4x4 driving, swimming in lakes, dingoes, camp fires, bats and didgeridoos
09.11.2011 - 13.11.2011
So we have spent the last few days on our Fraser Island tour and in a hostel in Rainbow beach called Pippies. There isn’t much in Rainbow beach other than a beach (obviously), one very short street of cafes/shops and a couple of backpacker hostels which do Fraser Island tours.
So the first day in the hostel consisted of the “briefing” where they show you a video which tells you a few tips of driving in sand, and tries to scare you by saying things like “If you turn sharply in sand you WILL roll and you WILL die” I think trying to scare us to be sensible drivers, (though the $200 deposit each of us paid already made us pretty keen to protect the cars). Our group, which consisted of 25 people in total, got split into three cars and we were told to organise food for three days within our smaller groups (which went surprisingly smoothly for us, but probably because we had the only 4 girls of the group all together, so we included things like fruit and salad, whereas the group of boys sat next to us were saying things like “so shall we bring 15 loaves of bread? and maybe some meat?”.
The next day we packed the cars and set off, getting the very short ferry across to Fraser and starting our off road adventure. Out of everyone in our car, 7 of us had driving licenses so we rotated the driving between us and followed the lead car which had the guide in it(though some of us did more driving than others, I decided to step aside after the stress got too much when I stalled about 4 times trying to reverse out of sand). Although we only got stuck once, and it wasn’t me driving.
Our three day tour included seeing sights such as Lake Mackenzie (which was the clearest water I think I have ever seen), Lake Wabby (which Nathan, James and I did a lap of whilst the others lay in the sun), some sand dunes (which were an EFFORT to climb as it was so hot, even though it was only about 8 in the morning), Eli Creek, a shipwreck on the beach and the Champagne pools (the only sea water you can swim in safely as its enclosed by rocks and therefore protected from sharks and strong currents). We drove off road to each site and spent most the time lying in the sun or swimming in the surprisingly cold water.
In the evenings we camped at an aboriginal camp (though I’m not really sure what was aboriginal about it other than we were told not to whistle or spit near our camp fire as its insulting to aboriginal people, and there was a couple of didgeridoos about) which was pretty luxury camping with hot showers, gas hobs and a bbq. All we had to contend with was the local wildlife including bats (a baby one fell onto our table and got stuck in the gap so we had to endure bats flying around our heads trying to get it back), dingoes wandering round the camp, LOADS of flies (which bite) and a giant spider in the shower block. Our evenings consisted of sitting round the campfire, attempting the didgeridoo, mocking each others accents, spotting dingoes, drinking goon (cheap wine in a box for those who havent been to Oz) and roasting marshmallows.
Also worth a mention is finally we have spent some time with a REAL Australian. The vast majority of people we have met/spent time with so far have been backpackers and therefore likely to be either German, Irish, Dutch, English or anything that isn’t Australian, but within our car group we had one, Kim Penna, from Perth who was an awesome addition to the group, even if it was just to laugh at how she said kangaroo.
After three days of Fraser we are now all back at Pippies our hostel (named after shell fish you can find on the beach at Fraser which we stopped to dig up and eat raw whilst we were on the island) and pretty knackered, particularly as we all got up at 5.30am to catch the right tide to drive down the beach. Luckily Nathan, James and I have another night here after this one so we have a day to recover and try and get all the sand out of our stuff, then we shall book out bus to our next stop, Agnes Waters.