Battling storms and sands on Fraser Island

We woke on the Monday morning to start our 3 day 2 night trip to Fraser Island, to the most torrential rain. Even the shortest walk from our dorm to the shower got me soaking wet. This could be interesting.
At 7am our group of 34 all huddled together out of the rain to meet our tour guide Brett who gave us a little pep talk about how it was going to rain all day, we would get very wet and we were going to enjoy it anyway. It would have been nicer to wake up to the sun shining, but I guess that would be boring and I didn’t pay to go on this trip to sit in the shelter sulking. So we had to just embrace it.
The trip was with Pippies Beach house and is a 4×4 tag-along tour, meaning Brett drove the lead vehicle and everyone in the three following cars swapped drivers regularly. We were in the first car with Brett and not the most lively eight other backpackers.
Fraser is the largest sand island in the world so a lot of the trip was spent battling our way over the beach, probably some of the best bits of the trip were looking out at the scenery from the cars and trying to spot dingos. Dingos are a protected animal in Fraser and can be dangerous so you’re warned to keep away. Not a problem for me, just looks like one of the foxes near my old flat in London.

The first stop was Lake Mckenzie, a beautiful massive lake with silica sand and incredibly clear water. Even in the pissing down rain it was lovely. Much to the enjoyment of everyone else, one of the Swedish genuinely had her umbrella up whilst standing in the rain….quite the ironic image! After a lunch break of ham wraps, we went for a little stroll around the rainforest and Brett told us stories of the island and the Butchella (local aboriginals on the island). After another drive across the beach we went to the Maheno shipwreck for a lot of jumping photos and trying hard to keep warm. The shipwreck has been there since 1935 after 30 years of service in the war and as a cruise liner.

stormy times at lake Mckenzie
clear stream over sandy ground in the middle of a rainforest

do we look cold?

 

all those years at dance school coming in handy

After finally succumbing to the wet and cold conditions, we were back in the cars to the campsite. The rain had made the tracks pretty muddy and hard to drive. One girl nearly managed to turn her car after trying to fight through the mud as we all looked on in horror. Safe to say, she didn’t drive the car again after that! Back in the campsite and the drama continued as we arrived to find the roof of the kitchen had completely collapsed in. Brett had spent the last few days working on the campsite, so this put him in a pretty foul mood as he tried to do a botch job and make the roof stay up. It was actually a really nice campsite and the tents were on a floor and under a canopy so despite all the rain, managed to stay completely dry. The hardest bit was the five minute walk to the shower through deep mud. I think we came back from our shower dirtier then when we went in. The French boys volunteered to cook us all a lovely BBQ dinner while we all had some beers, played card games and got to know each other. Just a shame that no matter how many clothes we put on, we just couldn’t warm up so everyone retired to bed pretty early.

  
As we lay in the tent the next morning listening to the rain, me and Steph were not too happy. Wasn’t until we bothered to leave the tent and saw the sun and a running tap we were buzzing for the day ahead. Finally sun!!! After another muddy walk up to the shower we were off for the day. We started at the champagne pools which is a little area where the ocean fills a hole created by the locals back in the day to catch fish. Today it’s just a lovely spot to be able to go in the water as your not allowed in the sea in Fraser anywhere else due to the strong current and sharks. We spent our time clamouring on rocks and spotting crabs and jellyfish. Next stop was a climb up some rocks to the top of a cliff to look over the beautiful island and listen to Brett tell us some more stories of the island. After a pit stop back at camp and more ham wraps for lunch, we headed to a little stream which I cannot remember the name of. We went for a gentle ride down stream in some rubber rings then spent some time playing games with everyone and having a little sunbathe. Last stop of the day was to a tea tree lake, which was lovely once you got over the brown tea colour and frothing. I spent a good twenty minutes splashing my face with it trying to heal my skin and get rid of my spots. It didn’t work.

experienced just a few brake downs on the trip
Champagne Pools

steph and her new crabby friend
that is a small jellyfish on my shoulder

tubing
mmmm tea

Back to the campsite for a spaghetti bolognaise dinner and more drinking. Throughout the whole trip there was a bit of a food war going on, with every group thinking the other groups were eating too much and not leaving enough for everyone. I didn’t manage to have breakfast once as it was gone as soon as it was put out. Everyone was in high spirits as there was no rain, so much more partying for our second night. We went for a walk down to the beach, with our dingo sticks in tow just in case any decided to attack us, and spent some time lying on the sand staring at the stars. I’ve never seen such a beautiful starry sky before it so many stars at once. Unfortunately I have no photo evidence but it was the most incredible sight, and I even saw three shooting stars.

For our final day we packed up our stuff and headed back on the road, or more accurately the beach. Finally it was Steph’s turn to drive, god help us all! In fairness she had one of the toughest drives of the trip so far as it was through lots of soft sand and a stream. There were some very nervous passengers! Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to drive as my licence is still on its way from England. We went for a little walk through the rainforest to some amazing sand dunes and yet another lake. Steph went for a roll down one of the sand dunes, but I didn’t fancy picking sand out of my teeth and hair for the next few days so just her to it. After another lunch of ham wraps we headed back on the ferry to Rainbow Beach. I don’t want to see a ham wrap for a long time.

 

watch out steph is at the wheel

  

filling it up. petrol is so cheap over here!

Back in rainbow the weather took a turn for the worse so our one full day in rainbow beach was primarily spent on wifi in the hostel and playing with their cat.

 

captain Pippy

 

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