Hervey Bay and Fraser Island - still in Queensland!
Oct 14, 2004
|Mon 11/10 Warm
Up at 5am - it's getting earlier every day!!! We got the 6.30am bus to Hervey Bay - not a lot to say - slept a lot of the way.... bus trips here certainly aren't as entertaining as in NZ!! Couple of nice little towns along the way, but that's about all.....
Arrived at Hervey Bay at 1pm, by the time we were taken to the Hostel, checked in etc it was 2pm, had a mosey, but this place is a retirement town, with the main reasons for tourism being as the points to go whale watching, and to go to Fraser Island. Nice big beach, but didn't swim - spent a ccouple of hours loading pictures - all on to yesterday!
We had a Fraser Island briefing at 6pm - it lasted 2hrs!!! Hannah (from Myella day 1) is in our gang of 13 - we're taking 2 4x4's 1 with 5 in (that's my group) and 1 with 8 in.... everyone seems OK - so far.... watch this space!
Tues 12/10 Hot
Fraser Island - the worlds biggest sand island - 120km x 15km - A giant adult (and children's) sand pit.......4x4 only.... More sand than the Sahara...... Dunes up to 224m tall..... and so on!
We all met up at 8am and got shown how to drive the jeeps. Then off to the supermarket to buy our food & booze..... We spent $100 for the food for the three days - between 5 of us - not bad I thought!
In our group there's me, Amanda, Phil & Christina(swiss) & Louise from NZ - VERY quiet. In the other group there's Hannah, 4 other brits, and 3 Germans (7 females, 1 male!) Needless to say the bloke in each group was 'nominated' as first driver....
Got the ferry at 10.15am - remembered to lock the front wheels and to leave the jeep in 1st gear - apparently the handbrakes are not to be trusted on these things!
The ferry journey is 30 mins, and we were the 3rd vehicle off, with the others behind us. Within 5 mins the 1st car was stuck in the sand - the 'tracks' were very soft, and very bumpy - much more so than any of us had imagined! We got them going again and then lo & behold we got stuck in the same place! It's really embarrassing when you've got a big queue behind you, because nothing can pass you, they either have to help get you moving, or sit & wait patiently! We had to deflate the tyres from 35 to 20 psi to get through..
It took about an hour of stops, starts, rattles & bumps to get to 'Central Station', which is basically a picnic ground, with some rainforest walks originating from it. We walked to Basin Lake - just under 3km - and went for a well deserved swim!! all the lakes on the island (220 apparently) are freshwater and safe to swim in (although cat fish may nibble your toes!) - you can't swim in the sea - lots of undertows and a breeding ground for Tiger Sharks! no thanks! The other group (apart from Hannah who came with us) stopped and had lunch before they set off, and were only 1/2 way there when we were on our way back. We got back, had lunch, and then sat like idiots waiting for 1.75hrs for them to come back!!!
In the end we jammed Hannah in with us, and left at 3.30pm - we had no idea how long it would take us to get to the beach, and the area wherer we were going to camp, and we were supposed to stop driving by 4.30pm because of the tide!
The driving got much easier (OK to say when you're a passenger!) when we got to the beach (all 120km of it!) By this time Phil had really got the hang of the 'soft sand' and had been renamed 'Superphil'!
We set up camp about 3km north of Eurong, just off the beach. The others turned up about 15mins after us - supposedly they had got lost walking back to the jeep! Pitched the tents (yes Paula - I really did help!) and settled into beers and tea! We had burgers, boiled tatties & salad - cooked on a wee 2 ring camping stove - believe it or not it was really nice! Hannah sat with our little group most of the evening - there was a bit of hostility from the English girls in the other group!
Went to bed at 8.30pm - I decided to sleep on the back seat of the jeep - there was meant to be 3 to a tent, but they were really only big enough for 2 to be comfortable in - and it means I can snore to my hearts content!
Wed 13/10 Hot
God I feel grubby! Didn't sleep too badly, apart from the aeat belt buckles in my back!! We had a visit from the rangers about midnight - I presume they were making sure we hadn't left any food around for the dingoes! It was a bit scary getting up for a pee during the night - I did a long hard flash around with the torch before going to the big 'sand toilet'! I was up along with some of the others at 4.45am to watch the sun rise, and some dolphins & whales playing around fairly close to shore. Obviously there are no bathroom facilities, so a quick slosh with the water bottle & a toothbrush was all we could do this morning!
Had brekky and we were on th road - OK, beach by 8.45am. saw loads of whales whilst we were driving along. Apparently the mothers are training the calves (I think that's the word?) at the moment, before they migrate to Antarctica.
We stopped at the wreck of the Maheno, a passenger liner blown ashore by a cyclone in 1935 (rusty old boat!), and then at the Pinnacles - coloured sand cliffs, past Eli Creek - a big stream that puts 1000's of gallons of water per hour into the sea from underground... aa campground tonight, so that if we have problems in the morning, there are plenty of people around (also showers and loos were uite appealing!)
There was a bit of coflict with the other group - the three English girls wanted to stay on the beach, but this would have meant we had no battery to run a light off.... it was all resolved in the end, and turned into quite a good evening, with the whole group bonding a bit better. managed to stay awake till about 10pm!!!
Thurs 14/10 Hot
Heard some dingoes barking during the night, but didn't see any - there's a big fence round the campsite...I was wide awake by 6am, and Hannah and i went to see the 'sandblow' that Phil & Christina 'discovered' last night. Now that was spectacular.... an immense area of sand with hardly any footprints, scattered with funny slate like rocks and a few trees...
We tried to start the jeep about 8am - guess what - no startamundo!!! I asked an Oz guy if he had any jump leads, but no... he did manage to get it started by pouring some hot water on the battery - I've never seen that trick before! He reckons the alternators knackered. So, we left the jeep running till we left at 9.15am.
It was a bit more difficult driving along the beach this morning, the tide was still quite far in, so a lot of soft sand, but Amanda did very well 'white knuckle' driving!
Once we were back on the 'tracks' Superphil took over again. Got to Lake MacKenzie at noon. It's really beautiful - white sand and crystal clear fresh water - unfortunately quite a lot of people too11 We lazed around for a couple of hours, had a swim, lunch, and then headed for the ferry. Fortunately the jeep started!!
Got to the ferry with plenty of time to spare - the captain was a bit of a comedian - his comment on leaving was 'Welcome to Fraser Island Mudflats - as you can see the tide has gone out since this morning, if anyone should fall overboard this afternoon, don't worry about it, they can walk home from here!!ack on sealed roads!! Don't know how much more bumping my back would have taken!! Fraser makes Fred & Annies lane look as smooth as silk!!!