So we arrived at Rainbow Beach on Friday 21st March. This is the resort you're based at for the trip to Fraser Island, the worlds largest sand island. Once at the hostel we met the people who we'd be driving/camping with on Fraser. In this respect it was pretty good, and it only got better when we were in the supermarket buying our food for the trip, when one of our party revealed himself to be a chef! Result!
So the following morning we started loading up the 4x4 with our supplies and after we'd planned our itinerary and a quick briefing for the drivers on how best to drive on sand, we were off. After the 10 minute ferry ride onto the island we drove to our first stop off point, Lake Wabby. This was a secluded lake with huge steep sand dunes rolling down to the water. So steep you could ride a body board down them into the water. We ran up to the top of the dune (the most exercise we'd done in about 2 months, it almost killed us) and you could have been in a desert, just mounds and mounds of pure sand dunes. Absolutely incredible. Unfortunately we had to leave (as you're only allowed to drive on the beach between certain times due to the tide) and we parked up for the night just off the beach behind a sand dune. Our resident chef cooked us up some delicious spaghetti bolognese and then we were joined by a few more 4x4s. After dinner it was drinking on the beach gazing up at the million and millions of stars. I have never seen so many, it was incredible, literally millions. I don't know what it is, must be something to do with the hemispheres and the lack of light pollution but seriously, it was an awesome sight.
After I'd calmed down about the stars and we'd awoken the next day we packed up and left for our second stint of beach driving. It was here that we passed the Maheno shipwreck. The name gives it away but its a skeleton of an old liner that was being towed to Japan for scrap but during a storm in 1935 was wrecked on the shore, where its stayed ever since. It was pretty cool.
Next stop was inland, Lake McKenzie. This was incredible, the clearest water we'd seen up till then. The silica sand was so soft you can clean jewelery with it and its meant to be good for exfoliating, a theory we obviously tested! For the first 10 meters into the lake there's this crystal clear water then suddenly the lake bed just drops and the water plunges into darkness. Brilliant.
That night we were due to stay at an Aboriginal camp, yet when we arrived it seemed to be deserted, not a soul in sight, or so we thought...After about half an hour and some of the girls starting to get slightly freaked out this Aboriginal guy wanders over, this was Nick. Bit of an ordinary name I thought, but not to dwell on his lack of an exotic name we fired up the barbecue and Martin our chef hand made burgers. The food was beginning to be as much of a highlight as the scenery. We spent the night round the camp fire. Cracking.
The next day I was driving, which was pretty good fun. We kept heading north until we reached Indian Headland, which was a overhanging cliff where you could see for miles down the coast. The photos from here were absolute postcards. We started heading south on our way back to the ferry pick-up but on the way we spotted a couple of wild dingos who posed very kindly for a photo.
So once we were back on mainland we had a night hanging out at the hostel then the following morning we had to drive back down to Brisbane to drop off the camper, such a hassle. But Martin and his girlfriend Natalie caught a ride with us so we kind of felt like good helping out other travelers in need! That afternoon we dropped off the camper, our experience only heightening our anticipation for New Zealand where we had booked a similar camper for the whole 3 and a half weeks.
Once is Brisbane we caught the bus back to Rainbow beach. Ridiculous. However our Greyhound bus from Rainbow to Airlie Beach didn't leave till the following morning so thinking with our wallets we pitched our trusty tent in the darkness on a patch of grass across from the hostels. Good plan we thought. Hmm, come 5:30am we were being rudely awoke by a warden shouting at us to “Pack up or I'll fine ya a hundred and fifty bucks! Bloody backpackers!” After a few expletives under our breath and a vain attempt at reconciliation, which only seemed to rile her further, we arose from our 5 hours sleep and preceded to pack our tent away in the dark. This was a low point.
So for the rest of the morning we were just sat waiting for our coach. At 12.30 pm we left Rainbow, not to arrive in Airlie till 6:30 the following morning. Ouch
james and mark