The Great Escape – 2008 travel blog

Our two days exploring Fraser Island were two of the best days of our trip so far...

After a 7am pick up from our campsite, we were whisked down to the harbour, where we purchased a much-needed cup of tea and boarded the ferry for the 45 minute crossing to the Island. The boat trip was great fun - watching the waves Phil thought he spotted a shark: a distinct possibility. A combination of rip tides and man-eating sharks makes the sea surrounding Fraser a no-go zone. As the tour progressed we learnt more about the marine life in the area's waters - and we became increasingly pleased we'd already completed our diving and snorkelling trips! If the sharks are here, then surely they can be found a few hours drive up the coast too?!

Fraser Island itself is simply stunning; a giant sandpit for adults! From the harbour-side where we docked, it appeared too lush and green to be the world's largest sand island, but its ecology is one of the many wonders of the place. Rainforests and some 200 freshwater lakes dot a landscape that, considering its 120km by 15km surface area and enormous depth, reputedly contains more sand than the Sahara desert.

We spent the next two days exploring the island by truck, foot and even plane. We trekked through the rainforest, swam in the lakes, climbed the sand-blows, played on 75 Mile Beach, and took a roller-coaster ride over the sandy pathways. We visited Basin Lake, Central Station and Wanggoolba Creek with its ancient ferns, we posed for photos by the giant satinay trees of Pile Valley, and we braved the cold water of Lake McKenzie - and that was just day one! Day two saw us spotting two whales 500m or so from the shoreline as we drove along the pure white sand of 75 Mile Beach, marvelling at the coloured sands on the Pinnacles, climbing Indian Head to spot humpback whales and turtles swimming below, relaxing in the Champagne Pools, and wondering at the wreck of the Maheno. All the while, our two guides performed a running commentary, informing us about everything from the dingoes, spiders, snakes - we spotted a Brown Carpet Python in the bush - and other wildlife of the Island, to Elisa Fraser, the Island's aboriginal history, the log and sand mining, and the different varieties of rainforest that exists on Fraiser. On our final evening, we wandered down to the harbour to catch the sunset, join a wedding party's photographs (only on Fraser!), and spot a wild dingo trotting along the sand...

The highlight of the whole trip, however, had to be our flight over the island. We took off from 75 Mile Beach in a small, eight-seater plane, with Phil in the co-pilot seat! As we banked over the sea, we spotted two whales - magnificent - before flying over the inland rainforest, dunes and lakes. Spectacular - it's an experience we won't forget in a hurry.

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