I love early mornings, so when Paige told me we could book a trip to Fraser Island and it would involve waking up at six o’clock in the morning, I was ecstatic. The options for Fraser Island are varied. You can pick anything from a one day tour to a week long trip, but we quickly established that spending a week drinking, getting very little sleep and socialising with people our own age was by far the worst option imaginable. After we weighed up the prices and the likelihood of having to converse with strangers, we settled on the day tour, obviously.
We got picked up by what I can only describe as a bus with big wheels. Considering the only things that can get around Fraser are vehicles with 4 wheel drive, I have to admit that I was expecting something a little less, bus-like. We quickly established ourselves as being people to avoid with a couple of well timed, over the top, fake laughs and some genuine grumpy looks, and so we had the rest of the trip with just ourselves for company, which was probably best for everybody.
Once the ferry driver finally decided which part of the beach he wanted to drop us off at, we drove across the centre of the island, along a dirt track that makes even the roads in England look smooth. Fraser is made up of 98% sand, and 2% rock, so as the gentleman next to me so eloquently put it, “It’s like being on one of those big vibrating machines”. I’m sure I know the ones you mean.
Our first stop was Lake McKenzie, which was a lake composed of rainfall, at the highest point in the island. I could bore you with all of the details of the history and the science etc., but I wasn’t listening when our tour guide told us. So you can just try and guess how it happened; let me know if you figure it out. The lake itself is the nicest place that Paige and I have swum in, arguably ever, and the water is crystal clear. After about ten metres the sand bank drops from under your feet, and so the water changes from light to dark blue in a split second. Being the brave adventurer that I am, I told Paige that I was going to swim out over the depths, which was a lie, because I’m a coward. After making it a couple of metres out, I decided that I’d leave the adventuring to the real men (and the children that were doing it whilst we were there), and head back inland, making it much easier for me to look after Paige (she requires constant attention) otherwise I’m sure I would have stayed out there for hours.
We drove down 75 mile beach, which if the name doesn’t confirm for you, is a beach that is 75 miles long. Driving along is like a constant game of chicken, because there are so many 4WD vehicles driving at 80kmph, and there’s a limit to how wide the beach actually is, so you just have to close your eyes and hope for the best. I hope our driver didn’t use that technique, but if he did he must be well practised.
We saw Maheno Shipwreck (a shipwreck, again just to clarify), which, after washing ashore, was used as target practise by bomber pilots, so is now in several pieces. It’s a very impressive piece of history, but I feel it was tainted very slightly by the Polish couple on our trip who insisted on slapping each other’s backsides throughout, and were more interested about the insides of each other’s mouths, rather than this incredibly interesting tourist destination.
The wildlife on Fraser Island is another point worth talking about. There are approximately 250 dingos roaming the island, and as there are so few, they’re incredibly hard to spot. When Paige managed to see two at once (they’re usually solitary animals), she nudged me quickly and whispered to me alone about her findings. Five minutes later we received a bitter and heartfelt apology over the tannoy, as our tour guide felt that he’d let us down by not being able to show us any dingos. He also added that if anybody, ANYBODY at all was to spot one, then they should shout as loud as possible so that everybody would get the opportunity. To say we felt selfish is an understatement, but looking back I think that it’s everybody else’s fault for not being as observant as we were. Or maybe we really are just horrible individuals.
Aside from the dingos, Fraser is home to 7 of the 20 deadliest snakes in the world, large numbers of poisonous spiders, and 208 named species of ant, most of which are pretty harmful when they bite. You’re also not allowed to swim off the coast of Fraser, due to the insane numbers of sharks that patrol the coastline. This place is what nightmares are made of. We were walking through Central Station (the remnants of the logging industry from the 1970s), when our tour guide suggested that we move away from a particular mound of earth, as he said it was home to a fair few Funnel-Web Spiders, and that we probably didn’t want to get bitten. Suddenly walking barefoot through the rainforest seemed like a slightly daft idea.
Eli Creek was our last stop of the day, and apart from the fact that the water was absolutely freezing, I have no criticisms of it at all. It’s the fastest flowing creek on the island, and could apparently fill an Olympic size swimming pool in thirty minutes. Effectively a lazy river, all you have to do is lie back, and the water takes you for roughly a kilometre, through some incredibly beautiful scenery, right onto the beach. Two days on and I still don’t have feeling in any of my fingers, but it was definitely worth it.
To top it all off we even saw another dingo on the way back, and I’d say Paige and I did a pretty good job of feigning our incredible surprise and excitement at this stroke of luck. We didn’t think there was a hope in hell of seeing such a rare creature…