The Butchulla tribe named it K’Gari, which means paradise; and you can easily justify its name with Lake Mackenzie, alone. It’s such an unusual place – where else do you find a rainforest that can sustain itself not on fertile soil, but on sand? On Fraser Island, you’ll find a white sandy beach by a fresh water lake, creeks that run with mineral water, seventy-two shades of sand, and a ship wreck that once boasted of 56 first class rooms lined with gold. You’ll also find Satinay trees, which are permanent inhabitants of this island – they draw the silica from the sand blunting anything sharp that’s used to cut them down. Then, of course, there are the unusual parasitic and symbiotic floras, and the Strangler Figs, the Widow Makers, and Kauri Pines. There are also the “real” dingoes of Australia – those that don’t cross-breed with other wild dogs since they’re isolated on an island; a collection of jumping ants, trapdoor spiders, lace monitors, and skinks. They told us stories of wild brumbies that once grazed these shores, but people had to remove them because they couldn’t digest the sand that ultimately was part of the food they consumed – they were slowly killing themselves by eating. The island has both a romantic past and a violent one. It’s full of aboriginal history and legends. And to imagine the scale of the sand mass… it’s hundreds of meters deeper than the Sahara Desert.
I always figure that going on a tour is a bad idea. I don’t like joining one because I feel like it takes away from the experience. I guess there are definitely times when it’s worthwhile having a guide. I went on the 1-day tour with Fraser Explorer – my guide was Jayson (an excellent story teller who often referred to his passengers as “youse guys”). He took us from the west side of Fraser, across Central Station, up to Lake Mackenzie, east to Eurong, past Maheno to the Pinnacles, to Eli Creek, and back. It rained violently half the time we were there, but it was still a damn good time. In fact, the rain perfectly justified having my bikini on all day.
I met some great people on the tour as well: Andrea and “the guys” – there was a Canon SLR involved, so I’ll be waiting for those photos to make its way to Facebook. I’ll upload them to BK Abroad once tagged. I wish I brought my Nikon. As much as I love my Fuji Finepix – these few photos don’t do Fraser very much justice.
[and a 360 degree view of our approach - what's visible is less than a quarter of the size of the island]