About halfway through our bus tour of Fraser Island, we pulled up to two small planes on the beach and the tour guide asked if anyone was interested in taking a scenic flight. Apparently Fraser Island is one of only two places in the world where you can take off and land on the sand. Now, I swore I would never again ride in a small plane after our scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef. It was extremely cool, probably the coolest thing I've ever done, but I hate flying and don't trust those little planes so I figured once was enough; don't want to tempt fate! Plus, said flights are not exactly cheap. So Peter and I had no intention of purchasing this add-on until we heard the price, which was too good to pass up. We quickly agreed to go before I had time to think too much about it and therefore probably back out!
A couple of families on our tour also decided to take the flight, so we had some company. This plane was actually somehow larger than the one we took over the Reef, which was a mild comfort.
The last scenic flight we took required us to wear headphones, but for whatever reason, this one did not. Peter looks (appropriately) a little nervous in this picture.
Taking off on the beach! The runway was literally a strip of sand between orange construction cones. Super legit. Probably super safe.
We headed out over the water first to look for marine life in the area. About 5 minutes into the flight, we spotted two whales in the water. The pilot took a sharp turn and descent to go back and find them and if I wasn't so excited about seeing whales I probably would have lost it. We got to see the whales jump out of the water from above which was amazing, as was being able to see them swimming under water.
Photography fail. This might be the worst picture to ever appear on the internet. I kept trying to get pictures of the whales as they were jumping, but I was apparently too slow and ended up with a bunch of pictures of the large splash their jump left behind. This was the only one I could find where you can barely make out the whale under the water (that slightly blue blob under the large white splash). Also, the windows on this plane were pretty scratched up. Maybe that's why it was cheap.
Next we headed back toward the island to check out a few lakes and sand dunes. The ride had been really smooth until this point, where it started to get a little bumpy and I remembered why I swore off these things after the first time.
The world's largest sand island from above!
The shipwreck and our tour bus on the beach. We did one more circle over the water to see if we could locate the whales again, but didn't see them. Then as we were descending to make our landing, I spotted two sharks in extremely shallow water right below us. The guide wasn't kidding about his warning to stay out of the water!
Landing on the sand was extremely smooth, thankfully.