Monday, October 3, 2011

Exploring Fraser Island

The last two days of our road trip were spent on Fraser Island, the world's largest all sand island (approx. 120 km long and 22 km wide).  It is an amazing and diverse place.  Check it out with this link.

There are two options for exploring the island - go on a guided tour in a crazy 4WD bus or rent your own 4WD truck and take on the BUMPY sand 'roads' (I use that term loosely).  Jason wanted to drive and plan our own day so we went for the second option.  Before they even let you near the truck, we had to watch an 45 minute long video on all the ways we could kill and or injure ourselves or the vehicle.  Apparently it is quite easy to get stuck in the sand, lose control driving along the beach, and roll the the truck on the interior routes.  Clearly we survived.  It was quite fun actually and Jason had a blast driving and the kids loved bouncing around in the back. 

Crazy sand roads of Fraser Island

Driving on the sea shore at Fraser Island

Having the freedom to travel around this huge island meant we could go into the interior and visit some of the impressive features.  We drove as far as we could and then hiked the rest of the way to Wabby Lake.  It is the deepest of several inland lakes at 11.4 m.  Before getting to the lake we had to hike across some sand dunes called a sand blow, created by sand blowing up from the sea shore and being deposited in the interior behind some rain forest.  It was quite bizarre to see this mini dessert beside a lake and rain forest. 
Lake Wabby, a 'sand blow', and the ocean beyond

Lake Wabby, Fraser Island

The shore of this lake was very steep, even though the picture doesn't show it.  We had fun running down and later rolling down the steep incline right into the water.  The water was quite tinted at Lake Wabby and we swam with some very curious Cat Fish (at least they looked like Cat fish to me).

Serenna cools off in Lake Wabby

After a swim and picnic we hiked back in the 4WD and drove to another part of the island to check out Lake McKenzie.  This is an absolutely beautiful, pristine lake of turquoise blue and white sand of pure silica.  It is purely a rain fed lake so the acid level in the lake is higher than others.  It is fine to swim in, but not hospitable to fish or plant life.   Absolutely stunning place.  We learned later that some couples have even been married on the shore.
Sunset at Lake McKenzie

As we returned to the truck to head back to our accommodations, a wild dingo was sniffing around.  He didn't seem to bothered by us, but we kept a respectable distance just the same as there are signs around the island reminding people not to leave children unattended.  Apparently a few years ago a child was killed.  To us it just looked like a skinny street dog. 

Dingo on Fraser Island
Some other wildlife we saw all over the place were these lizards.

And who can resist a beautiful butterfly.

Since Fraser Island is a World Heritage site it is wonderfully undeveloped.  One of the few places to stay on the Island is  King Fisher Bay Resort. It is actually quite a luxurious option with three restaurants, a pool and tennis courts. 

King Fisher Bay Resort, Fraser Island

As a side note, I heard on the Australian news last night that bush fires were raging out of control on the island.  News images showed the air over the island was thick with smoke and visitors coming in on the ferry from the mainland were turning back.  Guests from the resort had to be evacuated as the fire came within 800 metres of the accommodations.  A few fishermen had to be airlifted to safety as they were caught between the bush fire and crocodile infested river!  SO grateful we visited a couple of weeks ago now.

The next morning we swam in the pool and then walked along the see shore.

We were fascinated with the tiny crabs that lived along the shore.  There were 1000s of them, and as we approached they would all scuttle away en mass like a flock of birds in the sky.  If we got too close for comfort they would quickly bury themselves in the sand.  With in seconds 1000s of crabs just seemed to disappear.  They left the coolest evidence of their existence however...

Tiny sand crabs on Fraser Island shores

The dark line is 1000s of tiny sand crabs running away

In places where the shore was not too wet we could see the wee sand balls that the crabs left behind as they burrowed into the sand.  I thought they made beautiful art.  This photo shows just one crabs work, try to imagine a shore line full of 100s of them.

Crab sand art

By 6pm it was time to head back to the mainland, Hervey Bay for the night.  The ferry ride to the mainland is about an hour.  We drank some wine (from the bottle - no cups available) and had our picnic dinner while the sunset.

Sunset over Fraser Island, Australia


  1. Love reading your adventures so far! Such an amazing experience for you and the kids...thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Wow, amazing. What a beautiful place!