Day 66 - K'Gari Part 1April 14, 2017 in Australia
We're back! Did you miss us? After 3 days on Fraser Island with no wifi (nice actually) it's time to write some form of bumper blog. As you can only put 6 photos on per blog entry I'll still split it by day anyway.
Day 1 started with us watching a safety video about Fraser Island. It's a legal requirement that you watch it but turns out our tour guide think it's a load of rubbish. It was quite non-intentionally comedic. About half an hour long but split into 3 sections (driving, safety and island protection) which could also be watched in isolation so there was a lot of repetition. Basically drive slowly, don't feed dingos, don't sleep on the beach, do your seatbelt up. It was full of acting that the Weaverham Junior Theatre Group would have been proud of.
We joined the tour at Rainbow Beach with one other guy whereas the 28 other people on the tour had started in Noosa and swung by to pick us up in a convoy of four 4 wheel drives. We ended up in the tour guide's car for the drive to the barge and to camp. Our tour guide is Dave, beard, long hair, built like a brick house and almost certainly played rugby in his day (Later in the trip we watched him dead lift 250kg and Dirty Dance lift grown men) however he does have a very eclectic iPod selection and knows the words to everything so we had a big singalong all the way.
Fraser Island is the world's largest sand island and whilst it's officially called Fraser Island there's a push to try and get it renamed by it's indigenous name of K'Gari. The tour company are big on this push, Dave especially - more on this in day 2. The sand part explains the 4 wheel drives. It's impossible to use any other car as you're either driving on the coast around the waves or inland on soft sandy tracks. We had been told it was very important to follow exactly in Dave's tyre tracks to avoid mischief e.g. being hit by a wave and flipping over or getting stuck in the sand. If you're not driving quite correctly Dave will radio your car and tell you so. I'm glad I did not volunteer to be a driver as when you're not in Dave's car as I wasn't after the initial drive and for Day 2 it's pretty stressful even as a passenger. I found it easier to sit right in the back so I couldn't see.
While driving to our camp site we saw our first dingo. Dingo's are wild dogs and were introduced to the island where they wiped out the other mammals. There's about 100 on the island and cause they're scavengers they're always on the hunt for scraps. At camp we were put under strict instruction not to leave anything in our tents at all food or otherwise and to only leave camp with a dingo stick and a buddy, just in case.
We arrived at camp to eat lunch and drop our things off plus get the dingo and driving safety talk. There's 31 in our group, a mix of ages and mostly pairs of people with a few solo travellers. Lots of different nationalities, mainly European, and quite a few Brits living in Oz. We were worried it'd be all young gap year kids but there were a fair chunk of people about our age. Apparently Easter weekend is the worst weekend to come to the island as it's the busiest time. Sadly we didn't have much choice in our itinerary.
After lunch we headed over to Lake Wabby. Matt took over driving one of the cars and did a great job considering it wasn't an easy drive. Once you park up it's a 3km walk up and down sand so quite tough going but worth it to see the incredible sand bank and Lake Wabby, green from the tea tree trees which surround it. It looks like a desert. We went for a swim in the lake which was full of fish which nibbled your feet if you sat in the shallows. I thought I'd hate that but I quite liked it. At all our stops Dave gave us 'Story Time' about where we were. The indigenous group who's land Fraser Island/K'Gari is are called the Butchulla people. Science reckons they've been on the Island for more than 40000 years. We learnt about the story they believe about how the island was created and about how Lake Wabby was a men's place where they held the ceremony of boys becoming men. (As women we'd done an acknowledgement ceremony before we left the car park so we wouldn't bring bad spirits to the lake). After we swam and got nibbled for a while Dave took us to a track he'd made up a bigger sand bank where there were panoramic island views. It was tough and steep, definitely not an official track but the views were indeed superb.
Once we'd scrambled back down and walked the 3km back to the cars we drove back to camp. As so much of the driving is on the beach it's important to drive when it's low tide and light out so we needed to get back before the sun set. Dinner was steak which was pretty good considering it was mass BBQ catering for 40 people. Every one on the tour ranges from really nice and fun to quite nice and fun, there's some characters but no annoying idiots - always a bonus. Dave gave us a didgeridoo lesson though only one of us even got close to doing it well. Plus they end up full of spit so you don't want to practise too much....
Our campsite is right next to the beach and as there's little light pollution you can see so many stars and part of the Milky Way. It's incredible. We also watched the moon rise which I never really thought about as being a thing. I think I preferred it to any sun rise I've seen, plus it's at a social hour. We spent the rest of the evening drinking goon (box wine), eating cookies and doing camp singalong with Dave and his ranger pal before retiring to our tents ready for a 6am start tomorrow. As it's so busy here on the island we have to work ahead of the usual schedule to try and beat the crowds.Read more