The night before setting off for Fraser Island we had a group safety briefing teaching us how to drive on sand and what not to do if the jeeps got “bogged”. We watched three videos and met everyone coming on the tour. This was followed by a free BBQ at the hostel in the pouring rain.
The group departed from Noosa very early on the slowest minibus drive from Noosa to Rainbow beach. I was really excited to visit the world’s largest sand island. We left behind our big rucksacks and just packed a small bag for the couple of days away. (I was so happy to not have to cary my massive bag – my shoulders were already aching by this point!)
Our tour was three days and two nights on the island but different tours run different length and style island tours. For example we had a big group split into four jeeps and I stayed in a dorm; however, others were camping or there were one day/two day coach tours (not self-drive).
At Rainbow beach, we split into four 4×4 jeeps. I was the first to drive (travel companions are now: Franci, Alex, Heather, Georgia and Lauren P). Our tour guide was called Paul and he was extremely knowledgeable during our few days away.
A quick lunch stop in Rainbow beach for some sandwiches and then we drove straight to the ferry crossing-this was my first time driving on sand. Where we drove also doubled up as a landing strip for planes (not scary at all!).
Our group had the only manual jeep and this meant we had to keep changing from 2 wheel drive to 4 wheel drive. After successfully getting the car on to the ferry we all jumped out in the hope of spotting some dolphins (unluckily we didn’t on the way there).
The crossing is really short so before we knew it; we loaded everyone back on. Disembarking the ferry was easier than I thought and driving on the hard sand was a lot better than i expected (quickly learnt to dodge the softer bits of sand).
I loved driving along the beach- our convoy’s lead vehicle instructed us to dodge the saltwater, but to drive where the wave had just come up the beach.
The others were DJ and plugged in our iPhones with an aux lead so we could blast the summer tunes. I drove us to our first stop. The views were amazing and very calming (apart from the huge dead turtle we saw being collected by the island rangers). All the windows were down and the sea air filled the car- completely blew away the cobwebs! You really felt this was different to mainland Australia- breathtakingly beautiful views. The sea looked as though it was glittering gold as the waves churned the brilliant white sand.
A lot of our tour depended on the tide, we started out by going to Lake Mackenzie, famous for its clear blue freshwater and sandy beach, covering more than 150 hectares.
(yes… ok, I bought a dodgy pair of traveller baggy trousers!! From the “Rainbow shop” in Byron Bay incase anyone wanted a pair – I don’t suppose I will have much use for these in London)
On our second morning, I woke up early to try and catch the “must-see” sunrise; however, it was very cloudy and not the best view- positive to this – we did not get eaten by dingos (I was armed with a stick mum- don’t worry…).
We visited Eli Creek, the largest freshwater creek on the Eastern Coast of the Island, it carves its way through to the beach and pours 80 million litres of water a day into the Pacific Ocean! We did our best to drive there but the salt water had become too deep so we had to park up the cars and walk up to the creek, where we perfected our otter impressions and floated on our backs down to the beginning. Jump-Swim- Float- Repeat. The water was chilly but very refreshing. We saw a monster spider underneath the steps (probably bigger than my hand- did slightly put me off jumping in the next time).
After spending some time here, we drove over to the famous Maheno Shipwreck. We could hear popping when we were driving- these were lots of jellyfish under the wheels of the jeep! EW! The Maheno was driven ashore on Fraser Island during a cyclone in 1935.
Next we headed to the champagne pools after climbing up to a beautiful cliff top walkway. Be prepared for crashing waves and a seaweed invasion in your bikini.
On our final day, we walked though the rainforest (the island is the only known place where rainforest grows on sand) and across sand dunes before arriving at Lake Wabby, the deepest lake on the Island (11.4 m). Unlike Lake McKenzie and the other Fraser Island lakes which contain high acidity levels, Lake Wabby’s is much lower, normally this would not be something that I would blog about but it means this lake is home to some massive fish, including catfish and rainbow fish (also the fish that nibble away dead skin).
FRASER thank you for being FANTASTIC!! The locals call the island “K’Gari” meaning paradise – and apparently they have got it spot on!