|Fraser Island - the place where all boys can live out their Dukes of Hazard fantasies from their youth! What is it? A huge sand island just off the coast by Hervey Beach. What is there to do there? Umm... basically drive around the island in 4x4's as fast as you can, then pitch a tent for the evening and have a good old traditional ozzie barbie! Oh yes - and run as fast as you can down a steep sand dune into a lake, and sit on a pure white beach next to the crystal clear blue water of Lake McKenzie.
You get given all the horror stories before you go of people rolling their 4x4's, or bogging them down in the sand so badly that they can't get it out before the tide comes in......we rolled off the ferry onto the island not knowing what to expect. All caution was lost within 10 seconds though - basically as soon as Stu saw the mud track we had to drive down, and instantly turned into Colin McCrae!! There's basically two types of driving there - the mud tracks inland, then along the 75 mile long beach on the eastern side of the island. We had hired a Suzuki Jimny, which didn't quite fill you with the same confidence as being in a beefy Land Cruiser, but it somehow managed to stand up to the thrashing it received! We felt pretty glad not to have gone with the option of going on an organised tour with one of the hostels - they basically put together groups of upto 9 people, stuff them into a 4x4, and set them loose on the island for 3 days. This works out ok if everyone gets on, there are no psychotic drivers in your group, and everyone wants to go to the same places, otherwise it can be a bit of a nightmare!
The beach driving was fantastic fun - the speed limit is 80kmph, but slow down for those holes in the sand where all the fresh water is running down into the sea! There's various sights along the beach to go and see, including an old ship wreck from the 1930's, a creek of water running down onto the beach that you can swim down, and lots of rocks. You're given a curfew by the carhire company to be off the beach by a certain time each day before the tide comes in, so everyone basically drives inland and heads for Lake McKenzie to go and laze on the beach.
The campsites on the island have great facilities, including free gas BBQ's which was pretty impressive, and despite all the hype and warnings there were no dingoes around at all. After dark there's not much else to do apart from drink, so we did! We met up with one of the hostel tour groups who had pitched their tents not far away and were lucky enough to all get on with each other, and shared a few drinks with them for the evening.
ps - for anyone planning a trip to Fraser Island: 4x4 driving with a hangover is not recommended!!!