Always take the scenic route (disclaimer: unless it seems highly likely you will die)

Driving through the beach towns of east coast Australia, we have landed in a few spots that seem right out of old world Australia. Complete with nothing more than a giant statue of some sort (ie a giant crab or banana) a post office, a bottle shop, and a pub with grub there was generally not much to do in these towns other than the beach. Independent, we consistently welcomed the experience as genuinely Australia.

Arriving in rainbow beach, we expected to do no more than rest up for our trip to Fraser island. A bit at loss for what to do we joined a sunset hike led by our hostel to the nearby rainbow colored sand dunes. While sand dunes in and of themselves did not seem to be an overly thrilling excursion, we were tempted by the idea of rainbow sand, and free sand surf boards. A typically hostel experience, there were no actual sand surf boards available when it came time to leave, but we still decided to head out, in the very least we would see a sunset.

Marching our way along, we chatted with our British guide who was on a working holiday visa (more on this in future posts). Additionally, we chatted with a fellow couple named Thomas and Anya who were from Germany and enjoyed driving the coast while listening to philosophical audio books. As we arrived at the dunes, we sat perched atop the small town with a water view. Raphael and the boys raced each other along the hillside. However, the adventure was hardly started.

With the sunset approaching, our guide proposed we take an alternative route home rather than watch the sunsets and he prodded us towards the cliff side edge of the sand dune, at the edge, we watched as our footprints revealed the layers of colored sands we had come to see. From pure gold to orange, rust, red and black, we we were mystified. At the edge, what had papered to be rocks were no more than barely formed sand stone, which would crumble in your hands.

Our guide pointed straight down the cliff to the sandy beach below–this was our route home. (Spoiler alert: I made it down, if not I would not be writing this right now). At this point, I felt as if there was a potential for injury, but only a very slight risk of death, so I went for it, and began the descent, more or less sliding on my butt the entire time, leaving an avalanche of multicolored sand behind me. Around half way down, I began to slip more and more as my feet could not dig into the more solidified sandstone. I placed my flip flops on my hands to gain extra traction. However, I could not really see any alternative route, as there would be no reclimbing up the sand dune. It was also at this point that the guide realized that this was in fact not the route he had previously taken. So slid I did. Slow and steady wins the race became my motto,

In the end, I made it to the beach and watched as a slow moving trail of Sand followed behind me (seemed like an avalanche at the time). In brief, we made it. Hey, I didn’t even have to go skydiving to feel like life was flashing behind my eyes.

With the exhilaration flowing, I headed down the beach back towards rainbow just as the sun set. The light was lightly cast on the golden sand creating a somber glow over the beach with the sounds of the 6:30 tide rolling in. About home, we walked by an 80km speed limit sign straight in the middle of the beach. Strange at the time, little did I know this is what was coming at Fraser Island.

Keep following for details on our 3 day tour of the world’s largest sand island, Fraser Island!

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