Having just spent three days and two nights on Fraser Island, the dirt has barely been washed off my skin and I’m still hungry but if someone said we could leave and go back now I would. It really was that good.
We set off on a Sunday morning for Fraser Island, four groups of eight piled in to each 4wd and with an eski overflowing of alcohol our eight were ready for a good time. Having only known each other since yesterday (except for my boyfriend obviously) we were all in high spirits and trying hard to get to know each other. From Rainbow Beach it’s a quick trip to the ferry and then not far once you are on the ferry. Not that it’s really a ferry – it is more like a barge with a dozen cars on board. We hit the beach on Fraser and got our first taste of what it’s like to drive on sand.
It’s not long and we are heading inland and at this point we realise how easy driving on the beach is compared to through the rain forest. With 1st gear and a tight grip on the wheel our driver manages to get us through to Lake Mackenzie without getting stuck. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great and the grey sky did not emphasise how beautiful Lake Mackenzie should have seemed. Still, we took a swim in some pretty chilly water and then after hanging around for a while headed back to our camp site. The drive was back through the rainforest and we hadn’t been driving for more than five minutes when we got stuck. The driver didn’t accelerate enough and we just didn’t have enough power for the soft sand. So Haydon our guide came to the rescue – reversing back down the track and then taking another run up we powered up the hill and after that we never got stuck again!
The campsite was on the small part of land the aboriginals own on Fraser Island, there was no dingo fence and purely backpackers camping there. The set up was pretty cool and we were lucky enough to get a tent for the two of us when tents were three people per tent. It was before 5pm when we started drinking; being the first night everyone was still getting to know each other and pretty much everyone hit it hard. We had a few non-drinkers on our trip who I felt bad for as everyone else was drinking very heavily. I would say if you don’t drink too, seriously think how much you enjoy spending time with drunken people before booking this trip. We cooked dinner in the dark but luckily it was a nice team effort, even if the food allowance wasn’t enough for eight people.
The night was a pretty messy night: you could count the people not hungover on one hand! But still, after a breakfast of scrambled egg everyone was feeling a little more alive. We headed to Eli Creek around 9am which was exactly what everyone needed: a fresh water spring with a strong current, so we all headed up the path and floated back down to the beach. It was a lot of fun. We ended up doing it a few times – a great hangover cure and having not showered it made us feel a tiny bit fresher. We had to hang around a long time before we left the creek due to the tide which we all found annoying but it was just the luck of the tide times.
We stopped at the shipwreck and had our guide Haydon take some group shots of us all before we jumped back in the car and headed to the Champagne Pools, the only saltwater you are allowed to swim in on Fraser island. These are pools made by the aboriginals and the idea behind them was to help catch fish from the ocean. The view from the cliffs was beautiful, the sea looked so blue. The pools were fun to play in and a great picture opportunity. Before we finished for the day we made a quick stop at Indian Head and had a look for whales but unfortunately never spotted one.
It was my turn to drive at this point, but annoyingly I couldn’t reach the pedals very well and spent more time stretching my legs out for the clutch than being relaxed and enjoying it. I had to be thankful I didn’t have to drink through the rainforest or we would never have survived in one piece. Sometimes being less than five foot can be a disadvantage…
Our last night was spent the same way as the first except unlike the first night we spotted a lot of dingoes hanging around our camp. This meant making sure you didn’t go off anywhere alone. The last morning yet again everyone was hungover and hungry but this time we only had cereal to eat and most people were left feeling very hungry. After waiting for over an hour to leave camp we were so pleased to get in our cars, only to find out one of group’s cars had broken down and it took another 20 minutes to get it going again.
The last stop before leaving Fraser Island was Lake Wabbi. We all got out of our cars to learn it was a 40 minute trek through the rainforest to the lake. No one was very impressed but still it had to be done. You really did start to wonder if it was going to appear after half the walk but eventually we made it, and what a view we saw. Massive sand dunes as far as you could see and once you were over the crest you were rewarded with this beautiful lake set against a dense rainforest. It really was beautiful and worth the trek. After a swim and sunbathe we hiked back to the cars – the hiked seemed so much longer on the way back and everyone was really feeling tired.
We had a quick lunch stop and then set off down the beach to the barge, back to Rainbow Beach where we had to clean out the vans, eskis and help pack everything up, before running back to Fraser’s hostel to shower away the dirt.
The whole trip was an absolute laugh and totally worth the money we paid for it. The price I’m not 100% on as we booked it as part of a package I would guess about $400 for this part (including 2 nights stay at Frasers On Rainbow Beach). Our guide was great, even if occasionally he did disappear and we would be left waiting around not knowing what to do. But apart from that and the lack of food we all had a great time. We were really lucky to have a great group of people in our car and all got along great – but that seemed to be the same with the whole group. The whole trip is a great way to meet people while backpacking you will find people travelling in both directions and some you’ll probably meet again. We did do a lot of drinking so if you don’t drink the trip might not be for you but otherwise as long as you take a bit of extra food and don’t mind being dirty for a few days, I would fully recommend it.