Most of the people who visit the K'gari World Heritage Area on Fraser Island choose to camp. One great camping location is Cathedrals Camping Ground on Cathedrals Beach. As a commercial campground, it is a little more expensive than the national park's campgrounds but has more facilities and features, including a cafe and shop.
The name of the island
Cathedrals Camping Ground on Fraser Island/K'gari
While the official name of the Island and the government locality remains Fraser, named after Eliza Fraser who was shipwrecked on the island for 6 weeks, the Butchulla people called the island K'gari. This is pronounced gurri and translates as happy, but in regards to the island, is translated as paradise. The government recently changed the name of the World Heritage Area which covers most of the island to K'gari. The K'gari name is widely used but the island is still officially Fraser for now.
The campground is not located near any walking or hiking tracks, so people drive here in 4-wheel drives or stay on a tour. Yes, you could get dropped off by the Fraser Island Taxi Service but once there, there are limited things to do.
About Cathedrals Camping Ground
4 wheel driving to Cathedrals Camping Ground on Fraser Island/K'gari
The camping ground is a heavily forested campsite on sandy ground only a short walk from the beach. As such, you are isolated from the beach and the 4 wheel drives that head up and down it throughout the day.
There is a whole busy campground beneath those trees
The campground is surrounded by a dingo-proof electric fence. This is set well back from the actually camping spots, so you won't even see it, and you also don't really have to worry about your kids running into the fence. As people will want to head down to the beach, there is a walking path and gates for people on foot.
Electric dingo fence and gate along with signed walking path at Cathedrals Camping Ground
It is a pleasant enough camping ground, but it feels crowded even on quieter days and gets even more crowded on weekends and holidays. 6 people can share one designated camp spot. That can mean 6 people in one tent or 6 small tents.
You can always pack in lots of small tents in one of the camping spots at Cathedrals Camping Ground
There are also some bush camp spots that are normally only rented out during peak periods, but you can always ask about them if you want a quieter place to camp. Plus there is a large open grassy area near the entrance that is used for groups.
Camping among the trees at Cathedrals Camping Ground on Fraser Island/K'gari
There is also plenty of trailer campsites as well. You will see plenty of caravans and trailers on the beach because, with the ability to lock their doors, they are a safe way of camping. But staying at Cathedrals with more facilities is another great option.
There are lots of places suitable for caravans & trailers as well at Cathedrals Camping Ground
There are also glamping tents that range from a 1 room tent with a large innerspring mattress to larger tents that can sleep up to 4 people. The main advantage of these tents is the comfortable bed, sheets and pillows.
Glamping tents at Cathedrals Camping Ground on Fraser Island/K'gari
There are also 1, 2 and 3 bedroom cabins. Some are with ensuite and others require that you need to use the camping grounds facilities. As far as I know, they all have internal and external cooking facilities.
Cabins at Cathedrals Camping Ground
When it comes to facilities, at the camping spots themselves, there are plenty of drinking water taps as well as the option of renting sites with power. There are also power outlets at the camp kitchens you can use to recharge devices if you need to.
Speaking of camp kitchens, there are 2 of them with seating, some big grills and gas hobs, as well as fridges, kettles, toasters and microwaves. They get a reasonable amount of use, but the most useful item are the freezers, which are filled with water bottles that people are freezing for their eskies. The sinks are also pretty popular for washing up. Sometimes groups will take over the tables looking for a comfortable spot for a group dinner.
The smaller camp kitchen at Cathedrals Camping Ground on Fraser Island/K'gari
There are showers and flush toilets. There are codes on the doors for some reason. Maybe non-campers in the past have snuck in to have showers or something. But often people try and leave the doors open so you don't need a code. The hot showers are on a 5-minute timer. Now I don't know about you, but after a day in the outdoors I am pretty grimy, so it takes more than 5 minutes to wash plus shampoo and condition. But if it isn't busy you can do the shower shuffle between stalls.
There is a coin-operated laundry as well. They have huge washing machines and it costs $5 a load. So this can be good if you are with a large group, but otherwise, most people are not on the island for long enough to need to wash clothes.
There is also a shop and cafe at the campsite. I think most of the people visiting the cafe are people passing by rather than people camping. The main thing we bought from the shop was ice creams as well as ice for our eskies. The cafe menu includes toasties, burgers, wraps, pies, and fish and chips. A lot of people just come here for the coffee. Of course, it is island pricing, but not overly expensive.
The shop & cafe at Cathedrals Camping Ground
There is a volleyball court with a net and a table tennis table. I never saw anyone using these, and it is probably best if you bring your own paddles and balls. But the area is the one spot kids can really run around and play, though I saw plenty of kids just running around the tents and paths at the campsite.
Around the camping grounds
Volleyball court 7 table tennis at Cathedrals Camping Ground on Fraser Island/K'gari
The campgrounds are just off the beach so It is common for people to head down to the beach at night to view the stars or in the morning to view the sunrise. Just be careful of the electric fence as you exit the campgrounds. There is a clearly marked path with gates that you should follow with the alternative being shocked by the electric fence.
Walking down the Cathedrals Camping Ground driveway in the early morning to watch the sunrise
On the beach are some sand hills. They are nice spots to watch the sunrise from but don't have enough height to give you a view of the sunset.
Fraser Island/K'gari sunrise seen from the sand hills in from of the Cathedrals Camping Ground
Another great feature of these sand hills is that it is only spot you can get a mobile connection. You don't even need to get all the way to the top of the hills to do so. Instead at various times you will see 2 or 3 people checking their emails or making calls from the side of the hill.
The hills outside of Cathedrals Camping Ground are alive with mobile & Internet connections
There is also an 800 m walk from near the back of the camping grounds to the Corrigen Sand Blow. I have been told that you can get a decent sunrise view from the blow, but I didn't visit it in person because I only heard about the path as we were leaving. It is worth going for for a visit while you are hanging around the campgrounds.
The Corrigen Sand Blow near Cathedrals Camping Ground on Fraser Island/K'gari
The area around Cathedrals Camping Ground has several attractions. There is Red Canyon to the north and The Pinnacles
to the South. Past The Pinnacles is the Maheno Shipwreck
, which is close enough to drive to in the morning to catch the sunrise. Beyond that is Eli Creek
for a swim and a float.
The Maheno Shipwreck is close enough to Cathedrals Camping Ground that you can easily drive down early in the morning to watch the sunrise
Essentially the commercial campgrounds on the island offer safety and other facilities, and Cathedrals Camping Ground is a good example of this and nicely positioned on the island. But they do lack the charm of some of the national parks campgrounds. There is also a slightly run down feel to the camping grounds overall. But on any good trip to the K'gari World Heritage Area you should be spending less time at your campsite and more time exploring the island.