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Published: January 22nd 2016
It's an early start and we check out of our apartment at Noosaville and take our luggage to be left at the Sheraton Hotel at Noosa Heads where will check in again in a couple of days. In the meantime we throw our small back pack on and make our way to meet our tour group for Fraser Island. There they are five youngsters, none of them older than 33. Instantly I feel old but young at heart. They too have clearly clocked our age and gallantly offer us the front seats instead of the bench like seats in the back. There are some advantages of being the mature ones I think until I realise there is one adult seat and one child seat which together we call the cuddle seat. Then running along late is another older couple, an Australian man with a Spanish lady who each live in their respective countries, now that is some long distance relationship! The youngsters include Hans the German ( real name Philip but easier for Martin to remember), Racer
( From Switzerland, Italian side), two other Switz girls from the French side and Nicola from London. Finally there is Wayne the driver who has cigarette burns in his fleece jumper a missing front tooth but is jolly enough and the ages balance out.
The tours starts with a bit of a worry when the 4x4 fills with smoke and we all have to stop and get out. Bizarrely nothing wrong is found and after 10 mins or so we get back in and get on our way.
Fraser Island is the largest sandbank island in the world and is a world heritage site with only two sister hotel resorts but a number of Eco camping facilities. We drive off the Ferry which only had two vehicles on and wow, the beautiful yellow sandy beach with its white water waves goes on for mile upon upon mile with no hotels in sight. The beach is called 75 mile beach for the obvious reason and it is simply on a scale of size and lack of development that we have never seen before. Apart from the peppering of other 4 wheel drive vehicles, this beautiful beach is almost deserted.
Then out of the blue a lone walker is hitching a ride. Are you mad we ask as we pick him up to find out that he has already been walking two and a half hours. Apparently so according to the driver, this is Dingo native territory and advice is to stay together in groups. If you are threatened with a dingo, stand tall, kick sand in it's face and shout for help. Clearly not much chance of this hitchhiker getting heard but we drop him off to a break in the bush and he takes himself off to some camp site beyond and presumably the safety of other campers.
The warnings of Dingos starts a chain of other warnings from Wayne. Don't go in the sea - the currents are unpredictable, the box jelly fish can kill you, it's breeding ground for bull nosed sharks, mind the funnel web spiders and I am starting to get uncomfortable.
Apparently the safest places for swimming are the numerous freshwater lakes and we were due
to go swimming but it has been raining and no one is in the mood. So instead we make our way to a viewing point of Lake Wabby. Wayne turns into one of the gaps in the bush and we experience the fun but discomfort of true 4 wheel drive territory - no wonder there is a hand rail over the dashboard. The views of Lake Wabby are stunning and after the customary photos we make our way to see a 'sandblow'. These are where the sand finds a gap in the coastal bush through which the winds drive the sand, engulfs the vegetation and creates almost an inland beach.
Fascinating but we are tired and all I want now is to sit in a bar with a nice glass of cold wine. We find out that we are the only two of the group staying in the hotel - all of the others were planning to camp! Now I am not averse to a little camping, I have after all camped at the New
Forest to test my resilience for the the music festival Rewind with friends and we have camped with Kyle and Tyler in Newquay when my sister Karen ran out of beds. I have however also watched 'I'm a celebrity get me out of here' and always known that I wanted the Ant n Dec jungle experience not the contestant experience. As it happens the tour company have cancelled the canvas camping arrangement because of the rain and have provided the others with a lodge facility instead. Even so I feel truly grateful for the sight of a hotel complex complete with 2 pools, numerous bars, 4 restaurants and air-conditioned rooms.
We quickly dump our bag and head out to explore the complex. The rain has stopped and the temperature is just right. First stop, poolside bar and a glass of wine before we make our way down to the jetty for the mandatory fish spotting session. Martin is grumbling because he has left his rod at the Sheraton, ironically thinking it would be too awkward to bring along despite it's 10 000 mile journey to date. We do however get to see a rainbow and muse about a pot
of gold that would let us live like this forever.
We get back to our room and I check my phone, it's a message from Jane, her daughter Chloe is pregnant and there is the baby scan. It's wonderful news I say to Martin as I show him the picture and prepare a congratulation message for Chloe and Craig. Tell Jane, it looks just like her he says, cute!
We book a ranger-guided night walk and meet after dinner to look for the sights and sounds of nocturnal wildlife. We leave the hotel in a group and I am in my flip flops. We have only gone about 100 meters and I scream, something just ran over my foot. Quick as a flash the ranger hunts for the offending culprit and find a small yellow frog. It was tiny but the ranger was very excited as apparently they
are not easy to find. The ranger's tool is a bright LED torch and he shows us how to spot spiders eyes - sure enough they shine in the dark like emeralds. The same applies to snakes and dingos although we fail to spot any we do however find bats, birds nesting in trees, spot sting rays, barramundi, barracuda and squid and Martin is planning to buy his own torch! It's been a long tiring day and we fall into bed exhausted about 10pm.
More photos below.
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