Fraser, here we come!

28 May 2012
Today we haven’t travelled far, but we have had a cracker.  Today was the day that we arrived on Fraser Island.  Fraser is a couple of hours north of Brisbane in Queensland, it has been one of a handful of places that I was really looking forward to experiencing on the trip.  One of those places that people always enthuse about, and has grabbed my attention as a place to explore in Landy.
We woke up near Noosa Heads, and I felt like a new person, my cold now on the run and a good night of sleep, that has been lacking of late.  We got up earlyish for us and headed north, Lisa had read that we could drive up from Noosa to Rainbow Beach along 50km’s of beach and we wanted to join an early low tide to help us on our way.  Beach driving is still a novelty for us and what great fun it is!  With the tyres let down and permits acquired we set off between the boiling ocean on our right and huge towering red and white dunes to our left.  It was a fantastic drive along Cooloona Beach, so good we missed our turn-off and went right up to Double Island Point, but we were glad we did when we came out onto the sheltered beach on the north of the point, a few of the locals knew it though and people were enjoying fishing in this sheltered oasis.  We saw whale bones down on the west coast of Tassie, and now along this stretch we saw the odd site of a dolphin that must have been washed up a day or two before, I’ve never seen a dead dolphin before, you always see them so animated and often seemingly playful.  We backtracked along the beach and found the track heading inland towards the town of Rainbow Beach.  It is a great little track curving it’s way through squiggly gum forest and a taster of what was to come on Fraser in the afternoon.
Hurriedly we picked up a few bits and pieces in Rainbow Beach, we were close now to the barge over to Fraser Island and the anticipation was building and quickening our pace.  The barge over to Fraser is not your normal ferry experience, there are no loading ramps or gates, you just head down onto a wide beach on the mainland side and cross the sand to the boat.  By this time the tide was right up and we were glad the ramp of the boat was open as we approached so we didn’t have to stop in the soft sand.  We drove right up onto the barge and wern’t sure if we were doing the right thing as there wasn’t anyone around that we could see, we headed right to the front thinking that they would want to fit some more people on before we set off.  We hadn’t even stopped when the barge started up and lept forward as the ramp behind us lifted.  It was a bit eerie but soon someone came into view out of the ship and checked our ticket!
We were off, heading over to the island on our own private landing vessel!  It was quite a sight when we got close to the shore and the large ramp in front of us opened as we headed into a soft looking beach on Fraser.  I thought for a second we were part of a beach landing force!  Thankfully the guy on the boat pointed us in the right direction for the inland road that we would have to take for the first few k’s as the tide was too high to make it along the beach.  I was glad that I had been warned by a friend to have the tyres down before you get onto the barge, and we still had them low from the morning’s adventure, otherwise we would have been bogged straight off the boat, not the best start.
So this was it, we were finally on Fraser, we headed along the inland track until it spat us out onto 75 Mile Beach.  Lisa was keen to get to Lake McKenzie before the sun got too low, as today has the best weather forecast.  We headed along the beach, and then along the sandy tracks inland through the forest to the lake.  It is an impressive spot, a clear, fresh, sandy bottomed, rainwater fed lake and was perfect for a swim after todays drive.  We are lucky being here this time of year when it is still warm enough to swim but not too many other people around.
Fraser Isand is to quote the Loony Planet the largest sand island in the world, it is 120km long and formed from sand transported up the east coast of Australia.  It’s only accessible by 4×4 and is part of the aptly named Great Sandy National Park.  It is a big and diverse place covered with forest, and even rainforest in areas, with a heap of fresh water lakes and a population of wild Dingos, as well as Echidnas of which I hope to spot both.  From that little description I am sure you can understand why it was on my list ‘of places to see’.
I’m now sitting beside Landy after a pasta and red wine feast shared with my lushous wife, we have heard the dingos in the distance and are now listening to the wind rustling in the tree tops high above us.  Although we are in the biggest camp site on the island we cannot see, let alone hear, another soul.  This is one of the outanding days of our trip, I am so lucky to be able to share them with such a special person…
Until next time,  O.

Track from the coast to Rainbow Beach

To swim, or not to swim, the crystal fresh waters of Lake Mckenzie

The camp spot for our first Fraser night

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