Ok, so a bit about Fraser Island for those who don't know....
Its the largest island made totally of sand in the World, created by the reef currents that have taken fine sand from the bottom of the ocean north from the Antarctic over thousands of years. It is home to a number of freshwater lakes, rainforests, massive sand dunes and wild dingoes... Oh, and did I mention that it has over 70 miles of beach which also acts as a main road? (So much so, one guy who we had met the day before in Rainbow Beach had been pulled over by Police on the beach and fined for not wearing a seatbelt - a comfy $250.. about 100 pounds!)..
here goes my experience!
I took the (some may say cowardly) option of a guided tour of Fraser Island over the course of 2 days, staying one night in a resort (?!) on the island. Many of the people who were travelling with me were doing self-drives in 4x4 vehicles but there are a couple of things that put me off..
1) You have to go with 8 other people in one vehicles who are probably randomly selected to join you... kinda cramped.
2) Anybody could drive the vehicle so you didn't know what level of experience they had driving in the conditions (think of driving on thick snow and you're pretty much there on the driving in thick sand...)
3) You have to camp and there are no toilets... what?!!!
So, my (sedate) tour company picked me up from my hostel at silly o'clock in the morning and took us to River Heads for a barge crossing over to Fraser. Our tour guide, Alan, has been doing Fraser tours for years so felt confident that I'd get to hear a whole lot of history on the island. What I hadn't counted on was being the only person from England or indeed the UK or any english speaking country (except one Aussie), but hey ho.
The crossing doesn't take long - only about 45 mins - so once we arrived on Fraser we took off to Central Station - the hub for walks around the rainforest. Alan sent us off on a 2.5km trek through the jungle and in my shorts and trainers I was really feeling like I was stepping into David Bellamy mode. "This plant structure is weally amazing"...
The amount of freshwater on this island is fairly staggering, especially when it sits on sand which should naturally absorb it right? Wrong! I was listening to Alan about why it happens but I won't bore you with it here. What you need to know is that I was in Jungle Jane mode and trekking through a rainforest - could I get any further from my usual style of shopping in the Bull Ring??
The rainforest gives way to forest land which contains some real hefty trees, some thousands of years old. One fact I will tell you about is that they have Satinay trees which only grow on Fraser but are so good with dealing with water (and not being destroyed by lots of it) that when the logging industry took over the island in the early 20th century (before it became world heritage site in 1992), they shipped satinay trees off round the world - including to London Docks which are made from that very substance! ....really, how interesting
Ok ok, so then we travelled across to the east coast of the island to check out where we're staying for the night. The Eurong resort is like a motel / hostel style resort so forget your Sandals Beach ideas... But to be fair, they laid on lunches, dinners and breakfasts for us and the room itself was pretty comfy so can't complain (the VB beer from the bar after a long day was even better!).
After lunch we started our trek north on the beach to Eli Creek. This is a freshwater creek which meanders down from the higher land within the island and out to the ocean. Being freshwater and about knee depth (until it reaches the beach), it is famous for people walking through it! I had to oblige and even managed not to fall over by losing my footing in the sand underneath (despite trying to a number of times!).
Noticed a fallen soldier of a 4x4 vehicle that had been in the wars from the day before - rolled on a sand dune and not a pretty sight! So glad I took my sedate option...
From there we continued north up the beach to the wreck of the SS Maheno - an old luxury liner that got stranded here after the Japanese had bought it but tried to sail it Japan without its propellers... yeah, there's more to the story but it gives you the reason why it is now a heap on the sand of Fraser.
Further north we reached Indian Heads (so called by Captain Cook who when he first saw it, saw two Indians - aborigines - looking out from the cliff. We climbed the rocks to get to the lookout and get the chance to see lots of marine wildlife - hammerhead sharks (unfortunately not one to say hello to today), rays, turtles...
After a long old day, we headed back to Eurong for a roast dinner (broccoli, cauliflower and gravy and everything, I was so excited!!!). Went for a drink in the bar with Danielle from Holland and tried to avoid the horrid march flies (about the size of a large moth which bites bad!). All very civilised!