Tuesday, November 25

Whitsunday Islands & Fraser Island

(see map) trin: We had heard lots of good things about the Whitsunday Islands but we had also been warned it is quite expensive. To mitigate the cost we decided to make use of our camping gear and stay on Hook Island one of the outer islands. 

We had a stop over at Whitehaven Beach, the most beautiful beach on Whitsundays Islands.

The beach is made of silica sand and contains no minerals. Because of this it never heats up or burns your feet. We took advantage and threw around the frisbee.

The main reason we chose Hook Island was the offshore snorkeling. The campsites we stayed at were part of Hook Island Resort. We didn't get the Castaway feeling we had originally hoped for but the convenience of transportation and facilities won out.

Stinger-Suit-Man.  Swimming in the ocean required donning a lightweight lycra bodysuit to protect us from box and irukandji jellyfish.

The view from the island was beautiful and the wildlife was also entertaining. If not, a little scary. I was reading at the campsite when two crazy looking birds and a giant lizard had a stand off right in front of me. It went on for quite a while until Mike walked back from the beach and broke them up.

Making pasta in the campers' kitchen. A giant goanna lizard resided just outside the door hoping for a bit of food. He managed to give us a fright a couple times.

Transportation - I thought it would be interesting to give everyone an idea of how we get around. Here's a breakdown of our trip from Hook Island to Fraser Island. Please note, not all of our travel days are this grueling.

3pm - Ocean Rafting: We waited several hours for our scheduled transport which never showed. Eventually, the resort radioed the Ocean Rafting boats when they came into range. We wrapped our backpacks in plastic garbage bags and boarded one of the rafts. The seas were rough so we had an exciting but bumpy ride back to Airlie Beach.

6pm - Night Bus: After a quick shower in Airlie Beach we hurried to the station and boarded the Greyhound Bus to Hervey Bay. - I love the night bus... this is sarcasm.

6am - Walking in the Hervey Bay Suburbs: After the twelve hour bus ride we walked past all the big box stores en route to the Safari Jeep rental location.

10am - Fraser Island Ferry: The jeep now loaded with supplies and groceries, we boarded the ferry and rested on the top deck.

11am - Fraser Island: We made it!

People explore Fraser Island in 4WD vehicles. Many younger travelers get put into groups of ten or twelve and then head out in large Range Rovers to become new best friends. Mike and I opted for our own smaller vehicle. So, we could go at our own pace.

Maybe the dingo ate your baby?

The large Wungul Sandblow near our first campsite.

I love dogs but I was a little scared to leave the dingo fenced camping grounds. There are signs everywhere saying things like: Be Dingo Safe or Don't Leave Your Children Unattended

75 Mile Beach was practically deserted once the tides came up and driving on the beach had ceased for the day.  

Dinner time. Car camping was fun. With an ice chest and stove our culinary options were infinite.

The view from Indian Head. The water was so clear that we could see turtles and a giant ray in the water below.

A stream crossing. Our little Suzuki was one of the smallest vehicles out there and it did alright on the beach and in the streams. We did manage to get it bogged when we tried to head inland on the softer sand but with the help of some other jeepers (who we happened to be blocking) dug ourselves out.

SS Maheno washed ashore in 1935 where it still sits today.

Climbing another sandblow. Two kilometers seems a lot longer when walking on sand.

Lake Wabby, the oasis at the end of the dunes.

We finished the second day inland at Lake McKenzie. The crystal clear water has no minerals and very little plant or fish life. Its also leaves your skin and hair nice and soft.

That night we camped in the forest and headed back on the ferry in the morning. We really loved Fraser Island and both agreed it was one the highlights of our time in Australia.

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