More than just a big, long beach – Fraser Island Day 2   11 comments

Time to relax, have a lie in, take it easy? Hell no! There was more, a lot more of Fraser Island to see. The bugle was sounded at 6:30am and the troops roused from their beds. Bags packed, breakfast forced down and off out into the wilds again

 

I like to make my own way around on holiday and visit the places I want in my own time at my own pace (when I say “my” I do of course mean “our”, hate anyone to think I drag the family around on my whims, hell no!). Not really an option on Fraser due to the driving skills needed. I struggle with urban roads let alone driving around in a sand pit. So, reluctantly, we took a guided tour along with the rest of the masses in a large 4WD bus. Amazing to watch these coach sized vehicles bouncing around the sand tracks. Our host and driver was again Gary and he welcomed us on board and pointed us at the empty bus so we could get a decent seat. Off we bounced and rolled along the same track as before to the western coast and 75 mile beach. We were old hands at this now, affording a wry smile as the newbies looked rather uncertain at the rough ride. The kids were grinning from ear to ear – or were they just grimacing from lack of sleep. Who knows (who cares)

We rolled out onto the beach and headed north. The weather was much better now. Still showers around but plenty of blue sky and warm sunshine. Less driving today so hopefully we could spend a little more time out of doors.

First stop was at a pair of Cessna light aircraft parked on the beach. They take off and land on the beach, the only one of two places in the World where this is done (the other is Islay in the Western Isles of Scotland). Gary plugged the fact that they run 15 minute flights over the island for $300AUD. Not something I’d planned but I was feeling in a particularly chipper mood, dangerous for a man with very little wallet control. The kids looked stunned as I got off the bus and handed over a credit card. Life’s too short and you never know when you might get a chance to fly over the worlds largest sand island on a glorious sunny day.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

What can I say, it was an amazing 15 minutes. The views were breathtaking. You really get a sense of the scale of the island from above and especially the length and arrow-straightness of the beach.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

We flew over the forests, graced by a rainbow.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

We flew over the perched Butterfly Lake.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

We flew over the Maheno Shipwreck, stunning from above.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

Out over the sea looking for sharks and whales (none seen!). One more turn and we bounced back onto the beach. Over in a flash but memories to last a lifetime.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

The pilot took a really nice family shot for us and we wound down with a wander about the rainbow cliffs and watched the next batch of people take their flights. Not a bad start to the day and it got better.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

Next stop the Maheno Shipwreck. You can read about the history here, safe to say it’s a big attraction on Fraser. Under a dazzling blue sky it really is an evocative and impressive sight. I loved the contrast of colours between the sand the dark red of the rusting hulk and the blue sky. Having done my research it somehow looked different to how I imagined it. I realised that there was now much more of it submerged in the sand than on most promotional photos. The first shot below is mine from this year. The second one from a few years back

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

maheno-wreck-39120

It’s a fascinating place to wander around  with plenty of artistic photo opportunities, but other events were unfolding.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

There were a couple of dingos wandering on the periphery of the numerous tour bus groups, not really bothering anyone and the majority of people just being “dingo safe”. A couple of dumb tourists decided to approach them, like you are warned not to do and when the dingos moved towards them they panicked, as you are warned not to do, and ran away screaming, as you are warned not to do. The Dingos decided that they were fair game and started to chase them for a few seconds until they thought better of it and returned to idly looking for fish carcasses. All over in a few seconds but just a handy warning about treating these wonderful and wild animals with the respect they deserve.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

Having satisfied our appetite for shipwrecks and near savaged tourists it was time for a swim. Off to Eli Creek

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

There’s a lot of water on Fraser! Numerous perched lakes (more later) and hundreds of creeks draining the forests. Eli Creek is one of the better known ones. In the wet season it drains 80 million litres per hour of perfectly clear, clean drinkable water out onto the beach. There is a boardwalk that follows it’s course inland for a few hundred metres and it’s stunning. A ribbon of clear water overhung with green and lush vegetation.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

It is very popular with the tours but the boardwalk was relatively quiet. Most people seemed content to admire the creek from the beach. Not us! We like to get wet

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

There are steps down into the water at the far end of the boardwalk and we were in the water without hesitation. It’s only a couple of feet deep so you can either wade down or swim/float down in the current. It’s a cold but fantastic place to take a swim amongst the fish.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

Here’s one of yours truly enjoying a float

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

TBF in particular has a very special fondness for this spot and it’s hard not to agree. The mix of dense green foliage, crystal clear water and blue sky was beguiling. Alas, the restrictions of being on a timetabled tour meant less time than we’d have liked. TBF waded the first run but was then persuaded to swim it and was very glad she did.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

This did mean that everyone was back on the bus and waiting for us by the time we got changed. A common theme throughout the day as we like to extract maximum value from everything and were always last back on the bus 🙂

Onward (via lunch at Eurong) to our next stop and yet another of Fraser’s unique experiences. The forests of Fraser Island were heavily harvested for their high quality timber and Central Station in the middle of the island was the hub of the industry. Now it’s the heart of the what is the only place in the world where rainforest grows on sand.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

We took one of what would become many rainforest walks on our trip and they are a real highlight, like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. Dark and exotic with huge towering trees, fan palms, epiphytes and strangler figs they are a world apart, all the more amazing here in that they grow on an island without any topsoil. It’s truly astounding to take in all the biodiversity just growing on a sand dune.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

Problem is its so hard to capture this in a photograph. I guess I need more practice as most of the photos simply can’t do it justice. It’s one of those places you just have to experience for yourself.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

 

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

I was still hobbling on crutches and combined with attempts to photograph the foliage and the birds I ended up a long way behind everyone else. We caught a glimpse of the stunning Azure Kingfisher but it was just took dark to get a photo. The bus engine was humming when I got back, just time for a very swift cuppa and high quality homemade cookie (my, they were good cookies!) before we were off yet again for our final stop

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

I mentioned the perched lakes we flew over earlier in the day and it was time to visit one close up. I’ve read a couple of reasons why they form. One was that the crumbling brown rock found on the island – called coffee rock-  in places forms an impenetrable layer that allows the water to collect. The other was that it’s the dead and decaying leaf litter that does the job. Either way Lake Mckenzie is an absolutely sensational spot.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

Dark blue and turqouise water, surrounded by a white silica beach, perched amongst the green forest under a sunny blue sky. It was gorgeous and the water is astonishingly clear, just begs to be swum in.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

I stripped off and dived straight in. Man, was the water cold. All the other positive spins were in use. “refreshing”, “invigorating” and the like but “cold” did it for me! Still amazing to swim in such clear cold water in such an idyllic spot. The common wild swimming theme that continued for the trip was repeated here. By the time the rest of the family had dithered and dallied and slowly worked their way into the water over a good 10-15 minute acclimatisation period, I’d had enough and wanted to get out. At least a chance for me to capture the atmosphere in photos.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

This remains one of MY special places from the trip.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

Refreshed and chilled in equal measure we were again last back on the bus and heading back to the resort. They day wasn’t done though. We went straight back down to the resort beach and after a warming brew (and cold beer in my case) we sat on the beach and watched the sunset.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

Despite the huge size of the resort we were one of only a handful people there. The sand and the trees glowed with the setting sun and provided a calm and reflective finish to a truly memorable day.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

Having sat down and written the post I’m still in wonder at how much we managed to cram into the day. It was the ongoing theme for the trip. We didn’t relax all that much but boy did we see and do some terrific stuff.

Sadly that was the end of our whistle stop trip to Fraser Island and the next morning we were again up early for the ferry back to mainland, in itself a pretty fine journey across the Great Sandy Strait.

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

75 mile beach, eurong resort, fraser island, kingfisher resort, maheno shipwreck, rainbow cliffs, red canyon, stonetool sandblow, eli creek, cessna, central station, rainforest, lake mckenzie

Fraser Island had promised and delivered a unique experience. I’d love to learn how to drive in the sand and go back with a tent and stay wild in some of the more remote spots. One of the frustrations and delights of the island is how much effort you have to make to see it but how rewarding it is when you do. There is so  much more to experience  that we will just have to go back. For now we had new adventures to look forward to and another island to visit

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11 responses to “More than just a big, long beach – Fraser Island Day 2

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  1. A rainbow! How special! Once again, your photos amaze and make me feel like I am there! Fraser Island sure is lovely and you definitely capture it!

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    • Thanks Amanda, it’s a really unique place. For outdoor lovers like us it was a really great place full of adventures. Writing the post has brought back the great memories, glad you enjoyed them 🙂

      Like

  2. I certainly wouldn’t have imagined that any of that water would have been cold!

    You do realise that all future holidays will have to match up to this, don’t you…..?

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    • Yeah, next years exotic summer trips are to North Wales and Cornwall! 🙂
      The water was cold but the swimming was just amazing, some of the clearest I’ve ever been in

      Like

  3. Fantastic! I’ve never really seen realistic photos of a rain forest. And the water looks wonderful. I’ll have to put this one on my list, although I didn’t know I had one for “down under.” Thanks for the great descriptions.

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    • Thanks Jeanne, Queensland should be on everyone’s list. So much to see and lots more to come on the blog, gonna take me a while to write it all up. The Rainforest is amazing to walkthrough although we were told it really comes alive in the “wet”. Again lots more rainforest stuff to come 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  5. I didn’t realise that the flight was a spontaneous decision – I assumed that you had everything meticulously planned down to the finest detail. (On a spreadsheet? Or would you use a critical path?) Looks like another amazing day. I suspect you are going to exhaust a life-times supply of superlatives writing this holiday up!

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    beatingthebounds
    • Yes I did have a spreadsheet but I thought CPA was a bit over the top 🙂

      In terms of amount of stuff packed into a single day this was the best day and one of the most memorable of the trip. I may have to repeat some superlatives as I plough through. I may be done with Oz by Christmas with a bit of luck.

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