Next on our schedule was the thing I was most looking forward to…Fraser Island! After arriving in our Hervey Bay campsite pretty late we quickly made ourselves some sandwiches for dinner and went straight to sleep ready for our early start the following morning.
We woke up on time and we were all ready ahead of schedule so sat out the side of the campervan feeding bread to the Ibis birds while we waited. However, we misjudged how long we were sat outside and ended up rushing to reception a few minutes before our coach arrived.
On the coach journey we got to see a glimpse of Hervey Bay in the light before we reached the ferry port that would take us across to Fraser Island. We got off the coach and went on to the ferry as foot passengers so our 4WD bus could collect us from the other side. While we crossed the water we saw turtles and dolphins splashing around and enjoyed the start of what looked to be a hot, clear day on the island.
When we got to the other side we met our driver for the next two days – Wayne. He was an Australian who lived in Hervey Bay and had only started guiding tours of Fraser Island in his 40’s. His grandad was in the logging industry on Fraser Island and as a result Wayne was a regular island explorer and gave so much interesting information throughout the trip.
After everyone got on the bus and introduced themselves and where they were from it was time to make a start for Lake McKenzie – the stop I was most excited to show mum and dad.
Although the journey from the ferry to the lake is only around 12km the journey took a good half an hour, giving everyone the chance to experience the bumpy, sand driving they would have to get used to for the next couple of days.
Sam and I were more than excited to get to the lake, knowing the paradise that laid hidden behind the trees. As the bus parked up we rushed mum and dad off and quickly walked down the path. As the trees opened up we stepped out on to the white sands and turquoise water and took in the beautiful view. Mum and dad were clearly impressed and quickly got out their cameras and started snapping away. I opted to instantly run into the lake to experience the crystal clear water once again. Eventually we all were in and swimming around, attempting hair flicks and mermaid dives.
Me and dad then decided to walk further around the lake to the completely deserted section of sand where we found some dingo paw prints.
After a good hour of playing and photographing it was time to head back to the coach for our next stop: a rainforest walk around a place called Central Station. This next stop was something me and Sam had not yet experienced so we were excited.
After just a short drive we were at Central Station. This stop was where a lot of the logging took place. It was also where the family of the loggers lived, with a telephone wire and house from the time still in tact for display. After a brief talk about the area and the rainforest we were left to walk along the boardwalk on a 1.8km walk to where the bus would pick us up.
While we walked we were mesmerised by the creek that followed along the same track as the boardwalk. The water was perfectly clear and home to some eels and fish. Wayne also told us that back when the only inhabitants of the island were the aboriginals they used the creek as a birthing area. As we walked along we heard buzzing in the trees around us, bird song in the branches above us and rustling in the leaves below us. At one point I heard a loud rustle and looked over to discover a Goana wrestling with some prey nearby. He noticed us stood watching but was so determined to get his lunch he didn’t care. After a couple of minutes of struggling he eventually pulled a locust from under a log and swallowed it whole.
After the excitement of wild goanas hunting we had lagged behind the rest of the group so walked the rest of the trail a lot faster. As we walked we got to a section of trees planted by the loggers, some of these trees were huge and straight, apparently ideal for masts on ships but also made for a cool picture of Sam.
Next up was lunch. So it was time to see where we would be staying for the night. The resort was the same as the last time we stayed on the island – Eurong Resort. But this time instead of being hidden away in the hostels in the corner we were in the main rooms with access to the buffet dining room and bar. I got rather excited about the all you can eat lunch buffet and ended up with way more food than I needed.
After lunch it was time for our final trip of the first day – Lake Wabby. This was a damned lake; meaning a water source that used to lead to the ocean but due to a weakness in the trees sand blows are created and the route to the ocean is blocked off. Unfortunately for us this lake could only be accessed by taking a 2.5 km walk through the bush. This was mostly uphill and on sand and as a result we all really struggled. However, after reaching the end of the bush you are greeted with a breath-taking view of a sand blow. From here it’s just a short walk to the lake where we were all relieved to be able to go for a dip in the water.
In this lake there are the highest number of fish and turtle species of any of the lakes on the island. Including the fish you pay good money for to eat all the dead skin off your feet. While we were at the lake there were heaps of massive horse flies around and they seemed to take a liking to mum and dad, persistently biting them no matter how much they swatted them away. After doing some jumps off the sand dunes in to the water and dodging the flies it was time to take the 2.5km walk back to the bus. On the way back the sand wasn’t as hot but the flies followed us the whole way!
Then it was time to head back to the resort where we had a Mexican buffet for dinner and a bottle of wine. That night we were determined to see the stars; on our previous trip to Fraser Island the stars were unbelievable! Unfortunately there were loads of clouds and only a small section of the sky was visible. Nevertheless, the stars in that small section were still incredible.
The following day we had another early start, a buffet breakfast and a quick get away so that we got to our first stop of the day before the other groups could! That first stop was to a sand runway where you could opt to pay extra and fly over some of Fraser Island. Me and dad decided this was a must along with a handful of other people. Dad got to sit at the front of the plane alongnside the pilot while I sat right at the back. The take off was cool as it was from one of the only two sand runways in the World! And from take off we were flown over the ocean, giving a great view of the long stretch of beach highway. From here we went inland and got to see a birds eye view of some of the lakes, including Lake Mackenzie and Lake Wabby as well as some sand blows and lots of trees. We did a few more turns over the ocean where some people saw a shark circling in the water before coming back to land.
After learning a bit about the ship and getting some action shots with mum and sam it was time for the Champagne Pools!
Named due to the waves crashing over the natural rock pools and causing the water to bubble, this was the only stop on the trip that allowed you to swim in the sea. In aboriginal times they would use this as a fishing spot; patiently waiting for fish to get thrown over and trapped where they would spear them or net them.
But nowadays it’s more of a wavy playground where you can paddle in the shallows or go head to head with the breaking waves.
Indian head was the nex stop on our busy day and it was a beautiful day for it! After Wayne specifically told us that flip flops (thongs) would be a good idea me and Sam thought we knew better so went bare foot. As we walked up we quickly realised that he didn’t mean for the rock climbing but more for the rock burning! Despite the inability to stand in one place for more than a few seconds we were more than happy when we got to the top and were greeted with the familiar and stunning views all around us. With clear, turquoise waters perfect for spotting turtles, rays and sharks combined with stretching views of the beach either side of you and part of a sandblow behind you there was no end of beauty to take in.
Mum and I sat on the rocks overlooking the wide ocean and spotted a couple of big rays not far from the headland as well as what was either a really big fish or a small shark. When it was eventually time to walk back me and Sam practically sprinted back to the bus to prevent further foot burns.
Next on the agenda was a prepacked lunch of rolls, cookies, fruit and some OJ (or beer if you popped to the nearby shop).
Now for our final stop of the day and the trip as a whole; Eli Creek. We walked up the boardwalk with a rubber ring in tow until we reached the stairs into the clear, flowing water. The shallow water then gently takes you through the rainforest all the way to the beach in a kind of natural lazy river. This was such a peaceful ending to a long and hectic couple of days and we spent the remainder of our time splashing in the shallows on the beach getting a bit of sunshine before the bus took us home.
The ferry back was delayed by around an hour and meant we journeyed back to the campsite just before the sun was setting.