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My Fraser Island Adventure – Driving, Dingoes, Dunes and Downpours!

by Jane McLellan

Fraser Island is such an extraordinary place and I loved my trip there!  If you go along the southern coast of Queensland you just have to make time to stop off for a visit.  The island is the largest sand island in the world and has amazing beaches, but also over a hundred freshwater lakes as well as ancient rainforests.  It’s a unique combination and one I haven’t seen anywhere else.  It was the best part of my East Coast adventure and something you should definitely try! My friend Kate and I booked a three-day excursion, but first we had to make our way down to Rainbow Beach, which is the closest access point to Fraser Island. It’s a lovely rural seaside town and had everything we needed to prepare for our Fraser trip.  By now I was really excited and couldn’t wait to get over there!

The evening before our tour started, we attended an information meeting in which we were warned of the dangers of sharks, dingoes and driving on the beaches. Then we were split into groups with about ten people in each group. Everyone was really warm and friendly and we were all excited about driving our 4WD and exploring the beautiful island. After the meeting we went shopping to get important supplies, like food and, of course, an essential stash of beers. In the morning I made the most out of my long hot shower, because I knew it would be my last for the next three days in the Bush. After a quick breakfast we loaded our jeep and drove to the ferry.  I couldn’t wait for my exciting island adventure!

Fraser Island is spectacular. There are endless white sandy beaches, lush, pristine rainforest and beautifully calm freshwater lakes. It’s totally gorgeous and one of my favourite places in Australia. It was so exhilarating driving on the beaches. We took it in turns and it was so much fun!  We had to be careful as you can only drive on the beach at certain times of the day due to the tides, but we quickly found an inland road and explored the middle of the island. Despite the incredible sites, the roads leave much to be desired but we didn’t let that put us off – I was there listening to music, grinning and holding on tight whilst trying to avoid banging my head on the roof.

After a rather bumpy introduction to the island, we spent our first night on a coastal headland called Indian Head. It’s wild and exceptionally beautiful. We put our tents up and collected firewood to start up a campfire, toasting marshmallows and eating hotdogs. The sky was clear and we gazed at thousands of twinkling stars whilst sharing our travel stories with new friends.

Our peaceful night was soon interrupted by a pack of dingoes outside our tent howling away. It was a little intimidating, but I had seen a few earlier in the day and they looked really cute, like a cross between a dog and a fox, so I wasn’t too worried. Anyway, I soon fell asleep to the sound of the ocean waves rolling over the shore.

The next day, our first activity was to swim in the beautiful and refreshing Champagne Pools. After splashing around in these azure-blue rock pools, we jumped back into the jeep and drove to Lake MacKenzie. We found a great spot to pitch our tent, near some picnic tables, and spent the afternoon chilling out by the lake. Lake MacKenzie is stunning. Surrounded by trees, the lake is crystal-clear and is a beautiful turquoise colour. We swam in the lake and played frisbee in the water with lots of other travellers, which made it a really fun and sociable way to spend the day.  In the evening we all gathered around the campfire again and shared some delicious tuna pasta, played cards and a few drinking games. It was an unforgettable day.

On day three, instead of dingoes this time, we woke up to much worse – rain! It made taking down the tents slippy and difficult and we got absolutely caked in mud. Fortunately, Australia doesn’t disappoint when it comes to sun, and it cleared up in no time. After our drizzly morning, we went to Lake Walby, which is surrounded by steep, rolling sand dunes. We stripped off and rolled down the dunes in our bikinis to the sound of our screams into the refreshing water. It was great swimming around and just taking it easy, but all too soon, it was time to get back on the ferry.

Back at the hostel I enjoyed a luxuriously long, hot shower. Our group then went out to dinner and we spent the entire night laughing and reminiscing about all the incredible experiences we’d just shared… I’m already wondering when I can plan my next visit there!

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