Published: January 18th 2010January 17th 2010
16 January 2010 - 18 January 2010
Airlie Beach to Hervey Bay by bus (13hr 25m)--A$178 (we booked a Cairns - Melbourne hop on hop off pass for A$393)
Double, fan, shared bathroom--A$50
Nice, small and friendly place, not far from town. Toilets are a bit of a trek from the cheapo double rooms.
Fraser Island one-day safari with Fraser Explorer--A$159 Recommended
Extra's: A$70 for a short plane ride around Fraser Island! Recommended!!
Leaving Airlie Beach at 8:30pm the previous night, we were in for a long one with a 13 hour plus bus journey. It went by with no drama's (we're not in Indonesia now!) but sleep wasn't easy.
We arrived into Hervey Bay at 9:25am and set off to our hostel for a short nap.
Hervey Bay isn't big (well, the beach area isn't) but it's quiet, and very Australian. It made a nice change from Airlie and we what more they actually had a HUGE beach! A dip in the amazingly shallow angled sea was well-earned and without a stinger suit! FREEDOM!! With a few cute cafe's, there wasn't really that much to do here, but it's
a nice town.
The following day we headed out on our one-day tour of Fraser Island. A half-hour bus journey to the ferry took 30 minutes and the ferry took about an hour. Once on Fraser Island, we boarded our 4WD coach. Yes, a coach, complete with huge off-road tyres, jacked up suspension and a fun ride!
Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world, and even though it is pretty much pure sand, the island is covered in thick forest. We headed through this forest, bouncing along, to the gorgeous McKenzie Lake, a huge freshwater lake. Although there were loads of people there it was still absolutely breathtaking.
An hours dip in the refreshing lake we then headed over for lunch at Eurango Resort on the East coast. After lunch and the real fun began as just next to it is a 75-mile stretch of white sand beach....and it is known as Fraser's super highway, where the speed limit is 80km/h! The coach did just that as we powered next to the impressive surf of 75-Mile Beach. Sadly this beach is non-swimmable and as our guide explained if you don't get caught out by the
rip then you'll get caught out by the numerous jelly-fish (some the size of a coffee table!). If you don't get caught by them then you'll most definitely get chewed on by sharks....and this beach has all the deadly ones: Tiger's, Bulls, Hammerheads...and in winter the Great White!!
Driving down the beach we stopped at a creek called Eli Creek. Here we had an option to buy a scenic flight on a tiny plane. We jumped at the chance for A$70! And would you have it, our pilot was Tiger Woods himself...so this is where he's been hiding. We got the plane to ourselves and took off from the beach (or superhighway) itself and flew around for 15 minutes whilst Tiger (that was actually his name also!) gave us a guided tour of the skies over Fraser Island. The short trip was the trip of a lifetime and was fully worth it. It was our first time in a light aircraft and it was a great one!
After that little extra we then headed to the Maheno shipwreck, a huge ship that was wrecked 75 years ago! This ship is actually mostly covered by the sand and has
still survived, even after being used for bombing practice by the air force! After this was a quick visit to the Coloured Sands, a rock / sand formation with apparently 79 different shades of colour! We could only make out no more than 10! The most interesting thing about this though was how the Aboriginals believed it was formed in one of their "Dreamtime" stories. A bad guy (name forgotten) had stolen a woman (name also forgotten...sorry!) from her family to be his wife. She tried to run away and when the guy noticed this he decided to to go after her with his killer boomerang. She was sat there admiring a rainbow and as he threw his boomerang to kill her the rainbow collapsed, stopping the boomerang in it's path and killing the guy. The rainbow fell into the sand, thus creating the Coloured Sands.
Dreamtime stories are great (sadly our version isn't as great as the way our guide told it to us!) and the one of how Fraser Island was formed is a great one:
The great god (Beeral) sent his messenger to create a new land. With the help of a white spirit they set
about creating this land, however, ran into problems when the white spirit wanted to stay. The only way she could stay was to cease being a spirit and become something else for eternity. The messenger Yindingie turned her into an idyllic island. The lakes became her eyes so she could look up into the skies and see her spirit friends, and he put birds, animals and people on the island to keep her company. The island was called K'gari, which means Paradise. And that's exactly what this island is!
We then headed back to the ferry pier on the other side of the island, bombing it down the superhighway of sand, and then over the bumpy jungle tracks of this wild island! Our guide / bus driver was great, a typical smart-mouthed Aussie...he was actually very informative!!
So that was Fraser Island. A lot of people do it either on a self-drive trip or a multiple day tour, but we have a schedule to keep so we had to make do with a day. But no doubt the light plane was the best part of it!!
Next we head to Queensland's capital, Brisbane for a few days....
There are more photos below