After spending one day on Fraser Island, everyone in our cool dingos travel group had become well acquainted. We had formed a great group of fellow travelers, one who had booked an around the world ticket one who was a Peter Pan traveller and countless others who’s travel stories made us drool. However it was less of a time to hear about past adventures and focus on the one at hand. Today’s agenda included visiting sand dunes, champagne pools, the Indian Head lookout point, the famous Maheno Ship Wreck, and a short visit to floated own Eli Creek.
First stop was as the sand dunes, while relatively sick of sand at this point after being surrounded by it for the last 24 hours, this was a short stop. However, we were able to fill in my gap in our understanding. In fact, all of the colored sands had an interesting story behind it. In a grain of sand, there is a silica grain. Yet, as it tumbles across the ocean it picks up various mineral coatings such as iron. Over time, these minerals oxidize, creating various colors such as deep red or black depending on time and the mineral composition. While we tried our best to appreciate this landmark of ancient sand grains which had moved across the ocean from the blue mountains, it proved difficult since our next stop would be the Champagne Pools.
Approaching the pools, our mouthed fell open. We knew that places like this exist after seeing their photos in magazines, but nothing could compare to the raw natural beauty these pools boasted. Somewhat like human-sized tide pools, ocean water seeped in from the surrounding bright blue crashing waves. As the ocean water flowed in, sea foam and water bubbles were left behind. Protected from the ocean itself, the pools had hardly any fish, and no jelly fish (or sharks). Shallow, the water was warm, crystal clear and turquoise. Overall, it could have only been more beautiful if the pools were truly bubbling in champagne. However, we had in fact planned ahead to have another champagne night in the jacuzzi that evening with our friends. After two hours of complete relaxation, our time at the pools ended all too early at the peak of the daytime heat.
Next, we were due to climb a small way to Indian head. According to captain cook’s record, this rock is where he first spotted Indians (aboriginals if we were to be politically correct) peering at him over the lookout as they sailed past. While we did not see any conquerers sailing past, the view was spectacular. Looking down the sharp cliff, we spotted sharks, manta rays, and fish. As we peered down the steep cliff we were astounded to how close sharks got to shore. At one point, we shaw a shark begin to chase (and eat) a fish. Overall, I can attest to the fact that you will indeed be out of luck if a shark decides to chase after you. Beyond the food chain, Indian Head was spectacular. As a peninsula, you could see the beach highway, the turquoise waters, the tides changing, and a few tourists frolicking on sandbanks as they became exposed in the early afternoon. The beach was horribly beautiful. Beautiful in its color and emptiness, and horrible as it was unswimable in the summer heat. Yet even with nothing to endings beyond our eyes, it was a moment to remember.
Driving again along the coast in the van, we made a stop the the Maheno Ship Wreck. There, stranded plainly and openly on the sand, lay unsuspectingly the remains of what you might rightly call the “Titanic of the Pacific”. In his usual tone, Hayden beautifully recounted the story behind this XIXth Century steamboat – which clearly experienced a bumpy ride in its time. Originally built for luxury cruises around the world, it underwent drastic transformation during WWI to serve as a hospital for Western soldiers, then was transformed back into a luxury cruise ship after the war, until technology caught up with steam engines, making the Maheno uneconomical and obsolete. That said, the Japanese took interest in the bygone Maheno, but surprisingly decided to tow back the perfectly functioning ship to Japan from Australia, removing its propeller. The convoy left the East Coast and, in a dramatic turn of events, hit a cyclone which broke the tow for good, sending the Maheno drifting away in these rough seas – the rest is history. After multiple attempts to pull the Maheno out of the sands of Fraser, the Japanese eventually decided to cut their losses and abandon the ship, leaving it there for us to admire almost 80 years later.
Covered in barnacles and rust, the tek wood on the ship had survived years of wear and tear. More durable than any sort of Made in China plastic, all natural wood is still the best building material out there.
Moving on, our final stop of the day was at Eli Creek. Looking forward to washing salt, sand, and surf off of our skin we were eager to dip our toes into the creek which spewed out an Olympic sized pool of fresh accumulated rainwater hourly into the ocean. Pure and crisp, the creek was the perfect location to conclude the day. We walked up the creek, and then floated down at a leisurely speed, just fast enough to make it back for our daily afternoon tea and cookies (our tour group’s favorite).
A diverse day, we had seen almost the full stretch of the beach highway by the end of the day. Despite heavy tourism, we were impressed that the island remains still largely protected and wild. Yet, it was right to our liking as we still could head back to the resort at the end of the day for our backpackers jacuzzi, our very own man-made champagne pools!