Was quite an easy drive up the coast from Noosa to Hervey Bay. There's not really a lot to speak about in Hervey Bay, well not that we could see anyway. The town is made up of several areas along the coast so it is quite spread out along about 10km of beach. The main attractions here are whale watching during the season, which we missed (August to November), Humpback Whales stop off in the shallow waters of the bay while migrating North, and Fraser Island which is the largest sand island in the world and a world heritage listed site and the main reason for our visit. We booked a day trip to the island when we arrived and then found an apartment on the sea front in Urangan for a couple of nights. The place was pretty quiet while we were there.
It was overcast and raining the day of our trip which took the shine off it a bit but it was still a great experience to visit the island. We were on a small tour with another two couples from the UK who were both spending a year travelling. Was good to see that we were not the only ones mad enough to do this! The ferry to the island takes about half an hour from Hervey Bay. It's only 4 wheel drive vehicles that are allowed on to the island as there are no proper roads. The main 'road' on the island is the beach along the east side known as 75 mile beach which is also used as the airport runway! We stopped off at Lake McKenzie in the morning for a quick swim in the warm crystal clear water of the lake which is one of over 40 on the island. We also visited the Maheno ship wreck which was a luxury cruise liner (built in Dumbarton!) which was washed up on the beach in 1935 during a cyclone and has remained there ever since. We visited the Champagne Pools at the north of the island, but it was a bit rough for a swim. We had a wade through Eli Creek which apparently flows about 80 million litres of fresh spring water into the ocean every day. It was absolutely baltic!
The island has it's own rain forest which sustains a huge variety of wildlife including hundreds of different species of birds and apparently five of the most dangerous snakes in the world!! Fortunately, we never came across any of them. When we stopped off for lunch we were joined by a massive Huntsman spider, which can bite but are not particularly dangerous. As our tour guide was trying to move it away from the table with a stick a big Kookaburra swooped down from the tree above, grabbed the spider in his beak and flew off with him. Was pretty amazing to see!
We left Hervey Bay the next day to make our way 900km up the Bruce Highway to Airlie Beach. We stopped off in Rockhampton which was about half way to Airlie. Rockhampton is one of the oldest cities in Queensland and is also known as the beef capital of Australia with an estimated 2.5 million beef cattle in the area! We arrived in Airlie today after about a 6 hour drive from Rocky. We are planning to spend the weekend in Airlie before heading up to Cairns for our last couple of days in Oz. Hopefully the weather will be a bit better over the weekend as it was chucking it down when we arrived! Can't believe that's a month we have been away now.