Worth Every Penny
Trip Start Jan 28, 2011
25Trip End Jul 30, 2011
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Where I stayed
The British Defender
1) driving a 4x4 on sand......don't go fast, you'll roll your car, don't go slow, you'll get stuck. Excellent.
2) Beware Dingoes! Fraser's resident scavenger dogs love camper's food, are dangerous and should not be provoked... Yet one should "act aggressively" if engaging one....?! Helpful.
P.s. Pee buddys are manditory.
Despite the warnings of the highly helpful video, we were all still ridiculously excited to start our 3 day, 2 night Island adventure, and upon arriving by barge onto Fraser it was clear to see why this island is a must see on the East Coast. Proclaimed as the largest sand island in the world and one of the only places where rainforest grows on sand, this scarcely inhabited island proved to be a wild and mesmorising place. Full of emerald lakes, lush forest and mountainous inlets, the only roads here are dirt tracks while the main highway, the beach, runs endlessly for the entire length of the island.
With such intense terrian, Fraser could only be conquered with the help of a monstrous 8 seater, rather old, landcruiser we named Hugo. Tagging along with a couple of equally clapped out cruisers and our somewhat inexperienced yet much loved guide Steve, we set out on the initially hair-raising dirt tracks that weave in and out of the island's forest. Realising that Hugo was pretty much indestructible we all came to love driving over the huge muddy bumps and mastering the sand dunes, though not before getting him stuck a couple of times. Even George got behind the wheel to spend an afternoon driving along the Beach highway...don't worry
everyone we all survived, despite jen's blood pressure going up a few notches!
Adventurous exploring in the day gave way to our first camping experience at night. Setting up camp and cooking just behind the beach gave us all the opportunity to get stuck in and bond with our fellow backpackers from all around the world. Despite a few inquisitive dingos, being eaten by mudflies and a huge hairy huntsman spider, we can safely say camping was a must for any true flashpacker such as ourselves! Who could complain with a tin cup of goon in hand, Hugo's radio blaring out Maggie May while staring up at the milky way?
After a night of goodbyes to our new friends back in Rainbow beach, complete with Musical Kegs, we took the overnight bus to Airlie beach in preparation for our next expedition: The Whitsundays. Numerous postcard perfect Islands make up The Whitsundays, discovered seemingly like everything else in Oz, by Cap'n James Cook.
The only way to see them is by boat, so we hopped on The British Defender, a yacht crewed by 3 lovely Aussies- Tane, Alex and Liv. Our trip was for 3 days and 2 nights and took us around the majority of the islands, including our favourite; Whitsunday island where we were able to hop off and visit Whitehaven beach. With the sun shining down on endless spits of the purest white sand and crystal clear turquoise waters it was easy to see why this was one of the world's most photographed beaches and why we couldn't resist taking more than a few ourselves...(see facebook for embarrassing excitable bikini clad shots).
With 45 degree leaning and the boom out in full, this trip was anything but genteel yachting as the crew took every opportunity to stretch the mighty British Defender to it's full sailing ability with the added hope of getting us absolutely soaked in the process. This left one with only two sailing attire options: the fisherman chic of a highly fetching yellow raincoat to stay dry or embracing the sea spray and wearing only a bikini so as to avoid getting any more clothing soaked!
Being on the Great Barrier Reef it was impossible to refuse the oh-so flattering stinger suits and take a dip snorkelling in search of Nemo. Despite Jen's foot being taken victim of a coral encounter, we saw schools of bright fish and were lucky enough to see a giant turtle!
As the sun started to set, we anchored up for the night in yet another picturesque bay and tucked into another one of the mouthwatering meals served up to us by the crew... Which after the mixture of overnight buses and camping on Fraser Island, was rapidly demolished by some very hungry backpackers!
After that the only thing left to do was to chill out with some new sailing friends, kick back on deck, stare up at the starry sky and reminisce about what was a week to remember.