Day 118 and it was an early start as we headed to the 3 trucks parked behind the hostel. There were 3 groups, A, B and C (we were B). We had another hour long briefing explaining how to get to the Ferry and where to go once on the Island. The guy who took the briefing was a really annoying old guy who was more interested in making jokes and warning us about Dingoes rather than telling us where to go! He went on for ages. We packed up 4 tents and all our bags as well as all the food, alcohol and cooking stuff. After the briefing we had Crackers for breakfast and all met about 9pm by the cars for the final instructions. Burns would drive first to the barge and onto the Island, so he was shown how to drive, though the annoying bloke couldn't get the car into 2 wheel drive (for the concrete). We were then told you had to have shoes to drive (leading to numerous complaints as not everyone had shoes! Why they didn't tell us the day before rather than 5 mins before we left... As we prepared to leave, the truck still wouldn't go into 2WD so as groups A and C drove off, we were stood waiting for a mechanic to come and fix the truck. We were worried about time, especially as we had to follow a map to the barge in about 30 mins and if we missed it, we wouldn't go at all. Eventually the car was fixed and Burns drove off with me and Coops in the front navigating and the 8 others in the back. We arrived at the ferry 15 mins before departure. There were loads of other trucks and vans which kind of took off the thrill as we realised it was a massive tourist thing, not just backpackers. The guy who loaded us onto the truck wore a Transformers belt and we all laughed and found this highly amusing. I don't think he liked it when Burns shouted 'Nice Belt!!' as we drove off onto Fraser Island. Every road was just sand with wheel tracks in and Burns could only go at 30Kmh as it was so bumpy. Luckily the weather was good though so we didn't mind the slow progress. After 30 mins we reached Central Station Forest which we were meant to walk round for 45 mins but we left after 10 as we wall wanted to get to a lake so we could swim.
Luke took over driving here and we got further inland and more and more off road. At one point we had to stop as water was dripping from the roof as an Eskie (cool box) had come open due to the bumps. We arrived at our second stop, Lake Birrabeen, which was amazing. The sand was white and water was crystal clear and we all went in straight away. We swam about and had several shoulder wars (when the girls got on our shoulders and fought each other). After an hour or so in the sun and water we left. Emma took over driving and we spent a good hour going off road until we reached Lake Bamanjin. The 'tracks' were narrow and only wide enough for one car with trees hanging down and massive bumps and roots lining the way, real safari stuff. Once at the second lake we had lunch (sandwiches) and then headed down to the water. The water was orange, due to all the tea leafs which were in it, which made it look a funny colour. We had been told it was very good for our skin, so we all took a dip (apart from Coops!) and then made our way back to the truck where Marco took over driving. He drove a bit more hectically than the others but was having loads of fun. On the way we had a huge wasp in the car, more like a Hornet and it caused the 8 people in the back to go crazy trying to swat it while being thrown about by the bumps. Luckily I was in the front at this was going on. At about 4pm we drove over a hill and we reached the beach, it was awesome. The beach stretches for about 90 km along Frasers east coast and it just sand and sea. The 2 other cars soon reached the beach and we all drove down to our campsite. As soon as we unpacked we pitched up our tents with Me Helen and Burns in 1. After the tents were up we started the BBQ and opened the Goon. While us lads were doing this the girls were making a pigs ear of creating a shelter by hanging a ground sheet between the roofs of two of the trucks. It was funny to watch. The BBQ wasn't very good as we cooked Potato skins and onions (as a starter!). They took ages, over an hour. In the end we borrowed another groups BBQ and cooked sausages and had them in bread. After the food it was dark so we all sat on the ground sheets and played drinking games and just messed about. The Swiss guys were pretty drunk and well funny. It rained on and off throughout the evening and we had to make several dashes to the truck. At about 12 we started heading for bed and I pretty much was asleep before I hit the pillow after one hell of a long day.
Day 119 was our halfway point of our 8 month trip and we were all awake by 7am and had the best view ever to wake up to, as the sun rose over the eastern beach. The whole group was up by 8ish, all with slight hangovers and feeling a little rough, but we ended up chilling on the beach to ourselves. Luke and I went into the water to wash (as there were no showers or toilets) but stayed in the shallow water. We had to try and wash the pots and pans in the sea and keep them sand free which was very difficult. At 10 we packed our bags and headed north to Indian Head which was a 2 hour drive straight up the eastern beach with no stops. The drive was difficult with the sand really soft and hard to drive in, and the tide was in so we had to avoid the sea water. After a while Luke took over driving and even he found it hard (he was probably the best driver in our group). After 30 mins, Burns took over, and 45 mins later I had a go. It was good fun driving the massive truck on the beach, After 30 mins of me driving we reached the end of the beach though we weren't sure which way to go and in my haste to turn around we got stuck in the soft sand. Typical. I tried to get the car going but stalled it 3 times. Emma tried and she stalled it and dug it even deeper. We had to then all get out, dig the sand from under the tyres and then push the car while reversing. Once the truck was sorted we headed up the cliff to Indian Head where we had amazing views of the sea and sand dunes. Luke saw a couple of sharks and I saw a Stingray in the water below as it was so clear they stood out. After a group photo on the beach we started driving back south with Manuel driving. After 30 mins we reached the aircraft landing zone as the tide had gone out the sand had firmed up. We saw a plane (well light aircraft) take off over our car which was well weird! Our next stop was the Maheno ship wreck which is an awesome sight. It became stranded on the beach in the 1930's I think and has slowly rotted away. After several photos, and also looking at all the jellyfish which had been washed up on shore, we drove further south to Eli Creek. The creek was freezing water flowing out into the sea; I had a dip as it was our first chance to get in the water all day. Lunch was very awkward with sand blowing everywhere and all the food covered in it. The butter was full of black sand which made the sarnies crunchy. At one point Manuel dropped his salami in the sand, so he washed it off in the creek (it was crystal clear water so no problems) but it looked weird and the Japanese tourists started taking photos of him. As he went to eat it, he dropped it again! So he had to repeat the cleaning process. On the way south we cut inland to go to one of the few shops on the island to get some drinking water. On the way up the bumpy roads we saw a crate of Milk Containers left in the road (fallen off the back of a truck). For some reason we felt compelled to take 8 pints of milk and drink it thinking we would use it all. We stuffed it high into the truck storage and drove on hoping to god it wouldn't leak everywhere!
At about 4pm we drove an hour to Lake Wabby pathway and then had to walk 35 mins inland to reach the lake itself. It was awesome, a massive sand dune with a 45 degree slope down to the lake. This led to us all running to the top (about 30-40 metres) and then running down and splashing into the lake, great fun. After doing this a few more times and messing about, we left Lake Wabby at about 530 just as it started raining. Once back at the campsite we parked up and set the BBQ grill on to cook Spag Bol between 11 of us. As we opened the eskie with the food in we found a horrid sight, lots of meat wrapped up in plastic bags covered in leaky milk! It looked horrible and smelt pretty bad but we all saw the funny side. After pouring the excess milk away and clearing up the rest of the mess we got on with dinner. The grill was awful and wouldn't even sizzle the onions! So we eventually had to borrow another groups grill. After 2 hours of shining torches to see what we were doing, getting sand out of cups and plates and draining pasta we served up a splendid Spag Bol which could have fed 15! Manuel who puts seasoning on all his food was dishing this out like nobodies business and it sort of became his trademark, often taking photos as he seasoned his food. While the other 8 ate in the back of the truck, me Luke and Burns ate outside in the spitting rain and pitch black. As there was so much food leftover we decided to get rid of some, but due to Island rules about vegetation we had to bury it so Dingo's couldn't get to it and it wouldn't ruin the vegetation. Luke dag a hole and me Burns Manuel and Marco dropped in about 2 kg of left over spaghetti! Manuel then seasoned it for the Dingoes, and we covered it up with sand. After clearing up lots of the pots and pans, we sat on the beach with some Goon and stared at the sky. The stars were out in force and I have never seen anything like it, thousands and thousands of stars which looked awesome. We even saw shooting stars. The girls went off on a toilet run (they had to go in groups as they were scared of the Dingoes) and they all went to the loo on the beach in the middle of the night. They found this highly amusing as they found it hard to go with the wind whilst squatting! Not the most pleasant of conversations to have. After a few more hours star gazing we headed to bed about 11 as we needed to be up at 5 to pack away the tents and head to Lake McKenzie on our last day.
Day 120 and our final day on Fraser started at 5am with an amazing sunrise looking right over our campsite. After an hour off packing tents, washing cutlery in the sea and loading up the truck we were off at 615am. We went the wrong way up the beach following Car A, but managed to find a road inland and went along a long and hilly road for a good hour before we saw a sign for anywhere. Luke was driving and as we went round a corner he slowed and we saw a fallen tree blocking the road. Bear in mind the road was only just wide enough to fit a truck down and was surrounded by rainforest, so we had no option other to try and move it. Through great team work, and the girls watching, we managed to move the tree so we could drive on. We reached Lake McKenzie at about 830 and it was an awesome sight, a clear lake which was perfect for swimming in. Everyone was so tired though we all lay in the sun for a good 30 mins before I ventured into the water with Burns via a 'Hoff run. The lake got real deep in the middle and was hard to stay afloat, but this didn't stop Luke swimming to the other side which took him about 30 mins and must have been killer. Eventually he swam back and was pretty tired but said it was worth it. We left the lake at about 11 and went to Central forest near the Barge station to cook the rest of our food on a decent BBQ. We cooked the steaks and burgers, though some of them were a bit dodgy, and then sat around and played frisbee before heading to the Barge. Whilst waiting we exchanged emails with everyone in the group, by writing addresses on toilet paper, don't know why to be honest. When the others saw my email address of riverboat ronnie, they asked why and I (along with Burns help) managed to convince them I was called Ronald by my parents but changed my name by depol to Patrick. Amazingly they believed that at 11 I went from Ronald to Patrick and with Burns acting up well it was going great until Helen said, "Do you actually believe him!!??".
At 12 we drove to the Barge by the coast and loaded up onto the ferry to take us back to the main land. Transformer Belt guy there again being an idiot by having a go at Luke and Burns driving. Once on board we all sat in the shade as it as so hot and when we reached the other side we tried to change the car to 2WD as we would be driving on tarmac. We couldn't do this, we all had a go but the gear stick wouldn't budge. we Tried more in the car park as we crawled off the ferry still in 4WD and then rang the mechanic. We couldn't get through so drove a mile or so till we reached a pay phone and tried again. The woman said "Whatever you do, don't drive in 4WD on tarmac, we'll send the mechanic to you". We then rushed back to the car park so it didn't look like we drove, and then waited for the mechanic. When he arrived he fixed the gearstick in 5 seconds and we were able to follow him back to the hostel. On the way though, disaster, the exhaust blew up as we were cruising down the road. Burns pulled over and we were stuck with a dodgy car, no phone signal and towns in sight. Luckily the mechanic came back to us and he was expecting us at the junction ahead but we never arrived. He gave us his car and managed to get the dodgy one back in one piece. When back we unpacked and returned all the equipment we checked in for our room and then got some good news. Down the road there were free hot dogs and drinks for backpackers. We thought this to good to be true but it was, and we got some free hot dogs from 'Pop' and the rest of the church folk we were preaching the ways of Christ to backpackers. After our free food and drink we went back to the room, had our first shower in 3 days and then met up with the other 6 from group B and went out for dinner. 6 of us had Kebabs; the other 5 had fish and chips! Back at the hostel we had some beers and chatted and laughed at the last 3 days and all the fun things that happened. At about 11ish Helen Laura, and I went to bed as we were shattered while a few others went to the pub down the road for a final hurrah. As I was getting to sleep I started itching loads and couldn't sleep as I was being bitten loads. Turns out they were sand fly bites from Fraser and that was by far the worst nights sleep I had ever had. All in all though, the 3 days had been great and probably the best fun we have had so far on our travels.