Where are we now?

Where are we now?
Where are we now? Tahmoor, NSW. Updated 7th December 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 289. Fraser Island

A day exploring Fraser Islands interior....

I was up bright and early this morning, as I'd booked in to do a bird watching guided walk around the resort. Unfortunately Scarlett was up even earlier (before 5am); so Bec reluctantly climbed out of bed and dealt with her as I quietly slipped out the door and joined the other half dozen 'twitchers' for some 'quiet time'. We ended up seeing White Cheeked Honeyeaters, Mangrove Honeyeaters, Red Backed Fairy Wrens, Striated Thrush, and a number of other more common birds. The guided walk only lasted for an hour, but it was a relaxing way to start the day.

After catching up with Dave, Andrea, Sara, Lucy and Isabel yesterday, we decided to meet up again this morning at Lake McKenzie for a swim. So after I returned to the Villa and Scarlett finished her morning school work, we left the resort and tackled the soft sand and rough tracks that are the inland highways of Fraser Island. We arrived at Lake McKenzie at around 9:30am, and we were a little worried about turning up late as we had organised to meet up with our friends at 9am. But to our relief they were running late also.

Lake McKenzie

So instead of waiting around in the carpark, we decided to head down to the lake and go for a mid-morning swim. We weren't the first to arrive, there must of already been around a dozen people enjoying the clear refreshing waters that make this lake so famous. There are many different aspects to Fraser Island, but the awe-inspiring beauty of Lake McKenzie makes it probably the most visited natural site on the whole island. It's a 'perched' lake; which means it contains only rainwater, no groundwater, it's not fed by streams and does not flow to the ocean. The sand and organic matter at the base of the lake form an impervious layer, preventing rainwater from draining away. The sand here is pure white silica and is not only beautiful to look at but feels beautifully soft to walk on. The sand acts as a filter, giving the water its clarity and helping to make the water so pure it can support very little life. The blues and greens of the lake are endlessly fascinating and as we were soon to discover, coming here was a smart move. Within an hour, the place had filled up with over 150 tourists all jostling for their own bit of beach space as they too wanted to enjoy all that this place had to offer.

The fenced off 'eating area' at Lake McKenzie
By lunchtime we were starting to get worried, as our friends still had not turned up. So at 12:20pm, we walked back up to the carpark to grab our food and drinks, and we had lunch behind the security fences that surround the "designated eating area's". The dingo's around here are so use to people that they have literally resorted to taking food from tourists. This is causing major issues, as the dingos have started to attack people now for their food. So National Parks have installed fenced areas throughout Fraser Island so people can eat their food without the danger of an unwelcome dingo encounter. (Unfortunately we did notice a lot of tourists taking their food down to the shores of the lake to eat - but this is not allowed and Rangers often patrol the area to warn people of the dangers of doing so). Just as we were sitting down to eat our lunch, our friends finally turned up and we soon discovered that they had taken a good 4 hours to reach us due to getting bogged themselves, and getting lost. They ended up following another group of 4x4's (the ones that rescued them from their sand trap), but they took the 'scenic route' to Lake McKenzie instead. Bummer! At least they arrived safely - and after lunch we soon joined them back down at the lake where Scarlett went for another swim with Sara, Lucy and Isabel.

The old logging trail that I walk when finding my dads resting place at Central Station

As this was the first time Dave and Andrea had tackled the interior of Fraser Island, we took them over to Central Station to see the beautiful rainforest there. Originally established as a forestry camp when there was logging on Fraser Island, Central Station houses a display explaining the development of the island, it's various flora and fauna, an information centre, and a picnic area. Bec took them all on a short walk along the boardwalk around Wanggoolba Creek and through the rainforest, while I took the opportunity to disappear and visit my dads resting place once more. I wasn't gone long, but it was great to spend some time alone at the tree with him, as it was exactly what I needed. I eventually returned to find everyone sitting on a fallen tree while dipping their feet into the refreshingly invigorating clear water that is Wanggoolba Creek, so we took the opportunity to take some photos while everyone was relaxed. I know I keep saying the same thing over and over, but this place is truly beautiful....
"Dad's tree" on the banks of Wanggoolba Creek

Piccabeen Palms
I think I need to point out here that on the way to Central Station from Lake McKenzie, Dave and Andrea ran into a 'little trouble' with their Toyota Prado and ended up getting bogged in the soft sand. We couldn't stop straight away, and had to continue on to an area safe to pullover out of the way of any traffic. Bec walked back about 1km to where they were stuck to see if they needed help, only to find them flying up the track towards her at a great rate of knots. She luckily climbed out of the way just in time; but they weren't able to stop to offer her a lift due to the soft sandy conditions. Bec was left to slowly make her way back to where I was parked (with a car full of kids), and finally returned after what seemed like an eternity. Bec soon told us how she was forced to run along the track and 'climb' the steep sandy embankments a number of times during her trip back to us as at least 8 more 4x4's would be roaring up the track that she was left to walk on. I think the exertion almost killed her; but after a lot of cool water, time to rest in the Air-Conditioned Pajero, with some Panadol; she soon settled down as her breathing slowed and her pulse dropped. I could tell she was hurting, just by looking at her, but she's a tough nut to crack and soon returned to her normal self again. Love you honey!

Scarlett, Sara, Isabel and Lucy

We invited Dave and Andrea and the girls back to our Villa for the night, as they had already missed the tide mark to return along the beach back to their camper trailer up at Cathedral Beach. So after our visit to Central Station we decided to return to the resort and relax the afternoon away in the pool, while sipping on a few quiet drinks. As luck would have it, we took a wrong turn when leaving Central Station, and ended up past some old abandoned airstrip at the entrance to Wanggoolba Creek on the western shores of Fraser Island! Doh! So after a quick look at the maps, we turned around and returned to Central Station where we finally found the correct track that led back to Kingfisher Bay Resort. Pheww....

Wanggoolba Creek - Central Station

An hour later, we finally completed the 18kms back to the resort, and immediately dived in the pool to wash away all the sand and grime from today's travelling ordeal. When we arrived at the pool, we were pleasantly surprised to see Peter and Jenny there relaxing. We have met these guys a couple of times now; back at Arlie Beach, and again at the Platypus Bush Camp, and it was great to catch up again here at Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island. So after sharing travelling stories and a couple of beers that didn't even touch the sides, we unanimously decided that no one felt like cooking, so it was pizza for dinner! We got a number of pizzas and garlic breads from the restaurant, and headed back to the villa to enjoy our dinner with a couple more drinks thrown in together!

Jenny, Peter, Shane and Dave - enjoying a beer in the pool
After finally getting all the kids to sleep, us adults retired out on the front veranda of our villa and enjoyed reliving today's adventures. It was almost midnight by the time we all retired for the evening - and to say we were buggered would be a huge understatement! It was an amazing day, but it was thoroughly enjoyable; especially because we were able to share our adventures with our friends!


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