And so to Fraser Island...

Trip Start Jan 02, 2013
Trip End Mar 23, 2013

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Everyone, but everyone, that you speak to says that while you're in Australia, you must do Fraser Island! How could we possibly consider leaving without doing it?

So our initial planning indicated a pleasant four day walk might be possible. We thought about it (this was before we had abandoned the four day Yurangir walk after two days)) and had decided that four days of complete self-sufficiency, including carrying all food and water as well as our houses on our backs was too much for us. So the next plan was a "trek-light" plan of two days and one night. We can do this, we thought...

We were due to catch the 10.15am ferry on Monday and at about 3.30am that morning, it suddenly struck me that this walk was going to involve about 60km of trekking in two days if we wanted to see the "must-see" sites (Lake Mackenzie, Central Station (where we would camp) and Eurong and the East Coast beach. Plan two was abandoned at about 8.15am on Monday morning, not quite early enough for Dan to have a lie-in.

And so we embarked on Plan 3. A one day four wheel drive bus tour of the island that would take us to all the previously noted features and more. The ferry fare per foot passenger was $50 so we convinced ourselves that $155 per person for all this and lunch was good value. We were collected from Hervey Bay at 7.30am and it started raining as we approached the ferry. We froze on the 9.00am ferry for forty minutes as it battled against the wind and tide. And we got onto this bus and bounced along through thick rain forest to Central Sation, the centre of the now dead logging industry, where we had a pleasant enough walk through the rain forest with a fairly disinterested guide. You know the sort of rain forest I mean, the same sort that we'd seen maybe eight times already in the last six weeks! Never mind, next stop (after another 10km bounce through dense rainforest with limited views) Lake Mackenzie. Have a look at Google images and you'll see that it's a gorgeous band of white silica sand fringing a beautiful blue lake where people swim, laugh and generally enjoy themselves. Except that only happens when the sun shines! When it's cloudy, the lake turns dirty green. And when it's rained just about nonstop for at least six weeks, the gorgeous band of white silica sand thins to a metre wide - or less - strip where everybody needs to stand! Still, never mind, we did it. We stripped off to our swimmers and went for it. It was like swimming in Lake Bala in the springtime. Bloody freezing!! And getting out was even worse. It was like Cemaes Bay in the middle of summer...

But all wasn't lost as the bus driver had said that we'd have enough time for an hour and a half here. Well, that's fifteen minutes used so let's go and sit in the picnic area and read awhile. Yep, we did that! What idiot decided to cook sausages and generally gorgeous smelling meat at 11.45am??!?!? Nightmare.... And it was still cold so we finished off by sitting on the bus where at least the wind wasn't whistling round our wet bits - along with most everyone else off the bus...

Lunch was good. With hot coffee and tea to warm us. (Oh, did I mention that the drive to Eurong for lunch was another 10km through thick rainforest?)

And it was back onto the bus for a fast drive along the eastern beach. The beach, how shall I say this, wasn't looking it's best! The wind was churning up the Pacific Ocean to a dirty brown colour and was depositing scum/froth all over the beach. The previous storms had washed away maybe a metre and a half of sand to expose the underlying coffeerock (?) which is black/dark brown and which decomposes to discolour what sand remains. And, to cap it all, the beach was closed half way up it due to exposed coffeerock which the buses can't drive on so we were deposited at a sandblow which might or might not have been called Rainbow or something similar. I really have no idea as I'd stopped listening by now. Our guide, trying to generate enthusiasm, spent at least fifteen minutes here explaining how pure the water coming from an artesian spring was and by drinking it - several times - and licking his lips to demonstrate how fantastically pure it was.

So, back on the bus and back along the same stretch of beach to Eurong where he allowed us ten minutes to buy an ice cream while he washed off the crap (brown sand/mud/froth) that had accumulated on the windows from the drive on the beach that meant that we hadn't actually been able to see anything anyway! And then only a 20km drive through the same rain forest back to the ferry.....

So if anyone tells you how fantastic Fraser Island is, don't necessarily believe them...... We were (all three of us) of the opinion that it is well "over-hyped".

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Jane on

Well - you said you would write a grim blog for this - and never one to exaggerate - you have! The drives through the rain forest in a 4x4 were good - imagine the bus bottomed out on those ruts and bumps! The beach and lake was glorious and so.......Is you middle name Jonah?

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