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Published: February 26th 2006
Our trusty Troopies!
Travelling down from Airlie Beach to Hervey Bay - the nearest access point to Fraser Island - we stopped en route in Rockhampton ('Rockie') for a night to break up the long journey. Apparently Australias cattle capital, the route to Rockie was dotted with sightings of cattle trucks bursting at the seams with horns and tail poking out every where.
The following day, we were back on the Greyhound bus until arriving at Hervey Bay Beaches backpackers in time for our briefing from the Beaches staff.
There were 18 people booked up for the following days 3 day 2 night departure to Fraser Island with Bay 4wd Adventures, and we divided into two groups of nine, and then set about sorting the Alcohol and food shopping to see us through the next three days. Our group hit the budgeted $90 on the nose, whilst the other group over spent but also ended up with eight 4ltr boxes of horrible white wine!
We caught the ferry the following day, and switched into 4wd mode for the first leg to Central station in .. yes the centre.. of the island. This was just a quick stroll stop , and an opportunity to fill
Paradise part 2!
up our 20Litre water container that would see us through the day.
The highlight of the first day was Lake Mackenzie, a beautiful crystal clear lake with stunning white sand beaches. Sunglasses were a must when out of the water as it really was blinding to look at the sand. The lake got pretty deep very quickly, but this didn't stop Alex and Rob from our group swimming across to the other side.
I drove on the next section and this was probably the most fun drive of the whole trip. Incredibly bumpy and sandy, and almost 2 hours before we reached the beach. Rob took over here for the drive up to the Maheno shipwreck which sat forlornly on the waters edge, a relic from before the war, and which had then been used for bombing practice by the airforce.
Our camp for the night was at Beaches Base Camp, a permanent site providing hot showers and sheltered cooking facilities. The tents were a bit cramped but most importantly, neither myself, Lin or the other three girls in our tent were snorers!
Down on the beach for late night drinks we saw a dingo running across the sand
Fraser Island M1
Is it a beach? no its a road..no its a runway!
dune. We'd been warned about these vicious creatures and told to stay well clear, but he was more afraid of our group and ran off.
Our second day started with Lin at the wheel and judging by the smile she was really enjoying the driving.. at least until the truck got bogged down in heavy sand after we'd left the beach. After a few failed attempts at driving / digging it out we then let the tyre pressure down and with lots of pushing managed to get clear. Up the road was a small lake where we clapped our hands under water, and this resulted in about ten little turtles swimming over to say hello. very Cute..
Lin then drove us up the beach to the Champagne pools, natural rock formations next to the sea which filled up with water when the tide came in. As the waves crashed against the outer rocks, sprays of water flew up crashing into the pools creating a bubbly 'Champagne' effect.
After a picnic lunch we then climbed up Indian head, a good view point to see up and down the coast and look for sea creatures but also the eastern most point in Australia.
We left Indian head as soon as we could but had to wait for the tide to recede before it was safe to drive on the beach. Carolyn drove which was 'interesting' and prompted a few shrieks and cries of Slow Down!
After a quick refreshment stop at Base Camp, we drove down to Eli creek. Expecting to be able to float down the creek out to the sea, it was only about 10 inches deep so it was more of a commando crawl out to the beach. Great fun though, but Alex was never going to reach the sea!
Alex our resident 6'3" model had decided that we should have Pizza for our second night. Somehow this was acheived using only Basecamps gas powered BBQ! Slightly crispy but tasty all the same.
Our third day, we drove down to Happy Valley to top the tires up with air, then carried on down the beach, managing to over shoot by about 20kms! Doubling back we found the turn off to Dilli village and a nearby lake. This was no great shakes so we drove on to Lake Birrabeem which was just as stunning as Lake Mackenzie. This time I joined Alex and Rob and swam to the other side. This took about an hour and I was knackered!.. the current making the task seem never ending. From here we had a quick lunch stop before meeting the ferry for the trip back to Hervey Bay. Luckily we'd only managed to lose one knife so our deposit was safe.
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