Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Fraser Island & Hervey Bay | Roadtripping Australia

 Fraser Island is a place I've always wanted to visit and I'm so happy we finally had the chance.

We had been watching the weather report for the entire trip up the coast and we seemed to just luck out by the skin of our teeth. Unfortunately the stormy weather finally caught up to us in Hervey Bay. We were worried that the trip would be cancelled on us due to the bad weather (it was seriously bucketing outside all night and was still raining in the morning), but luckily the trip still went ahead. In hindsight, I got super sick from the trip and it did ruin quite a lot of the remainder of the road trip for me, but I am still so happy that I was able to see the island and had an amazing time nonetheless.

We stayed in Hervey Bay as the launching point for our day trip. I think there are a few towns along the coast that you can leave from, but we had found a trip online that offered exactly what we were after. It was called the Remote Fraser Island Experience and it turned out to be the perfect choice.
 This tour took us to the side of the island that most 4x4s don't go as they aren't insured over there. I think that mixed with the bad weather made for a completely empty beach save our small group of 8 and a couple of dingoes. 
People say that the dingoes are a pest on the other side of the island and you need to watch your back with them there, but over on this side they were much more timid. Apparently they don't usually see many of them but we were lucky enough to see 3 while we were there. The first one was the closest and he definitely kept his eye on us the entire time, then sauntered off once he realized we weren't a threat.
A popular option is to rent your own vehicle and drive it over to the island yourself, which sounds like sooo much fun. We met a couple of people that had done this and camped over on the island for a few days, but neither Ollie or I felt very confident in our sand driving capabilities and so we decided to go for the tour. If you are comfortable with driving in the sand, I would definitely recommend it.
As I'm sure you know, Fraser island in the world and it really is huge! I had heard it was the biggest and everything, but I didn't realize just how big. Apparently, it is considered part of the national highway, with 75 miles on that beach alone. There are trees and rivers and lakes and everything on there. And what look like rocks are actually sand that has been compacted down for centuries, but if you press on it really hard, it crumbles between your fingers. 
We were taken on canoes and little treks through the bush, and right after taking that shot of me next to a pond above, I was told that there are 3 of the world's deadliest snakes (among many other varieties) living right on the island... Now I'm sure that's an interesting fact and all, but definitely not something I needed to know before we were safely back on the mainland. I'm happy to say that I didn't even wimp out once and no one would have been the wiser that I have a crippling fear of snakes. Yay me!
Now, the other tours will take you to the more popular side of the island, where you see Lake McKenzie and the big shipwreck -- both of which look amazing -- but this tour is truly special. The endless sandy beaches are some of the whitest I've ever seen and the water is a crystal clear aqua blue -- even with the storm clouds in the sky.
And I almost forgot the best part -- the snorkeling! It was amazing. We took the boat in through the inlet and rivers to where there was all the swampy looking, murky water. They told us that in about 30 minutes, the water would be crustal clear as the water came in with the rising tide. While we waited, we took the canoes in through the swampy little rivers, which were a little terrifying but very cool, and then when we came back, what do you know -- the water was a beautiful turquoise blue and perfect for snorkeling. It really was so incredible.


We stayed in Hervey Bay as our launching point for Fraser Island. We stayed 3 nights at the Ramada (which was the most perfectly convenient location for the tours -- highly recommend!) and had planned on checking out the town, but the weather was just too terrible to do anything at all. We did wake up early on our second day to take a walk down by the beach and it was beautiful. There's a pier that goes out quite far and we were on our way towards it when a thunder and lighting storm hit. We were watching it across the water and it looked like it was going to just miss us, but then the wind shifted and brought it right at us. We were caught in the downpour and this turned out to be the first of many to come on this trip.

I've heard the town is worth checking out and it's a popular holiday spot for families, but I'd say the main attraction is Fraser Island. Either way, it's worth a visit.



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