Trip Start Aug 14, 2010
188Trip End Aug 05, 2011
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Where I stayed
Kingfisher Bay Lodge
We booked onto a two day, one night trip to the island with a company called “Cooldingo”. Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world at over 123 kms in length and 22 kms at it’s widest point. As it is completely covered in sand, this is 4WD territory.
Fraser Island was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. It was first sighted by Captain James Cook in 1770 while he was travelling the east coast of Australia. At the time he named it “Great Sandy Peninsula” mistakenly believing that it was connected to the mainland. The Butchulla people are the indigenous people of Fraser Island and their name for the island was “K’gari” pronounced Gurrie, which means paradise.
There are many species of plants and mammals living on the island. The most obvious mammal is the Dingo. Apparently there are 150-200 dingoes living here. They look like a dog but are more closely related to the Asian wolf. The dingoes here are among the most genetically pure dingoes in Australia. There are also 79 species of reptiles including 19 kinds of snakes living here.
Our tour started Saturday morning when we were picked up from our hostel at 7:45am. After crossing on the ferry we met our guide Chris before hopping into our lovely air-conditioned 4WD bus. Our first stop was at the base of Basin Lake. We parked up and walked what felt like a short hike to the top to reach the lake. It was well worth it though. This lake is located among a tall, open forest and satinay, blackbutt, smooth-barked apple and scribbly gum trees. It is also home to the acid frog and Krefft’s River turtles. We didn’t see any turtles but we did see the tiny acid frogs. The lake water level was also the highest our guide has ever seen it due to the recent very heavy rain. On the way back we saw a funnel web spiders web as well as a baby huntsman spider.
Our next stop was Central Station
The next stop for the day was Lake Mc Kenzie where we went for a dip before chilling out on the sand. This is a rainwater dune lake and has amazing clear blue water that is surrounded by white sandy beaches and eucalypt forests. There are freshwater turtles present in the lake but unfortunately we didn’t manage to spot any of these. This place was like heaven on earth, it was so calm and peaceful and the water was very refreshing. That evening we headed back to Kingfisher Bay where we went to our lodges before enjoying a buffet dinner in the Dingo Bar. After a few drinks we called it a night and strolled back to our cabin where we met the Welsh couple who we were sharing a room with that night. It was quite a strange feeling sleeping in bunk beds again.
The following morning we set out at 8am. Our first stop for the day was the Stonetool Sandblow. This is an active mobile blow which covered a forest. Now the dead trees of the forest are slowly being uncovered as the sand blow moves across the island. From here we headed out to Seventy-Five Mile Beach. This beach is the highway of the island and all road rules apply here. The speed limit in 80 km an hour and you must give way to aeroplanes landing and taking off. Driving along the beach we spotted two dingoes. They were a male and female pair. We were delighted as it’s not too easy anymore to spot dingoes here. They were just strolling along the beach having the craic and one stopped for a bit of a pose and scratch in front of our bus!
Our next stop after all the excitement of the dingoes was the Maheno Shipwreck. This ship was built in Scotland in 1905 and used to sail between Sydney and Auckland. She was one of the first turbine-driven steamers as well as being one of the fastest ships of her time. She set a record for the quickest crossing (2 days and 21 hours) of the Tasman in 1907. During World War 1 she was commissioned as a hospital ship in Europe. After the war she was recommissioned as a cruise ship. It was on July 8th in 1935 while being towed to Japan for scrapping, the Maheno was struck by an out-of-season cyclone and washed ashore
We then continued up to the 60-metre high rocky bluff, Indian Head. Here we climbed to the top, the heat was something else but the view from the top was amazing! We could see the beaches on either side perfectly and the water below was pretty clear. Apparently when the water is clear you can see rays and sharks swimming below. After descending this rocky head we had a short dip in the sea. You can’t go past your knee level here as the waters are shark infested and the currents are very strong. We had a lovely chicken salad wrap taking cover in the shade before packing up and continuing along the beach.
Our next stop was at Middle Rocks and the Champagne Pools. These pools form natural fish traps and were used by the Aboriginal people. When it’s high tide, the fish are washed in over the rocks and then they cannot escape. We took a dip here and chilled out in the lovely cool water for a while
On the way back to Kingfisher Bay that evening we stopped at Eli Creek, the largest freshwater creek on the east coast where the water flows at a rate of about 4.2 million litres every hour out onto Seventy-Five Mile Beach. We went for dip here and had a bit of a walk up through the creek. The water was so cold but very refreshing!
After enjoying some tea and cookies on the beach we were back on the bus. We made it through all the soft sand spots of the day and we were on the home-straight back towards the west side of the island. About 10km from Kingfisher Bay we heard a bang and the bus began to chug along. We had to stop. Our driver got out and checked it out. We all had to get off the bus to discover that the rear left wheel had almost come off. Five wheel nuts had completely sheered off and all the others had gone straight through. He attempted to fix it but in the end he had to hike back to the top of the valley to get phone signal (both the bus radio and his phone had no signal) where he called the company
We made it back to Kingfisher Bay just as the sun was setting. It was a lot better than the previous evenings sunset though, which we attempted to view through trees! We had a buffet dinner again that night before getting the 8:30pm ferry back to the mainland. There was a bus waiting for us there that brought us back to YHA where we stayed that night. We thoroughly enjoyed our two days on Fraser Island, this place really is quite unique. We’ve never been anywhere like it… amazing.