Now you may call our next move gutsy, but we chose to think of it as efficient. After an enjoyable 12 hour overnight bus from Airlie Beach we arrived in Hervey Bay with a whopping five minutes to spare before our 7:45 pick up to head to the check in and then another bus to the ferry terminal and off to Fraser Island where we met Kirsty our guide for the 2 day venture. (In case you were keeping count we had been on five consistently moving vessels for 14 hours)
Fraser is one of those things that we hadn’t intended to do but were told by multiple people it was a must do along the coast due to its exquisite beauty and serenity. Fraser is the largest sand island in the world. Much of the island is only accessible by plane, the “roads” are simply breaks in the trees covered, and the main highway (75 mile beach) can only be accessed during low tide. This all makes for very interesting, bumpy and unpredictable drives.
We first headed to Lake McKenzie, a gorgeous fresh water lake for a morning dip. The water was insanely clear and fresh and the sand was soft as flour. This first stop was where the 19 people on our tour started to click. As with everywhere else in Aus we were dominated by Germans and English, Canadians were welcomed for peacekeeping, and two token Koreans that did not interact with the group in any way.
After a quick picnic we made our way over to a second, but smaller fresh water lake. This time we were not able to swim but were supposed to be spotting wildlife. I saw nothing but to get there we got to take a nice walk up through the forest and after we continued on for about 45 minutes through the trees to make it to central station. Back in the day, and I mean way back people lived on Fraser (though honestly at this point I was really not sure how or why they got out to the island, or why they set up camp right in the middle). Since the whole Island is now natural reserve, central station is mostly just some old buildings with information about the island, wildlife, and trees.
Following this we made our way through the rainforest alongside a fresh water creek. We were promised sea salt resistant massive trees (9m around) that had been used to build piers before becoming protected wood. The trees were big…but I didn’t see any that were 9m around. The Red Woods are a bit more impressive but definately a beautiful walk plus Kirsty had tea and biscuits waiting for us at the end.
We then loaded back onto the bus, along the bumpy road down to the pier to watch the sunset. This was undeniably one of the best sunsets I’ve seen so far which completely justified the 45 minutes we spent taking pictures and playing on the beach.
Once darkness (5:45) fell it was time to make our way to the King Fisher Bay resort where we would be resting our heads in some adorable lodges. Don’t worry. No ETB (early to Beds) on this trip- we took full advantage of the pools and other resort amenities first.
With sleep still in our eyes we found ourselves making our way down the sand to check out the stone tool Sandblow Feel free to read the description on the below picture.
Fisher Island is home to the Dingo, and the tour we were on was called CoolDingo, so it was almost to perfect that as we turned onto the highway (Beach), we found our first dingo of the day.
We then had the optional extra of taking a bush plane ride around the Island. I would say this was the point in the trip where I finally understood why this is a must see place. When you are driving you have no concept of just how remote and inaccessible of a place this is. These pictures don’t do justice to the amazing expanse we witnessed. Sand pits and lakes appear out of nowhere. The thin lines you see are the “roads”.
Our plane landed us outside the Maheno Ship Wreck. This luxury ship met its match, unseasonable weather, March 1936 and has remained in its final resting place ever since.
The Pinnacles were our next stop along the beach where we were promised 72 colours of sand. I will let you count as many as you can.
Now you may have noticed that it’s been about a week since our last wine tasting. So you will be happy to hear that our next stop was at the Champagne Pools. Unfortunately they are titled so because of the way the water bubbles as it rolls down the rock and not because you are swimming in a pool of bubbly. But I’ll be honest. This way way better. The pools ranged in depth from ankle deep to about 4 meters. We spent a good hour swimming, taking diving “selfies”, and hanging out in this paradise.
After so much stunning beauty we were primed for an ugly view. Indian Head was no such thing. This lookout with no barriers to its steep edge truly makes you feel you are standing at the edge of the world. We spotted manta rays, Sharks, a whale and some turtles from up here while we took in the blue sky and clear ocean.
Our last stop on the beach was Eli Creek. I don’t know what initially made this creek so famous but it is a fairly shallow fresh water creek with a good current perfectly suited for floating with or without a tube from one end to the other. The trees overhang the water giving it a very Jungle Book-ish feel.
Unfortunately we were only staying for two of the three days (day three delivered some SUPing and more lakes) so at this point we headed back to the resort for some dinner and down time before saying goodbye to our fellow dingoes and catching the ferry back to mainland.
We had another early start this morning as we hopped on a bus to Brisbane to wait out the night in preparation for our flight to Bali in the morning. Truly bittersweet as our Asia excitement builds we are sad to say goodbye to Aus. We had some incredible experiences with both old and new friends (mostly Germans and English because something about those countries makes all their 20-somethings run away) and picked up lots of ferdingum Aussie slang. We’ve covered only a spit of ground here (you might not have noticed its sort of a big place) and will likely return to this wonderful country. We hope you’ve enjoyed AUSZEAL as much as we have!