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Fraser Island – Day 161

14th July 2011

Fraser Island Here We Come

A group of us were picked up at 7.45am by our driver Mark and his massive bus like creature. Apparently these creations are needed for the sandy conditions on the island, but this puppy was enormous. I was lucky enough to get the front seat and so had a panoramic view of the tour, definately the best seat in the bus, although also the noisiest as it was near the gear box.

We made a few more stops and were soon chock-a-block full. Then it was off down the road to get the ferry, straight off the beach, to the island.

Monster truck riding ferry

From the ferry we drove directly onto the beach of Fraser, there were no roads or anything of the like and as we drove along we occasionally had the waves wash towards us. At these points driver Mark would let go of the steering wheel and pretend he was swimming or paddling through the incoming waves.

Driving on the beach

The main beach was an endless stretch of smooth sand and the sight was breathtaking. I could just imagine my dad racing along the beach in our “bakkie” (pickup/ute) looking for the best fishing spot. After about half an hour on the beach we turned into the resort for our tea break and then it was off inland and some severe turbulence in the cabin of the bus.

The interior road, this is a smooth bit

We drove past stunning trees, such as Scribbly Pine and Blackbutt Eucolyptus, that seem to go against the idea of an island of sand not being able to support such huge trees with so much diversity. I could feel my headache returning as we pulled into the Lake Mckenzie parking area. There are over 100 freshwater lakes on Fraser Island and are some of the purest in the world. Lake Mackenzie is a perched Lake, which means it is above sea level and the retains it’s water through the compact sand and leaf matter that form a water proof basin. If this basin was destroyed the lake would simply drain away into the sand.

Lake McKenzie

The lake is breathtaking to see and freezing cold too boot, especially in winter. The pureness of the water and the underlying leaf litter at its base reflect the sun and make it seem bluer than it is.

Lake McKenzie

The water was so inviting that I had to go in and was the first person in the group to attempt it. The water was freezing but within a few seconds you were so numb that it actually felt pleasant. The sand is pure silica and was used by the Aboriginal people to shine up jewellery, stones and even their teeth. It makes a great exfolient and I made full use of it, also shining up my rings at the same time.

very very cold!

Refreshing swim

Beauty Treatments

One thing was for, the brisk swim had cured my headache!

We then returned to the bumpy ride and headed deeper into the rainforest and went for a short hike. The ecosystem on the island was truly incredible and I was awestruck at the size of the staghorn ferns (a fern we also have in South Africa). Not only were they prehistoric in size but there were hundreds of them.

Staghorn ferns covered the trees

Prehistoric Staghorns

As we wandered through this beautiful old forest Mark told us about all the trees and the river. The river is what is known as a ghost river, as it makes absolutely no noise as it flows through the forest. This is due to the lack pebbles to make it a babbling brook. It is also a sacred location for the Aboriginal people. No male Aboriginals are allowed here as it is where the women would give birth. It was believed that the low pH and cold temperature aided the birthing process.

Leaving the forest we bounced our way back to the resort for a delicious, all-you-can-eat, lunch. Then back up the beach to the wreck of the Maheno, built in 1905, used as a hospital ship during the great war and finally stranded on Fraser Island in 1935, it is now a tourist attraction. The twisted wreck of metal creates quite a stark contrast against the blue sky and crashing waves.

Wreck of the Maheno

Maheno

As we returned in the direction of the ferry we came across a wild dingo. There is quite a large population of Dingoes on the island, and with people feeding them there have been a few nasty run-ins. However, we never had any issues with the solitary one we came across and he was in stunning condition.

Dingo

Dingo on beach

It was a spectacular day with perfect weather. I am very glad I had the chance to explore this location and only wish I had more time (and more money) to explore it more. When I returned to the hostel I discovered my 3 thoughtful roommates had checked out and been replaced by 6 young German lads. The place looked like their bags had exploded and I had to kick things aside to reach the bathroom. Oh well I guess you can’t have it perfect everytime.

Some pics from Fraser:


 
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Posted by on July 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Rainbow Bay – Day 160

13 July

Hi Ho Hi Ho its off to Rainbow Bay I go!
I was to meet Joel at 9.15am at the Surfer’s Paradise (which apparently doesn’t have very good surf) transit center. Since we were in such good form that morning I got there at 8am. I had started reading “The Power of One” and was completely engrossed in the story when I heard “hey there baldy” from behind me. It was great seeing Joel again after all these years and we were soon catching up on the past 4yrs.

Once we had gathered the troops we headed out, me in the front seat chatting with Joel. Stopping for lunch we were doing great time, so Joel took us for a side trip to the Glass House Mountains. These are volcanic plugs that resisted erosion over the millenia and now stand out and were so named by Captain James Cook as he sailed past because they looked like the glass furnaces from his home town.

However they are also important in Aboriginee lore, here is the legend:

Now Tibrogargan was the father of all the tribes and Beerwah was his wife, and they had many children.
Coonowrin, the eldest; the twins, Tunbubudla; Miketeebumulgrai; Elimbah whose shoulders were bent because she carried many cares; the little one called Round because she was so fat and small; and the one called Wild Horse since he always strayed away from the others to paddle out to sea. (Ngungun, Beerburrum and Coochin do not seem to be mentioned in the legend).

One day when Tibrogargan was gazing out to sea, he perceived a great rising of the waters. He knew then that there was to be a very great flood and he became worried for Beerwah, who had borne him many children and was again pregnant and would not be able to reach the safety of the mountains in the west without assistance.

So he called to his eldest son, Coonowrin, and told him of the flood which was coming and said, “Take your mother, Beerwah, to the safety of the mountains while I gather your brothers and sisters who are at play and I will bring them along.”

When Tibrogargan looked back to see how Coonowrin was tending to his mother he was dismayed to see him running off alone. Now this was a spiritless thing for Coonowrin to do, and as he had shown himself to be a coward he was to be despised.

Tibrogargan became very angry and he picked up his nulla nulla and chased Coonowrin and cracked him over the head with a mighty blow with such force that it dislocated Coonowrin’s neck, and he has never been able to straighten it since.

By and by, the floods subsided and, when the plains dried out the family was able to return to the place where they lived before. Then, when the other children saw Coonowrin they teased him and called “How did you get your wry neck – How did you get your wry neck?” and this made Coonowrin feel ashamed.

So Coonowrin went to Tibrogargan and asked for forgiveness, but the law of the tribe would not permit this. And he wept, for his son had disgraced him. Now the shame of this was very great and Tibrogargan’s tears were many and, as they trickled down they formed a stream which wended its way to the sea.

So Coonowrin went then to his mother, Beerwah, but she also cried, and her tears became a stream and flowed away to the sea. Then, one by one, he went to his brothers and sisters, but they all cried at their brother’s shame.

Then Tibrogargan called to Coonowrin and asked why he had deserted his mother and Coonowrin replied, “She is the biggest of us all and should be able to take care of herself.” But Coonowrin did not know that his mother was again with child, which was the reason for her grossness. Then Tibrogargan put his son behind him and vowed he would never look at him again.

Even to this day Tibrogargan gazes far, far out to sea and never looks at Coonowrin. Coonowrin hangs his head in shame and cries, and his tears run off to the sea, and his mother, Beerwah, is still pregnant, for, you see, it takes many years to give birth to a mountain.”

Confusion!!
We finally arrived at Rainbow Bay and I went to check in at Dingo’s. Joel was next door at the Fraser on Rainbow hostel. Now the day before I had called Dingo’s and been transferred to Peter Pan travel, which is connected to the hostel, and had booked 2 nights and a tour of Fraser with them. Since they closed at 5pm Kelly promised to leave the tickets for me at Dingo reception. The conversation with Dingo’s went something like this:

Me: Hi I am checking in
D: do you have a booking?
Me: yes, I booked with Peter Pan along with a day tour tomorrow, Kelly said she would leave the tickets here.
D: we have no booking and no tickets (followed by stairing)
Me: Well I booked with Kelly, do you at least know what time the tour goes
D: no, here let me see some ID. Oh here you are, you are doing the dolphin kayak and you are in room 17.
Me: ummmm, no I am doing a Fraser Tour
D: well I will print them anyway and then we can figure out the rest
Me: this says the tour is on friday at noon, I leave at 8am friday
D: oh!
Me: it also says the ticket expires in 2009
D: oh!
(in the meantime the security guard had walked to Kelly’s house and asked her to call reception – the phone went and there was a short conversation)
D: (opens a drawer right next to her) Here they are, no one told me they were there.
(At this point I don’t know whether to laugh or roll my eyes)
Me: ok great
D: and you are even in the same room, 18.
Me: ummm you said 17 here is the key you gave me.
D: oh here you go. (staring continues)
Me: is there anything I need to know? Which way is my room?

Oh my remind me not to stay there again. She was completely clueless! But I now had everything I needed and went to dump my stuff and head over to the other hostel (the one I should have chosen) to meet Joel for dinner.

Dinner was steak and chips for $10 at the hostel and a free drink courtesy of Joel getting free drinks at the bar. I also met 2 other drivers including Justine who is an international tour guide. She simply decides what country she would like to visit and then finds a tour company, that way all her travel is free and she gets a small pay check out of it. We exchanged details, you never know if that could be my next adventure.

Joel and me

I did not stay up very late as I had an early morning and a rather intense headache from the drive. Thankfully I had thoughtful dorm mates and was soon attempting to sleep. Fraser Island on the ‘morrow!

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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