So a couple weeks ago I was messaging with Natasha about things that I thought were awesome on the East coast since she was working her way down the coast from Cairns at the time. I kept saying over and over that Fraser Island was SO FUN and SO COOL and then I realized “Hey wait a minute, I have four days off… maybe… I COULD COME!?!?!?!”.
After some furious flight/rental/accommodation research it all came together and a few days later I was flying to Hervey Bay to meet Nat so we could go on an XXXXXXTREME 4WD adventure on Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world.
Last time I went to Fraser (2008) I did the normal backpacker thing where they put you in groups of 10 people and give you a 4WD and an itinerary and set you free. It was an awesome adventure and I made great friends, several of which I am still in contact with. Turns out they don’t even offer that anymore, I guess too many people got into trouble? Now you can still go in groups of 8ish people, but you have to drive in convoys where the lead car has an actual experienced guide. Zzzzz. But all those groups were full by the time we were organized so instead we just rented our own 4WD just the two of us. :D ADVENTURE!!! The rental place did a briefing and made us an itinerary anyway, so actually it was pretty much the same thing, you just have to arrange it more yourself now.
I wasn’t too nervous about the sand or track driving, because we are both good drivers with snow experience (similar to sand), but I WAS legit worried about getting stuck, because how were we supposed to push ourselves out with only ONE PUSHER!? Thankfully it had rained a lot a few days before we got there so the sand was quite moist and getting bogged was not an issue.
So yeah, the entire 120 km x 24 km island is made of sand. The main “highway” is the beach along the Eastern side, which you can drive on around low tide, dodging waves, deep sand, and washouts (**more about this in a minute). There are also some very rough tracks inland through the forest to get to the extremely beautiful lakes. There are tons of things to look at, walks to do, places to swim, but no towns or anything, just a few little shops and resorts in a few places. It’s a cool place.
So the first morning we drove as far up the beach as we were allowed with our two day itinerary, and back, stopping at all the interesting things, like this shipwreck! It’s been there for almost 100 years.
The pinnacles look like rocks, but they’re just sand! I wanted to pick at it so bad.
Eli Creek was one of my favourite things last time, and it did not disappoint this time. (Because, spirit animal). It’s a freshwater stream where you can run up the boardwalk and then float down. It looks murky in the pictures, but actually that’s the sandy bottom, the water is actually super clear. We did it twice. Lots of giggling ensued.
Oh yeah you also have to keep an eye out for PLANES, who use the beach as a runway as well.
We also hiked into Lake Wabby, a bright green lake at the end of a giant sand dune. More prepared people bring sandboards which you can ride right into the lake. We didn’t have much time to spend here though because we had to drive to our campsite well before sunset.
We camped on the beach that night. Didn’t get eaten by dingos. FIST BUMP.
The next day we went on a long hike into a “secret lake”. I had low expectations but we actually did have the whole lake to ourselves! Cool! Well actually we had to share it with a giant goana who was doing laps on the beach. We thought we might be lost on the hike back to the car because we didn’t recognize anything, but turns out we’re both just super unobservant I guess.
Last stop was beautiful Lake McKenzie. So photogenic. So clear.
The best part about all of these lakes is that the sand is just pure soft sand. No rocks to stub your toe on. It’s so fun to run your hands through the sand underwater and on the beach because it’s so smooth. Also they’re freshwater lakes, so no stinging eyes or jellyfish or anything. Perfection.
Natasha and our 4WD Pink Betty. (Bam ba lam.)
** STORY TIME! My nickname from 2008 was Crazy Katrina because of the group’s assessment of my driving on Fraser. Well, the torch has been passed to Natasha, because she kinda… DROVE OFF A CLIFF!! HAHAHA. We’re not actually sure exactly how big the washout was, (reports vary between 10 cm and 2 metres) but it was extremely shocking and made everything in our car go flying from the trunk into the front seats, including 1) a camp stove, 2) a loose knife, and 3) a dozen eggs. I remember yelling WATCH OUT! and then turning around and seeing the knife flying through the air in slow motion hahahaaaaaaa. Anyway, we were fine, and the car passed the inspection at the end, so all is well. XXXXXXXTREME!! Cartoon coming soon.
View of Fraser Island from my plane home! The thin strip of beach along the ocean is the road, the big lake is Lake McKenzie, and the small lake is Basin Lake (the secret lake). You can also see a bunch of the dunes. Pretty neat.
All in all it was an excellent trip. 10/10, and I can’t wait to go back again some day. Next time for a bit longer though, because we didn’t have enough time to get up to the champagne pools or Indian Head, where you can very often see whales. I’m so glad it worked out at all though. Thank you Scott for letting me hashtag YOLO and go.