We left Noosa at 13:00 on Wednesday 24th February 2010 excited at what lay ahead, we had a relatively short Greyhound journey of two and a half hours until we arrived at Rainbow Beach gateway to Fraser Island. We would spend the Wednesday and Thursday at Rainbow Beach before departing early on the Friday for our tour of Fraser! It had been booked whilst we were in Brisbane in a deal that also included the Whitsundays sailing trip and we were very much looking forward to it, but first of all the two days at Rainbow Beach.
A tiny place consisting of a row of three backpacker hostels (we ended up staying in all three but i'll come back to that!) then a strip containing a travel shop, small supermarket, a few cafes/restaurants, bottleshop, petrol station then a few surrounding residential streets, a beach of course and not a great deal else.
Rainbow Beach is a place you would most probably only stop at to get to Fraser Island, being one of two points for Fraser, the other being Hervey Bay which is a larger port town, apparantly about as charming as Goole, so we stayed in Rainbow! However saying all this Rainbow Beach itself is a nice place, the beach is fantastic though the weather was mainly over-cast and miserable (we didn't mind as long as it stayed nice whilst we were on Fraser). There is also an area known as Carlo Sand Blow which is amazing, basically high above Rainbow Beach, after quite a trek uphill through a forest is a desert valley carried out by the wind which is continously blowing all the sand around constanly changing the landscape, the views out over the cliffs to the ocean are spectacular as are those inland of the seemingly never ending lush forests. Definately worth a visit to watch the sunset.
Now the tale of why we ended up staying in all three hostels! Before arriving (as we always did up to here!) We booked our accommodation to avoid risking not having anywhere to stay. we had booked Pippie Beachhouse, it was cheap and the added bonus of a free BBQ the night we arrived. However on arrival they claimed to have no reservation for us and that they never received the booking from hostel bookers, which was strange seeing as we had the confirmation and had paid a deposit. They didn't have any other rooms left so without an apology promptly picked up our bags before we could protest and took us to the next door hostel Frasers, claiming they had available rooms for us. Obvious to me what had happened is that the unbelievable idiots running Pippies didn't bother to check the rooms they had sold through hostel bookers and then sold all their rooms directly. making up some c*** and bull story about problems with reservations coming through hostel bookers instead. Hence I was quite annoyed, especially when the rooms at Frasers which were admittedly a lot nicer cost us nearly double!
Friday morning arrived and we were collected by our tour company who would take us to Fraser Island for our two day adventure! We had decided to go on a guided tour as opposed to a self drive after hearing many horror stories about the self drive tours. We didn't want to take the chance of being stuck with some complete d*** s for a few days in a 4WD driving in dangerous conditions on sand and through the rainforest. So we went for the safe option of letting the professionals do the driving and the commentary and the cooking, it cost a lot more but was sure worth it.
Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and we had the most amazing time, the best two days of the trip to date. There are no sealed roads on the island and so to get around you have to drive or be driven in 4WD vehicles along the beach or on the dirt tracks inland through the rainforest. we drove the 75 mile beach to a high rocky outcrop looking out over the Pacific Ocean called Indian Head. So named by Captain Cook as he sailed past 1770 when looking ashore from Endeavour he saw some aborigonies who he thought were Indians so scribbled this on the maps he was making and the name has stuck! We also stopped and had a wander through Eli Creek (luckily no Crocs as we were too far South!) saw the famous wreck of Maheno which is still rotting and rusting away on the beach, we saw the sand blows and the rainforest and many other great sites but the best was Lake McKenzie, situated in the middle of the rainforest, a huge freshwater lake you can swim in, no swimming in the sea beacuase if Jaws doesn't eat you, the box jellyfish will kill you! The beach surrounding the lake with sand as white as snow and breathtaking, picture perfect! The sand is also really good at exfoliating the skin so afterwards we were soft as a baby's bum! The weather was fantastic, the tour guides were great, telling us all the facts about and stories of Fraser Island, the food and accommodation was good and luckily we had a sound bunch of people on the tour, a sort of European pick and mix with thirteen in total, five English, two Danish, one German, one Spanish and four French who spoke English about as well as I speak French, so all the commentary must have been really worthwhile for them! Also we saw some wild dingo's, Fraser is well known for it's dingo's, there are apparantly only one hundred and fifty left on the island and they are the only pure strain of dingo's left in Australia as all those on the mainland have come into contact with domestic dogs. You have to be luck to see one and we saw six! Overall two perfect days!
After we got back from Fraser Island, we stayed one more night at Rainbow Beach this time at Dingo's to complete the hat trick of hostels! It was the best of the bunch though nothing to write home about, except the free pancake breakfast! We had some uber annoying roommates though. Firstly the two Krauts who managed to take up all eight beds with their stuff and a numpty Swedish girl who went for a run at 5am and decided to wake everone else up in the process by ruffling countless plastic bags and then during her run she left us with her most annoying alarm clock in the history of the world blaring out, what can only be described as hidieous European dance music by the love child of Scooter and Basshunter, so annoying! I hate backpackers! Next stop Agnes Water and Town of 1770!