(Martin) Laurence of Australia (& Kate)

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
Trip End Jan 04, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Friday, October 21, 2011

Get it? Laurence of Australia instead of Laurence of Arabia? Fraser Island = Sand = Arabia = Laurence = Martin. Well I liked it anyways. Sorry. Apologising at the start of a blog is never a good thing.

An early start as promised. Alarm started at 7am but wasn't required as the fire alarm kicked in shortly after and didn't stop until after we had gone out for the day. We packed a light bag for an overnight stay and joined the Fraser Explorer bus just outside the YHA. By 8.15am we were on the ferry across to Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world.

Fraser has been kept as much as possible in it's rough untouched natural self. It has been logged heavily in the past and some good treatment over the past few decades has meant that bare areas have been regrown. The island is 'cold burnt' in areas throughout the winter months to prevent uncontrollable fires and maintain the many year old rainforest. Just a couple of weeks ago the fire had grown out of control and reigned for 2 weeks preventing tours to parts of the island. We are lucky to be able to visit really. On arriving at the island you can see how the governers of Fraser control tourism by making sure it is a 4x4 accessable island only. This stops normal cars visiting and means all the roads are sand tracks. The access from the ferry to the land is just a couple of steel runners hastily placed. Our coach is an amazing feat of Engineering - a $400k 4WD coach.

Off the ferry we get re-assigned to different coaches depending on what tour we are doing and me and Kate join our 2-day tour. We jump to the back of the coach and the driver comes back and warns us it may be bumpy. We start the tour with about 15 people on board a 40 seater coach, only 9 of which are on the tour - the rest are just catching a lift to the resort as they are becoming a new set of staff.
The driver 'Warren' put us all at ease quickly with his enthusiasm for his job. He led us into all raising our arms as we descended quickly down a sand track and we at the back felt the majority of the bump being thrown up off our seats. Memories of Chinas buses out to Tiger Leaping Gorge came to mind.

First stop Lake Mckenzie which is a perched lake, crystal clear waters, both idylicaly clear and cold. Kate refuses to enter the water and spends her time shining up her wedding and engagement rings with the high silica content extremely fine sand, on Warrens advice. The sand is like silk to the touch. As I step out of the water Daniel Craig-esque (I wish) a Dingo walks along the shore confidently aware of the tourists. This Dingo is tagged after getting a little friendly with some of the tourists.

We drive to Central Station and Warren explains the logging history of the island. Mainly original rainforest, large areas have been re-planted. Warren walks a short way along the trail with us and then points us in the right direction just shortly after giving us a safety talk on spiders and snakes (he later explained that he has only come across maybe a dozen snakes in 12 years of work on the island). He shows us a funnel web from the dangerous spider of the same name and sets us on our way. Obviously a little disturbed by seeing a funnel web so early in the walk, we spent the entire stroll aware.
A creek runs throughout the rainforest floor, formed from an underground reservoir (more freshwater beneath Fraser than saltwater in Sydney harbour). Initially the yellow colour appears to be pond scum sitting on the surface but you quickly realise its actually the sand beneath the surface of the water - it's crystal clear.
We were dricven to the Eurong Beach Resort, one of the older resorts on the island and showed to the restaurant. I was starving as we have been living a little like street urchins and the buffet ensemble (all you can eat) put my high metabolism to the test. I was happily weighed down for the remainder of the afternoon.

For the afternoon trip we ventured to Lake Wabby (a lake formed from the reservoir of fresh water beneath the surface - different to McKenzie), and after a 40 minute walk through the 'Bush' we were greeted by a stretch of golden sand (the sand blow) which had formed the lake. Once again I swam amongst the fishies as Kate cowered on the shore.

Post Wabby we enjoyed a nice buffet dinner and headed to bed. It had been a long tiring day and the ensuite room was much appreciated. Slept like a baby.
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