Wathumba Creek is not only one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places on Fraser Island, but it’s one of the most spectacular clear water beaches out there. Period. This place is magical, and definitely one for any Australia bucketlist.
With swirling sands to resemble the iconic Whitsundays Hill Inlet (one of Australia’s most photographed beaches), yet without the hoards of people and tour groups, Wathumba Creek is so dreamy. The scenery is just incredible, with silica white sands and perfectly clear turquoise waters, and it’s a wonder more people don’t know about it.
What’s great is that Wathumba Creek is never busy, and despite being in an isolated location it is not too difficult to get to with some planning!
Where Is Wathumba Creek?
Wathumba Creek is located on the north west coast of Fraser Island (K’Gari) in Queensland.
Fraser Island is a 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 untouched remote beaches and just a sprinkling of people. It is estimated that for every 700 tourists on the east coast of Fraser Island is one tourist on the west side. That’s just how remote this place is!
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!
What Is There To Do At Wathumba Creek Fraser Island?
You can easily spend a couple of hours or even a couple of days relaxing here at Wathumba Creek!
The waters here are so crystal clear and so appealing, it won’t be long before you find yourself going for a swim. The waters are incredibly calm in the creek, making it the perfect place to go for a dip.
Along with the crystal clear waters, be sure to relax on the white sand and check out the white shells on the beaches. Especially on the larger beach overlooking the bay there are hundreds of shells, all perfectly shaped and so white! Admire them, but remember don’t take any shells from the beach.
You can take a nice long stroll along the beach – the pristine white sandy beach stretches for a few kilometres!
If you’re keen on snorkelling, don your snorkelling mask as there is some good snorkelling here. Stick to snorkelling along the banks of the creek as much as possible this is where the marine life is. You’ll often see turtles, stingrays and plenty of fish. It’s also important to snorkel along the banks as much as possible so that you are out of the way of the boats in the boat channel.
If you have a kayak or stand up paddle board you can make your way over to the mangroves and tannin waters on the eastern side of the creek by the campsite.
Fishing is also very popular at Wathumba Creek, with plenty of species of fish year-round. You can either fish in the creek or out into Platypus Bay, out the front of Wathumba Creek.
Wathumba Creek is quite popular with boaters who come to Hervey Bay, yet at the same time it feels very remote and uncrowded. One of the reasons why Wathumba Creek is so appealing is because it offers a protected overnight anchorage, so if you come with your own boat you can stay overnight in your boat here and wake up in this paradise! The anchorage location also offers protection from wild weather, which is great if the weather makes a sudden turn.
Plus, if you are at Wathumba Creek during July to August – just look out towards Platypus Bay and you’re bound to spot some humpback 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 Wathumba Creek and it makes a perfect place to bring the children for some fun, or your partner for a romantic day. Keep an eye on your kids and be dingo aware as there are a couple in the area.
Wathumba Creek is such a wonderful relaxing place full of beautiful scenery that you won’t want to leave by the end! I genuinely feel that the photos don’t do it justice to how stunning it is.
How To Get To Wathumba Creek Fraser Island
Wathumba Creek lies about 50km north/north-east of Hervey Bay (26 nautical miles). If departing from Hervey Bay you will go past the three small islands of Round Island, Big Woody Island and Pelican Banks before reaching Fraser Island.
This is by far the easiest way to get to Wathumba 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 with Tasman Venture 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 kayak over to the mangroves, as well as a guided snorkel along the banks. You’ll also have some time to relax on the beach afterwards. You’ll also then get to do another stop along Fraser Island, plus 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 cost $205. Extremely worth it and a very fun, stress-free day!
Do note that due to tide and wind conditions, and especially during the whale watching season, if it isn’t safe for Tasman Venture to stop at Wathumba Creek they will make an alternate stop on Fraser Island!
If you have your own boat you’ll most likely depart from Urangan Marina in Hervey Bay.
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 Wathumba 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.
Especially during October and November is when these challenging westerly winds arrive around the Fraser Coast and they can stay around for a good number of days or even weeks so you may need to be flexible with your timing.
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.
Navigating A Boat To Wathumba Creek From Urangan Marina
Before you depart the Great Sandy Straits Marina in Urangan on your own private boat you will need to log your trip with the local Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR): Marine Rescue Hervey Bay/VMR466. This is on local channel 73. Make sure to set your radio to dual monitor channel 73 and 16 for the journey.
Due to coverage, about halfway to Wathumba Creek you will need to switch from channel 73 to 22. Channel 22 covers Wathumba Creek. The radio room is manned from 6am to 6pm daily. After this channel 16 is used for emergencies only. Weather updates are provided three times a day and it is worth it to provide your position update each day.
You will need to navigate following the markers north of Round Island and Big Woody Island. Heading towards Pelican Banks you will need to navigate across two fast moving deepwater channels that feed the Great Sandy Strait. As Moon Point (the widest part of Fraser Island) becomes visible, you need to navigate the sand banks here. Only if you’re travelling at low tide will the sand banks potentially cause any issue, so to make the crossing safely it’s better to avoid crossing near low tide.
Once you are at Moon Point the journey is much more straightforward and you can simply hug the west coast of Fraser Island all the way up to Wathumba Creek.
If the tide and wind conditions are right, you can also get to Wathumba Creek by jetski with Fraser Coast Jetski Tours.
All the above ways detail a water crossing on how to get to Wathumba Creek from Hervey Bay as this is quicker than bringing your vehicle on the island, driving up along the east coast and then inland across to Wathumba Creek. However if you are already staying on Fraser Island (K’Gari) then of course it is possible and absolutely worth it to reach Wathumba Creek by 4WD. As Fraser Island is a sand island (yes, the highway here is the beach, not a road!) 4WD are the only types of cars permitted on Fraser Island – all other vehicles are prohibited.
You are no longer allowed to rent a 4WD on Fraser Island 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.
You can reach Wathumba Creek by 4WD from Orchid Beach on the eastern side of Fraser Island, just north of the Champagne Pools. Orchid Beach is a popular place to stay on Fraser Island so a visit to Wathumba Creek can make a great day trip. Take the inland track from Orchid Beach to eastern side of Wathumba Creek – it should take maybe 1.5 hours driving.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Wathumba Creek Fraser Island?
In terms of what months of the year are best to visit Wathumba 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 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!
In terms of tides, it is important to time your entrance into Wathumba Creek with the tide. This is because on King Tides, the entrance to Wathumba Creek completely drains, and during low tide, the sand bars will be exposed.
Therefore if coming with your own boat it is best to enter or exit Wathumba Creek at high or mid tide, as the tide is going up – at least a couple of hours after low tide.
There are several large and shallow sand bars at the entrance of the channel which are constantly moving so take your time entering as it can be challenging. Once you have navigated into Wathumba Creek though, there are deep channels suitable for anchoring on the eastern side of Wathumba Spit (the western side of the creek). There is plenty space here for several boats.
If you have a drone you can really appreciate just how stunning this landscape is from a completely different angle. Mid tide is the best time to get the best aerial shots of the swirling sand bars. If you take an aerial photograph of Wathumba Creek at low tide, you’ll see most of the water has been drained out of the creek.
Wathumba Creek Camping Fraser Island
If you want to camp overnight at Wathumba 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.
There is a campground on the eastern side of Wathumba Creek near the access track from Orchid Beach, suitable for tents and 4wd campervans. There are some taps here that provide non potable drinking water. There is also a shower block, as well as some poorly maintained toilets. Make sure to bring your own toilet paper.
Teebing Spit/Wathumba Spit
Camping is also allowed on Teebing Spit/Wathumba Spit – which is the long piece of land that sticks out on the western side of the creek (although no vehicle access to here – so usually just a few boaties will camp here if there isn’t enough space on their boats).
There is no running water supply or toilets here on Teebing Spit/Wathumba Spit, however if you camp here you can literally wake up and look across to Platypus Bay and see the whales if you’re here during whale season! Totally magical. Not only are the views slightly better (as you can look out to the bay or into the creek), but there are no sand flies and it is quieter.
There are a couple of dingoes in the area so don’t leave any food out. And remember the insect repellant as there may be sand flies at the campground!
What To Bring To Wathumba Creek
Despite being just an hour or so boat ride away from Hervey Bay, or an hour’s drive from Orchid Beach, Wathumba Creek is incredibly isolated and there is 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, any water activity equipment you will use such as snorkel gear or stand up paddle board.
Other Remote Places To Visit on The West Coast Of Fraser Island
If you loved the remoteness of Wathumba Creek and are looking for some more west coast Fraser Island treasures, check out Awinya Creek and Bowaraddy Creek, both a bit further south along the west coast of Fraser Island. Bowaraddy Creek in particular is beautiful, with it’s ancient sand dunes you can climb up, plus the freshwater tannin creek you can swim in. There is also a campsite here – plus we spotted a dingo!
These two stops are also covered on the Remote Fraser Island Tasman Venture tour.
In conclusion, Wathumba Creek is honestly one of the most beautiful places in Australia and one of the best clear water beaches I have ever visited. If you’re heading towards the Fraser Coast you must add it onto your itinerary!