It’s autumn Down Under, so it’s been raining off and on all week. Thankfully, my sailing trip was clear skies, but I don’t think my Fraser island trip will have such luck. The bus from Airlie Beach arrived in Hervey Bay around 7am. My hostel offered a free pickup service, which helps my post-sailing budget a bit. I couldn’t check in until 10:30, so I ended up walking around town, had breakfast at a French patisserie and did some shopping. I found a pair of navy and white striped Havaianas for 10 AUD, which is about $9, but the swimsuit quest continues. Anyway, my roomies at the hostel are two school teachers. They’re from Canada, but doing a teacher exchange in Sydney. They drove up from Sydney on Easter holiday, so they invited me to dinner and grocery shopping. Score! We ended up getting Thai food on the esplanade and It was really nice to have some non-backpackers to chat with.
Day 1 starts out overcast and rainy. I chose one of the guided trips, instead of the self-drive option, after hearing about other backpacker’s trips all the way down the coast. The self-drive sounds fun, but if you’re traveling alone you just get put with any group, and I’m only going to be here for one night anyway. We met our guide at the island and loaded into the truck/van/4×4 wonder. Now I’m really glad I didn’t choose a self-drive/camping trip with this weather. We started the day by hiking to a lake and then hiking through a rain forest area to picnic for lunch. It’s gorgeous here, and parts of it remind me of the pacific Northwest. After lunch we drove to Lake McKenzie to swim and exfoliate with the silica sand. The sand is like a scrub so we did facials while swimming. It started to warm up in the afternoon, but is still overcast. The cabins at the King Fisher Resort are great! It’s almost like a 3 star hotel! ;) After hosteling it’s so nice when towels are provided. Classy! Dinner was good, especially after a long day of hiking and swimming. I love tours that feed you well. After dinner we sat on the porch and chatted. Then, ‘America-basher’ came over. Some Canadians, eh? Time for my weekly travel complaint… Things I dislike: girls who talk about being naked all the time, “I love being nude” or “well there’s nothing better than being naked.” Seriously? Grow up, and say something of value! While I’m on this rant about backpackers… another thing that irks me is guys who say they work in engineering or economics and then won’t answer any further questions about their ‘careers.’ It makes me think they deliver coffee at an engineering or financial firm. It’s enough to make me turn snobby and start throwing around my “comma, MBA”!
Day 2 starts with a yummy breakfast. This place really knows how to do food! I quite possibly am overeating here. After breakfast we headed out to 75 Mile Beach, which in fact is only 60 miles. The driver (our guide) tells a lot of funny anecdotal stories and island trivia. Yesterday, he was late picking us up after our hike because a self-drive group ran into a tree and were blocking traffic. I’m glad I’m not splitting that insurance deposit. Whew! After stopping at a few creeks and shore areas, we hiked up to the top of some cliffs. It reminded me a lot of some spots on the Oregon coast and Hawaii (Oh no, I’m that girl now). We could see tiger sharks down in the water, really close to shore. Note to self: don’t swim after lunch. Actually, they have signs on the beach that say not to, but we did go wading. After lunch, we headed to the Champagne Pools. It was so gorgeous! It’s right off the coast and the waves crash over rocks that form a pool, so it looks like champagne. High tide was chasing us on the way back, so he drove like a mad-man on the way back down 75 mile beach, before the coast was undrivable. There is reason they have seat belts. Good times! When we got back, we got to use the resort pool area. I found a pond with lounge chairs on the other side of the pool, where I chilled and watched the sunset. Sometimes I just have to give in to my antisocial tendencies and take a break from people. :) After dinner, all of us on the shorter trip took the ferry back to Hervey Bay.
Overall, I would put Fraser Island as a “must-see” for Australia. It’s a natural wonderland, with hundreds of freshwater lakes and cool things to see. And it’s the largest sand island in the world! It’s also a prime dingo-spotting destination. I however didn’t see any dingos in the wild, so I’ll be photographing them at the zoo in Sydney.