In this video Rusty shows you what you need to know when crossing on the Mantaray Barges.
Travelling South On 75 Mile Beach To Hook Point
So your trip on Fraser Island is coming to an end and you are leaving the island via a return trip on the Barge from Hook Point to Inskip Point at Rainbow Beach.
There are a few important things you should be aware of:
- The tide times
- Where the inland track is if travelling at high tide
- Beach conditions
- Where to line up for the Barge
- What you need to get on the Barge
- Exiting and landing on landing at Inskip Point
There is a lot of differing opinions about tide times and driving on the beach. Usually these opinions come from other peoples experiences. And as we know we all have different experiences doing the same thing.
What we will say is this:
To travel safely it is recommended to drive between – 2 hours before and 2 hours after LOW Tide
This is a general recommendation. So before you set off on your trip over to the island pick a day that you know you can get on the Barge at a reasonable time ( say 2 hours before low tide, early morning low the better) and then you have a full 4 hours to get where your going.
The reason for this is because an incoming tide can come in particularly fast when there is a big swell pushing in. This forces your vehicle to move closer to the sand banks rather on the harder wet sand.
In this high area the sand becomes very soft and it is likely that your engine will need to labour harder and you will be forced to drive slower.
Your vehicle will consume more fuel and there is a high chance you may get bogged.
Even after arriving on the island, plan your days activities according to the tides, especially if you need to drive somewhere that takes more than an hour to get there.
Say from Eurong to Champagne Pools or Orchid Beach to the Cape For smaller trips you have a little more freedom with your time.
PHOTO TAKEN ON A LOW TIDE AT HOOK POINT – DANGEROUS AT HIGH TIDE
The High Tide Inland Track
If you have no choice but to travel along the beach at high tide you can take an inland detour just south of Eurong near Dilli Village.
What if you have no choice but to drive high tide to get to Hook Point?
This inland track is a rough dirt track with lots of pot holes but it takes you off the beach and by passes the Hook Point danger zone at high tide.
The track will take about 25 – 30 mins and bring you out onto the beach about 100 meters from the Barge landing point.
Just be aware when travelling on this dirt road that it is narrow in some places and the tour buses will often take this route.
There are a lot of blind corners so be mindful of oncoming vehicles. There may also be a lot of dust.
Its essential that you allow yourself plenty of extra time to travel down 75 Mile beach to Hook point. Dependant on which direction or township you are coming from you may have a considerable drive along the beach ahead of you.
Its important that you are aware that on the change of every tide the beach conditions change. An extremely high tide prior can flatten out the beach and allow for slightly faster travel.
However a small high tide can make lots of humps and mounds along the beach that will force a slow travel time due to unfavourable conditions.
Furthermore there may have been rain on the island that will deepen the small creek crossings and also cause erosion to the beach that will slow down your travel time.
All of this needs to be considered prior to packing up and jumping in the vehicle to return to the Barge landing.
Moral of the story allow plenty of time and watch out for the changing beach conditions.
Lining up for the Barge
if you happen to be the first vehicle to arrive at Hook Point you will find a sign that will direct you towards where the Barge will land.
But….where do you actually pull up ?
The easiest thing to look for is the marking and tracks in the sand. You will actually see distinct curved tyre tracks where the barge has landed that turn sharply down to the lower portion of the shore line.
Park your vehicle four or five vehicle spaces away on the high side of the beach. This will allow plenty of space for the vehicles to disembark off the Barge.
Once all the vehicles have cleared the landing point your vehicle will be directed to move by the barge crew to come aboard.
Its important to note that where you initially landed at hook point coming onto the Island may not be the exact spot where you return. This is due to the tide and the weather conditions on the day.
What you will need to do on the Barge at Hook Point
Once you have been directed to park on the Barge there are a few things to remember
- Put on your handbrake and switch off your engine.
- Safer to stay in your vehicle for the short trip – especially in rough weather
- Have your Barge ticket handy to present to the crew to collect.
Exiting the Barge at Inskip Point
Hopefully if you have come across on a low tide there is plenty of sand at Inskip point. The crew on the Barge will direct you in an order to drive off the Barge. You will need to be patient and allow good distance between vehicles.
Inskip point is notorious for vehicles getting stuck, especially ones that are towing boats and trailers. The sand is usually soft and the tracks are deep that everyone follows.
Once again you should have your tyres around 18psi as a general guide.
Once you are off the sand and have entered the bitumen you will need to pull over and park in a safe space to inflate your tyres to normal driving air pressure suitable to your vehicle.
Then we would suggest you head for the Rainbow Beach Carwash to wash all the sand and salt spray from your vehicle.
Rainbow Beach Car Wash
This footage was taken on the Mantraray barge
Fraser Island Crossing: Inskip Point Rainbow Beach
Four Wheel Gear