Thursday, 31 March 2016

Celebrating on Fraser

To better enjoy the photos, please click on them to increase their size.

Fraser Island - 14 - 17 March

A month ago, Laurel spotted another travel deal to good to pass by. This time it was with Luxury Escapes. 3 nights on Fraser Island, the world's largest sand island and a destination I've had on my bucket list for a very long time. I prefer to quietly acknowledge my birthday, but we all agreed it would be lovely to make a booking to coincide with my reaching pension age!!! [Help!]

We left Brisbane at 3.30 am to make the 4 hour drive north to Riverheads, just south of Hervey Bay, to catch the 9 am ferry across the Great Sandy Strait to Kingfisher Island Resort, nestled amongst the flowering wallum bush.

Mouth of the Mary River.
First views of the island.

Our room was spacious and our wooden deck brought nature to our doorstep. Birdsong and wildflowers gave tranquility.
             Walkway to main resort.
Path to and from the beach.

We quickly settled in and were soon off exploring. 

Fraser Island belonged to the Burchulla Aboriginal group for thousands of years, until white settlers took over the island in the 1840's. Cattle, goat, cropping, mining and logging changed the face of the island rapidly. Thankfully in the 1970's, amidst much controversy, the decision to return Fraser to its natural state, was made. In 1992 Fraser became World heritage listed.  It is amazing to see how the dense, towering forests have regenerated, especially so in this sandy environment. Sadly it is the dingoes on Fraser that are in the news and not Fraser for its beauty. Foolish tourists are the problem, not the dingoes.  We only managed to see paw prints on the sand during our stay, but 2 were sighted by our new friends. The resorts large area is dingo fenced.

Our walk took us up a ridge, down to a creek and back along the beach.

Nearing sunset we took our wine, cheese and nibbles to the bushland beside the beach and relaxed to the sounds of the bush, until the changing light drew us to the beach to witness a sunset spectacular.

Tuesday, my birthday, dawned bright and beautiful. By 8 am we were aboard our gutsy 4WD vehicle being bumped and tossed as we crossed the island, on a deeply, rutted, sandy track.

Stonetool Sandblow Lookout

The track then quickly dropped down to Seventy-five mile Beach, a gazetted highway, fisherman's paradise and as we discovered, a light aircraft landing strip.

Our driver pulled up beside the parked aircraft seemingly unexpectedly, but we were soon being given a spiel by one of the pilots of where he could take us on a 15 minute flight. For once Frank and I made a spur of the moment decision and were soon delighting in an aerial view of this unique island.

We landed at Eli Creek, the largest creek on the eastern beach and pours 4 million litres of clear freshwater into the ocean every hour.

Morning tea followed, before we cruised further along the beach to the colourful Pinnacle Rocks.

As the bus approached the wreck of The Mahena, [July 1935] our driver stopped short for us to splash in the surf, as we made our way to the wreck.

The Mahena's last voyage was March 1935. She was being towed to Japan for wrecking, July 1935, when she  beached on Fraser island in cyclonic conditions.

After lunch, we climbed the dunes and headed inland again. First stop was central Station, which had been the head quarters of the logging industry. Kauri, Blackbutt, Hoop Pine, Scribbly Gum and Fraser's Satinay were growing abundantly. Satinay only grows on Fraser island and vast lengths of it were exported all over the world, including the Suez Canal, as it is resistant to marine borers. 

                Scribbly Gum
      Eucalyptus and Hoop Pine
                                 Hoop Pine

Our guide gave us a short tour of this area and then suggested that if anyone desired a hike, they could follow the trail along Wanggoolba Creek for aprox. 45 mins. He would be ready to collect us.
Wanggoolba Creek was so crystal clear that it appeared to be dry. Sometimes its surface caught the sunlight to prove otherwise. It would have been wonderful to have had more time to linger in this unique area.

However time was moving on and we still had to visit Lake McKenzie, a lake of awe inspiring beauty. My photos do not do it justice.
It is a 'perched' lake, which mens it contains only rainwater, no groundwater, is not fed by streams and does not flow to the ocean. The sand and organic matter at the base of the lake form an impervious layer, preventing the rainwater draining away.

And so the tour ended, but the day was not over. It was time to return for wine, nibbles and sunset views.

We had been so fortunate with the weather yesterday. Wednesday dawned overcast and showers fell off and on. The temperature was still hot and humid, so we relaxed beside the pool for most of the day and then it was time to view our final sunset.

Laurel and I walked to the beach at 5.30 am, hoping to spy a dingo or two, in the early morning light. It was not to be, but the perfect solitude was worth the early rise. 

The tide was gently lapping the shoreline.
           Fish were jumping.
Stingrays were hiding.

All too soon, it was time to board the ferry and bid farewell to this sandy paradise.

I feel extremely fortunate to have experienced yet another magical holiday. I would love to read your comment.