Having spent a relaxing night with another delicious, enjoyable camp dinner (no kidding, I miss cooking so much even camp cooking made me happy!!!), and a surprisingly dingo-less night, we woke up early in the morning for a quick breakfast and to pack up camp.
Our plan was to continue driving up 75 Mile Beach, to explore the northern end of the island. The farthest north that Aussie Trax said we could drive was no further than Orchid Beach. So that was our limit, and there was plenty to do and see around the area. Everything north of Indian Head was considered to be somewhat trickier driving than normal, with lots of deep, soft sand traps. So I let Ethan take over :). We once again had to obey the tides, and be off the beach two hours before and after high tide, which worked out perfectly with our plans.
Our first stop, once we drove around/behind and past Indian Head, was Champagne Pools. This is the only place on Fraser Island where it is safe to swim in the “ocean” – its not actually the open ocean, but rocky outcroppings which enclose these wonderfully perfect swimming holes. It was quite nice, and amazing the watch these huge, rolling waves coming our way, only to be broken up into spray once it reached the pools. I guess the only concern remaining was marine stingers like box or irukandji jellyfish – but we took our chances anyways, along with plenty of other people. Seems we were the only people lucky enough to have such perfectly suited footwear as Five Fingers, though…:)
Having arrived in Hervey Bay the previous night, the main setting-off point for Fraser Island adventures, Ethan and I woke up at 5 am on April 1st to begin our long-awaited adventure. Our first stop was Aussie Trax – the rental company from whom we were renting our 4WD vehicle (as you cannot drive on Fraser without one). We had to be there at 6 am to watch a safety video covering the tricks and hazards of driving on the island and on the beaches (mainly because of the tides). Afterwards, they brought our car around – a little 2 passenger Suzuki Jimny which had obviously seen better days. The back was loaded up with our camping equipment – tent, mattresses, stove, propane, and an eskie (Aussie slang for a cooler). The night before we had gone grocery shopping for supplies, which we transferred to the eskie. We moved the rest of our bags and left everything we didn’t need in our other rental car, which was to be locked up safely in a garage by Aussie Trax. We were supposed to leave on the second ferry of the morning, leaving at 8:00 am, but we took a little longer than we though moving things around, and so we moved it to the (next) 9:30 am one. We still had to drive about 25 minutes to the actual ferry landing at Rivers Head, and we just barely made it onto the ferry, literally at the last minute (this being due to the fact that we still had to pay for our camping permits, which I thought were included in our Aussie Trax package). But we made it!
The ferry ride over took 45 minutes, and we docked in Kingfisher Bay, one of the main resort areas with a restaurant, souvenir shop, spa, cafe, and hotel, and it even had paved roads. We immediately left the area, needless to say. As we left Kingfisher Bay Resort, the road turned to deep sand (and me, who had never been 4WD’ing before, was somewhat apprehensive) and then we were in the rainforest that blankets the interior of the island. It was so beautiful, with huge satinay gums, kauri pines, and piccabeen palms.
driving through the inland rainforest