Hervey Bay and Fraser Island- First one to spot a dingo gets an ice cream!

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September 5th 2012
Published: September 12th 2012
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Hervey bay is one gateway to Fraser Island, the other being Rainbow Beach but it seemed trips were slightly more expensive starting there so that's how we ended up in Hervey Bay for two nights. We know you didn't ask, but with a small five week tour of the East coast one may wonder how we chose our itinerary. Having stalked numerous travel blogs and photos of friends on Facebook we chose places that seemed to have significance, like this one, the worlds largest sand island. We didn't want to just go anywhere, we wanted to be somewhere of value to our memories! Arriving late we got an early night at our fantastic hostel! For once, an amazing clean huge kitchen with all appliances needed and a nice fleece blanket for sleeping!

An early morning start and we were ready to go after complimentary breakfast around 7am. We joined our boat for the crossing and made our way to the island. The boat was home to a gorgeous fluffy cat who gave Lauren much entertainment on the hour ride across. We joined the rest of our group, about forty of us in a 4WD bus, an experience in itself! We were driven through the sand having to reverse at times to get through as it was pretty tough with sand forming small dunes in the path! We were surprised how much rainforest there was here! When you think of a sand island one assumes all beach, but wrong it's actually that all the ground is sand but the trees have grown through this as though it is soil! Most of the island is rainforest spattered with lakes that are all made from rainwater and then a 74 mile beach along the coast that was fairly narrow.

We were shown around some parts of the island by our informative guide, we learnt that this was the only rainforest of this kind in the world also, we saw thousand year old trees and plants growing out of trees! We were also shown the creek which from a distance looks like there is green algae growing on top but is in fact the clearest water ever seen and is sand underneath! It has apparently undergone about three filters through sand, as again all the water on the island is from the sky! We visited more water areas, the big lake of Lake McKenzie. It was a stunning white beach with tourquoise water but too cold to swim in! We chatted with some fellow travellers taking in some sun realising we were not at sea level as you may expect with lake but actually somewhat higher.

We drove through more of the island as though on a roller coaster before stopping for a buffet lunch at the main island resorts. This was in itself strange to see as it felt like you only came on a tour and camped but some people wanted the home comfort of a room and two stores had popped up to serve the visitors with ice cream, souvenirs and coffee. We drove out onto the beach for some off roading without trees and stopped as a pilot came to offer a once in a lifetime flight. It sounded awesome as you would land and take off on the sand, a very rare thing, you would see much more of the island on the fifteen minute flight with several lakes, plus the shipwreck and over the sea. One gent was happy to pay but they needed at least two. Lauren felt really bad the guy wouldn't get to do it and after a look at Ben she shot her hand up! Now it wasn't a luxury we could really afford but could we afford to pass up this opportunity?! Ben thought so but was more tha happy for Lauren to experience it so armed with the camera Lauren left for her flight!

Riding up front was incredible in a cherokee plane seating only six people including the pilot! She saw several lakes just appear in the island amongst the rainforest plus understood how the island worked with massive sand dunes jutting out of the trees. Flying along the coast provided perfect pictures and over the ocean she was lucky enough to see manta rays and humpback whales frolicking in the sea! There was several pods with mum and calf! The landing was slightly scary as we skidded along the thin beach but such an experience! Meeting back up with Ben everyone slightly looked in awe that she had done it! Considering most of the tour were around sixty we would have thought they would have jumped at the chance and had the budget, unlike the backpackers we were!

We continued back along the beach and took in the Maheno shipwreck from the not too distant past. We saw pictures of the original shipwreck after the second world war and how much it had rusted away! It was quite incredible to be honest! From here we were allowed to cool down at the creek, a very picturesque area, where we walked up the boardwalk and walked back in the creek posing for photos! We were one of the few brave ones, but given the average age of passenger probably not surprising! Although we suffered a few insect bites for our pleasure! We got back to our hostel about 6 and thoroughly enjoyed our day out. We saw an amazing landscape and again admitted it could only be Australia! It continued to amaze us even in how little we were seeing, given that the country is the same size as Europe!

The next day we enjoyed a lie in but had a full day to fill as our coach wasn't until late that evening. We went to the beach and enjoyed a long walk looking out to distant islands and feeling the water lap at our feet that were in serious need of TLC. We returned via the supermarket after a three hour walk and cooked in the fantastic kitchen. The fajitas were a good reminder of a dinner we would often share back home and we reminisced thinking what friends and family were up to! We had caught a fair bit of sun that day so we chilled out using the Internet for the rest of the afternoon sitting by the pool a bit and then having a small dinner before our last overnight coach.

Things of note:

About 300 people are permanent residents of the island.

All people at the hostel were always up early on one of two tours, Fraser or whale humpback tour. They are currently migrating after giving birth to calves in the warmer water before going back to the Antarctic. Luckily we saw those in the Fraser trip!

There was unfortunately a beached whale at the island too that had tried to be rescued but to no such luck and was being eaten by dingos.

There were many fishermen and women at the island catching small fish, including a group of guys in top hat and tails!

Dingos here are the purest strain in all of Australia and home to around 180, we only spotted one at the last minute as we were about to board the boat home!

The most popular tours are self drive where you follow a leader in your own 4WD but the trouble our driver had we are glad we didn't do this it would have undoubtedly led to arguments when we got stuck!

What would we did differently:

Lauren definitely didn't want to camp with dingos on the loose and as that was the main other option we were glad we did the one day- we saw what we wanted, Lauren would have regretted not doing the flight!


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