Fraser Island day 1
Today we set off from rainbow beach to Fraser Island on the world’s shortest ferry ride of 10 minutes. Stepping onto our Cool Dingos Tour bus, we were briefed on the agenda for our next 3 days on the island. As our first extended tour experience in Australia, we were unsure about what we were getting ourselves into. Culturally, in house US and France tours can often be a scam, a waste of time and money. However, the trip was provided with our oz experience pass, and we were anxious for the hassle-free exposure we would get to Fraser Island.
Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island, and boasts a 75 mile long beach, with endless trails and perched sand dune lakes. Particularly known for its rugged appeal, there are no roads except for in the resort areas, making Fraser a destination for burly Australian men who love to blast around in their 4x4s.
As we began our drive, I have never felt more thankful for my seatbelt as we bounded across the roller coaster-like sandy paths. Along the beach, we drove on wet sand which was left exposed with low tide. However, as we headed inland, we were left to follow wheel ruts left in the sand, making for one hell of a ride!
Heading to our first destination, our guide joked that Fraser was more or less a dinner plate. Surrounding the island, sharks swirled in the shallow waters amongst their jellyfish and manta ray friends. Inland roamed the purest breed of dingo in Australia, who have been known to kidnap young children for dinner, hungry from feeding bans on the island. On the milder side, the Mosquitos seemed to have worked up quite an appetite in the salty humid and hot air as my ankles quickly began to notice. In the end, I was very pleased I was staying at the Kingfisher Bay Resort, the first resort founded on the island, operating the Cool Dingos Tour Group.
Independent of my increased chances of being eaten in the next 3 days, my worries melted away as we arrived at our fist stop, Lake Mckenzie. As a perched sand dune lake, it formed as a mountain of sand had a dome like crater shape blown off the top by wind. Over time, the lake filled with rain water which was continuously filtered by a natural sand filter. The lake was crystal clear with a pure white sand bottom, and virtually free of fish or seaweed. In fact, it is rather a puzzle as to how the few fish in the lake even arrived there, as there was no fresh water initially on the island. For now, researches speculate that the eggs traveled over the channel on the legs of water birds and over time began to form a small population of fish, nor only are these traveling fish, but the breed is also known to give pedicures in very expensive salons where they eat the dead skin off of your feet. If we lied still enough a school of fish would come wizzing up to you ready to take on the cleaning task. As a natural spa, the lake was absolutely pristine in its turquoise color.
For lunch, we ate in a fenced in area to fend off the dingos, of which I had yet to see. However, I was not prepared to have any dingos licking my plate, so I stayed behind the fence. Raphael and I were thrilled with our tour company, as they fed us a full spread. Yet again, we were thrilled to not be camping and beginning to really enjoy our guide Hayden for his humor and professionalism in his khaki tour guide outfit (very Steve Irwin of him)
Continuing on in the day, we headed out for a rainforest walk. As we drove inland, the scenery became increasingly lush and cool. Due to the natural filtration the sand provided to the underground rainwater aquifer small streamed flowed along the canopy. Walking along, we spotted a squiggle gum tree. Right out of a Dr Seuss book, the tree quite literally had squiggles all over it (see below). Many people have a favorite color or song, well my favorite tree is the squiggle gum. Walking along the creek, our guide instructed us to take our water bottles and fill them in the creek. Fresh filtered by sand, the water was cool and crisp, and provided water to nearby resorts on the island. In fact, the water was expected to be over 80 years old in the creek and much older in the aquifer below.
Hydrated, we continued on to the resort to finish our day. kingfisher Bay hosted a backpacker lodge as well as a full service resort, which we were welcome to use. Anticipating the next day’s visit to the champaign pools a group of 4 friends we had made split the cost of a bottle of champaign and headed for the jacuzzi as the sun set over the ocean.