Whale Watching, Island Touring
Trip Start Aug 16, 2003
92Trip End Apr 21, 2004
The next morning I stunned Dan by announcing that I was going jogging (my ever expanding waistline dictates it I'm afraid!). I'd almost recoverd by midday when we were picked up by coach and taken to Urangan Harbour to begin our whale watching tour. We spent the afternoon in Platypus Bay travelling from pod to pod as we scanned the water trying to anticipate when and where the next humpback whale would emerge. During the afternoon we spotted about half a dozen of these huge mammals, most of which were quite happy to keep diving and re-emerging fairly near to the boat, thus affording us some pretty good views
Once back on dry land we headed for 'Hoolihans' the venue we had selected for the all important opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup. There was a pretty good atmosphere in the pub, although we were surprised by just how much support there was for the Argies - even Dan and I found ourselves rooting for the underdogs - but to no avail.
Slightly bleary headed, after the previous evening's liquid refreshment, we were up early to catch the ferry over to Fraser Island - at 120km in length this is the world's largest sandbar. Although composed entirely of sand, the island has a variety of diverse landscapes from sand dunes to dense rainforests and freshwater lakes.
We landed on the island at Moon Point where we boarded our 4WD coach which was to be our transport for the day (only 4WD vehicles are allowed on the island). We soon discovered why, as we continually shot right out of our seats while the bus bounced and slid over the bumpy sand tracks. Our first stop of the day was at Yidney Rainforest in the centre of the island. Our driver/guide was quite informative about the flora and fauna as we took a short walk through the forest.
After an early buffet lunch at the Happy Valley Resort, we had our first and only 'relatively' smooth ride of the day up a small section of the imaginatively named '75-Mile Beach'
Following a brief stop at the Pinnacles - coloured sands that have formed rock-like structures protruding from the beach, we continued up the beach to inspect the Maheno Shipwreck. A rusting husk (the majority of which is buried under the sand) is all that's left of this luxury passenger liner that was tossed onto the island during a cyclone in the 1930s. We then enjoyed a stroll along the boardwalk at Eli Creek - a pretty, crystal-clear stream that runs into the sea.
Having survived another bone-shaking drive back into the middle of the island, we arrived at Lake Garawongera - one of the 40 or so freshwater 'perch' lakes on the island. The driver had told us that the water would be the colour of weak tea, however when I found myself alone in the middle of the lake, splashing around in strong, black coffee, I decided enough was enough and headed fairly sharply for the shore!
We found ourselves staying slighlty longer on Fraser Island than we'd anticipated, when one of our coach's tyres blew out on the way back to the ferry. Our delayed departure (much to the delight of the other ferry passengers) meant that we were treated to a spectacular sunset cruise on the way back to the mainland.
That night it was back to good old Hoolihans for the next installment of rugby. No matter how loud we all shouted and encouraged, the Fijians just couldn't hold on against the French.
Andrea and Dan