Hervey and the Great Sandy Island

Trip Start Sep 14, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Emu Park Backpackers

Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Saturday, October 1, 2011

30th - 31st September 2011

And so we saunter further South. After leaving Airlie Beach (now affectionately known as the '5 night goonfest'), we felt our bodies deserved at least some element of rest and relaxation. What better way to accommodate this than with, yes, a stay in the beef capital of Australia - Rockhampton, or 'Rock Vegas' as one tramp all too enthusiastically pointed out when we arrived there close to 7 in the morning, accompanied by Grace, Izzie and Rosie.

Having winged it once again, we were approached by a man in a van offering some ludicrously cheap accommodation around 50km out of town. Now, we'd like to take the opportunity for initially not trusting this guy - what seemed like the kind of deal which would see us sleeping in a run down cattle shed with only our bovine companions for comfort, turned out to be brilliant. The hostel was clean, quiet and with this we were able to enjoy a relatively small detox (albeit accompanied by a few jugs of beer). Now we were ready for our venture down to Hervey Bay.

1st - 2nd October 2011

There's not much to say about Hervey really. Gateway to Fraser Island, land of the Bogan (that's a conventional chav with a slight redneck twist to you Englanders) - that's about it. These two days passed fairly slowly, all the more because we were so excited for our camping trip on Fraser Island to commence. So, after spending one hideously-boring day sprawled on an ugly, overcast beach, partially spurred on by the temptation of a night out with our fave travel buddies we deemed that the only way to quell said boredom was to yep, you guessed it. Drink.

Detox over.

3rd - 6th October 2011

And so our foray into the sandy wilderness of Fraser Island began, a vast 123km long, rainforest/lake-covered sand bar jutting out into the Pacific ocean. This would prove to be 3 days of utter filth, both in the copious consumption of brain-rotting boxed wine and the fact that all of our white garments are now a dull cream colour. We wouldn't have had it any other way.

The trip began on Hervey, where we would meet our travel companions for the next 3 days. Now we have to say, in a 19 strong group of people you will generally find at least one person who you would quite happily push down a well - so we were incredibly lucky in the sense that we got on with everyone who was along for the ride. So off we went in our 4x4s, into the wilderness.

After arriving on the Island via ferry we were greeted by our guide for the duration, Pete (or Gregg, as we decided to call him after failing to discover his real name for one and a half days). Pete was your stereotypical bushman; knowledgeable, enthusiastic and totally obsessed with the outdoors and after regaling us with stories of the then ensuing bush fires, we set off for the first leg of our Island tour, which would culminate is arrival at our campsite for the night - dingos included. Still not being able to comprehend how this whole island was totally made of sand, we spent the day driving along the aptly-named 75 mile beach and swimming in what was genuinely the most unreal lake we've ever seen; a huge crystal-clear puddle situated at one end of a ginormous sand blow (Lake Wabby, see pics).

As night time came we were instructed to sort out our camping arrangements, after which we ate a hearty meal of meat, meat and more meat, then cracked open the goon and sat around the campfire. Gloriously cheesy, yet so, so right.

The second day was much of the same, albeit most of us were nursing what can only be described as chemical hangovers; we toured the island some more visiting the various lakes and points of interest, whilst most were treated to some ostentatious displays of whale acrobatics (not Nick - he was too busy taking pictures of rocks).We were however treated to a visit by one of the resident aboriginals, Joe. Not only hilarious in his demeanour, Joe was a genuinely interesting guy who was obviously proud of his land and all too enthusiastic in his demonstration of traditional hunting tools / musical instruments.

As night time fell, we once again started as we meant to go on. Joe made a surprise visit to the campsite once again, which was hilarious and enlightening at the same time; due in part to the fact that he had drunk a decidedly-large amount of whisky and coke before joining us (he was nice enough to give us our first drunken walkabout - even urging Nick to drink some of his whisky after calling his staple Australian boxed wine a 'bag of shit'. For want of a better phrase.

Humbled by Joe's offering, the drinking continued long into the night and facilitated once again, a considerable hangover, just in time for the most laborious of jobs - packing the equipment away for our journey back the following afternoon. At this point we really didn't want to leave, Fraser was a stark highlight in our continuing Ozzie adventures, so we were ecstatic to hear of the days agenda - consisting of a few more hours of sun, rainforest and well, sand. Lots of sand.

We were treated to a swim in Eli Creek, which can only be likened to the lazy river rapids at any decent water park - the only thing it was missing was a gaggle of screaming children in rubber rings and the ever prevalent used plaster. After this, we drove over to view some tiny, turtles which Nick tried in vain to photograph for, like, 20 minutes. Unfortunately, the persistence didn't really pay off and with that, we journeyed over to our final destination. Now, our final destination would have normally been Lake McKenzie (often appearing smack-bang on the front of any Fraser Island promotional material) but due to bush fires blocking the road, we were forced to redirect to Lake Berrabine, a suitable consolation prize.

After paddling around like small children for a good two hours we were forced to begin our journey back to civilisation. Within a few hours we were back on solid footing, situated in the lesser 'paradise' of Hervey Bay, by which time we were already lamenting. How to rectify this? Drink with our equally sombre travel buddies, of course. And so we did.

On to Noosa.
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