Rainbow Beach and Frazer Island!!!
Friday 20th November 2009, Noosa to Rainbow Beach
Today we left Noosa at about 10am arriving in Rainbow Beach at around 12:30 pm. We had a choice of either Rainbow Beach or Harvey Bay for our choice of pre and post accommodation for Fraser Island. We chose Rainbow Beach as this was what we were advised by Peterpans as we were told that Rainbow Beach was better for young people. This was not strictly true. Rainbow Beach has a permanent population of only 1000 where as Harvey Bay is around 25,000!! This basically means that in Rainbow Beach there is not a huge amount to do. But saying all this having now driven through Harvey Bay we are actually pleased to have stayed in Rainbow Beach as it was a lot more personal and just a lovely sweet little town! And plus either way both of these towns are just a stop off point for Fraser Island.
Once in Rainbow Beach, we checked into Dingo's Backpacker Resort and then had a spot of lunch before going for a brief stroll around the town. I say brief as it's not very far at all to see it all. So we saw the shops and the beach as well as the local caravan park. This is basically it but it also plays host to 3 backpackers and 1 hotel/pub. Whilst looking at the beach we also watched some hand gliders for a while before heading back to the hostel to chill/lounge by the pool.
Our backpackers did $5 dinners every night which is a steal. It costs us much more than that to get everything for the two of us for dinner. Tonight was Burritos. Tickets go on sale at 4:30pm, I went up at 5:15pm and they had sold out!!! So because of this we were in the thinking that dinner tonight would have to be veg and noodle stir-fry. Not particularly inspiring but it would do. So we spent the rest of the afternoon by the pool before deciding at around 6pm that it was time for a beer. We were sat drinking and chatting at 7pm when the dinner was served and lucky for us there were leftovers, so this meant we got the same dinner as every one else for a fantastic $2! Result!!
Saturday 21st November 2009, Rainbow Beach
Due to our air con not working in our room, last night was a sweaty night's sleep and this also meant that we were awake a lot earlier than we would have liked. But this doesn't mean we got up any earlier!!! Everyone else in our room was going to Fraser Island so they were all up at 6am and they were all very noisy-Dam Americans!!!! But anyway once they had gone we laid in bed until about 9am and then we got up and had a leisurely breakfast and a chat with a few Irish girls who had been on Frazer Island the previous few days.
We eventually went down the beach at about 11am for a couple of hours as we had to be back at the hostel for our briefing at 2:30pm. Whilst on the beach we did the usual of lying in the sun reading our books and playing in the sea. Another place with shark nets and massive waves-fantastic fun!!! Also another place where bikini bottoms were ripped down at regular intervals by the waves!
At around 2:10pm we left the beach and headed back to our hostel for our briefing going via the bakery on the way. Sausage rolls for lunch!
Ok so Frazer Island. There are several ways of doing it but untimely either way you choose you need a 4WD Drive. You can either do a tour and stay in real accommodation or you can take your own 4WD Drive if you're lucky enough to own a jeep, or you can do what we and many people like us decided to do and go on a Self Drive Frazer Island Safari. Dingo's backpacker's runs the tour we did along with the Jeep company that rent out there vehicles. Now this may sound crazy but imagine 11 people who don't know each other in one jeep and times that by 6 so therefore you now have 66 people plonked on the biggest sand island in the world and told to fend for themselves. And they do this everyday knowing that everyone at some point will get stuck and have some sort of problem! But they also know that most people will come back raving about it!! We did!!
So the briefing was basically 2 hours of running through the Island and the next few days. We were told what to bring and what not too! We were warned that we were going to get sand everywhere even in places we didn't know existed! This was also the part where we found out that the next few days it was back to digging a hole, camping and watching out for dingo's stealing our food!!! We also had to watch a video and the dos and don'ts of Fraser Island and dingo safety. At some point in the meeting we were all but into groups of 11 people and straight away we appeared to have a pretty good group. 7 English, 1 Mexican and 3 Germans.
The briefing finished at about 4:30pm give or take because of paperwork and then it was straight to the bar to buy our tickets for dinner tonight. We had learned yesterday that to guarantee food we had to be early!!
Dinner was at 7pm and tonight it was BBQ and then we had a couple of drinks with Anne and Philippa, who were in our Fraser group, before heading off to ring Fran (terrible connection) and pack for tomorrow. Not much was needed, basically bikini, shorts and a sleeping bag for night time. We were after all heading to the biggest sand island in the world!!!
Sunday 22nd November 2009, FRASER ISLAND
Early start today. Up about 6am, showered and dressed, packed and at breakfast by 7am. Breakfast was coffee and pancakes which I thought were pretty good, Caroline wasn't that keen and then we checked out and but our bags in luggage storage by 7:30am. Must say we are getting good at these early check out's, don't like them but good at them!!! We then met everyone in the car park at 7:45am.
Now when we first arrived in Rainbow Beach we were under the impression that you got up this early because you left this early but this was not the case. Before leaving we had another 2 hour briefing including how to pack the jeep so that the weight was disrupted evenly, the food and what we had for each meal, how the vehicles worked and when to but it in 4wd drive and when not too!! It was also reassuring to find out that any damage to the vehicle was the responsibility of everyone not just the drivers! Which for us was a good as we had both put ourselves forward as drivers. I did end up driving but Caroline decided not too.
We eventually left the hostel at about 10:30am and caught the 11am ferry. Now as I have already mentioned twice so this being the 3rd time but just to reinforce Fraser Island is the biggest sand island in the world and it is also World Heritage listed. Once on Fraser we had too go straight onto the high tide road as it was high tide shortly. One of the lads was driving to start with. Straight away one of the other groups got stuck on the hill leading up too the high tide road. So everyone out to push, obviously not all 66 could push but we all helped a bit. We had come off the boat 5th in the line and it was group 4 that got stuck so once they were sorted they waited to make sure we were ok and then we did the same for group 6. It then took us about 2 hours to get too our first destination which was Eurong, a small township off the beach.
Once there every one was feeling little bit hungry so we had lunch whilst in Eurong and then made our way to Lake McKenzie. Now this was my time to drive and although everyone got stuck along the way it was great fun! The only problem was we arrived at Lake McKenzie at 3:30pm which was the time we were meant to leave. The first 2 groups were leaving as we all got there but the 4 groups that had kind of stuck together and got stuck together decided that we had to have a look and a swim. Because you can't swim in the sea on Frazer (no shark nets, stingers and major currents), this was our only opportunity to swim today. Well we walked down to the lake and as we turned the corner to view it there were just gasps of wow as we caught our first glimpse of Lake McKenzie. It was beautiful and we so wished that we had left lunch until we arrived here (dam Germans-they were the hungry ones, which turned out to be a regular thing) and also maybe wished that we had left before some of the other groups so that we didn't get stuck as much. But anyway we had a swim and a bit of a sit down before all deciding that we had better make a move to have any chance of getting to camp before sunset.
When we left (me still driving) there were just the 2 groups left so we stayed together and I believe that at no point did either of us get stuck on the way back!!! Unfortunately once we had got off the track onto the road into Eurong the sun was starting to set, by now it was about 5:30pm and all the 2 shops in Eurong were shut so therefore we were also without ice for the food, whoops!!
The next section of the drive was along the beach to camp which was great as there was lots of wet firm sand to drive on which made reaching top speed a doddle! But still we did end driving for some of it in the dark (breach of contract, but what they don't know want hurt them!) with about 4 sets of eyes looking out for all the craters in the beach with the river water from the hills running into the sea. But in the end we made it to camp and set up in the dark and then Caroline and I made dinner for everyone. Because of the ice thing we decided that it would be best to use the chicken first so we cooked chicken stir-fry with rice for tea. Washing up was done by someone else and because of the environment we were not provided with washing up liquid so all the washing up has to be done in the sea-even the plates, pots and pans can't escape the sand!!!
After dinner we all sat in a group and drank quite a lot of goon (Wine in boxes) whilst dingo spotting. We thought we had cleared away but we accidently left a bin bag out which a dingo got hold of but one of our girls did eventually manage to get it back!! There are heavy fines for leaving rubbish out and/or feeding the dingo's. The song for the night when ever we went to the toilet was something along the lines of "La La La go home dingo's, La La La, go home" shouted very loudly when ever the need to go took!! You are advised never to walk alone at night and always have a toilet buddy because of the dingo's! Thank god for sisters.
Monday 23rd November 2009, Fraser Island
Up, tents away and breakfast eaten toady by about 8am and then it was on the road (or on the beach) by about 8:30am. First stop toady was Indian Head. Now we had been told that we had too be there for around 9am and then we couldn't leave till about 2pm due to high tide.
Our group arrived just after 9am and then the next 5 hours were spend, dipping our toes in the sea (obviously no swimming), sitting in the sun and walking up Indian Head to see the view and watch the marine life from above. It was about a 20 minute walk up hill to the cliff edge and then we sat and watched for about 20 minutes seeing sharks and manta rays in the sea. We didn't see any dolphins from that point but we had seen some from the beach earlier. Once back down we all had some lunch at about 11am and then some of them walked 40 minutes to Champagne pool and 40 minutes back. We opted out of that one and instead laid in the shade talking to Anne, Philippa and 2 Irish lads.
By the time they had all got back from Champagne Pool it was nearer half past 2 so once we were all loaded in, it was in to the jeep and back along the beach. We stopped at Happy Valley on the way back to pick up some ice as we still hadn't got any. And then from there it was onto camp where we got set up in daylight!! Tonight's dinner was cooked by Lesley (the Mexican) and it was steak and salads with mushrooms!! Very nice!
Tonight all 66 people decided that partying together was a good idea!!! So in a ring we sat with a box of goon at the ready!! Another fun night!
Tuesday 24th November 2009, Fraser Island and back to Rainbow Beach.
Today we were up and packed away by about by 8am and then it was just a small half an hour drive to Lake Wabby. Lake Wabby was back in the direction of home but still a long way off the boat deck.
Once at Lake Wabby it was a 45 minute walk to the actual lake. Slight problem in this was that neither of us had any water but not wanting to miss out on the lake we tried the water out of the tap near the toilets. Now all water on the island is untreated by most of it is find. Unfortunately for us the water we found was full of chemicals and quite honestly tasted like washing up liquid, so as you can imagine we didn't drink much just enough to stop our mouths from drying out!!!
Once at the lake walking via a sand blow, which was fairly spectacular, we had a swim and decided that the water in the lake was fresh water and therefore didn't taste too bad! The lake was also home to some quite large carps which reportedly like to feed on dry skin off human bodies, we unfortunately didn't discover this too be true, there were obviously too many humans to decide between!!
Prior to walking back we disposed of our chemical water and filled up with fresh lake water, all ready too drink this until some girl pointed out that she had been told by a local that it would make you ill!! Well its catch 22, we either became dehydrated and ill like that or we drank chemical/lake water and became ill that way. Well what too do? We had a few sips on the way back but neither of us wanted to be ill so most of the bottle was thrown!! And coincidently neither of us have been poorly off it! The Lake by the way was very nice but not as good as Lake McKensie.
We arrived back at the jeep just after 10:30am and along with the rest of our group loaded back on to try and get to the boat on time!! Now between us we had all under estimated the time it was going to take. We knew that once we got to the high tide road it was about 45 minutes from there but we hadn't realized what a drive it was going to be to the high tide road. It didn't help that there wasn't any wet sand as such so it was a slow drive in thick sand. We also made the mistake of stopping at Eurlong for drinks. Basically it was a race against time and getting stuck was the last thing we needed and you guessed it, we got stuck on the slope leading from the beach on to the high tide road. Once out of that, and onto the high tide road it was a seriously bumpy ride with a few very painful looks from various people and then too top it all off the lid of one of our esky's fell off! So once that happened we knew we were never going to make the 12pm boat as we had to then stop, pick it up and re-tie the roof cover!! By now it was about 12pm and we still had a way too go!! We eventually made it on to the beach too the boat landing point at 12:20pm to discover that 3 other groups had also missed the 12pm boat-Whoops we were all a bit crap!!
We eventually made it back onto the main land just after 12:30pm and after filling up with petrol ($83 between 11 of us), we took the jeep back to get it and all our equipment checked off! Thankfully ours was perfect with no damage and we were even let off with the kitchen knife the sand had eaten!!
Once back at the hostel and re-checked in we chilled and with no desire to go any where near the beach this chilling was done around the hostel and pool!!
Food tonight was Chicken Pasta Bake and the evening was spend chatting with all the various people we had met on Fraser Island and drinking a few beers. Caroline actually went too bed at about 9pm as she was shattered where as I stayed up till closing but swiftly declined the offer to go and party on the beach!! I had just got rid of the sand accept for the sand in my ears and nose (that's still there now), why would I want to put any more near me and my drink!! Anyway a fantastic 3 days and some great people we met, but the only problem with this is that most people are going South whereas were going North so a lot of them we want see again unless there in Sydney at Christmas, which a lot of people seem to be!
Wednesday 25th November 2009, Rainbow Beach
We were up at about 9:30am and casually got dressed and went and had some breakfast. Now we were both aware of something happening toady but we were also both very relaxed about it. Today was SKYDIVING DAY!!! Throwing ourselves out of a plane at 14,000ft!!! We were due to be picked up at 12pm and really up until about 11:30am we were both fairly chilled. Just chatting to people, eating breakfast and drinking copious cans of diet coke! But from about 11:15/11:30 I couldn't sit still and we were both starting too get a little bit panicky and sweaty!!!!
The guys from the skydiving company arrived at 12pm and after signing our lives away it was into the van and off to the air strip! My guy was called Mark and Caroline's was called Rob and between them and the driver there was a continuous banter of stories and fun times with several made up or at least we hoped they were made up stories of bad things happening! I did ask my guy a) How long he'd been doing Skydiving? b) How many jumps he'd done and c) Was he having any suicidal thoughts at the moment??? Thankfully accept from a dead goldfish all was good!!!
The pilot of the plane (the plane being the smallest thing ever!!) had done his original training in Skegness, would you believe it!!!!
As I have said the skydive was from 14,000ft and believe me when I say this is a long way up!! Caroline went first and then me. It was amazing!! We both said it was the best thing we had ever done in our lives!!! Photos and DVD to prove it as well!!
On landing we had a welcome committee, as Anne and Phililppa had come to watch, which was nice.
Back at the hostel afterwards it was very hard to not then feel bored as we then couldn't find anything too do that was nearly as exciting! So the afternoon was spent around the pool before going up to The Sand Blow for sunset with Kim and Ryan (lovely couple from Fraser). The sand blow was fairly spectacular with some great views but very windy so it was back to drinking sandy goon!
Tonight's dinner was burritos and a diet coke before using the internet and having a relatively early night!!
Thursday 26th November 2009, Rainbow Beach to town of 1770
Up and checked out by 9:30am. And then it was eat, talk and sit around until 12:30pm when it was time to say goodbye to people who were going the other way and jump on the greyhound ready for our long bus ride too The Town of 1770!!
See you there xxx