On the way to Fraser Island, driving with the Dutch girls, we had the most astounding meeting. We were packing up to leave our hostel where we’d stayed for one night. Suddenly the door opens, and Dar Gibson from the pole walks in. He stared at me, and I stared at him, not quite believing what we’re seeing. All of a sudden we realized that yes, it was really our buddy from the pole, and just started cracking up. We ended up going to grab some breakfast and chatting, but we didn’t have much time since I had to leave with the girls pretty quickly. Talk about a one in a million chance!
Well, Fraser Island was the cheapest and one of the best tours I’ve done so far. For $125 Australian, we got the use of a 4X4 Land Rover, all the camping gear, permits, and everything else to spend three days and two nights on the island. Basically, Fraser is the largest sand island in the world. Sounds boring, right? Not at all. It’s had time to develop an amazing ecosystem with the clearest freshwater lake I’ve ever seen. It’s got it all…great swimming, beautiful forest hiking, sand dunes, sharks, saltwater swimming, and the only true dingos left in the wild.
Day 1: The morning started at 5:45 am with an orientation from the company we were renting the Land Rover from. We packed up all the food and supplies, and headed off for the ferry to the island. We decided to start out heading for Lake Mackenzie, but first we had to get the hang of driving on deep sand. The road went thru a forest for a while,with lots of roots and branches in the road. The poor girls that were with us kept wishing that they had sports bras instead of bikini tops on…the roads were so bumpy that they were really not enjoying the ride. Of course us guys just sat back, grinned and enjoyed the view. 🙂 When we got to the lake, we were all impressed with how clear the water was. I’d have killed for snorkeling gear! Myself and one of the girls tried to swim all the way across the lake, but gave up about halfway across because we knew that we still had a lot to see, and not much time. We drove along the beach for a while to our campsite at Indian Head on the north end of the island. That night we saw wild dingos and brumbies (horses) both wandering around the campsite.
Day 2: We woke up with the sun at about 5:15 am. We wandered over to a beach near the camp called the champagne pools. Last night we’d gone up to the cliffs overlooking this beach where we saw sharks and huge manta rays in the water. We’d been warned not to swim in the ocean, except for very specific places because of these sharks. The champagne pools however were a protected area where the sharks didn’t like to intrude into. It was amazing looking…the waves were crashing over rocks, exploding in the morning air! After playing in the water for a while we packed up and headed down the beach to check out the old wreck of the Maheno. This ship was driven ashore during a storm back in 1935. It had been sold for scrap, and was being towed to Japan when the storm hit, and the two rope snapped. It’s now buried 5 decks deep in the sand, and is one of the more unusual attractions on the island. After getting our fill of photos, we headed down to Eli creek for lunch and floating down the river. After lunch we wandered down to an area called Rainbow Valley for some hiking along the sand dunes. We stopped by town for ice and some more supplies, and then camped on the beach, spending the evening goofing around and playing drinking games.
Day 3: We started out heading for Lake Wabby, known as the disappearing lake. The lake is bordered on one side by a huge sand dune that is slowly moving into the lake bed. In another hundred years or so, the dune will have filled the lake in completely. Lake Wabby is also one of the more difficult lakes to visit on the island. We had to hike thru the woods for about 40 minutes way, but the weather was perfect and there were hardly any mossies. On the return trip, we skipped the forest and hiked down the dunes. It was fun and pretty, but my calves complained about it the next day. Finally we headed to Lake Boomangin, which is a shallow clay lined lake that has water that has been stained a reddish colors by the tea trees along the shores. Perfectly safe to swim in, but it was really strange to look at. Suddenly someone looked at their watch, and we realized we were late for the ferry. We were officially two hours away from the dock, and only had 90 minutes to get there. Luckily traffic was completely non-existent, and we just barely made it.