Saturday, September 5, 2015

Fraser Island

After spending Saturday in Noosa, we woke up early Sunday to embark on a tour of Fraser Island with Fraser Explorer Tours. Since moving to Australia, we've heard this island mentioned a few times as a must-see so we worked it into our Brisbane trip and weren't disappointed! Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and features a variety of diverse landscapes including over 50 freshwater lakes. It would be easy to spend a few days on the island, but we got a pretty good overview on our day-long adventure. We met our tour bus bright and early at 8 am and were off to explore. 

I have never felt more like a tourist than riding in this giant bus:
We drove to the edge of Rainbow Beach and waited for the ferry to bring us across. The poor people in the jeep pictured were already stuck in the sand before even making it to the ferry. I'm guessing they had a pretty long day. As we passed them trying to push their car, Peter and I were reassured that we made the right decision in taking a tour instead of renting our own jeep. It's one of those things that sounds like a good idea in theory, but in practice there is a lot of room for user error. I've spent enough hours of my life pushing cars out of snowbanks and I can't imagine sand would be any easier. 
 While we were waiting for the ferry, we spotted a pod of dolphins swimming off shore. They jumped a few times, which was really cool, but turns out it's nearly impossible to get a picture of jumping dolphins as its happening. I captured this really great moment instead. 
The ferry ride over to Fraser Island only took about fifteen minutes. I took this picture through the window as the bus was driving off of the boat.
We drove down the beach for about a half hour before pulling into the island's only resort for breakfast. On our way into the parking lot, we drove over a metal grate that the driver explained was designed to keep dingoes out of the populated areas. We never did see a dingo, which was disappointing, but we did see this sign warning tourists to look after their children. Scary! 
After breakfast we headed to Lake McKenzie, the most famous of the island's lakes. I have to say, I hadn't considered how bumpy the ride through the sand would be, and after just eating breakfast I felt a little bit sick as we made our way through the forest. I was starting to worry I wasn't going to make it the whole day, or worse, that I would get sick on the bus. Luckily I felt better after the first stop, but I moved to the seat next to the trash can to be on the safe side. 

Lake McKenzie is amazing. The water is extremely blue and crystal clear. It was a bit too chilly to swim, although a few people on our tour did get in. 
It was kind of a weird day weather-wise. The morning was nice and sunny, but in the half hour during which we left Lake McKenzie and made our way through the forest back to the beach, the sky had clouded over.

This photo is a little blurry, but this is the island police enforcing the speed limit. For some reason I really got a kick out of this. There really wasn't that much traffic on the beach, but I would have paid to see a high-speed police chase through the sand.
Most of the people we passed on the island appeared to be tourists, but we did see quite a few fishermen wading into the ocean. The tour guide told us that there is an abundance of marine life right off the island and no one goes in the water due to the large number of sharks in the area. 
We stopped at this large rock formation and tried to do a cool jumping picture but massively failed:
Our next stop was a shipwreck. Unfortunately, we completely missed the story on this as we were taking an optional scenic flight at the time. Since I took so many pictures on the plane, I'll write about that experience in a separate post.
Our next stop was Eli Creek, a rainforesty (that's a word) area with really pretty, clear water. There were a bunch of people there, including a group of guys wearing wigs and dressed in togas- not entirely sure what that was about- and a separate group of guys streaking on the beach. It was kind of a twilight zone experience. 
Again, we didn't get in because it was still cloudy and a little bit chilly, but some of the kids on our tour floated down the river on rafts.
We headed back toward Rainbow Beach mid-afternoon. The tide had come up considerably and the sun was shining once again.
The waves formed pools of water in the sand that appeared to be flat from a distance, but when you got really close, there was actually a pretty significant drop off. Another reason I'm glad we didn't try to drive ourselves! For example, the drop off in the picture below was about 3 feet. 
We made it back to the mainland and Peter and I immediately took off on our way up the coast to Hervey Bay, where we caught our whale watching tour the following day. 

Some warmer temperatures would have made the day even more enjoyable as we could have taken full advantage of the lake and river stops, but overall we loved Fraser Island! The coolest part of the day was the scenic flight, which I'll post about next!

6 comments:

  1. Good report! I had no idea dingoes were such a threat. They must be way more formidable than, say, coyotes. Australia is awesome!

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    1. Me either! I thought they were more or less dogs that might bite you if you got too close. Turns out some aren't even afraid of people and will walk right up and steal your purse/bag/child!

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  2. I love your jump photo attempt 🙈 and I'm glad you didn't puke!

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    Replies
    1. It's a pretty big fail. Also, I'm glad I didn't puke too because it would have been a traumatizing weekend coupled with my episode in your kitchen hahaha.

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  3. Oh fun! That is a place that is for sure on our list, just not sure when.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, you have to get there! I would recommend summer to take advantage of the beautiful lake!

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Welcome! I started Laura and Peter Down Under in July 2014 when my husband and I moved from the States to Melbourne, Australia for his job. I blog about expat life, our travels, food, and whatever else comes to mind. Follow along on our adventures Down Under!

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