Trip Start Jun 04, 2006
36Trip End Oct 06, 2006
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My journey began with a 13 hour overnight bus trip from Airlie Beach to Hervey Bay. Fortunately, there was nobody seated beside me and I was able to contort my body and actually get some sleep. The morning following my arrival in Hervey Bay, I was picked up at 8AM by a bus that would take me to the marina for my ferry ride across to Fraser Island's resort, King Fisher Bay. At King Fisher, I, along with the rest of the 'Cool Dingoes' Tour, was met by our 'ranger' (aka guide), Patrick. We boarded the coach - similar to that of the Darwin to Cairns trip - and headed off into the unknown. Patrick immediately established himself as a funny guy and the roads immediately established themselves as unruly. Since, as Patrick explained, Fraser was entirely made of sand, things were unlikely to improve
After a good bit of the road, we pulled over and took a short stroll to Basin lake. When we got there it was vacant. This was a modest lake with a dark green tinge. It had a small white sand beach and surrounded by a green and brown forest. The water was warm enough and few people went swimming. I chose to sit it out and wait til the afternoon at Lake McKenzie. I, instead, put my feet in and walked the perimeter. It was nice and quiet. Peaceful.
After about 30 minutes, we were led up the trail and instructed to walk another 1 or 2 kms where Patrick would meet up with us. The walk took us through the forest, along a sandy single track. The canopy provided some nice shade from the sun. Along the way, someone spotted a big Goanna (lizard) on a tree. Nasty Looking. We eventually reached a boardwalk and were greeted by Patrick.
It turned out, we were beside the 'invisible' or 'silent' creek. It's name speaks for itself and though it doesn't make a sound it apparently pushes some serious water. The lack of sound is due to the lack of rocks or other obstructions. Basically, there's nothing in the water to disturb it.
We then took a nice 20 minute walk along the creek bed and got a nice look at the rainforest. Lots of tall palm trees. At the end, we were greeted, once again, by Patrick. Here, we re-boarded the coach and commenced the bouncy trek to the island's top attraction (I assume it's the top attraction anyway), Lake McKenzie
Lake McKenzie was much larger than Basin Lake and much bluer too. The color was so beautiful and welcoming. The sand was the same white silica as on White Haven Beach, in the Whitsundays. It's water is also slightly acidic. I don't know if that has anything to do with the color, but it's quite stunning. Patrick claimed it had a similar pH level to that of hair conditioner and that you will feel it in your hair. My hair needed a wash, so I gave it a go. I don't know...maybe. The weather was awesome, so the swim was welcomed. The next hour and a half were spent sun bathing, reading, dipping and watching a group of non-americans trying to throw a frisbee. It was awful.
After McKenzie, we went back across the island to King Fisher Resort. We were staying in one of their budget wilderness lodges. They were actually quite cozy and I was happy to not be camping. That night we had dinner and drinks at the Dingo Bar, down the hill from our lodge.
The next morning we made our way across the island to the east cost shoreline; home of the Great Sandy Highway. Patrick assured us he wasn't lying and that this long stretch of beach was in fact part of the highway system
It was high tide so our speedy drive was often curbed due to the water we'd have to drive through. Pretty wild to barrel down the beach in a big bus! After a little while we reached Eli Creek, a fresh water run off into the ocean. Apparently, up until a cyclone a few years back, Eli actually pooled at the end, before emptying into the ocean. But now, the mouth opens at the beach and only offers knee deep water. Jay, an Aussie who was on the trip with his wife Gwynn, got right in. I chose to walk up the creek along the boardwalk. At the end was a staircase offering easy swimming access into the creek. However, there at the final step was a big fat eel. Very nasty looking. It didn't seem to bother Jay, who I feel has never met a body of water, puddle or otherwise, that he did not like.
After some coffee and cookies at Eli, we continued up the beach and stopped at the Maheno shipwreck. This was the result of a Japanese debacle in which they sold the giant brass props and then tried to tow the remainder back to Japan. Well, a cyclone hit and washed it ashore. The tried to remove it a few times but just gave up. It's now a rusty trap for people to look at. I guess it's still pretty cool to check out though
Just up the beach from the wreck are the 'Cathedrals.' These are sand sculptures which have somehow been dyed by oxidation. So, now, they're all these pretty colors. Eh...
After the cathedrals, we made it to one of the few rock formations on the island, Indian Head. I believe it's the remains of some volcanic activity. In any case, it's a high formation with cliffs plunging sharply into the ocean. It reminded me of the Coogee to Bondi walk I did in Sydney. The surf below actually looked pretty good, but then we began to spot the sharks that were famous in these waters. They looked like small shadows from the rock's vantage point, but Patrick seemed to think they were pretty big. One was damn close to shore too. I was hoping to get a closer look from the shore, but no luck.
From Indian Head, we made a short journey up the beach to the Champagne Pools. These are pools of water situated behind some more volcanic rocks that line the water. The waves crash onto the rocks and foam into the adjacent pools and form "Champagne bubbles." The wind had kicked up, so I went for a quick dip and got out. After an hour at the Champagne Pools, we huffed it back to King Fisher for the night.
On the morning of day 3, our final day, we headed off towards Lake Wabby. Along the way, Patrick came upon a python in the road. we got out to look and "ooh and ahh." This must've knocked a screw loose with Patrick because he made a wrong turn and got lost. The ride ended up taking 2 hours. This turned out not to be a big deal
As it turned out, the Lake was at the bottom of some very steep sandy banks. Since it was overcast, I chose not to swim, but Jay, of course did. When the rain finally came, we huffed out of the desert and back to the beach where Patrick was waiting for us. By the time we got there, it was pouring, so we just boarded the bus and headed to the other island resort, Eurong, for lunch.
After lunch, the weather broke and we went to our final stop of the tour, Lake Birrabeen. This resembled Lake McKenzie, but because of the cloud cover, I couldn't tell if the colors were quite as brilliant. I did the knee deep walk as it was windy and a bit cold, but Jay got right in. Funny guy.
After Birrabeen it was all over and we headed back to King Fisher and caught our ferry back to the main land. Another great tour checked off the list.
The following morning I went to the local bar, which fortunately opened at 8AM, and watched the NY Giants opener versus the Colts. Great game, but the G-men came up just a bit short. Oh well.
Pics coming soon.