20:08 Sun.
22 Oct, 2017

Fraser Island

Inskip Point , Australia
13 °C
12:00 am
5:59 pm

Next day early morning we headed toward our car that we shared with 2 Canadians and 3 British. In our car only 3 of us were driving. The first stage of driving went to the British guy. We soon departed as second in a 4 car convoy on a short drive toward the Fraser Island. There is no infrastructure on the island and the island is some kind of National Park, only people with special permissions can get on the island. To get there we drove our cars onto a ferry and soon after we were on the island.

The briefing previous night and all the signs made us believe we were actually going to have to fight for our lives from the thousands of wild dingoes that live on the island in reality it wasn’t like that.

The whole island is made (covered) in sand (I have no idea how any vegetation can grow on it, but it has vast and dense tropical forests), there are no roads or infrastructure except a couple of small camping areas inside a protective fence.  After driving for a couple of hours alongside the beach we stopped at one such place, where we had lunch. It was interesting to see it surrounded in electric fence, also on the ground, to prevent dingoes from getting inside.

Protection against dingoes. I saw a couple of guys almost walk over the rails, sadly they didn't it would have been hilarious.
Protection against dingoes. I saw a couple of guys almost walk over the rails, sadly they didn’t it would have been hilarious.

After the lunch I took the wheel and drove us to our next destination, to a lake somewhere in the middle of the island. This time we didn’t drive on the beach anymore but turned inside the island. It was a very interesting experience driving on the sand. First I had to get used to of being on the wrong side of the car and to shift gears with my left hand. Contrary to my expectations driving on sand differed quite a lot from driving on the snow. The car didn’t drift so much and you could feel car struggling in the deeper sand. We (and by we I mean others 🙂 ) did manage to get stuck in the sand dunes on several different occasions but in the end they managed to get out every time.

First day we were driving in second car. Second day we went to the first and last day we were in last.
First day we were driving in second car. Second day we went to the first and last day we were in last.

After about 2 hours of driving through the jungle (sadly I have no pictures of it since I was driving)  we arrived to the lake. The lake sits in the middle of island and I forgot why but it has one of the clearest waters I ever saw. It is quite deep (30m) so toward the middle the water gets darker. We stopped for about two hours before heading back toward the beach.

Lake McKenzi. Super clean water on a pure white sand. It was great swimming here.
Lake McKenzi. Super clean water on a pure white sand. It was great swimming here.

After arriving to the beach we drove for another three hours toward our camping site somewhere alongside the beach. Driving on the beach was interesting, waving up and down a bit while avoiding waves and creeks that flow from the center of the island. Toward the end of the drive we saw a particular interesting animal, one which we later learned were really lucky to see, despite all the advertisement beforehand. I’m talking about the dingoes.

Dingoes on Fraser Island
Dingoes on Fraser Island

I think they were looking for some food. From time to time there were people fishing on the beach I think they might have left something there.

Toward the evening we arrived to our campsite. It was again inside a protective fence. We put our stuff into a tent and went to the common area to cook a dinner. There was not much space left in the cars for luggage so we packed extremely lightly, a towel and swimsuit. Despite being quite north it did get very very cold during the night and I was really sorry I didn’t pack another long pants or a sweatshirt. I think most of us had a similar problem, so in the end we just hang around the fire before going to sleep.

Camp fire on Fraser island.
Camp fire on Fraser island. After a couple of hours not much was left from the initial flame, so we were kind of forced to go to sleep if we didn’t want to freeze out in the open.

I don’t think I ever felt this cold, even in Sweden. I actually woke up two times during the night because of the cold. Luckily we survived the night and were able to drive to our next destination in the early morning. We continued our way up the island for couple more hours until we reached   “Indian Head” peninsula. Oh I almost forgot, while driving there I managed to cut my hand somewhere in the car so I had blood all over my trunks, shirt and car as well. It was surprisingly hard to get it off the clothes and a good incentive not to go swim into the sea, which was infested with sharks.

Interesting to say from the top of the Head we were able to see several animals in the bay below. I think we saw a couple of turtles, shark, stingrays, gigantic (non stingy) rays and of course a couple of whales in the distance. I am still amazed by the wild life I was able to witness on our trip. After we continued even further up north where we first saw a small wallaby (smaller kangaroo) in the wilderness and then continued to champagne pools at the seaside.

Finally we turned around and started driving down the island. After couple of hours of driving and waiting for cars behind is to unstuck themselves we arrived to an interesting shipwreck on the beach, near our campsite. The guide wasn’t quite sure about the story behind the ship so he asked us (in the car) to give him some keywords and he made up a story for the others who seemed to believe him. Luckily we were driving with him this day, so we knew the story was made up, hopefully the other days the information he gave us was true. The story was quite funny actually, the guy who stole the ship was wanted pirate for stealing candies from cruise-ships around Australia.

After the shipwreck, the day still wasn’t over and we continued half an hour drive down the beach toward a naturally forming lazy river – the slow running river that you normally find in spas. We had about an hour and half before a sunset to ride the rive, to play some beach volleyball and to sunbathe in the late evening rays.

After the sunset we returned back to our campsite where we cooked some food. After the dinner we went to a short walk to the beach where we watched stars. Because the island is more or less deserted there is no light pollution from big cities and similar. Furthermore since Australia is on the southern hemisphere the stars you can see from there are completely different than the ones we can see in Europe. The view was amazing.

Australian stars
Australian stars

After another night of freezing we had one more interest point to visit. A lake in the middle of giant desert somewhere on the island. After a short drive on the beached we hiked for about 2 hours through the jungle when at one point view completely cleared and giant sand dunes were in front of us. After another 15 minutes of slower hike through the dessert we were presented by a small green lake, that looked like it had 50 crocodiles in it.

It was not full of crocodiles, it was possible to go swim in it although the water was freezing.
It was not full of crocodiles, it was possible to go swim in it although the water was freezing.

We had some time to explore the dunes before heading back to the cars.

Veronika and I
Veronika and I

At the cars we had another lunch break before heading back to the mainland. I had the honour of driving again, about 3 hours over the beach on the island and about half an hour on the paved road on the mainland. It was the first time I drove on the left side of the road.