Hervey Bay is the departure point to Fraser Island and the Great Barrier Reef. It’s also known as the whale watch capital of the world. This town is quiet, safe, residential and along the ocean’s coastline. We only stayed here for one night before leaving early on a ferry to Fraser Island. This is where we pick up the rental suv required to drive on Fraser Island. Hervey Bay has a large population of retirees. The houses are one story with a large front and backyard. Most, if not all of the lawns are well manicured and the houses are taken care of. It’s peaceful and there are no traffic lights or traffic.
The beach in Hervey Bay isn’t as manicured but its still a beach. The patterns made by crabs in the sand are amazing to see up close. These patterns are formed when a crab digs a tunnel through the sand. The crab carries a ball of sand from the tunnel over and over. This process creates an beautiful pattern (unbeknownst to the crab) that can extend several feet depending on how many crabs are digging. Some of the patterns I’ve seen in Australia are massive because the beaches are free of people walking on the sand.
Australian ibis birds happened to stop by our table while we were eating fish and chips. It was such a rare experience to be surrounded by all of these exotic birds while sitting at a picnic table by the sea. Exotic birds are flying free all over the coastline. The Australian white ibis is considered a nuisance and is unwanted at most places. They are the most prehistoric exotic looking bird I’ve seen and I love feeding them. Unfortunately, there are signs posted wherever there is patio dining that says not to feed them. The ibis, about the size of a chicken or small turkey will eat anything that falls on the ground. Anywhere there is a patio or food, there they are.
Fraser Island is made purely of sand and home to a plethora of wildlife; especially dingos. Long ago this land belonged to the native aboriginal people and was occupied by them for over ten thousand years. The aboriginals originally named the Island, ‘K’Gari’, which means paradise. Locals are petitioning for the island to be renamed to K’Gari in honor of the history and sacredness to the native Aboriginal tribes.
The Australian dingo looks like a dog but they are not domesticated and are dangerous to humans. November starts the whelping season for the dingos. This is when the pups are being trained by the parents survival techniques and hunting. Before arriving on Fraser island many warnings were given not to approach, feed or harm a dingo. They are a protected species on Fraser island. During our four day visit we encountered two dingos from a distance. Their bodies are naturally thin. Some people mistake their thin bodies for being malnourished and feed them. The fine is an automatic $500.00 for feeding a dingo on Fraser island. This is what prevented me from even trying.
During our visit I spotted two dingos, one on the beach hanging around an unattended blanket and the other was a pup sniffing around a parking lot with picnic tables. Both times we were in a car.
McKenzie lake is a “perched” lake made of rainwater. The water is not attached to any stream or water source on the island. The sand surrounding the lake’s shores and floor is natural silica. The water is so clean, living organisms can’t survive long. This cleaning system is done through the sand. The silica acts as a filter for the water and purifies it. You can actually drink the water it’s so clean. The color is a stunning two tone blue; light blue in the shallow waters and dark blue in the deep. Not only is this lake clean, it’s extremely deep in some parts.
Lake Wabby is in the middle of a sand dune near Happy Valley. After hiking through sand for 45 minutes the reward is Lake Wabby. It’s one of the most beautiful oasis’ I’ve ever seen. A natural lake off of a sand mountain with a tree lined shore across the lake from the sand shore.
The water gets deep fast once you enter from the sand. The deepest area in the lake is 39 feet making it the deepest lake on the island. Lake Wabby is located in the Great Sandy National Park on the eastern side of Fraser Island. The lake shoreline is the Hammerstone Sandblow. Even though the water is a natural green, it’s easy to see underwater. Tiny fish were nibbling all over our legs and feet while standing in the water. Medium size catfish were swimming around as well. The hike back up the sand and through the dunes wasn’t as bad as it initially looked.
Eli Creek is a creek that begins across from the ocean shoreline. Across from the sea is a treelined area and Eli Creek starts there. We pulled up to the start of the creek’s shoreline and parked the four wheel drive. The creek is shallow so people walk in the creek or on a bridge above. Some people brought floats using the current to push them down the creek.
Fraser island requires a four wheel drive vehicle in order to get around the island. Before picking up the four wheel drive we had to watch a short video tutorial about driving on sand and during low tides and dingo safety. After the video we drove off to start our Fraser island tour. Purchasing a ferry boat ticket to the island, we loaded the car with drinks, vegetables, meat and snacks. Once on the island, finding places to eat or buy groceries are scarce.
The roads are rough terrain and the island is made of soft sand. Because of the conservation laws and the island being protected area, no formal roads on the island. The lakes and sand dunes require lengthy rides in the car to get to. Fraser island is also a big stopover for young travelers and backpackers.
There are a couple of hotels but it’s mostly known for camping. I am not a big fan of camping outside because of the paranoia of not knowing what is outside the tent. There is a new thing now for people like me, it’s called GLAM-PING. This is the upscale version of camping.
The campsite is called Beachfront camping. Ten tents were raised above ground about four feet and covered with a rooftop. Inside the tent is a new queen size bed with plush linens, a small couch with soft pillows, night stands and a bathroom with a toilet, sink and shower area.
There were two large kitchens equipped with appliances, pots, plates, napkins, seasonings, eggs, milk and even a wood fire oven for guest to use. It was like a gourmet kitchen for camping. The beach is less than a 30 second walk and the area is surrounded by a fence to keep dingos out. One of the fences was electric.
Even though the island is surrounded by beaches, swimming is not an option. The surounding ocean is full of sharks and deadly jellyfish waiting for you to step in and take a dip. Not to mention the rough surf which makes swimming difficult in itself. It was scary looking out to sea knowing something was in there waiting to kill me.
The reason Fraser Island is so special and beautiful is because it’s untouched by human hands. Not building and putting electric lines up keeps nature in tune with earth and leaves the breathtaking landscape pristine.