Samantha's Around the World Adventures 2012-2015 travel blog

We arrived in Rainbow Beach at lunchtime where we met Suzy and Tasha. We checked in and we were supposed to go to Fraser Island on Monday but asked if we could change to go Sunday with the girls as it was Suzy’s 25th Birthday on Monday, this wasn’t a problem so we were able to get excited. We went to the beach in the afternoon it was really nice, and you could actually go in the sea without a stinger net which was a bit of a novelty. After this we had to get back to the hostel for our safety briefing. So basically the concept of Fraser Island is a tag-a-long tour (convoy of 4 4WD’s) where groups of 8 backpackers are allowed to drive a 4wd along the beach. A lot of people had said to us, it is the people you are with on the tour that makes the trip. Luckily we had an amazing group there was Kris and Andreas from Denmark, Megan and Amy from Leicester and Hanna and Malin from Sweden. At the safety briefly we all chipped in for alcohol we wanted for the trip and got to know each other within minutes we were giggling and we knew we had a good group. That evening we took it easy and skyped our mummy and daddy and then our fabulous cousins including seeing an amazing up to date photo of cousin bump who is getting so big .

The following morning we got up at 6.30am and got all our stuff ready for Fraser, we had to take bare minimum as the 4wd didn’t really have a boot and we were staying in small tents. At 7am we had free pancakes for breakfast (lush) and headed to the car. Our group started getting on right away and after picking up our crates of food for the next few days, putting the bags of goon into the cool box, a quick safety brief and some advice on how to drive the cars we were off with Megan taking the first drive. We were told we had to name our cars and they had to be girls as naming a car after a boy is bad luck. The boys quickly piped up with the suggestion we should call our car Connie after a woman who was on their Whitsundays trip. We thought it was a sexy lady but after the car was named we were later told she is Australian’s most detained woman and has bi-polar and split personality, her second name being Ana – very confusing but this worked really well as when the car was behaving we called her Connie and when she misbehaved we screamed Ana. Random naming of car but we loved it. We quickly realised how difficult driving on sand was going to be as the first time we got stuck was driving off the ferry onto Fraser Island beach. We all got a bit panicked as we had no idea what to do and all the other cars on the beach seemed to find this hilarious but after a bit of reversing we got out of our mess and carried on. By the end of the trip we were pros at this. We then drove to a small resort place for our first lunch of meat, cheese and salad sandwiches though once we were done the problem of where to wash our plate arose. There were no sinks around so I came up with the idea of washing up in the sprinklers around us, which started a trend. On the last day we found out this was in fact recycled water from the resort (shower and bath water) …. Lovely.

After lunch we started the drive to Lake Mackenzie with Kris driving this time. This drive was possibly the funniest drive I have ever been on. The road is a sandy goat track which rocks, dips, logs, hills and trees the entire way so we were all being literally chucked around the car while singing along to Megan’s iPod of cheesy songs. Every time we got stuck or a big hill was coming up we would all start chanting “CONNIE” until we got out. We came up with the rule that if anything went wrong with the car it was never the drivers fault it was always Connie’s fault or when something went really wrong it was Ana’s fault. We eventually got to Lake Mackenzie after such a funny drive it was so much fun and we had become a little family and had great teamwork.

Lake McKenzie was so beautiful and we spent a couple of hours making human pyramids and playing shoulder wars it was so much fun. The water was crystal clear and the sand so white and with all the other cars there too going to Fraser, it was sooo good! When we got back into the car it was Andreas’ time to drive – now we thought Kris’ journey was funny but this time this was actually the funniest drive I think I have ever done, the car was practically on two wheels rocking side to side going down a 40% hill! We had Swedish House Mafia, Don’t you worry child blaring and we were all chanting “Connie! Connie! Connie!” everyone was in stitches and Andreas did an amazing job of us getting down the hill with several hairy moments and it lasted around 15 minutes! Strangely a massive highlight of the trip.

After we got out of the dirt track, it was Hanna’s turn to drive along the beach, it was all going very smoothly as the sand was flat until we went through a massive creek with a huge dip however all the windows were open and we got soaked then Hanna panicked as the windscreen was soaked and closed her eyes and screamed – so dangerous but flipping hilarious! After this though we hit trouble we busted our gearbox we came to a halt and it was probably around 20 minutes before our lead car realised we were missing from the convoy pretty bad but so funny, we all moaned at Ana and got out of the car we were literally stranded on a beach no car around and there was no phone signal. It got to 15 minutes when I did actually think we may have to call the police as this is the only number you can call with no signal but then we decided to give it 15 minutes more as we were in a tour group surely they would have realised we were missing! One 4wd passed and we tried to flag them down but they just drove slowly past us laughing – rude, the situation could have been the start of a horror film 8 backpackers stranded on an island! Saying that, 5 minutes later we saw our convoy making its way back down the beach to us – Hooray! When our leader got out of the car he couldn’t believe the gear box had gone and was wondering what on earth he was going to do to be able to fix it. Luckily there was a mechanic in one of the cars who got out to help, then he said this is going to take a while and told us to wait here, the other cars all drove off with the lead car so our little family played stuck in the mud until they returned. We then cracked open some beers and everyone was in good spirits even though we had to wait for the car to be fixed – turns out a cable had snapped and was able to be fixed with one of our hair ties and around an hour later Connie was back working and we continued in Convoy down the beach. We couldn’t stop giggling at the fact first day we had broken down, Hanna closing her eyes and the downhill struggle very funny!

When we reached the camp site, we had to go in threes so we went with Suzy and Tasha went with two girls who were in her group which was nice. Then we were given our food and menus for the next few days and were left to set up the inside of the tents and cook dinner. The first evening we made an Asian Stir-fry everyone chipped in to help with chopping the vegetables, slicing the chicken and I put it all together and made the rice, it was so much fun fending for ourselves. The boys prepared the table and poured us a nice glass of Goon (wine from a bag – cheap and cheerful). Dinner was really nice and everyone enjoyed it (so they said). Bex and Hanna took charge of washing up and then the evening was left to Partay. All the cars mingled together, drank and danced until around 2am. The campsite had a ‘club’ (wooden shack) with ipod speakers and disco lights that they called ‘Winkys’ named after a dingo that was shot due to mauling a backpacker, surely it should have been the backpacker’s name. Luckily since the incident there is now an electrical fence around the campsite so the dingoes can’t get in. At 12am it was Suzy birthday and we call sang to her, and carried on busting out some cool moves. Kris is so funny, he speaks incredibly good English but due to his Danish accent he sounds so posh like he went to a private boarding school and Megan and I once drunk adopted this accent. The evening was so much fun; we learnt lots of new drinking games.

The following morning we had to be up at 7.30am! wow wee, everyone was struggling so much, I literally had sweat pouring off of me the tent was so hot mixed with being hungover not cool. The worst was Suzy but it was her birthday and as a surprise Tasha had filled the gap between the door of our tent and the mozzie net with balloons which was nice. All the tents were so close that we could talk and when Amy cheerfully asked ‘how is everyone’ no noise came from the boys, the Swedish girls said they hated Goon and I just groaned. Eventually I couldn’t stand the heat any longer I had to make a move and got out of bed and freshened up for the day with a baby wipe. My feet were filthy but they were going to get worst so I left them. Megan and Bex made us all scrambled eggs for Brekkie on toast which was a nice treat.

First decision of the day was to decide who was the most capable in the morning to drive. It was decided Bex would do the first bit of driving ‘O Lord’ I was scared but she actually did really well driving through thick sand without getting stuck and driving along the beach we had ‘musical morning’ so we were all singing along to Les Mis and the Lion King, I don’t think the extremely hungover boys and Hanna really appreciated it though. Bex drove us to Hangover Creek, called this as it is a cold, refreshing river that you can just float down. It was so nice and once everyone had been down, we all felt so much better as it was so hot it was ridiculous. Between Hangover Creek and Lunch we had a bit of Tracy Chapman “Fast car”, of Monsters and Men “Little talks” and “one day – the reckoning song” which were fast becoming our signature car songs and so we were all singing along feeling far more awake and refreshed after the float down hangover creek. 10 minutes later we arrived at a shipwreck the boat was massive and had been there for around 50 years. It was washed ashore in cyclone many years ago trying to make its way to Japan – the information board had an eerie line of ‘look deep into the ship to see the ghostly past’. It was very cool to look at.

After lunch which today consisted of beef and salad wrap, which was lush, we went to Champagne Pools which are natural made pools where the waves crash over creating bubbles hence the Champagne name. We spent some time here with Suzy and Tasha as we hadn’t seen them that much and it was Suzy’s birthday! Afterwards it was my time to drive, I was actually quite nervous even though I was the most experienced by quite a few years as well! When we got into the car, we started to go when the car in front of us made a loud bang and smoke appeared – everyone in that car darted out and one guy undone the bonnet to find that the battery had exploded and there was acid everywhere. After around 10 minutes the leader came back and just shook his head this didn’t look good as the tide was coming in and it was getting dark. He radioed the other leader to come and help while we just chilled in the cars until they came to a decision half an hour later that as it was getting dark the two working cars and the other group would to go back to camp in a big convoy being led by the other leader (Brendan)! Brendan had warned me that we were going to be driving faster than usual as he needed to get back to help the others that were stranded with the car. The convoy consisted of 7 4WD going 80 km/h along the beach. Driving so fast on the beach was a bit hairy at times especially when I misjudged a wave and ended up almost flooding poor Connie! Luckily though she had a safari snorkel fitted  we got back to the camp in record time and Brendan drove back to help Wes (our leader) with the broken down car. We were all so happy that we didn’t have to wait around with the broken car until we realised that all of our food for dinner was in the lead car. So there was only one thing for it, Shower and Goon time.

Around 9pm the lead car arrived back with our food, the boys insisted they cooked tonight as we did the cooking last night and on tonight’s menu it was steak, potatoes and salad. I have to say the boys did well and it was very yummy!! The night was filled with partying at the club and playing drinking games until around 1.30am when we were rudely interrupted by a 6ft long Python. As everyone was really drunk the boys thought it would be a good idea to try and touch it, one idiot even tried to pull it down. But after lots of squeals our leader Wes who is Australian informed us it wasn’t deadly but we would need to go to hospital if we were bitten so probably best we left it alone. At around half 2 we went to bed, Kris fell asleep on the bonnet of one of the cars. In the early morning he quickly got off as if he was caught we would have been in big trouble and he went back to sleep for an hour in the tent. When he woke a leader from one of the other groups was angry and like “someone’s slept on the car last night who was it?!?” And we are all giggling and Kris actually had no clue it was him – that’s goon brain for you!!

After some Brekkie we were back in the cars making our way back to Rainbow beach. We had the music blaring and singing along to Fast Car and our car playlist we had made so much fun. We stopped to go to another lake called Lake Wabby which happened to be a 45 minute walk from the beach. Very impressed everyone walked there in the soaring heat and hungover. When we arrived at the lake everyone just jumped in as the sand we had been walking on was so hot. I literally laid back on the bank and fell asleep good job Bex was there to keep an eye on me and also capture the moment in a beautiful photo, all the photos that followed were of everyone in our group asleep in various locations due to a very exhausting few days.

When we arrived back in Rainbow Beach, we gave Connie and everyone in our group a massive clap and cheer. I think out of all the groups we were the team that got on the best and loved our Car the most. We were really sad to say goodbye to our little car family however there were party games in the bar tonight for all the team so we had one more chance to be the most awesome team! We all met up that evening after possibly the best shower ever ready and were joined by Bron, a friend of Amy and Megan’s who was also on our tour, for an evening of giggles, games and a break from goon! The drinking games started straight away but the bar games didn’t start until around 8. The first one we took part in was called “the frozen t-shirt”. This is where a t-shirt is wetted, rolled up into a ball then stuck in the freezer for 8 hours until it is rock solid. The teams could only have 4 people in them at a time so Megan, Hanna, Andreas and Kris nominated themselves to give this one a go. The aim of the game is to be the quickest team to unravel the t-shirt and have one person of the team wearing it. It’s a lot harder than it sounds. As soon as the game started you could barely hear anything over all of the teams smashing their t-shirts on floor and pounding them on the stage. Luckily our team got a good technique going and way before anybody else they had got the t-shirt unravelled with Megan trying to force her head into the t-shirt! We won that game and before long it was time to start the second game, “lady gaga runway”. For this one Amy, Bex, Bron and I nominated ourselves. The aim was to create a lady Gaga outfit on Bron using only toilet paper and Foil. To start off with we were trying to make skirts and headbands and shoulder pads etc. but before long as time was running out it turned into making random shapes with foil and attempting to tie them to Bron with bits of toilet paper. The winners of this game were chosen by viewer vote and we got into the top two. We ended up coming second though even the organiser thought that we should of won so he gave us the consolation prize of a bottle of passion pop (lush).The last game we played went back to the original line up of Megan, Hanna, Kris and Andreas. In this game each person had 2 balloons which they had to pop without using their hands. Unfortunately our team didn’t seem to get the hang of this game so even with us cheating by using one of my earrings to pop the balloons we still lost by a fair bit.

By this point the bar was beginning to close so we said an emotional final farewell to Suzy and Tasha who had an early bus the next morning and the rest of us moved outside where we were joined by Wes our group leader and Morgan who was in Brons' car for Fraser Island. Morgan just happened to be dressed up as a girl that night for a bet so spent a lot of the time with us calling him “Morgana” and telling us how handy it was to have a handbag and how comfy wearing a dress was. The rest of the night was spent chatting and laughing continuously though eventually our tiredness caught up on us and we all went back to the rooms. After 2 nights of sleeping practically on the floor those beds were the comfiest beds in existence other than my double bed in Bricket Wood :)

We Love Fraser Island!!!

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