Friday, November 27, 2009

- Fraser Island Adventure -

Heritage listed Fraser Island is just off the coast of Hervey Bay, it is the world largest sand island. Stretching 123km in length and only 22kms wide, this unique part of Australia lures adventure travellers to its shores.

With its long interrupted beaches, pockets of rainforest, over 100 freshwater lakes and the abundance of wildlife it is the perfect recipe for a fun filled 4wd camping trip.

After much planning and research we decided to take the car over for a 4 day adventure. We first had to get there, which meant booking the car on a vehicle ferry to cross the Great Sandy Strait. A 50 min ferry ride later we drove off the ferry and onto the island, passing through Kingfisher Bay Resort before reaching the start of many 4wd sand tracks. From the numerous self drive travellers and tourist coaches the track was quite cut up and soft in sections, so we had to let down our tyres a few times to make it much easier to drive.

(The vehicle barge to Fraser Island)

( 4wd Sand tracks are the only roads on the island)

Along the western side of the island there isn’t a great deal to see, so we headed inland passing by a couple of freshwater lakes and sand blows before reaching the eastern coast. This uninterrupted beach is a gazetted road, being the easiest & quickest way to reach the top tourist sites it can be more like a highway at times!

( 75 Mile Beach was more like a highway at low tide.)

(Sand blows were spectacular, some have engulfed entire lakes and forests.)

On our way to find our first camp for the night we came across the ship wreck of the Maheno. In 1935 the Maheno was being towed to a Japanese wrecking yard when she met her stormy end in a cyclone just off the coast. It was pretty awesome to see with the waves lapping against its rusty hull, providing an excellent opportunity for photos! We pushed on further north along the beach to find a perfect campsite complete with ocean views and a grassy spot to put up our tent! With a few wines and the sound of the waves, it could get any better than this... or could it??

(The Maheno shipwreck.)

(What an awesome camp spot, 1st night on Fraser.)

The next morning we woke to rain! Making it a very interesting while packing up! However in no time at all, the weather cleared and we were back into exploring the island. First we called by the pinnacles, a section of weathered dunes of contrasting coloured sands. Then called into Happy Valley for a look, it’s a tourist village offering an alternative accommodation to camping.

(Coloured Sands.)

Our next stop though was Eli Creek. It’s a freshwater creek flowing across the beach into the ocean with boardwalks along its upper reaches into the dunes. Here was also the place of our first sighting of a Dingo, who was just going about its business paying no attention to us at all. Eli Creek is also a popular spot to swim, as it is advised against to swim in the ocean, with rough seas and the occasional croc sighting.

(Eli Creek, great spot to explore.)

From here we headed inland, winding our way up into the rainforest and sand dunes to visit Lake Wabby. Lake Wabby is known as a Barrage Lake which means it has formed when a sand blow blocks the path of a natural spring. Eventually the sand dune will engulf the lake, making us feel very fortunate to visit while we still can! It was steep walk to get to the waters edge, however worth the effort as we plunged into its cool calm waters! When we finally got back to the car we slowly made our way back to the beach, getting stuck in the soft sand a few times on the track. We decided to drive further south to find a suitable campsite where we could make our base for the next few nights.

(Looking down to Lake Wabby.)

Just south of Eurong (Another resort village) we found the perfect spot. Nestle behind a small sand dune, with plenty of trees for shade we made our camp, putting up a few extra traps in case the rain set in again over night.

The following morning while getting ready for our next adventure 2 Dingo’s casually strolled past our camp. They’re believed to be the purest strain of Dingo and have become well accustomed to the presence of humans on the island. Everywhere we went there were warnings about Dingo’s, mostly not to approach and to make sure food etc is securely stored. One camp we saw looked like it had been torn apart by Dingo’s as there was rubbish everywhere.

After refuelling at Eurong we set off inland again to visit the most popular lake on the Island, Lake McKenzie. We’d have to say this is one of the BEST beaches in the world. It was amazing, pure white sand giving way to the crystal clear water… certainly an unusual paradise! The lake is a ‘perched’ lake which means it is only rainwater, no ground water or streams feed into this lake. The natural composition of sand and organic materials at the base of the lake, form a special layer preventing the water from draining away. We spent several hours swimming, lounging on the shores it was beautiful, however the crowds were starting to arrive so we decided to push on.

(Beautiful Lake McKenzie)

The drive from Lake McKenzie continued onto Central Station, which was once a logging community, however now home to National Parks Info Station. From here the track continued to wind its way through sand dunes, rainforests, and bushland. We stopped off at Lake Birrabeen and Lake Boomajin before reaching the eastern Beach again just south of Eurong.

The following day we spent relaxing in our camp, reading, walking along the beach and enjoying the fact we didn’t have to drive anywhere. The next day we packed up early and drove to the most southern point on the island, Hook Point. Here we caught the ferry to Inskip point on the Mainland.

We had the most amazing time on Fraser Island and would definitely go back to visit again. Not only is it a camping and 4wd adventure, it offers a unique beauty which you cannot find anywhere else. Let’s hope it stays that way for many years to come.

(The Barge to Inskip Point took only 5mins to reach the mainland.)


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