No trip to “The Fraser Coast”, as the area we visited is known, would be complete without visiting the largest sand island in the world – Fraser Island, being 133 kms long. There were day trips arranged in conjunction with the rally and very many of us took advantage of the opportunity.
We went along with Garry and Linda and were collected at the rally site at 7am in a series of buses to be taken to the ferry near Hervey Bay.
The landing point on the island is very grand. OK, not quite up to luxury cruise ships. Note the garbage truck and fuel truck. They all have to travel on this ferry.
Once we disembarked we boarded a fleet of 4WD buses. Most were a MAN truck body with a bus section at the back, like the one parked in front of the ferry at the landing point. The one we ended up on was a full size Dennis bus. We had heard complaints about the comfort of the ride at the rear of the buses. However, we were towards the back of ours and we had a great ride.
Our first stop was “Central Station”, which had been a timber cutting town in years gone by, with over a hundred people living there. Now it is all gone and is just a camping area. Kevin, our driver and guide was both informative and entertaining throughout the day.
We were continually told to stay away from dingos, don’t feed the dingos, keep kids away from dingos, don’t leave kids unattended, etc, etc. There are lots of dingos on the island and lots of warnings about them. At camp sites, all food must be kept in these elevated cages. At the tourist resort there is a cattle grid going to the beach. It is electrified to prevent the dingos from crossing it to enter the resort area. It is all taken very seriously. By the way, we didn’t see a dingo.
The trees are magnificent at Central Station. It is hard to believe they grow in sand. These are Kauri.
The bark is beautiful.
Apparently the timber cutters used to bring back any stag horns they came across and attach them to the trees at the camp. They have then multiplied over the years. Look at the collection on this tree.
There is a little creek nearby with a lovely board walk along it. I haven’t shared a photo of the creek, as it doesn’t show too well, the water is so clear you can’t see it.
These ferns are prehistoric remnants and there are only few in existence.
Finally, a photo of the four of us, looking oh, so glamorous.
Fungus loves the rainforest.
All the roads are sand. Funny that, being a sand island. Because they are so loose, they are really hard to grade and maintain. All things considered, they weren’t too bad. Mind you, we were happy to have someone else do the driving in their vehicle.
After Central Station we headed to the beach. Fraser Island is famous for its 75 mile beach and the fact that you drive on it. Not only can you drive on it, it is actually an official road and has speed limit signs, and a police station to enforce it all.
It’s lovely smooth going until you get to the rocky bits, which are a bit interesting to negotiate, and get more interesting as the tide comes in. Like I said, happy to let some one else do the driving in their vehicle. The buses get washed every day to remove the salt.
Here is a picture of our big bus. We were sitting just over the back wheels
One of the interesting places we visited was “The Pinnacles”, which feature coloured sands. They are really pretty. I can imagine they would look different in different light as well.
Next stop was the wreck of the “Maheno’. She was one of the first luxury liners, pre World War One. She was requisitioned during that war and then went back to cruising. Eventually she was sold as scrap to the Japanese in the mid 30s. While being towed to Japan there was a cyclone and she ended up wrecked on Fraser Island. Over the years she has been used for bombing practice and is gradually eroding away. There is an exclusion zone around her now.
She has stayed together for so long as she was riveted together, not welded.
Our final stop before lunch was Eli Creek, which is lovely fresh water. Several people had a paddle, including Mick.
If you look closely in the next photo, there is a lady sitting on a chair in the middle of the creek. She looks quite settled.
After a lovely smorgasbord lunch our final stop was Lake McKenzie. Some of the most popular marketing photos for Fraser Island depict gorgeous girls laying on pure white sand by the bluest of water. These are taken at Lake McKenzie. It is unusual, in that there is no inflowing creek or river. It is only filled by rain. Over the last decade or so, it has been very low, but with all the rain this year it is the fullest it has ever been in living memory. The consequence is that there is next to no white sandy beach.
It still looks lovely here, although, as the afternoon was progressing the water didn’t have its bright blue colour.
Now, if I just turn a bit to the left it is a different picture completely. This could be a promotional photo for one of those ads you see for seniors insurances. Lots of 50 plus people frolicking in the lake having a marvellous time. Apparently the water makes your skin and hair feel fabulous and soft and the extremely fine sand will clean your jewellery like nothing else. I must say, we didn’t test either theory, as we hadn’t packed the togs.
So that concluded our adventures on Fraser Island. It was then back on the bus to return to the ferry for our half hour return trip. The sunset was stunning. It was well after dark before we arrived back at the camp, tired, but having had a wonderful day.
The day trip was a great way to see the island. I don’t know that I’d want to spend a week there unless you were really into fishing or four wheel driving, but I’m glad I’ve been.