Finally getting used to the sand beneath our toes 24 hours a day, our last day on Fraser Island arrived more quickly than we could have imagined. Having left our friends from the two day tour behind the night before, the tour group became a bit smaller. On today’s agenda, we would be visiting two more isolated lakes including Lake Wabby and Lake Birrabeen before heading back on shore.
The first stop was at Lake Birrabeen, another perched sand dune lake. It shared many aspects with Lake McKenzie, except for it was far more deserted, leaving us free to frolic as we wished. The tour company had recently purchased two inflatable stand-up paddle boards, and we brought them along for a tour of the lake. While Raphael quickly picked up his paddle surf skills, the rest of us were rather pathetic as we found our balance. Upon standing up for my first time, it ended in a resounding splash as I fell in the center of the lake. All the while, there was something rather calming about being in a place where no sharks, jellyfish, or crocodiles could ever make it in shore this far. As such, the splash ended in no more than giggles and laughter from the rest of the tour group. Concluding or morning on the Lake, Raphael and I attempted to both ride on the same surf board, leading to us sinking and falling yet again! All in all, a little water never hurt anybody and it was off to our buffet lunch all sopping wet!
At our lunch the guide made a particular point that it was required that we wear at least flip flops and a shirt (a surprising rule in Australia). In general we had found that any restaurant with sand in its proximity would have no problems if we came fresh from the beach, a habit which Raphael and I had become rather accustomed to. In fact, Raphael had made a rather large transition from having issues wearing flip flops in public to wearing them as acceptable formal wear. Either way, it seemed as if lunch was worth putting shoes and a shirt on.
With our stomachs satisfied, the group headed out in the peak of the daytime heat for a hike across sand dunes to Lake Wabby. Uniquely, the lake was a barrage lake, formed by moving sand dunes over time that blocked a watercourse, creating pressure, filling up the lake. With the sand still moving today, the lake today is shrinking in size by 2m per year.
As we hiked across the burning hot sand dunes we thanked The Lord for our shoes we were so hesitant to put on earlier. The guide bemused us by wearing a towel turban to protect his head and neck from the sun. As amusing as it was, I was rather jealous, in major need of the shade. Arriving at the lake, it was like arriving at an oasis. Suddenly at the peak of the dunes one looks down and sees a large pool of water. However, it was not a mirage in the distance, it was a real lake. Glistening with excitement and sweat, our guide warned us to. to run face forward into the lake as it was far shallower than it appeared. A handful of individuals had fallen victim to their speed, breaking their necks as they plunged forward, out of control with their speed.
Indeed, it took every will in our body to proceed calmly down the hill. Arriving, we plunged our feet into the soothing water. Rather absent wildlife again, we floated and dipped in the lake, a sanctuary. Lying still, Raphael began to feel a slight peck peck peck at his toes. He was getting a free pedicure from the small fish in the lake as they ate the dead skin off of his feet! I was a bit freaked out by the idea of fish eating me, but Raphael sat still graciously accepting to be a midday snack for the fish of Lake Wabby. While I attempted to avoid the little guys, they were in the lake in mass number, and being kissed by fish was far preferable to standing on the boiling sand in the sun. In the end, I tried to lay back and relax, and giggled imagining that people paid to have these fish pedicures.
Our final day on Fraser quickly came to a close, as the late afternoon set in. We were dragged back to the bus, and directed back to Rainbow Beach for the evening. Finally our trip on Fraser was completed as on our final drive we spotted a lone dingo jogging along the beach. Dingos are a species of wild dog in Australia similar to a coyote. The breed on Fraser is particularly interesting as it is the purest form of the breed, as wild dingos on the mainland often mate with domestic animals, tainting the breed. However amused as I was by the dingo, we kept our distance in the bus, as dingos have become aggressive in the past few years due to a dwindling food supply and strict national park policy to not feed the dingos. On occasion dingos snatch up small children. The though was perhaps not the best to end our trip, but we were blessed to have had this rare sighting, and were ever more reminded to the wild place that is Australia. Despite its beauty, danger lurks.
Still with a few friend as we arrived back on mainland, we reflected on our time on the island together over a drink on the beach as the moonlight reflected on the beach. While Fraser Island was a dinner plate, we were absolutely enamored with the sand pile of an island. In the end, we considered ourselves quite lucky to have had the sunshine, to have seen a dingo, and to have have met such interesting travelers.