Dan In The South Pacific 2006 travel blog

Basin Lake

Lake McKenzie

Lace Monitor, at the picnic area near Lake McKenzie

The rainforest, central Fraser Island

My mode of transport (10 people)

Their mode of transport (8 people)

Champagne pools

Indian Head

The wreck of the Maheno

The pinnacles

Lake Wabby


Fraser Island is a world heritage listed area. It is the world's largest sand island (essentially it is a sand bar off the coast of Hervey Bay) and supports a diverse range of plant and animal life. Between Rachel and Melissa I was told this was a required stop on my trip up the east coast.

My trip to Fraser Island began at 7:30 am when I was picked up by a shuttle and taken to the ferry launch. I was on Fraser Island by 9:30 after a 45 minute ferry ride that I slept through. Once we landed I met the tour guide who was leading my tour, JT. They bill the tours as "Ranger Guided", but these people are not really more than people with more knowledge than you or me. The majority of backpackers who visit Fraser Island opt for a self-drive tour of the island. This involves renting a 10 passenger 4X4, filling it with alcohol, food and camping supplies and then spending 3 days and 2 nights in the sand not really knowing what you are seeing and potentially getting stuck in a group with people you don't like. I decided against a self-drive tour because I wanted someone else to do the driving, which can be challenging, and wanted some solid information on each of the places I was going to see on the island. It turned out that our tour ended up only having 10 people so we had tons of space on the bus. Our first stop was a drive to Basin Lake. The drive was interesting because there are only single lane roads cut through the forests. Drivers have to give way to oncoming traffic, especially larger vehicles. Basin lake is a "perched lake". This means that there is a layer of dead vegetation that prevents the water from seeping through the sand. All the water on the island is rain water so the lakes were clear and deceptively deep. Our next stop was a walk through the rainforest, remember this is a sand island. We then drove on to Lake McKenzie which is considered a highlight of the island. The sands are white and the water is blue. We had lunch here, and afternoon tea and I have to say that I ate like a pig. Unfortunately I forgot that dinner was only a few hours in the future so I stuffed myself and couldn't enjoy dinner as much as I should have. I spent the evening at the Dingo bar due to the attraction of karaoke.

Day 2 started with more food. We then drove out to the east coast of the island, which is considered a Queensland Highway, and drove to the top of the island where the Champagne pools are located. This is the only location on the island where swimming in saltwater is permitted due to the rock shelf that protects the area. There are sharks everywhere else. The sea was rough so the people who decided to swim got their asses kicked by the giant waves. It was fun to watch and I was glad that I wasn't in there. Two of the girls on our bus came back with massive cuts due to barnacles and the rocks. We then drove on to Indian head which is a lookout that was one of the seeding points for the island. We then drove on to the Pinnacles, also known as the Rainbow sands which has tons of different colored sands. We passed by the Maheno shipwreck which is on the beach and made our final stop at Eli Creek. The entire day was full of driving and spent entirely on the east coast. It wasn't as spectacular as the rainforest but still pretty cool.

Day 3 again with the food. It was raining like crazy today so our first stop at Lake Wabby was short. This lake has been encroached upon by a sand blow, a moving sand dune. We saw the lake and then began our walk across the sand dune to meet the bus. It turned out I didn't need to swim in the lake because I was soaked by the time we hit the bus. We then drove to the Euronga resort where we had lunch and then made stops at Lake Birrabeen and Central Station, which is an unmanned info center. We were then driven back to ferry launch and I got back to Hervey bay.

This was an awesome stop and really the first part of Australia that I really enjoyed. To this point I have found that Australia really isn't my style, but I think that several trips that I have planned from here on will help change my mind, at least a little.



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