After a rainy few days the week before, our time on the East Coast was starting to look up. After a fun day in Noosa playing the waves and watching Dog Surfing Competitions, we used our last few hours in Noosa to simply chill. We checked out and I spent some quality time on the wifi uploading blog posts and instgrams whilst the weather went from sun to tropical rain storms every half hour. At 1.30pm we were picked up by our Loka bus and taken to Rainbow Beach, the opening to Fraser Island.
We were dropped off around 3.30pm and made preparations for our departure to Fraser the next morning. We had to attend a safety briefing where we were told the dangers of dingos on the island and how to best drive our 4WDs on the beach and on the inland trails. We were also split off into cars and myself, Iona, Sian and Cedric were paired with three girls from America, Brie, Courtney and Sarah and another British Girl, Robyn. Me, Iona and Sian were the designated drivers and we were all excited by the prospect of driving on the island, as well as a little nervous about being responsible for so many people!
Me and Iona skipped the $7 spag bol to make pesto pasta which was delicious. We headed to the bar for a few drinks but headed to bed early to be right and ready for our adventure the next day!
Monday was an early start but so worth it. We picked up our 4WDs and packed them up with our bags, goon and food for the next few days. Iona started off the driving and we headed off to the ferry across to the island. From here we drove around 50k along the beach to our first stop, Lake Birrabean. This is the sister lake to Lake Mackenzie and was a beautiful first stop. We had a cheeky swim and lunch at this stop and then moved on to Lake Mackenzie. It was also my turn to drive and my first time off roading . I found it great fun though and loved all the bumps and potholes. I don't think those in the back of the car appreciated it quite as much as I did though!
Lake Mackenzie was absolutely stunning and I loved our time there. The beach is made out of silicon which is great for your skin, hair and for cleaning your jewellery. It also makes the water beautifully clear and was by far the prettiest lake I've ever seen. It was also great to be in a Freshwater Lake and it not worry about jellyfish or other Aussie creatures. I then drove us back up to our camp ground for the night, a campsite on aboriginal ground which meant we couldn't whistle as this was meant to provoke a fearsome bird, or spit in the fire, which was said to mean you were challenging the tribe.
That evening we cooked stir fry noodles in our little campsite and played some drinking games to get to know some of the group better.
The next morning we were up and ready to leave at 9am, our first stop, the Champagne Pools. These were situated at the top of the island and Sian drove us along the beach. These rock pools were given their name as when water breaks over the outer rocks it looks like Champagne. We swam in these pools for a while before a storm came overhead and there was a mass exodus from the beach. We sheltered behind some rocks and came very close to a Taipan, one of the deadliest snakes in the world, for a deadly snake though, it was quite small and cute!!
Next we headed to Indian head, a lookout stop that also has a sad past. When Captain Cook first stopped the island and this headland he saw people who he believed to be Indians which coined the name. When the island was later colonised by white people, the native aboriginals of the island were massacred here, some shot and other thrown off the cliffs. For such a stunning headland with views of the 74 mile beach and the ocean, it has a tainted past.
After this we headed back to the campsite for lunch and then continued driving. We went back into the bush and headed to a Eucalyptus Lake, which was yellow in colour due to the oil. This water was really good for you though and although it was murkier and colder, we still enjoyed the little dip.
That evening, we made a BBQ and listened to one of our tour guides play a few songs around the campfire. Of course, Wonderwall was played. We later attempted to head down to the beach armed with our dingo stick. As we walked out of the dingo safe campsite and down the road we quickly came face to face with a dingo. Half of the group bailed whilst the rest of us banged our dingo sticks to gain authority. When we finally got to the beach and were settled, a quick flash of the torch reflected the same dingo, even closer than before checking us out. We didn't turn our torches off after that. The starts however were amazing and you could clearly see the Milky Way.
On our last day at Fraser Island we woke up even earlier and headed to the Shipwreck that dominated the skyline on one part of the island. It was an old hospital ship, and was being transported to Japan to be scrapped when it got abandoned in a storm. It was left on the island to slowly sink into the sand and now over half of the ship is buried. They say that if you were to go below deck and below the sand, you would still be able to see everything, how crazy!
We then drove to the largest Freshwater Creek on the island and tubed down it. It was a relaxing stream which we made more exciting by trying different tactics to race each other down. We also tried to create a long snake of tubes. This just led to me being whacked into the bank.
We also met a friend again at this spot who was travelling a little behind us. It's crazy how many people we've kept on bumping into during the trip! After a quick lunch I drove us back to the ferry. This was a long drive and featured the larger part of the 74 mile beach. After around an hour of driving we made it to the ferry and back to the mainland.
This trip was amazing and a great escape from the city and touristy areas. We were camping with no sleeping bag, cooking in a rustic kitchen and living outside, a great change on the trip so far. I've loved camping since I was a child and always feel totally in my element!
I also loved driving again and it made me so much confident in my driving ability. Back at the hostel we had burritos for dinner and relaxed for the evening with a couple of beers and ciders.
The next morning we left Rainbow Beach super early however it was worth it! We headed to Tin Can Bay and fed wild dolphins. Back in the 1950s a dolphin was injured a cared back to health by the locals. Since his recovery he kept returning to the Bay every morning for a small feed. Now his grand-daughter, Mystique, comes every morning with a friend. The locals volunteer and for $5 they'll give you a fish to feed to the dolphins. They're keen to keep them wild and therefore limit their human interaction and don't allow you to touch them.
When it came to my turn I managed to drop the first fish I was given which was quickly snapped up by Mystique. The kind lady allowed me another go though and this time I held onto the fish! It was amazing to be so close to these beautiful wild animals and to get such a close encounter without harming these amazing creatures.
The excitement was over after this and we headed onboard a train to Rockhampton. This was a long journey and we arrived in Emu Park in the evening. We stayed in hotel style accommodation and were treated to no bunk beds! That evening we had curry at the hostel and drank goon in the park over the road, getting to know our new tour guide and a little more about each other.
The next day we chilled out. We swam in the pool, walked into the small town for Breakfast and Lunch and watched movies. It was the perfect rest day as we prepared for our overnight train journey to Airlie Beach.
This was a rough journey. We all had an uncomfortable nights sleep and arrived in Airlie Beach at 6am tired and grumpy. Our tour guide, Josh or Fordy as others knew him as, took us to a spot for breakfast. By 9am we were at the lagoon and it was refreshing after being cramped up for ages. Once you hit Airlie the water isn't safe to swim in as there are deadly stingers in the waters. If you do want to swim you need to wear a stinger suit. Therefore the town provides a free swimming pool for the community, At 11am we checked into our boats for the next day and by 1pm we could thankfully check into our rooms. We slept for the majority of the afternoon and then headed over to Boatys for dinner and some drinks with our tour guide, since it was a Saturday and also St. Paddys day the town was busy and we headed to the hostel bar which was popular with the town. I watched my first slime wrestling competition and we scored a few free drinks out of Fordy. The night was going well until we were turned down from free entry at the nightclub Boom and instead went to the club next door which was free. It was so quiet here it ended the night for me and I returned to the hostel to sleep and get ready to sail the Whitsundays the next t day.
This was a jam packed week and the best of the trip. It felt like we did do much and travelled to some amazing destinations. Fraser Island was a highlight of the trip and I was also so excited to finally visit the Whitsundays. Let's see if the next week can beat the last!!