You'd think that after 12 months of blogging on the road we should be able to do this kind of stuff indoors in a heartbeat. Not so! We've had some small dramas uploading the photos but we've worked it out now.
We've been home on Dangar for just on 2 weeks now so and Fraser Island seems so long ago. Luckily Payniac took a squillion pictures to prompt the memory.
*The Zipple Bar on 75 Mile Beach on Fraser Island. Some very industrious boys had brought the makings and constructed this bar at their camp. As more people arrived the bar got ever more decorated - the last time we went past it it had flashing lights!
Fraser Island was a real highlight and surprised us both with its beauty and diversity. A great thing when a 12 month trip is coming to an end and you think you've seen all the "good stuff". We had initially booked ourselves on for 7 nights
but got there a day late due to some unexpected
delays and especially long days in the car. We had a lovely, and much needed, stop in Rainbow Beach before heading over on a morning barge. We were booked in for a weeks beach camping which equalled no water supply for drinking OR washing. Washing (clothes and bodies) and obtaining enough drinking water for the week were a priority!
*The main drag on Fraser Island is 75 mile beach. At low tide it's like the F3, a couple of hours after low tide the driving becomes quite interesting and at high tide there is risk of becoming bogged. This didn't stop the infamous Fraser Island backpackers! It certainly made for some great entertainment.
*The beach is also the airstrip for tourist flights. It's quite unnerving to be hooning along the beach and to be swooped by a little plane - their way of letting you know they intend to land. Of course you can't hear these little buggers over the sound of the surf.
The day we arrived it was glorious and the forecast was just looking bettter and better for each day. Warm, sunny days with very little wind - this is the perfect Queensland weather we expected.
We timed our arrival (unknowingly) with an incoming tide making the southern beach inaccessible. This was ascertained AFTER driving off the barge, onto the beach and directly north until the beach narrowed to such a point that the options were surf or dune vegetation. After a quick perusal of our tide chart (I know, I know, cleverer people would've checked this first) we made a nerve wracking 3 point turn and took the crappy "high tide bypass road".
I must confess I was terrified for the first 2 days we were on Fraser. With just 3 weeks of this huge adventure to go I had terrible visions of the troopy being engulfed by the ocean or tipping over on a dune. The sound of the sand as we squeaked along the beach was not helping. In hindsight this fear was irrational after all we've seen and done - we've done the Old Telegraph Track. The troopy just loved every second of Fraser Island and at no time did it look like we were going to get stuck. The same could not be said for many others however.
*Fraser is a fishing mecca. A shame that Payniac's little telescopic rod wouldn't have held the bait in the surf let alone a big fish. We know for next time. I would say the majority of visitors to Fraser Island are Aussie guys on fishing trips with big 4WDs and big fishing rods.
*The wildlife was pretty interesting too. While Andy was off fishing this snake gave me a surprise! It was pretty big and I preferred it when I could see it to when I couldn't. I saw a snake, the same one or no I'm not sure, in our camp 3 days in a row.
*The pink troopy! I couldn't resist including this one.
*Sunrise on 75 mile beach
After a few days on Fraser and the weather forecast looking sweet we decided to extend our stay by another 3 nights. It's that good! These 3 days would eat into our home run making it more of a dash than either of us envisaged but we felt extremely relaxed and were just loving that holiday feeling. We learned early on that if we were loving a spot and could stay then, why not? I'm so pleased we did.
*Star jumps on the beach. This became a bit of fad for us on Fraser - I wish we'd discovered it earlier as it's heaps of fun.
*Yay - we're going to Fraser Island!
*Driving along Fraser Islands main drag
*The Maheno wreck - we spent 5 nights camped in a section of the beach about 500m from this wreck and so were able to walk down and take photos without a thousand other people around.
One downside to the beach camping was there were no facilities and it was a 6km round trip to the closest loos.
*Treachorous, and very entertaining, Indian Head Bypass Road.
This is what happens when you have too much puff in your tyres, or you're too heavy, or not going fast enough, or you're in the wrong gear. This particular stretch of "road" provided great entertainment with a large group of guys sitting on top of a dune with chairs and beers cheering on the motorists. We joined them for a while and got some funny video footage of various attempts to get through the wheel deep sand.
*Having a dip in the crystal clear waters of Lake Mackenzie. The water was a bit chilly but it was good to get the sand off.
*What not to do when the barge arrives - get stuck. Nuts!
*Sand formations known as The Cathedral on 75 mile beach.
*Amazing views from Indian Head - I wanted to go here every day! Turtles, sharks, a manta ray, pods of dolphins and the migrating humpbacks.
*Another choice beach camp.
*Andy having fun!
*More star jumps.
*A very healthy Fraser Island dingo. There were a lot of warning about dingoes around the island as it was pupping season and the mother dingoes were teaching the pups how to hunt. At this stage of a dingo pups life it's very important that they don't associate people with food as this leads to potentially aggressive and dangerous animals that might ultimately need to be destroyed. We didn't see a lot of dingoes on the beach and we tried to keep a tidier than normal camp to prevent attracting them. The more popular, inland camp grounds have been dingo proofed with grids, high fences and gates to stop them getting into mischief, or worse.
*Mother and calf humpback breaching and tail slapping out the front of our camping area.
*Champagne Pools lookout with Indian Head in the background. Another gorgeous day!
*A pair of pied oyster catchers make a nice portrait.
*Andy in the office
*At a lookout. A friendly tour guide took this snap for us. We'll file it in the very small file of non-selfies.
*The view from the tent - not too dusty, eh?
*Sunrise on the Maheno
What did we do for 9 days on Fraser Island? We explored the inland tracks, went for swims in beautiful lakes, walked along the beach, walked in the forest, fished, read, watched some entertaining driving, played
silly buggers, and did a whole lot of nature watching! It was a wonderful finale to such and incredible adventure.
*Beautiful Lake Mackenzie. Can you believe those blues?
As I said earlier Fraser really surprised us. Away from the beautiful beach there were lowland melaleuca forests, pristine creeks, perched lakes, and rainforest pockets - a real naturalists paradise. The bird life was also super with daily sightings of my new favourite bird, Brahminy Kites as well as Ospreys, whistling kites and white bellied sea eagles.
*Making tracks for the barge at almost-high-tide...yikes!
*Our beautiful home in "Pandanus Grove" in the Maheno section of 75 mile beach. It was a little off the beach and our driveway was a bit steep and sandy but we had all day shade and every day whales!!Almost every time I looked at the ocean for a couple of minutes I saw humpback whales so as you can imagine I had a busy few days watching them play and frolic.
A FEW STATISTICS FROM THE TRIP
Most expensive diesel : Mt Dare $2.22/L
Average diesel price: $1.495/L
Total kilometres travelled: 47,900km
Average daily camping costs: $16.91
Cakes of soap: 12!
Longest number of days without a shower(cat washes not counted): 8 days. In the summer time.
Days spent in each state: NSW 66, Qld 101, SA 22, NT 46, Vic 31 and WA 96
Total nights away: 362
Number of nights spent in National Parks, Reserves or other non-privately run camp grounds: 194
Most paid for a case of beer (XXXX Gold 30 pack): about $65 somewhere in Central Australia - this was Payniac's department hence the vagueness
Number of inedible dampers: 2 (when Candi visited)
Ham sandwiches: too many to count
In preparation for this most amazing all Aussie adventure we found this kind of info useful, thanks to Si and Charl for answering endless questions about life on the road. If anyone gets it into their head that they might like to hit the bitumen Andy and I would just love a chance to talk about our experiences (all family and friends get vacant looks when we reminisce about the...Pascoe River crossing, swimming with the wahalesharks, diving the Great Barrier Reef, camping on deserted beaches, the stars in the desert, driving on the beach on Fraser...I could go on forever), and we would love to help.
Stay tuned for the next instalment of our adventures; life in the Hawkesbury and our honeymoon ambitions to cross the Simpson Desert.