K’Gari vs. Moreton showdown – Which island offers the best 4×4 adventure and bang for your buck?

By Dex Fulton 7 Min Read

Dreaming of a coastal escape? We don’t blame you. What better time to start planning your next big 4×4 holiday than now? And when it comes to spectacular sand driving, phenomenal coastal scenery and an all-round amazing beach experience there aren’t too many options that’ll beat either K’Gari (Fraser Island) or Moreton Island in terms of bang for buck. 

Sure, there are beach-driving options closer for Sydneysiders and Robe offers arguably the best dune wheeling in the Southern Hemisphere, but for sheer natural beauty and an honest escape from the day-to-day, the first and third-largest sand islands in the world still reign supreme as desirable holiday destinations.

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But hey, inflation has hit us all hard and dollars have to be watched closer than a hyperactive toddler with a chainsaw, so which of the two will give you the better bang for buck for your next island getaway? 

Quick recap

Before we jump into the cost breakdowns, here’s the two min refresher course on why both islands are hashtag worth it:

K’gari:

  • Largest sand island in the world – Most of the action is found in the southern half of the island, but north of N’gkala Rocks is well worth the drive if you’re looking for something a little more remote
  • Freshwater Lakes – You have several natural lakes which offer a tranquil dip in some of the clearest waters imaginable to wash the sand and salt spray off. Lake Mackenzie is the star of the show, but don’t sleep on Lakes Wabby, Boomanjin and Birrabeen. All are phenomenal in their own right
  • Eli and Champagne Pools – Two more must-sees; Eli creek and Champagne Pools are both on the east coast and look like they’re fresh off your most envied Influencer’s feed. Gorgeous spots to relax for a few hours with people you don’t hate

Moreton:

  • Tangalooma Wrecks – Pack the dive mask and fins, Tangalooma is an artificial reef made up of 15 sunken ships and houses a huge range of aquatic life; from turtles to a brazillion species of reef fish. Perfect for re-enacting your favourite Little Mermaid scene
  • Dolphins Feeding – Every evening wild frickin dolphins come into the beach at Tangalooma and you’re allowed to feed them. Once in a lifetime stuff here folks, and who doesn’t secretly want a dolphin best friend?
  • Freshwater swimming – Like amazing natural wonders; enjoy swimming in freshwater paradise; into a bit of bird-watching you old twitcher you? Blue Lagoon is your jam. Simply stunning and well worth the 200m walk in

Getting there

Pricing the cost of getting to the mainland access points of K’gari and Moreton is a bit tricky given the fluctuation in fuel prices and variance in economy of different vehicles and trailers. Given most folks will take a loaded vehicle, the fam, a full fridge and possibly a trailer we reckon an average fuel economy of 12L/100km for diesel engines and 16L/100 for petty engines seems fair. At the time of writing, diesel fuel is sitting at $1.85/L and 95RON petrol is a little more at $1.90/L, so we’ll go with that. Factor your individual prices up or down accordingly depending on your set-up. 

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Melbourne to River Heads (K’gari): ~1860km. Diesel 4X4s = $413; Petrol 4X4s = $565

Melbourne to Inskip Point (K’gari): ~2028km. Diesel 4X4s = $450; Petrol 4X4s = $617

Melbourne to Pinkenba (Moreton): ~1783km. Diesel 4X4s = $396; Petrol 4X4s = $542

Sydney to River Heads (K’gari): ~1217km. Diesel 4X4s = $270; Petrol 4X4s = $370

Sydney to Inskip Point (K’gari): ~1170km. Diesel 4X4s = $260; Petrol 4X4s = $356

Sydney to Pinkenba (Moreton): ~923km. Diesel 4X4s = $205; Petrol 4X4s = $281

Brisbane to River Heads (K’gari): ~301km. Diesel 4X4s = $69 (nice); Petrol 4X4s = $92

Brisbane to Inskip Point (K’gari): ~254km. Diesel 4X4s = $56; Petrol 4X4s = $77

Brisbane to Pinkenba (Moreton): ~11km. Diesel 4X4s = $2; Petrol 4X4s = $3

Result:

Moreton is cheaper ex Melbourne and Sydney, and markedly cheaper out of Brissie, but it’s not exactly a bank-breaker either way. 

Catching the Ferry

It’s always a good idea to plan a trip to Moreton or K’gari as far in advance as possible, especially if you’re going in peak season. Prices to vary considerably depending on how far in advance you book. For our purposes, we’re pricing a return trip for a single 4X4 with two adults and two children onboard, heading onto the island for 4 days. 

River Heads to K’gari (Sealink): $258 (vehicles under 6M, peak); $233 (vehicles under 6M, off-peak)

Inskip Point to K’gari (Manta Ray): $130 (1x vehicle and passengers, peak and off-peak)

Pinkenba Wharf to Moreton (Micat): $431 (peak); $341 (off-peak)

Result:

Inskip Point/ Rainbow Beach to K’gari is the clear winner here. Plus it’s only an extra $35 if you have a trailer in tow, it’s a 10min trip (as opposed to 30min from River Heads and 90mins between Pinkenba Wharf and Moreton) and the barges run all day. The downside is it drops you further south on the island so you’ll lose some of the savings on fuel running up the beach.



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