|Fraser Island is entirely sand to a depth of about 100 metres - there is no soil at all on the island although it is largely covered in rain forest. It is the largest sand island in the world and the fourth largest island off the coast of Australia. It is also home to the Dingo - were we going to see one? There are about 120 dingoes on the island, which is about the size of Surrey, so it is unlikely. Dingoes do not bark, they howl as they are closely related to wolves. Obviously they have bad press because they can be dangerous especially when moving in packs or when around children. Largely they are inquisitive when faced with people but unless threatened they will leave you alone, or so we were told by our guide.
We left early to catch the ferry to Fraser Island a journey of about 35 minutes and we were met at the jetty by our guide for the three days. Luckily for us there is only 12 people on our trip (only 5 are doing the full 5 days) as they are unexpectedly quiet at the moment - normally they have about 40 passengers. Our journey of discovery is to take place aboard a huge 4 wheel drive (only 4WD are permitted on Fraser due to the sand). The roads are naturally only sand and full of ruts and divots and its not long before we are all bouncing around in the back of the bus.
On route to our first stop, the guide suddenly slams on the brakes and we are thrown forward in our seats - a snake is in the middle of the road. We all jump out to take a look. The snake is about 2 metres long and is just slithering across the tyre tracks. It turns out to be a carpet snake which is entirely harmless much to our relief. Steve tries speaking parceltongue to it but unfortunately, presumably due to local dialect issues, they don't understand each other.
Our first scheduled stop was to take a short 2 km trek through the rainforest down to Lake Burra. Before we left our guide instructed us in the numbers of snakes and spiders that we might encounter on our trek! Woohoo - can't wait to see those. Apparently of the 12 deadliest snakes in the world, Australia has 11! The most deadly snake that we will face though is the Death Adder - a nice reassuring name. Basically if it bites you, you have 15 minutes to reach medical assistance before you will have a coronary meltdown. Apparently the best thing to do is sit down and relax. Absolutely under no circumstances panic. Obviously no-one will panic knowing that you only have 15 minutes to live!!!
Our guide then tells us about the dangerous spiders that we might face. Apparently there are only 3 that we need to worry about whilst in Australia. The Red Back, which is only found in buildings so do worries on Fraser. The White Tailed which has a necrotising effect on your flesh if you get bitten which can only be arrested by amputation of your limb (if you're lucky that it bites you on a limb). Finally, the Funnel Web which is a very aggressive spider that jumps out of its den on the ground (indicated by a small hole with webbing around it) to bite you on the ankle. Again, be calm and seek medical attention!
He then played us a song called "Welcome to Australia - you might accidentally get killed!!"
Our short trek, however, passed without any further encounters with snakes or spiders come to that. Lake Burra is one of many fresh water lakes found on Fraser Island. It didn't look too appealing and we settled for walking its perimeter instead of taking a dip. Soon we were off on another 2km trek to Central Station, an old logging station, for lunch. Again no snakes or spiders were seen on route.
After lunch it was on to Lake McKenzie for a dip and a sunbathe. Lake McKenzie is one of the largest lakes on Fraser Island, again a freshwater lake, and the most photographed lakes. If you have ever seen a photo of Fraser Island it will probably be of Lake McKenzie. It is also known as Lake Blue because the water is so blue and there are three distinct blues when viewing the lake on a sunny day. The views were great and although there were quite alot of tourists there, we walked around to the next section of sand along and found that we had the beach to ourselves. Fantastic.
The sand is silica crystal and very fine so it doesn't hot. In fact it feels cold on your toes. However it does have some excellent qualities. You can use the sand mixed with a bit water to shine up your jewellery - brilliant. Steve used it to buff his ring. Secondly you can sit in the shallows and use the sand to exfoliate your skin. I think we lost some of our suntan but it felt great.
After we were properly buffed, and our rings were shiny, it was time to head back to our accomodation. Unfortunately we weren't staying with the rich folk in their A$800 a night hotel however we did have use of all of their facilities. We were in a 4 person dorm although we had it to ourselves as the tour wasn't very busy. The evening was spent drinking far too much beer at the Dingo Bar with the staff trying to persuade everyone to do kareoke.
Although dingoes do roam the resort looking for food, we did not see any tonight. The resort staff erected a fence about a month ago to try and keep the dingoes out. It took the dingoes three days to get around the fence - they just wait until low tide and then walk around it!!