So you have decided to come and visit Fraser Island.
Your 4WD is prepared and packed with all your supplies and recovery gear, you have your permits and barge tickets and you’re ready to go.
But you’re thinking about all the concerns of driving on the beach in the sand for the first time.
The question you may be asking is.
What Tyre Pressure Should You Have?
Here is a rough guide. Knowing your own vehicle is a must as it can vary.
- 4 WD only – 16-20psi of tyre pressure
- 4WD + trailer (box trailer or camper-van) – 12-16psi of tyre pressure
- 4WD + Large Boat or Caravan – 12psi of tyre pressure
The tyre pressure will vary depending on the conditions. The softer the sand the flatter you will need to make your tyres.
The best guide we can give is from our own personal experience. We own a Land Cruiser V8. On occasions we have lowered the tyre pressure down to as low as 12psi to get us out of a bog while towing a boat.
What tyre pressure is normal for beach driving?
The firmer the sand the higher the vehicle tyre pressure should be. We use up to 20psi on the firm beach sand. Down to 16psi or lower on the softer sand.
What Pressure if I’m towing a boat or camper trailer?
If you are towing a camper trailer or boat. You will need to lower the pressure ranges some more. Generally between 12-16psi of tyre pressure depending on the conditions.
We would raise the pressure again when driving on the beach on firmer sand.
Crossing at Rainbow Beach (Inskip Point)
You need to deflate your tyres at the Rainbow Beach before attempting to board the barge from the beach. There is a large sand crossing before reaching the barge.
This is know by locals as the Graveyard. Don’t get bogged at Inskip point.
I’m at Rainbow Beach where do I let my tyres down?
Our favourite spot to let tyres down is on the side of the road at Inskip Point under the big trees. Just a 15 minute drive. You are in the shade, off the main road and close to the entry way towards the barge.
You can deflate tyres at the Rainbow Beach Car wash however we don’t recommend this as it is a long drive from the township out to the Point. Driving on bitumen with low tyre pressure and a full load can be unsafe.
Just in case you missed this point, we will say it again. Don’t make the mistake many drivers do and think to drop the pressure on the Barge. You will be driving in the sand way before you hit the barge.
The roundabout at Inskip Point is the last bit of bitumen road. It turns to dirt and then the soft sand hits. This area is known as the Graveyard !!!
Many vehicles sink and get bogged because they have not let tyre pressure down prior to this point.
Learn more about the Inskip Point Barge here
Crossing At River Heads (Wanggoolba Creek)
Crossing at River Heads is different. You can should let your tyres down while on the barge during the River Heads to Wanggoolba Creek crossing. When you drive off the barge you almost immediately hit the sand.
River Heads and Wanggoolba creek are renowned for mosquito’s and sand flies so please have your insect repellent handy. You don’t want to start you trip full of itchy bites !!
Learn More about the River Heads Barge
What Will I Need To Carry?
To lower tyre pressure you will need a pressure gauge. You can purchase these at any 4×4 or auto superstore. There are many to chose from depending on budget but they all do the job.
We carry a digital gauge and just hand deflate each tyre and deflate till we reach the optimum pressure. Takes a bit of time but if you have a few passengers you can all do one each.
Otherwise you can buy 4 self deflating gauges that can be pre set to the desired pressure you require. These are fast and great if you are travelling alone. Learn more about 4WD vehicle preparation.
What if I get bogged?
Stay calm and stop spinning your wheels. Point the steering wheel forward. Get out an access the situation. Clear the underbelly of sand. Continue Reading here
Where To Inflate Tyres Once Off the Island?
You should re-inflate your tyres in the same place you deflated them when originally made the crossing.
If crossing from Wanggoolba Creek to River Heads inflate your tyres on the barge.
Or under the trees on the side of the road at Inskip Point.
Alternatively you can drive slowly into Rainbow Beach and inflate your tyres for free at the Rainbow Beach Carwash. Please follow the signs and they will take you directly there. I would recommend this rather than at the Service station.