My first day in Rainbow Beach was not so great. After another long bus journey I arrived to heavy rain which lasted all day. Even though it was raining I still did my usual thing of getting lost and exploring my new surroundings but there wasn’t much to see, just a parade of shops and about 3 hostels and a beach. I then spent the rest of the day watching movies in my hostel, Pippies.
The following day was much better, the sun was out and I went for a morning jog along the beautiful coastline then sunbathed on the beach before my 2pm meeting to discuss my camping trip;
3 days and 2 nights on the worlds largest sand island – Fraser Island.
The meeting was to advise us of the dangerous animals, especially Dingos and how to drive on the island. We were then split into 4 groups of 8 and these people would be who I would be sharing the 4×4 and cooking with. I was very fortunate to be put in a great group, 5 lads from Belgium and Germany and 2 girls from England. After the meeting we set off in our groups to do our food & alcohol shopping for the 3 day trip. We spent $26 each which provided us with breakfast, lunch, dinner & snacks and luckily we bought just enough to last us.
The next morning we all gathered around our cars for a few final tips and then we made our way to the ferry to take us across to Fraser Island. Once on Fraser Island the fun began immediately. Always following the lead vehicle driven by our guide Brett, the first driver of our car, Benni, raced us along the long stretch of sand dodging waves and rocks. We then swapped drivers twice whilst driving inland up and down sandy tracks surrounded by forrest. The forrest was amazing, especially when you remember that there is no soil on the island at all, just pure sand. After a few hours of crazy bumpy driving we arrived at Lake Mackenzie.
Lake Mackenzie, originally named Booroongora, is a huge lake made of pure fresh rainwater. The sun was blazing and so it was a welcome relief to jump into the fresh clean pure water. We spent a few hours here before it was my time to drive! I was nervous to begin with, as I haven’t driven for a few months, it was an automatic which I had never driven before and I was going to be driving on sand. Once I got going though, it was so much fun and easier than I thought.
Heading further north after some lunch we stopped at the shipwreck S.S Maheno. The Maheno was a luxury passenger ship and also used as a medical ship in World War I. The shipwreck will stay in the same spot until nature takes it away.
Another driver took to the wheel and we headed for camp. Pippies Tag Along Tours have a campsite permenantly set up and so all we had to do was choose a tent, crack open a beer and start cooking dinner. Our group had decided on bbq for the first night and so we had a lovely feast of meats and salad. After food, the alcohol took control and we all started chatting easily and then started playing drinking games and ended the night dancing around the campsite.
The next day my group were severly hungover but luckily we knew we were in the tour guides car that day so we didn’t have to drive. Instead we were able to relax and enjoy the day. First stop was the Champagne Pools, this is actually the sea but rocks are placed in a way that the waves crash over them and then the sea water forms lots of little bubbles, hence the name Champagne Pools. After a nice refreshing swim we then headed for Indian Head. This is a huge cliff face where the original natives of the island spotted Captain Cooks ship approaching the island. We sat on top of the cliff for a while watching Mantaray and Turtles gliding through the waters below us.
After a spot of lunch it was on to Eli Creek. Eli Creek is a flow of fresh water on the beach pushed out by natural springs further in the island. The power of the springs pushing the water out creates a natural flow which enables you to slowly float down the shallow creek. Our tour guide provided us with rubber rings which added to the fun.
Another night was spent in camp (after sandboarding down the sand dunes) eating and chatting and I also had an encounter with a Dingo! We had seen a Dingo in camp the night before but it just looked at us and walked away. This time I was coming out of the shower block alone when the Dingo came out of the bushes and started walking towards me. I doubt it would have done me any harm but it was not worth the risk. I calmly shouted back to the girls in the showers to open the door quick and I slowly walked backwards into the block. I waited 5 minutes and then we all walked out together, by this time the Dingo had moved on. Phew!
The last day on the island was spent at Lake Wabby, a lake formed in the sand dunes. It was once one big lake, but over years more sand dunes have formed, creating smaller seperate lakes. Again this was fresh water and after a long, hot, tiring 40 minute walk into the island and across sand dunes it was a beautiful welcoming lake. A lovely end to such a great weekend.
Our tour guide Brett was brilliant, so knowledgable, passionate, relaxed and good fun, I would definately recommed this tour to anyone travelling the East Coast.
So much fun and so much beauty on one island where nature is your playground.