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.



15:56 Thu.
17 Aug, 2017


Melbourne , Australia
8 °C
Partly Cloudy
12:00 am
5:46 pm

In Abu Dhabi we boarded a gigantic Airbus 380 – the largest passenger plane in the world. It has two floors and 3-4-3 seats per row. Luckily the plane was not fully booked so Veronika and I had a free sit by the window. Sadly we were seated in the middle of the wing, which was so huge it was impossible to past it to the ground.

Charging stations in Abu Dhabi airport.
Charging stations in Abu Dhabi airport.

The flight was calm yet very very long. I don’t know what’s with me and log flights this was the 3rd time in the row where I got really sea sick at the end of last flight – and this was despite me taking 2 pills against sea sickens. Anyway after 13 hours in the air we finally landed.

After quite thorough customs check, and after they determined we didn’t bring any diseases, foreign seeds, tuna fish and other meats they let us enter Australia.  Oh and I almost forgot, the first customs’ office we encountered after entering the airport, not only knew where Slovenia is, but was here multiple times on visits. 🙂

After leaving the airport in shorts and t-shirt we were greeted by a cold wintry air of Australia. It must have been funny seeing me buying bus tickets outside in the open in shorts on one side and the seller wearing winter jacket, hat and gloves on the other.

The drive from the airport took about 30 minutes and then 5 more minutes walk to our hotel. We soon checked-in and went to our room at 24th floor. The apartment is nice, but more on this later, the only thing wrong is it’s actually quite cold in here. I guess everything here is build for hot summers.

Melbourne from our hotel
Melbourne from our hotel
04:11 Sun.
22 Dec, 2013

It was -15 degrees

Day 136 , 11 remain
Lulea , Sweden
-1 °C
Partly Cloudy
9:53 am
1:03 pm

Two weeks ago there was a Christmas market in the old town (Gammelstad). We decided to go there by foot like in the orientation week. The only difference was that now there was snow everywhere and it was around 35 degrees colder (it was -16 to be exact). We decided to start at 10 o’clock since sun rose at that time. In the summer it took us about 2 hours to get there, so timing was perfect, since market was open from 12 to 16 o’clock.

Tree tops showering in sunlight
Tree tops showering in sunlight

Once we started walking we didn’t feel cold anymore, though exposed long hair froze up, to a nice white shade. Thankfully I don’t have long hair, even so, I put on both a warm hat and a hoodie, from my jacket. Because I thought path was going to be flooded with people, I wore normal pants, since I wasn’t expecting much snow on the road. Later this turned out to be a grave mistake.

First hour went by fast, while were walking through the forest. To my surprise we were first to go there, as there were no other tracks in the snow.

When it’s this cold, snow doesn’t stick together when it falls on the ground (at least I think it’s because of this) instead it’s like light dust and if you kick it a snow cloud goes up into the air. It looks amazing.

When we reached the bird tower we decided to take a “shortcut” over the frozen lake. Shortcut is in quotes because even in theory it isn’t shorter. But the fun part was that we could go over the lake, so we took it anyway.

As we were making our way toward the lake, we found just how hard it is to walk on the marshy land that surrounds lakes and rivers up here. For some reason ground doesn’t freeze and snow builds up, so when you step onto it you go knees deep and there is a lot of swamp vegetation that you have to navigate in order to reach the lake.

After we were on the lake, we were making good progress again. Sun was already (well it’s like this all the time) low on horizon, it was more like dawn/twilight, despite being only 11.30 AM. Fun thing with a sun so low is the length of ones shadow. Our shadows must have been at least 15 meters long, on a flat lake surface.

After crossing the lake, we found out, that there is a highway separating us from the other side, where the old town is. Here we could have turned around, but instead we decided for a more exciting option of continuing down the highway until we would cross path with the “real” trail.

Our progress slowed down dramatically, we weren’t on a lake anymore but were walking through a deeply snowed marshy land. For some reason, despite not wearing waterproof pants, I was leading first through the deep snow. As I later learned (nah I actually knew this before :P), it is much easier to follow someone on such terrain, since he flattens the snow and makes a path in it. After about half an hour of walking we reached a small shaft under the highway connecting lakes on both sides. The shaft was small, maybe around 0.5m in diameter and half of it was filled with frozen water from the lakes. After much deliberation, whether we should go through it or not, we split into two groups, one continued beside highway, mine decided to go down under.

Preparing to cross the highway through the underground half frozen drain pipe, connecting both lakes.
Preparing to cross the highway through the underground half frozen drain pipe, connecting both lakes.

Again I was the first one to go, the tunnel was so small I had to take my backpack from my back, lay down on my belly and push it in front of me. After first few meters of really careful movement and intense listening if ice was cracking I got more courage and continued faster. A friend passed me a flashlight so I could better evaluate depth of ice. When I turned it on I found myself face to face with frozen fish just about 5 cm under the ice (my face). I almost screamed, but there was not much I could do but continue. Even with the flashlight it was hard to tell how deep the ice was, I have a feeling that it was frozen through and through. After about 5 minutes I was on the other side. It took me 5 minutes to crawl through a 50m shaft. Ice was so slippery that it was impossible to push yourself forward, that’s why I had to cling to the ceiling and walls, really weird to see, like a Spiderman.

On the other side we were greeted with another lake and about 0.5km of marshy land in the direction of the town. After about 15 minutes of struggling through the snow I suddenly felt my leg sink deeper than usually. The snow came almost to my waste and as I was trying to pull my leg out when I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my leg. It was water. For some reason water wasn’t frozen on that spot, probably because of deep snow cover providing sufficient insulation. As soon as I freed my leg out, pants up to my knees went stone hard as water froze instantly on a -15 degrees cold air. And like if that wouldn’t be enough icy cold water also went into my shoe. Despite them being waterproof they can’t prevent water from going in from the top.

But wait, there is more. Like if that wouldn’t be enough… Just after few steps the other leg followed. So there I was in the middle of nowhere, with freezing cold water in my shoes, frozen pants and with sun already gone. I felt like I was in the middle of Antarctica.

I have never experienced anything like it, the pain didn’t go away as it normally does, when you touch something cold. It was burning like someone spilled boiling water on my legs. The worst part is there was nothing I could do, except continue toward the old town (the closest civilisation). Even after 45 minutes, when we finally reached the market, my legs were still in pain. It was then, when I got really scared, that I would get frostbites from all the cold.

Frozen pants up to knees.
Frozen pants up to knees.

At the market, I got a chance to take the shoes off. Despite expecting water to pour out, everything appeared surprisingly dry. Even socks were only moist at worst. I’m still thankful that I bought the best shoes I could find, they probably saved my feet from a nasty frostbites.

The market was much smaller than I expected. Merchants were selling all sorts of stuff, from trinkets, statues of dwarfs and elves, some kind of sweet Swedish bread, moose meet and many more.

Christmas market at Gammelstad
Christmas market at Gammelstad

After short trip around the market, we decided to take a bus home, since it was already pitch black, my legs were frozen and we had a farewell dinner to prepare for.

Despite market being disappointingly small, the journey was one of a kind and like usually it’s the about the journey not destination.

12:33 Sun.
8 Dec, 2013

Coldest I've ever been in my life.

Day 122 , 25 remain
Lulea , Sweden
-19 °C
9:30 am
1:14 pm

Finally, today my Slovenian record for lowest temperature was finally broken. I’ve been looking forward to this for quite some time.

Symbolic picture from yesterday's hike 11:32h (more on this in next post).
Symbolic picture from yesterday’s hike 11:32h (more on this in next post).

Update (19.15h). I’ve just received news that some exchange students went to Kiruna today. It was -35 there today. Maybe I shouldn’t be laughing but they are stuck there now. Their car froze (they actually couldn’t get inside) and when they finally did they found that battery is dead. If my information is correct they will spend the night in ice hotel there.

13:24 Mon.
23 Sep, 2013

Happy birthday Mikel!

Day 46 , 101 remain
Lulea , Sweden
9 °C
Mostly Cloudy
6:14 am
6:30 pm

Yesterday my roommate had a birthday so we baked him a cake. I normally prefer fruit cake, but this one was really good (maybe because I helped quite a lot with the baking).

The fun part was after we ate a cake, Chinese decided to have sashimi. I don’t know what actual difference is between sashimi and sushi, for me it looks and tastes the same: -raw fish. And yeah it tastes like … raw fish. You have to dip it in to a special sauce I don’t remember how’s it called, it tastes like really salty horseradish, I didn’t liked it that much but others loved it.

On this picture you can see making of sashimi and a birthday boy excited about his new cap and raw fish. 🙂

Lin is preparing sashimi
Lin is preparing sashimi
Mmmm .... not realy :)
Mmmm …. not realy 🙂

Today is really cold day. I think air temperature is around 8, but it’s windy so the “real feel” temperature is supposed to be 6 degrees. When I rode bike to school this “morning” my hands were so cold/numb I couldn’t hold a key to lock the bike.

HDR Lake
HDR Late