Apparently no trip to the East coast of Australia is complete without a trip to Fraser Island. We heard so much about it that we decided we couldn't pass on the opportunity to visit. So we booked a 2 day, 1 night tour (the only way to see the island). Had no idea what to expect except that it was cool - and it definitley exceeded our expectations.
Fraser Island was discovered by the Aborigines 20,000 yrs ago and, go figure, founded by tourisits who ran them out in the 1930's. It's the largest sand island in the world and the only way to get around it is via a 4WD vehicle. Lucky for us, we were on a 4WD bus!
There were 12 people around our age on the tour, which took us mainly on the east coast of the island. OUr tour guise was appropriately called Captain Kangaroo.
* Hiked through the rainforest
* Rode and bounced around on the Superhighway, the 75 Mile beach used by cars, planes and pedestrians. Can't swim in the sea, though -- the currents are really strong and many sharks.
* Waded through Eli Creek, a freshwater creek running through the sand dunes
* Lunch at the hotel - biggest sausages I had ever seen!
* Climbed up a sand mountain called Indian Head, which overlooked the ocean. Water so clear we could see sting rays and sharks swimming.
* Saw the shipwreck of the cruise ship Maheno, which washed ashore in 1935 and is now one big pile of rust.
* Climbed on the coffee rock - so called because it looks like rock but is actaually a mixture of vegetated trees, sand and water. It literally crumbles in your hand if you knock it hard enough.
That night we got a break from the camper van and got tostay in a hotel on the island. Ahhhhhh, a real bed! We had dinner then made our way to the bar, where they were showing the Queensland v. New South Wales Rugby League game. As the bar was not (yet) too crowded, the bartenders went around and asked everyone what team they supported. If you were for Queensland you got a Q on your hand, if for NSW, you got a N on your hand. They tossed a coin and Q won, which meant that they got the ball first. So, as long as they had the ball, everyone with a Q on their hand got half price draught beer. Then, when NSW scored, the N's would get half price beers. Go figure, I supported Queensland and L went for NSW -- turned out to be a cheap night our! It was actually a cool game to watch, excitement til the very end and lots of entertainment by the local supporters of both teams. Queensland did end up winning. Why didn't I bet on that one????
* Hiked the might sand blow - which looked like a desert
* Swam in the very cold and very green Lake Wabby
* Another hike through the rainforest
* lunch back at the hotel
* Swam and relaxed by the hotel pool
* Drove through the forest to Lake Mackenzie - by far the highlight of the trip. The beach was white sand like powder, and the lake was sapphire blue. It was like swimming in a swimming pool - crystal clear water, hardly a trace of sea life and the perfect temperature. L became a fish for a day as he refused to leave the water. Absolute paradise.
But all good things did have to come to an end as after that Captain drove us back to meet the ferry back to the mainland. Trip was too short, but we did take back some nice souvenirs. Waiting for the ferry, we noticed we were getting bitten. One of the girls took out the insect repellent and offered it around. I felt bad bc everyone was using it, so I declined to spray my legs. Boy do I wish I had not been that thoughtful. The spots started showing up that night and the next day I woke up to at least 75 bits on each leg. And they were painful! L was smart enough to take the girl up on the offer and he also wore jeans, so the damage on him was minimal.
Straight to the chemist the next day, they suggested I use this anamine lotion stuff (it's Calamine lotion under a different name) So not only did I look like I had the chicken pox, I also looked like I had a rare skin disease as I was covered with pink splotches. It temporarily relieved the itching, but did nothing to get rid of the littel buggers. Wished I could be a snake for a day and shed my skin. That didn't come true. Consider it a lesson learned.