Fraser island day 1
First some interesting facts about K’gari:
Fraser Island was inscribed as a World Heritage site in 1992. The island is considered to be the largest sand island in the world at 1,840 km2. It is made up of sand that has been accumulating for approximately 750,000 years on volcanic bedrock. Unlike on many sand dunes, plant life is abundant due to the naturally occurring mycorrhizal fungi present in the sand, which release nutrients in a form that can be absorbed by the plants. Fraser Island is home to a small number of mammal species, as well as a diverse range of birds, reptiles and amphibians, including the occasional saltwater crocodile.
Fraser Island has been inhabited by humans for as much as 5,000 years. Explorer James Cook sailed by the island in May 1770. Matthew Flinders landed near the most northern point of the island in 1802. For a short period the island was known as Great Sandy Island. The island became known as Fraser due to the stories of a shipwreck survivor named Eliza Fraser which I won’t bother to tell you now as we don’t like to call it Fraser. The real Aboriginal name is K’gari, which is a much nicer name that means paradise and it’s a much nicer name for this paradise island, given from the people that first got to know this land.
Archaeological research and evidence shows that Aboriginal Australians occupied Fraser Island at least 5,000 years ago. There was a permanent population of 400–600 that grew to 2,000–3,000 in the winter months due to abundant seafood resources. The arrival of European settlers in the area was an overwhelming disaster for the Badtjala people. European settlement in the 1840s overwhelmed the Aboriginal lifestyle with weapons, disease and lack of food. By the year 1890, Aboriginal numbers had been reduced to only 300 people. The rest of the remaining Aborigines, the Badtjala tribe, left the island in 1904 as they were relocated to missions in Yarrabah and Durundur, Queensland.[It is estimated that up to 500 indigenous archaeological sites are located on the island.
We decided to visit Fraser Island with Dropbear Adventure, because it’s number one on Tripadvisor and we thought there must be a reason! Our tour guide was the real highlight of the trip, which despite a lot of rain (which he renamed liquid sunshine) made our stay in Fraser Island special. His name is Clint and he is a real Crocodile Dundee type.
The conditions of the camping and tour were quite rough and ready, campsite with a small tent for two people, one eco disposable toilet for 30 people, yes you’ve heard right. Luckily we learnt in Namibia that Bushy Bushy is often the best option, and we didn’t even enter the eco-toilet once! Nothing could be left in the tents at any point, no clothes, toothbrush or ANYTHING because the dingos are wild and dangerous animals that are interested in anything that can vaguely smell of food or of something edible like toothpaste. We saw several times footprints of dingos very near our tent (thanks to Brucey which is always slow when it’s time to be fast, we got the furthest tent from anyone else, very romantic and remote, but also very scary). In the campsite there was an area where we had lunch/breakfast/dinner with electric fence to keep the dingos away, and at night when you had to walk back to your tent which was of course out of the electric fence area (not sure why) we had to walk around with a stick. Bruce chose a stick that looked a lot like Gandalf’s staff and I immediately gave him a new nickname, since he is also OLD it suited very well! We learnt a lot about the Aboriginal story of the island, and Clint is such a good storyteller it seemed to be part of the story as we listened. We drove on the sand, in the mud, in the water (both salted and fresh) and made the most of the 4 wheel drive.
There were four cars, three of which full of people that wanted to drive. The cars were pretty old (at least 15 years or more) and had a few issues. The front passenger door got stuck and bruce had to climb out once – not a graceful operation. The lead car was driven by Clint who had mainly 18/19 years-old in his car that couldn’t drive anyway. Our car was called “champs” due to the champagne colour. We thought the tour was very overcrowded, 30 people and all the cars very full (each and every seat taken) which meant a bit of an uncomfortable drive when you were not driving especially.
We had one panic moment when a girl from London was driving and was going a bit too fast near the ocean, a wave came in and it span the car around and it almost rolled the car at 80 kmh, splashing the windscreen. We all shouted in different languages, and shat ourselves! I’ll let the photos do justice and just list the places we’ve visited each day.
It was a little bit of a disappointment, maybe because we were a bit unlucky with the liquid sunshine, maybe because we were just expecting too much from the island, maybe because the group was too big. We loved our car group though and had a great time, huge thanks to Mel from Canada, Steph from Montana, Alison from the Lake District, Lina from Colombia, Barbara from Switzerland and Veril from London for making our trip so much fun! Massive thanks to CLint Dundee as well who is so passionate about the island that it’s contagious. It was great to drive, and to swim in the crystal clear drinking water of the lakes. Gutted we didn’t see a dingo!
– Start at 6:45
– Long video demo (health & safety is very big in Oz)
– First drive (your life in the hands of a total stranger)
– Champers car
– First drive on the beach through Rainbow beach
– Ferry to Fraser
– Arrived at camp
– Chose a tent (too slowly so we got the furthest tent from the cars & eating area)
– Lunch (wraps with ham & salad – basic but tasty)
– More driving (swapped drivers every 15 mins to give everyone a chance to drive)
– Red tea lake swim
– Beers and dinner bbq with rare steak!
– Learnt to play the digeridoo and heard the tory of K’gari and other Aboriginal stories such as the origin of the boomerang.
– Learnt the story behind the name dropbear, very dangerous animals (crossed between Koalas and Dingos coming from a lab that mixed the two species!) that can drop on your head from trees and eat your brains. Be careful when in Australia!
– One toilet for 30 people = bushy bushy + brushing teeth on the beach and burying the spit in the sand.
– Getting to the tent with Gandalf stick to protect from dingos
– Tent full of sand within 10 seconds.
– Rain all night.
Fraser day 2
– Breakfast and digeridoo wake up at 6am
– First drive off to Bathe in the bubbling Champagne Pools
– Pouring with rain at Indian Head look out
– Same wrap lunch
– Maheno Shipwreck
– Float down the flowing Eli Creek and ultimate frisbee game.
– Back to camp, dinner chicken stir fry, drinks and nice chat with our champers crowd while others played a drinking game using giant Jenga
– Tried Goon (cheap disgusting wine stored in a silver bag)
– sleep at 11pm.
– Tent is now half full of sand.
– Gandalf stick still our best friend.
Fraser day 3
– Another digeridoo wake up at 6am.
– I started the drive, beach and inland, loved driving!
– Swim in crystal clear Lake McKenzie, amazing waters
– Played game of “piggy in the middle” with american football
– Game of volleyball trying to get up to 20 (got to 18)
– Interesting walk through the Rainforest, learning about millenary trees, about aborigenal stories, spot funnel web spider cobwebs.
– Usual wrap lunch
– Bruce stroked a Kookaburra bird and we saw a huge Goana lizard climbing a tree.
– drive back to rainbow beach, arrive in Noosa at 6pm.
– Time to say thank you and goodbye to Clint and the rest of the Champers crowd.
– Dinner sushi with Mel and Steph from our champers car,
– We had no place to go, and most camping sites in Noosa were booked up because of the Bank Holiday so very kindly Steph offered us a bed at her place in Brisbane!
– Drove the Jucy van at night in the fog and rain to Brisbane.
– Had an amazing breakfast in the morning with Steph and Mel before we returned Britney the Jucy Van and got to the airport to catch our flight to Whitsundays Airlie beach!