It’d been over 10 years since we have been final on Fraser Island so when Fraser Explorer Excursions invited us over to expertise their 2-day journey tour we didn’t hesitate. We have been curious to see how a lot the worlds largest sand island had modified in a decade, what affect tourism had had and simply how a lot of the pure heritage web site may very well be explored in 2 days. In the event you’re pondering of together with Fraser Island in your Australian itinerary we’ve got loads of tricks to share.
Fraser Island is the worlds largest sand island and seems on the UNESCO World Heritage checklist as a spot of pure scenic magnificence, your complete island plus a few smaller islands offshore are recognised for his or her important ecological, geological and hydrological worth.
Sand islands kind over a whole bunch of 1000’s of years because the wind and currents carry sand from distant locations and deposit them. Within the case of Fraser Island that sand comes largely from northern and central New South Wales and as distant as South Australia.
Southeast Queensland is residence to the Four largest sand islands on the earth, after Fraser Island comes Stradbroke Island, Morton Island and Bribie Island. We’ve visited all Four and have linked articles that present some additional info should you plan to go to the opposite’s too.
Fraser Island can be recognized by it’s conventional identify Ok’gari which implies ‘paradise’ within the dialect of the standard homeowners. A becoming identify for such a stupendous place.
In the event you’ve spent a lot time on this web site you already know that we’re lively impartial travellers, we hardly ever take organised excursions just because they hardly ever match our journey fashion or the journey preferences of lots of our readers.
Once we do be part of a tour there’s a superb motive. On this case, as we’ve talked about Fraser Island is a sand island, which means all the roads, and by roads I imply the seashore and a few inland tracks, are sand, usually smooth sand with some steep angles, and deep ruts after a little bit of rain on the inside portion. Whilst you can carry a non-public automobile to drive on the island it should be a 4-wheel drive and also you’re going to wish to be skilled driving it, as stunning because the island is that this isn’t the best place to be taught.
At the moment we don’t have a 4-wheel drive automobile or any expertise with driving in these situations which may change every day. If we wanted any additional convincing that we weren’t prepared to try a solo drive journey, on our first journey over some years again we noticed a reasonably new 4-wheel drive automobile being consumed by the incoming tide having hit a smooth pocket of sand and tipping over. Sadly that’s a reasonably frequent incidence and even skilled sand drivers have been caught out on this infamous part of seashore informally known as ‘the carwash’.
As for our selection of tour we wished one thing that allowed an lively immersive expertise much like what we’d plan ourselves permitting us time to swim, hike and climb the dunes. Merely stopping for 15 minutes to take pictures at every web site wasn’t what we have been after. Fraser Island is an honest dimension at 122 km lengthy and 1,840 km2, too huge to viably discover on foot and driving on the seashore and sand tracks is in fact a lot slower than regular roads.
The 2-day Fraser Explorer Tour is suited to a variety of age teams, we had a superb variety of age and nationalities on our tour and speaking amongst ourselves on the finish it was unanimous how a lot everybody had loved the expertise. You do have to be common health and keen to get out and stroll, the automobile can’t and received’t deposit you straight on the vacation spot. I’ll give some examples under after I run by the assorted websites we visited however walks vary as much as 4.6 km and it’s good to be snug strolling in smooth sand and on hills.
Vehicular ferries cross to Fraser Island from Rainbow Seaside on the prime of the Sunshine Coast which takes about 10 minutes and from Hervey Bay which takes about 40 minutes. The ferries additionally cater to stroll on passengers and supply each indoor and outside seating plus a stowage space to put baggage or baggage you don’t want with you.
The tour worth contains your ferry crossing from both location and the 2 teams meet up at Eurong Seaside resort for lunch on the primary day after which keep collectively till they depart for his or her respective ferries.
The Hervey Bay crossing is from River Heads on the mouth of the Mary River and we have been fortunate to get an early wildlife expertise right here watching a small pod of uncommon Australian humpback dolphins catch fish on the tide. There’s additionally the chance to identify dolphins and whales from the boat however in Might we have been a bit early within the season for the whale migration though a pair have been already being sighted within the space.
The corporate has a retailer entrance location simply up the street the place you test in for the assorted stays and excursions, there’s safe parking right here for an affordable payment and so they run you all the way down to the ferry together with your baggage by bus.
The tour itinerary will change up as required however these are the locations we visited on our 2-day keep.
Our first cease of the morning was at Lake McKenzie, a shocking recent water lake. We had round 75 minutes right here which is sufficient to take a number of pictures, stroll the sandy portion of the shoreline, have a swim and chill out within the solar on the white silica sand.
Lake McKenzie is crammed with rainwater, it has no streams flowing in and doesn’t circulation out to the ocean. Beneath it the sand and leaf matter have compacted over round 20,000 years to kind a substance often known as coffee rock that forestalls the water seeping by. On prime of that deep layers of sand have fashioned that act as a filter making the water completely clear and accounting for the beautiful blue and inexperienced colours that the water seems within the completely different lights.
The indigenous identify for Lake McKenzie is Lake Boorangoora and I believe in time we’ll see a transfer again to the standard names as we’ve got in New Zealand and another components of Australia akin to Uluru.
Our subsequent cease in the midst of the island was Central Station, a rain forest space that was as soon as a timber camp however apart from a number of historic buildings which have been retained within the tenting space it’s now absolutely regenerated. The rain forest rising utterly on sand is without doubt one of the distinctive ecosystems of Fraser Ialand.
The crystal clear Wanggoolba Creek runs by the world and you’ll comply with it alongside a 1.Eight km a technique observe. One of many benefits of a tour is that they choose you up on the different finish reasonably than doing the return stroll. Whereas we had dry climate whereas we have been on the island it had rained within the earlier week and the Australian bush all the time smells so recent after some rain. There’s a wide selection of rain forest timber, palms, fungi and moss rising alongside the observe and it’s a superb size to get an appreciation of the range all rising within the sand. There’s additionally loads of birds all through this part, Fraser Island is fashionable with birders and nature fans for good motive.
Wanggoolba Creek is a sacred web site to the Butchulla individuals, the standard homeowners of the land and was a girls’s web site and birthing space for indigenous girls. It’s extremely peaceable strolling alongside right here, it’s gently undulating a lot of the manner with a climb again out of the valley up round 120 steps reduce into the hillside in the direction of the tip.
We then crossed to the japanese aspect of the island and had our buffet lunch at Eurong Seaside Resort earlier than taking our first drive out alongside 75 mile seashore to the walkway entrance for Hammerstone sand blow and Lake Wabby. The stroll is a 4.6 km return observe initially uphill by smooth sand and turning into extra packed and simpler strolling as you progress. The path opens up on Hammerstone Sand blow with views out to the east coast to the suitable.
There are over 30 sand blows on the island with their quantity and construction altering over occasions, generally fairly quickly. They seem like a mini desert and this one actually has it’s personal oasis in Lake Wabby.
After the stroll as much as the sandblow from the seashore you comply with the markers to the left throughout the plains of sand to the lake. Within the late afternoon gentle the color was fairly hanging. There are round 40 freshwater lakes on Fraser Island however Lake Wabby is the deepest of them and has the bottom acidity stage permitting a wide range of fish to reside in there together with some good dimension catfish. whereas they received’t assault you don’t attempt to seize them, they can provide a nasty chew.
As a barrage lake, often known as a billabong in Australia, Wabby was fashioned when shifting sand dammed an present creek permitting the water to construct up. With the always naturally evolving panorama it’s predicted to be gone utterly inside 100 years because the sands proceed to maneuver slowly filling it in.
Once we speak to individuals about Fraser Island most will ask in regards to the dingos, both they wish to see one, or they’re terrified of them. I really feel I ought to point out them right here briefly however I’ll additionally refer you to the excellent resource put out by the Department of Environment and Science.
Dingos, or Canis lupus dingo, are a definite breed within the canine household, much like a wolf or jackal. They’re a wild animal, native to Australia and guarded. Fraser Island is a Nationwide Park and has a wholesome dingo inhabitants, the relative isolation of the island has additionally meant that it’s inhabitants has stayed predominantly pure-bred whereas in different components of the nation there was interbreeding with home canine breeds.
They’re a sexy animal, a sandy ginger color and lean match construct. Like all wildlife I think about it a privilege to watch one in its pure habitat which incorporates the lakes areas, seashores and sand dunes of Fraser Island. Like a lot of Australia’s wildlife it may be harmful in case you are unprepared so when on its territory there are some precautions to contemplate. Preserve youngsters shut, attempt to keep collectively when exterior the resorts and campgrounds and keep alert, startling a resting dingo within the sand dunes goes to place it on the defensive. Within the unlikely occasion you might be approached by a dingo rise up, kind collectively in a gaggle going through the dingo and name for assist. Don’t run or flail your arms round making an attempt to scare it off.
To provide context there are round 200 wild dingo on Fraser island unfold throughout its 1840 km2 so they’re round however aren’t prolific. In 2 days masking an in depth tour of the island we sighted 2, each have been on 75 mile seashore and neither shut sufficient for a superb photograph, therefore the one I’ve included right here for identification functions isn’t truly taken on Fraser.
The crystal clear water of Eli Creek is shallow however excellent to wade or float by on inside tubes which our information produced from the bus storage compartment. Eli means crab within the language of the native Butchulla individuals. The mouth of the creek the place it meets the ocean strikes sidewards, like a crab, up and down the seashore by a number of kilometres over time.
Like a lot of the island growth has been restricted aside from the place essential to guard the surroundings. At Eli creek there are bathrooms and altering services, an info board and a boardwalk to guard the vegetation along side the stream.
Apart from being a shocking stretch of sand and surf, 75-mile seashore can be a gazetted freeway and an airstrip, one in every of solely 2 locations on the earth the place you’ll be able to take off and land on the seashore. You may drive on most of it however relying on the tides and some headlands you do have to detour inland barely at occasions.
Speeds as much as 80 km/hr are allowed on the seashore however should you’re driving you do want to remain conscious of individuals and dingos wandering on the seashore. There’s no tyre sound on the sand and any sound of engines is properly overpowered by the crashing surf so fishermen and others strolling on the seashore can’t hear you method.
These gorgeous turquoise rock swimming pools and the views from the boardwalk as you make your manner down the cliff from above are maybe one of the crucial hanging spots on the island. They’re understandably fashionable and provide a protected spot to soak or swim even because the surf breaks with a roar on the pure rock wall surrounding it.
We stopped for round 90 minutes for our espresso and morning cookie break right here. The services embody bathrooms and altering rooms up the highest close to the automobile park.
The sand cliffs alongside this stretch of 75-mile seashore north of Eli Creek are coloured in lots of hues from purple to golden as a result of staining of iron wealthy minerals. The place the wind and rain erode the cliffs through the years formations such because the pinnacles are uncovered and the coloring of the older core is much more brightly coloured. You’ll see these cliffs largely within the areas of the Pinnacles, Purple Canyon, Rainbow Gorge and the Cathedrals. They are often seen proper from the seashore or a small walkway in in the direction of them.
One other web site alongside 75-mile seashore is the wreck of the Maheno. This New Zealand ship has had fairly a historical past because it was in-built 1905 and was used to hold industrial passengers between Australia and New Zealand. In the course of the Nice Conflict she was refitted as a hospital ship and assist repatriate the wounded from Gallipoli and throughout the English Channel from the Western Entrance earlier than being returned to her industrial homeowners. Ultimately in 1935 she was retired and bought to the Japanese as scrap steel however whereas towing her again to Japan with an below powered tow-ship she was caught in a cyclone and wrecked on the seashore at Fraser Island. When efforts to re-float her failed she was stripped of fittings however the body left to the weather.
The lookout at Indian Head offers some nice views of the shoreline and from straight above the water there’s the chance for marine life sightings too. Pods of dolphins and sea turtles are seen ceaselessly and spouting whales additional out. It’s urged you’re taking the marginally longer stroll up from the aspect reasonably than the goat observe within the entrance to forestall pointless erosion that every day guests can inevitably trigger.
In your journey throughout to Fraser Island and from lookout factors akin to Indian Head you’ll wish to be looking out for whale spouts in the course of the ‘winter’ months from June till October. Whales are an vital a part of the marine surroundings right here and daily whale watching trips may also be organised from Hervey Bay that come out across the island giving the prospect to see them up shut. We’ve been whale watching in many alternative locations however Hervey Bay stays our favorite and one we take the prospect to do at any time when we will.
The Fraser Explorer Tour lodging is at Eurong Beach Resort on the southeast of the island. The motel fashion items have a big deck furnished with a sofa, desk and chairs to take a seat exterior. Inside is snug couch seating with a TV, kitchen facility, bedrooms and loo.
The resort targets finances and household fashion lodging, the construction is older however the rooms have been renovated with trendy furnishings, fittings and air-con. The residences themselves are snug, spacious and clear.
If you’re travelling independently on Fraser Island there are additionally tenting choices and the Kingfisher Bay eco resort on the western aspect of the island.
We have been simply as blown away by the pure magnificence and distinctive panorama of Fraser Island on this second go to as we have been over a decade earlier. Whereas there have been a number of further services (loos and boardwalks) these had been added sparingly and in a manner that protected the fragile ecosystem from the elevated reputation of the vacation spot.
Fraser Explorer Excursions who we have been partnered with for the journey had a properly deliberate itinerary that enabled us to spend time in and actually expertise every cease in a manner that was fairly much like what we’d do if travelling independently. A younger marine biology scholar who was on our tour stated she had determined to do the journey on the final minute after Fraser Island was so extremely really useful by so many individuals within the business up in Tropical North Queensland. I feel the excessive reward is properly deserved and I’d advocate a visit out right here to anybody who desires to see the actually particular pure great thing about the world and expertise a properly preserved however accessible a part of Australia’s wilderness.
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