Leaving Daydream Island via Airlie Beach, myself, Lisa, Sarah and Aaron got the overnight greyhound down to Harvey Bay. The thought of a twelve hour coach didn’t fill any of us with joy, but it turned out to be a fine journey. A couple of decent movies were played (though for a while we struggled to see past the guy in front with the largest afro seen down under) which helped pass the first four hours or so.
Arriving at Harvey Bay, we met up with the rest of the tour party who were doing this leg of the journey and checked in to the hostel, which turned out to be strange motel rooms with bunk beds. We made our way out and enjoyed the day on the beach and around the town, a nice enough area but there wasn’t a huge amount to do for more than a day or two.
The morning after, an early start around at the new hostel to meet up with four extra member Lorraine, which made our party nine strong. We then had to pay deposits, go though inductions and a couple of rather boring videos on the Fraser Island adventure. Heading out in the 4×4 Landcruiser’s, around to the main depot where we collected all the supplies for the next few days, worked as teams to pack the gear up and get it in the vehicle. The final stop was a trip to the supermarket, a rough idea was put together on what food (and booze!) to buy, we went a bit over the top and bought too much – better full than hungry!
Fraser Island is a large sand and jungle island, popular with this type of group. Upon arriving on the island via ferry, we set out over the dirt tracks and got to grips with the maps, roads and what there was to see and do on the island.
The island is rather different to any I have been on, the dirt tracks can only be negotiated at very low speeds (22mph) so heading to the east side beach is required to get around the island at speed. The beach doubles up as both the motorway (where you are allowed to do 50mph – but would be insane to attempt this speed as there’s plenty of pitfalls around to trash your vehicle) and an airstrip, where smaller planes can be seen landing from time to time. Driving on the beach each day is only fully possible three hours before and after low tide, approx midday when we were on the island but it changes. Night time driving is not really an option, there’s no street lights….
Later in the afternoon we picked a camping area, stopped the vehicle and setup camp for the night… camping… something I’ve not done for many many a year. It turned out to be a great laugh, we luckily had four scout leaders with us, came in very handy for this sort of thing. Everyone pitched in with setting up, cooking and cleaning up.
Crawling out of the tents at 5.30am, it was baltic cold – little cloud cover left little heat on the island – but the stunning sunrise over the beach and horizon made it well worth the effort (see picture at the top). Breakie for nine, packed up and it was time to explore more of the island, being a sandy island we headed for the large sand dunes, great fun to run up and down (and damn tiring) and made a stop at the Maheno shipwreck, a large Scottish built ship that in 1935 broke loose when being towed for scrap and has been beached on Fraser Island ever since.
For the last evening we headed further up the island, camping near the Indian Drop area of the island, great views from steep cliff faces.. Final dinner, beers and eating as much grub as possible took up the next twenty four hours before heading back to the ferry and to the mainland.
Fabulous end to a great trip.