We set off from our lovely home in Brisbane on Sunday morning heading for the Fraser Coast. It took a around three hours to get to our destination, rainbow beach. Here we bought our camping permit from the parks office and set up camp along rainbow beach. It costs $5.50 each a night and it is basic (just a composting toilet) so you need your own water unless you want to fill up in town.
It is a beautiful spot, along the foreshore you pitch your tent and are just a few meters from the sand. We could hear the waves from our tent.
After a celebratory gin and tonic we went for a walk along the beach at late afternoon. Across the water you can see Fraser Island and the cars motoring down the beach, it filled us with fear and nerves at the prospect of having to navigate it ourselves.
We spent the rest of the day relaxing by our tent and worrying about our Fraser
The next morning we were up bright and early, made breakfast and coffee next to our tent, packed up, deflated our tires to sand driving PSI and we're off. You can only drive along the beach two hours either side of low tide. We knew low tide was at 13.30 so we decided to set off around ten. That would put us on Fraser for around ten thirty.
We had already bought our driving permit and camping permit from Brisbane over the phone. Camping is $5.50 each per night and we bought a month long pass for Fraser and the Great Sandy National Park so we can enjoy rainbow beach more when we return. It cost us $70.
We headed towards the beach where you get the ferry and expected to find a hut or something to direct us but there was nothing, just a line of 4x4's stood waiting in a line on the sand road before the beach and a ferry coming towards the shore. We were immediately terrified as had no one to give us any guidance but after deflating our tyres a little bit more we decided to go for it. It was very deep soft sand and we had little traction but we managed to get on the ferry, totally anxious and excited. On the ferry a friendly man came round and we paid $120 for a return ticket.
The ferry only takes ten minutes and before you have had time to recover you have to drive off the other end directly onto the beach.
The sand was quite firm and everyone set straight off. Everyone was a lot faster than us and went off into the distance but as it was our first time we were happy to take it slow. After ten minutes driving we turned a corner and in front of us was a lot of debris and fallen trees blocking the beach, we stopped and went to investigate. Luckily a family also did the same and they looked experienced so when they decided it was ok to drive around it we went with the them, trying to miss the tide and managed to stay more or less dry.
After that it was an easy straight drive straight down 75 mile beach to our campground. We stopped a few times, for supplies or where people had got stuck to offer help but everyone was ok and we called in at the main town Eurong where a friendly lady helped us with the tide times for the next couple of days.
The only other scary bit was a creek crossing half way up at Eli Creek. Here is a big washout, where a creek empties into the ocean so you can only cross at low tide. We had built this up in our minds and had seen a lot of photos of people half submerged in the creek so were terrified of it but we just followed a car through with no worries and after our minds were at rest that nothing else scary was going to happen.
Once your on wet sand it is actually a really beautiful drive, all you see is a huge white sand beach, dunes on one side and the open ocean on the other and you can start to relax (if you ignore Liam stressing and shouting at you not to take photos of him driving while he's stressed).
We stopped off at the Maheno Wreck for a look around. Here a huge ship was washed on the beach after a cyclone in 1935 and has been there ever since. It is an amazing sight and the waves wash right up to it. It is half submerged in the sand and you can walk around and right up to it.
A little further on we also stopped to look at The Pinnacles, coloured sand cliffs that have eroded into beautiful pinnacles.
By late afternoon we reached our camp site at Dundubara and set up our camp for a few days camping in the bush. It is a really nice shady site, not far from the beach with hot showers (take $1 coins), flushing toilets and dish washing facilities. It is also inside a Dingo Proof fence.
The rest of our days here have been spent relaxing and sightseeing.
We went on a bush walk from our camp to the Wungul Sandblow. Fraser Island is the biggest sand Island in the world and so has a few sandblows. This is a huge sand dune where sand has gradually made its way inland to form a huge sand hill. We walked through the bush and the to the top of the sandblow always being vigilant for Dingoes. All over our camp are warning posters about Dingoes and what to do if you see them as there have been some reporting of aggressive behaviour towards humans.
The walk was actually quite difficult as walking up hill on sand was harder than in looked but the views from the top towards the ocean and over the sand was beautiful (obviously if you again ignore Liam telling you about his two favourite things, sand and wind).
We also spent a day touring the inside of the island on the inland tracks. We were pretty unsure what to expect from the road conditions as they are all four wheel drive roads but they were not too bad. Mainly sand winding through forest and scrub. The inside is very dense and you hardly come across any open spaces, it seems like you have been driving for a long time but you might have only gone five kilometres.
Around 14km from Eurong, the main town off the beach, is Lake McKenzie. This is a fresh water lake inland and as you approach you catch glimpses of bright blue through the trees. There is a car park here and you walk through the bush a few metres, past several terrifying signs about dingoes and at the end appears an absolutely stunning lake. It has bright white sandy shores at one end, a bright green forest at the other end and turquoise water that you just want to jump straight into. That is exactly what we did. We spent the afternoon in the lake, swimming and just admiring the beautiful surroundings. It is so clean and clear you feel wonderful after swimming and it's so refreshing after a hot drive.
On the way back we decided to see Lake Wabby. This is another freshwater lake surrounded by forest where a sandblow comes right up to its shore. It's around 13km from Lake McKenzie but when we got there the path down to the lake was closed due to aggressive dingo behaviour so we walked up to the lookout for a gorgeous view of the sandblow and lake. We were the only people here which made us, especially Liam feel a bit nervous about walking through the bush with dingoes around but it was only a short stroll.
We have loved every minute of Fraiser Island, although the driving was scary at times we are glad we pushed ourselves to do it as looking at all the tour groups we don't think we would have enjoyed it as much. We are leaving just before school holidays start and we are glad as the queue to get onto the island when we left was massive so the whole island will be crawling with cars and people all weekend.
We are heading back to Rainbow Beach for a few days of relaxation and beach time until the Easter Holiday weekend is over and holiday spots will hopefully have calmed down a little bit by then. Not that we mind camping next to the beach, swimming in the sea and sunbathing all day.