Posted on December 3, 2009
Hervey Bay and Fraser Island
Sebastien and I finally did a touristy thing and took a day tour to Fraser Island. After Byron Bay we took an 11 hour bus trip up to Hervey Bay. We stayed with a wonderful and loving family whom we meet through helpx. We helped Catherine and Peter (parents) with various things around their home for about a week in exchange for accommodations in their beautiful home and food.
One of the days we were there we took a day tour to Fraser Island. Fraser Island is the largest sand island and it has a wide range of different landscapes. Including a beautiful rain forest with huge trees, some bigger than 4 meters round.
We took a fairy ride over from River Heads to the island and meet up with our one day Fraser Island Explorer tour. We ended up being the last two called (because we had signed up the night before on-line) and they only had one seat left in the back of the bus and the co-polite seat. I chose to sit in front because I get car sick easily but we ended us switching mid day because the ride was so uncomfortable in the front.
Since the whole island is made out of sand the roads are as well. The sand was very soft (due to a lack of rain) which caused the ride to be extreemly bumpy. There were a few young children riding in the back and they were bouncing everywhere throughout the trip. The driver, Shawn, was a true Aussie making jokes and giving me a hard time about not telling him ahead of time about the bumps.
About 45 minutes into the ride we stopped behind 4 other vehicles because a bus got stuck in the sand. It was pretty crazy to watch how these Aussies pull each other out of sand pot holes. They attached a bungy rope around the back of the bus and pull them out backwards. But one bus was still not enough because then our bus had to get involved and pull both of the buses out. It was wild. Luckily, we got them all out and then Shawn went around the buses by driving off the road and into the forest. At one point I think we were only on three wheels.
Once we made it through the forest we were on the 75 mile beach. Which acted as the islands highway with speed postings. It was crazy driving down this beach for several reasons. Not only was the road incredibly bumpy because of the soft sand but there was also an incoming tide which just made Shawn drive about 45 mph jerking the bus back and forth away from the incoming tide and soft sand. I would have surely hurled if I was sitting in the back of the bus.
About 30 miles down Shawn stopped in front of two small planes. The two pilots boarded and gave their speech about an additional tourist experience in which you would be taken up in a plane to tour the island and then met back up with the bus. I didn’t think twice about this but several people got up and took advantage of the offer. I then looked back and Sebastien was nodding that he was ready to go. I think he was sick of riding in the back of the bus.
The plane was a 12 seater puddle jumper which took off and landed on the beach. It was a 20 minute flight around the island which included a low fly over the ocean. It was a cool experience but for me it was just fun to spontaneously do something that was so extravagant.
After the flight we joined the rest of the group and the rest of the day we visited creeks, saw a rusty ship wreck, took a walk through the forest, had some lunch, and swam in Lake McKenzie. Lake McKenzie is one of the cleanest lake in the world. The water was a light turquoise to a deep blue. It was a lovely day.
Besides the Fraser Island day we went kanagroo hunting every evening. On several occasions we found the adorable creaters hanging out near the house. It was the first time we had ever seen kanagroos in the wild. Watching them hop around was really cool. Catherine and Peter also cooked kanagroo the last night we were there and we had a lovely dinner with them. We enjoyed our time with them and thier adorable boys.