04.07.2009 22 °C
So this is what I was missing out on! All my time in Australia I've had it in my ears about coming here and how it was one of the best places I'll ever go... It certainly didn't disappoint! I've spent the last few days on Fraser Island eating sand, getting up very early, trying not to flip a 4x4 and without a toilet or shower; and i've loved it!
Fraser island is located about 4km off the coast of Queensland and is the largest sand island in the world. It is about 115km long and 35km wide. The edges are unsuprisingly beach with great clear blue waters, but the inland has dense forest with a huge variety of vegetation and forty freshwater lakes created by springs. This makes the island very unique and jhas earnt a place on the World Heritage list.
They say Fraser Island combines two of Australia's past-times; the beach and the car. The island has no roads and the only way to get about is to drive on the beach and on the sandy tracks inland. The most popular way for backpackers to see it is to sign up with a tour operator who place you in groups with an eleven seater 4x4, camping and cooking equipment, food and a suggested itinery. All you need to bring is yourself, alcohol and a sense of humour and its a guarenteed good time!
Our group consisted of me and Paul, Heidi and Petra (two friends we have been travelling with since Noosa) and six young English travellers who came as a group. We set off on Thursday morning after a very lengthy safety briefing- three backpackers were killed a couple of months ago and several others seriously injured when one of the 4x4 rolled five times after being driven too fast. As most the others were under 21 we were stuck with most the driving, which was not without its scary parts; most noticably stalling on a rock with the car nearly 45 degrees tipped over!
On the first day the tide was coming in early so we camped near a shipwreck on the beach, it was a luxury cruiseliner wrecked in 1935 during a cyclone. A chance for a few pictures and then we set off for a creek for a swim and to relax in the sun. We then returned to camp for dark to party with our truck and those camped near us in the camping zone.
Me at the shipwreck
Shipwreck at sunrise
The next day we were up early to go and visit a high rocky point, where we spotted Stringrays and whales in the clear waters of the sea. It is also possible to see sharks hunting close to shore and dolphins but we didn't have much time to stay around. We knew Lake McKenzie was the most popular spot on the island and after a very long and bumpy ride we were just amazed at it. It's Lake Mckenzie in the picture at the top of this entry, but the pictures on my camera really don't capture just how amazing this place is. The sand is white, waters are a clear and refreshing blue and the forest around the lake makes it such a peaceful spot. We could have easily spent the whole day there easily, swimming in the lake and sunbathing on the shore. Apparently there are also other lakes very similar to this on, but we didn't have the time to visit them.
We returned to camp for the evening as the sun was setting and played football and frisbee on the beach. As we were cooking we met one of Fraser Islands famous residents, a Dingo, who came and stole our bread when we weren't looking!
On our last morning on the island we had time to visit a different lake, Lake Wabby which is the deepest lake on the island. It has a very steep sand blow leading into it... great fun for rolling or running down in the morning sunshine! The lake is darker than Lake McKenzie but is still clear enough to see the population of catfish living there.
We reluctently left the island on Saturday morning, amazed at what we'd seen but a little disappointed we couldn't stay for another day, week... or month! As I've travelled, i've learnt to make the most of what I'm seeing as the chances are it will be the last time I'll ever get to see them. Fraser Island is really one of those places I'm going to make ever effort to return to at some point in my life, it really is that unique and special.
Yesterday evening we left Rainbow Beach (the place where you catch the ferry to Fraser Island) and headed to Agnes water, a six hour bus journey north. This is really the end of the surfing of the Sunshine Coast and into the Great Barrier Reef region. The real reason why we've stopped here is because of the Town of 1770, the point where Cook landed in (you guessed it!) 1770. It is a really beautiful town with a really friendly hostel so we're spending a couple of days here waiting for Thursday, when our Whitsundays boat leaves from Airle Beach. This will be the last part of my trip and involves spending three days and two nights on board a ship with 30-50 other travellers, sailing around some of the beautiful islands on the Great Barrier Reef. Should be a chance for more good photos!