Fraser Island

Trip Start Sep 12, 2007
Trip End Feb 25, 2007

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Friday, December 14, 2007

After an overnight stay in yet another hostel with 8 others (the days of my own room in SE Asia are long gone!) in Rainbow Beach, I was introduced to the 10 others I was to spend the next 3 days and nights with. Bit of a united nations- Indonesia, Holland, Taiwan, France, Germany, Ireland, England and Yorkshire were all represented. We were team A out of 6 teams of 11. We all stocked up on all the alcohol we'd need, which mostly consisted of boxes of 'goon'- cheap wine in a 4 liter plastic bag, in a box.

After our initial briefing on how to handle a 4x4 on sand with 11 people on board and all equipment on a roof rack (!), we set off towards the beach and the ferry to take us over to the largest sand dune in the world that is Fraser Island. I nominated myself to drive first- kind of felt it was by duty, being the oldest of the group (something I'm getting used to!)

After our initial wariness of being with a group of strangers, we all got to know each other and found we all got on very well. This could be due to the massive amount of goon, however I prefer to believe in a more spiritual togetherness that the island delivered..(!)

After landing on the island, we sped off down the 60 mile long beach at out max speed of 60kph, taking care with the washouts and soft sand mounds that could crack the suspension or flip the car over.

First stop was Lake McKenzie, a freshwater lake in the middle of the island, surrounded by white sand. This was an amazing place, with crystal clear water that you could open your eyes under, with no currents or waves.

After rapidly setting up camp under the danger of nightfall, we cooked up our first evening meal- steaks! We had to be wary of Dingos at all times and had to scare off a few by stamping on the ground as they approached. They look just like mongrel dogs, but apparently can be dangerous and can learn to bite if they associate people and food, so it was important not to feed them.

Three of the teams camped together the first night, and it was amazing to watch the stars, with people playing music, drinking goon and having a great time by the beach. Many of us fell asleep (or passed out) outside our tents!

The next day, we had to await the tide to recede before driving along the beach to the other sights of Lake Wabi and the northern point. That night, me and Eric (Dutch) had the inspired idea of not putting the fly sheet on top of the tent as the evenings were so hot. Emily (French) wasn't so sure, saying there could be rain, but we insisted. How wrong we were. About 4am, I woke up to some light drops of rain that quickly turned into a deluge. I woke up Eric and we managed to get the fly Sheet on and pegged down in almost complete darkness. Quite something, until we realized it was on inside out and was therefore useless. Having corrected that, we got back into our tent soaking (Emily didn't move) and felt our tent steadily leaking for the rest of the night.

After a great night's sleep, we were packed up and off again towards the ferry, having to leave before the tide receded to make it on time. I was driving again, and had to plough through the sea numerous times- something forbidden, but great fun all the same. Of course, it was raining again, and it was just at this time that the windscreen wipers gave up and started smashing into each other in a comic way. Yet again it was me and Eric into the rain to fix them, before ploughing on home to the ferry terminal.
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