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Real stories: My guided tour of Fraser Island

Hi – my name is Mathilde. I am from France, and had the opportunity to spend six months in Australia. During my time here, I knew I wanted to see Fraser Island. Luckily, I was able to embark on a three day guided tour of the Island in October. It was a fantastic experience and an awesome time to travel (weather wise). I would highly recommend visiting if you get the chance. The memories and friendships i made throughout this trip are ones I’ll cherish forever.

As an international tourist, I was reluctant to organise a trip to an unfamiliar place by myself. I decided to book through an agency to save time and money. This was a great decision. My entire trip was planned for me, including food, transport and accommodation. The group I travelled with were from all different countries, speaking all different languages. This was very rewarding, as I got to learn about different cultures whilst out of my comfort zone.

Day 1: Travel Day (Brisbane to Rainbow Beach)

As the Fraser Island Tour started early Friday morning from Rainbow Beach, I decided to take five hour bus trip from Brisbane the day before. This meant I had a good night’s sleep and wasn’t travelling in the early hours of the morning. As buses don’t tend to run in the night or early morning, I’d highly recommend arriving a day early. I left Brisbane Transit Centre at 2:00pm and arrived at the Dingo Rainbow Beach Hostel at 7:00pm.

Day 2: Lake McKenzie, dingoes and sand driving

Morning

Day one started at 6:30am at the hostel. We met in the dining area for pancakes at 7:00am, followed by a safety briefing. This session covered important features of the vehicles, potential hazards on the island and what to do in the case of an emergency.

We were told to stay away from the ocean due to excessive numbers of sharks and jellyfish. Dingoes were also present in the area, and could become aggressive if feeling threatened. We had to be 21 years or older to drive the 4WD vehicles on the sand. Unfortunately, I was two months shy of this and had to be a passenger.

We then split into groups of eight and packed into our designated car. The adventure began! We turned up the music, drove onto the ferry, and got to know each other. Before we knew it, we had arrived on Fraser Island! From here, we drove approximately two hours along the beach, past stunning scenery. We even saw our very first Aussie dingo, so of course we parked and took some pics!

4WD view Fraser IslandAwesome view from the 4WD

DingoDingo walking on the beach

Afternoon

By 11:00am, everyone was starving. We stopped for a picnic lunch on the beach. This was the perfect chance to relax for a bit and get to know our travel buddies. After eating, we headed into the rainforest via a hiking track to explore. I was lucky enough to be in comfy shoes, unlike the rest of the group in thongs! Unfortunately we came across a fallen tree blocking our path, which resulted in us heading back earlier than planned.

We then spent the afternoon at Lake McKenzie; the most popular tourist spot on Fraser Island. The crystal-clear water was absolutely breathtaking, and the perfect temperature to swim. The sunny weather and chilled vibes made for a perfect afternoon. It was going to be hard to top this!

Lake Mackenzie Fraser IslandSwimming at beautiful Lake McKenzie

At about 5:30pm we headed back to our Fraser Island campsite to begin preparing dinner. We cooked together, had some drinks and relaxed under the starry sky. To me, this was the perfect way to end an awesome day.

Day 2: Champagne Pool to Maheno shipwreck – Adventurous day!

Morning

Day two was probably the busiest. We woke up at 7:30am, had a quick breakfast as a group and then ventured off in our vehicles to explore for the day. Our first stop was at Champagne Pool; a natural pool by the ocean, separated by a boulder. We couldn’t swim here due to the shallow water and small space. However, we cooled off by dipping our feet in. The weather was amazing and the sky was clear which made it even better. We remembered to put sunscreen on to ensure we didn’t burn!

Champagne PoolSoaking at Champagne Pool

Following Champagne Pool, we travelled up to Fraser Island’s highest viewing point, Indian Head. We walked a steep hill to get here, but the view was totally worth it. We were lucky enough to see quite a few sharks from the lookout. Depending on the time of year, you may even see some migrating whales here. This is where I took the best photo from this trip, capturing the panoramic views of the headland (see below).

View from Indian Head Fraser IslandAt the top of Fraser Island’s highest point: Indian Head

Afternoon

We then made our way back to the campsite to have lunch and a rest. Shortly afterwards, we headed toward the gorgeous Eli Creek; the largest waterway on the Eastern Coast of Fraser Island. We floated around the river on a blow up doughnut, taking in the gorgeous scenery. We made our way back to the beach to play volleyball and sunbathe.

Eli CreekFloating along Eli Creek

Eli Creek Fraser IslandGorgeous Eli Creek along the beach

To end a great day, we stopped at the famous Maheno Shipwreck. This vessel was built in 1905 and commissioned as a hospital ship in Europe during World War One. When it reached Queensland waters, a cyclonic storm hit the ship, sending it in he direction of Fraser Island. White unfortunately the ship was wrecked, it’s now an extremely popular landmark.

Maheno shipwreckMaheno shipwreck

We headed back to our campsite for our last evening together. After a BBQ dinner, we enjoyed some cold bevvies – just like proper campers. We had planned to make a campfire and toast marshmallows. However, the dry and warm weather meant lighting a fire could be dangerous.

Day 3: Lake Wallaby, picnic bushes – And back to Rainbow Beach!

Morning

To make the most of our last day in paradise, we woke up at 6:00am, ate breakfast and cleaned the campsite. By 7:30am we were ready to hit the road. We drove to Lake Wabby, located in the Great Sandy National Park. Beautiful sand dunes surrounded the lake. We lay in on the warm sand and then cooled off with a swim. The water was nice and warm, so we relaxed here for quite some time. From a distance the lake was a beautiful blue. However, below the surface there was an orange tinge caused by unique seaweed species. We were told by the guide that the lake’s water was great for our skin and hair due to the seaweed’s natural properties.

Lake Wabby, Fraser IslandLake Wabby, surrounded by bushes

After a swim, we headed into the bush. It was stunning, and I really enjoyed being between two landscapes; beach and bush. We had a lovely picnic lunch before embarking on a bushwalk.

Picnic spotPicnic spot

Afternoon

At around 2:00pm, we made our way back to Rainbow Beach via the ferry. We spent the afternoon drinking cocktails by the pool with all our new friends. I stayed the night at the hostel because my bus was bringing me back to Brisbane the next morning.

Ultimately, I had an awesome and fascinating trip to Fraser Island. I strongly encourage everyone to visit if given the opportunity, because it’s such a beautiful destination. Although I came back dirty and tired, my mind was full of amazing memories. It was a great escape from reality, and technology – something we all need more often.

 

4WDs on Fraser Island4WDs parked by the water

 

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