They only cost a few dollars and should be purchased before you set up camp.
The Camping Permit is in addition to your Vehicle Access Permit which must be purchased before you get to Fraser Island (surveillance cameras are in use 24 hours a day). The Vehicle Access Permit (VAP) costs $55.90 for a month or less, or $281.40 for a month up to a year.
Other Nearby Beautiful Locations On The Fraser Coast With Clear Water Beaches
If you can’t get enough of the crystal clear water here at Bowarrady Creek and are looking for other great remote camping spots on Fraser Island, there are a couple of beaches nearby with campsites that also offer the same white silica sand and turquoise waters.
Check out the stunning Wathumba Creek, further north on Fraser Island – truly one of the best beaches in Australia, as well as the picturesque Awinya Creek located a few kilometres from Bowarrady Creek. Awinya Creek is less remote than Bowarrady Creek, but equally beautiful.
Visiting these clear water beaches is definitely a highlight of any trip to Fraser Island.
In conclusion, Bowarrady Creek is one of the best beaches on Fraser Island and considered by many as the best camping spot on Fraser Island (K’gari). It is definitely worth adding onto your itinerary and spending a few nights here – it is so beautiful and secluded you honestly feel like you’re in paradise and won’t want to leave!