4WDing on Fraser Island - in more ways than one!

March 29, 2012 - Fraser Island, Australia

 So, after breaking my foot in Noosa I felt like my life, or at least my travellers life, was over. But no, over the last few days I have had a brilliant tme, and crutches or no crutches Fraser island has been a massive highlight of my trip so far, if not possibly THE highlight.

I had loved Noosa when we first arrived, and would love to go back (on two feet) but at the time I was quite glad to leave the site of my disaster behind. In case anyone is interested we managed to book into another hostel for our 2nd night which was actually far nicer than the 1st, one of my favourites so far, so almost glad we were chucked out! But after a lot of frustration and effort to get to the beach in the morning, we were on the Oz bus once more heading up to Rainbow Beach. there we arrived at another great hostel from which we would leave for our Fraser island adventure the next morning, and had a nice chilled out evening eating and drinking with the Oz bus people, and relating my sorry tale (something I have had to do countless times by now, getting so sick of telling the story over again). We also bumped into our very first Oz driver, Sonic, who had a bit of a chuckle when he saw me on crutches. Was nice to see him again though, and thank him for the sunglasses situation (can't believe I thougt I had problems when I lost those!)

The next morning we were up at the crack of dawn for a briefing about the trip. We didn't get off to the best start when Martha and I were informed at the last minute that w had been randomly moved to another company's trip to even out numbers, which meant we had to go to a different hostel with all our stuff - not easy on flipping crutches. We were pretty pissed off at being separated from all our friends wehen we had all booked it together, so we made a bit of a fuss and as a result got swapped back again. Just goes to show that complaining does often get you what you're after as long as you're not too rude. Tears help too :) So, we were back with our group helping load the 4x4s and sort all the camping stuff. At least, Martha was, I watched, which was very frustrating as I am the sort of person that likes to step in and get involved with everything - I was going to have to get used to watching things happen.

We were doing a tag-a-long tour, which meant there were 4 4WDs, each with 8 of us in, and the lead one driven by Geoff, our guide. Everyone who wanted to took it in turns to drive and this was probably the most frustrating bit for me, not being able to drive because I had really wanted to. As resident cripple I got the best seat though, front passenger in the lead vehicle, so I definitely got the best views. It also meant i got to chat too Geoff and get to know him a bit, which was great, because he was a really cool person and knew so much about the island. We started off driving along the 75 mile beach, and quite honestly I've never seen anything like it - the beach is the highway (Fraser island is the worlds largest sand island - no roads!) and it was such an exhilarating experience; bowling down the white sand beach, with the ocean right beside us, the sun shining and music at high volume. A definite case of feeling incredible lucky, once again.

Our main stop that first day was the famous Lake Mackenzie: the most brilliant, clear blue lake, with completely white sand all around. It was so beautiful, despite the fact that we were unlucky with the weather and it was overcast and threatening to rain. I got down the boardwalk on my crutches, and into the lake. Luckily, I could already put weight on my foot and could walk v short distances without crutches, which helped massively with everything. The lake was so warm and clear and gorgeous and we had a great time in there, just chilling and messing around  and swimming, in my case with just my arms. This took most of the afternoon and after a lovely, bumpy drive throught the bush and rainforest (all the tracks are sandy and bumpy - its easy to see why only 4WDs can get onto the island) we began to head to where we were gong to camp. And when I say camping mean real camping: tents, no toilets/showers etc. Our spot was down in the sand dunes, right beside the beach - a really lovely spot.

Despite having missed our safety briefig due to the mix ups that morning (a fact we tried to conceal) even me and Martha had heard plenty about the dingoes on Fraser island. I think they are the only truly native diingoes ;eft in Australia, and so are very protected. They are basically very wild dogs - they look like scrawny dogs but their behaviour is probably more comparable to wolves - they are not tame at all. they don't hurt humans if humans keep out of their way BUT with the amount of tourists that come to Fraser, this isn't always the case. We had been told very strictly to never feed them or leave food out; this is when they become aggressive. A few days before a girl had been attacked by a dingo, simply because she went to the toilet (in the bushes - only way) by herself - we were told to never go anywhere at night alone, as they will not attack if there are more than one of you. That first night we had no trouble with them, the 2nd was a different story, as I will explain later.

That first night, everyone was keen to get drinking, so after cooking dinner (steak) over the little stoves everyone was on the goon, and the drinking games began. I had a pretty good night, except for the fact that people, especially as they got drunker) kept knocking or treading on my foot, not on purpose of course, they just kept fogetting to be careful, and of course, as I got drunker, I forgot to be careful. Luckily nothing terrible happened and the night ended down on the beach, chatting and looking at the stars. With a complete absence of any built up area for miles, the stars were absolutely incredible: lying on the beach and looking up was an amazing experience - I've never seen stars like it - another 'I can't believe I'm actually here' moment.

I'll leave Fraser island here for now, and carry on in my next post :)


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